BBC News

British Broadcasting Corporation

Mass grave at Bedlam discovered

Archaeologists working at the site of London's latest Crossrail project have discovered a mass grave of hundreds of skeletons. The grave is at the location of St Bethlehem hospital, the first facility for mental patients. (video & photos)

Battle of Towton commemorated in podcast

550 years ago, 28,000 men were killed in what is considered Britain's bloodiest battle. To commemorate the anniversary, BBC 4 Today discusses the final brawl of the war of the Roses.

Cardigan Castle to receive UK£4.7m grant

The Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed to provide UK£4.7m for conservation work to the building and grounds at Cardigan Castle. The 12th century castle was once home to Welsh princes.

Roman quarry "too obvious" for notice

Archaeologist Karl-James Langford believes historians may have overlooked a Roman quarry in Barry, Wales because it was just "too obvious."

"Senchus fer nAlban"

In the 7th century, seventy lines of text were created to record the number of men in western Scotland for the purpose of military service and tax collection. The Senchus fer nAlban (History of the men of Scotland) includes resources for the population of Dál Riata, the Kingdom of the Gaels on the west coast of Scotland. (photos)

Historic Cornwall pub destroyed by fire

"People come from all over the world to see the Pandora," said Mylor, England resident Cordelia Folland after a fire ripped through the 13th Century thatched Pandora Inn March 24, 2011.

The sturdy skull of Simon of Sudbury

During the Peasants' Revolt in 1381, Simon Theobald, once Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of Canterbury, was beheaded outside the Tower of London. Now his mummified skull is being given the scientific treatment.

Brush up on Magna Carta history

In preparation for celebration of the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, the BBC offers information about the historic document.

Neighbours from hell, in the 14th century

BBC news magazine recently carried a 14th century 'Asbo' (English acronym for Anti-Social Behaviour Order) -- a complaint from one London neighbour against another about her 'creative' waste disposal,  that piped her privy straight into a nearby gutter.

Medieval beaver to be reintroduced in Wales

The beaver, extinct in Wales since the 12th century, is being reintroduced to Machynlleth, Wales. The European beaver was prized for its fur and the medicinal qualities of its glands.

16th century defenses discovered at Stirling Castle

Renovation work for the gift shop at Scotland's historic Stirling Castle has unearthed the castle's 16th century defenses, which were built using the latest techniques around 1540. The defences were demolished during modernization in the 18th century.

Welsh school site hides rare Roman fort

The playing fields of Dwr-y-Felin Comprehensive Upper School in Neath, Wales must occupy a strategic location since they were the site of not one, but two Roman forts, a 1st century timber structure and a later stone fort.

Ryght welebeloued Voluntyne...

In 1477 Margery Brews sent the first valentine in the English language to her sweetheart John Paston begining "ryght welebeloued Voluntyne" (right well-beloved Valentine), she promised to be a good wife, adding: "Yf that ye loffe me as Itryste verely that ye do ye will not leffe me" (If you love me, I trust.. you will not leave me).

Did wicker help build Stonehenge?

For thousands of years, experts have debated how the huge stones that constitute Stonehenge were transported from Wales to their current site in southern England. Now engineer Garry Lavin has a new theory: wicker. (photo)

Children's author Brian Jacques dies in England

The animal residents of Redwall Abbey are in mourning over the death of their creator, Brian Jacques, who died of a heart attack in Liverpool, England at the age of 71. Jacques wrote 21 novels in the Redwall series.

Colosseum to be restored by shoe manufacturer

Roman officials have accepted an offer from Diego Della Valle, founder of Tod's luxury shoe brand, to fund the restoration of the crumbling Colosseum.

Tree rings link political turmoil to climate changes

Ulf Buntgen, a paleoclimatologist at the Swiss Federal Research Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape, believes political history can be read in the trees. He is the co-author of a study which links the "rise and fall of past civilisations and sudden shifts in Europe's climate."

17th century boundary wall dscovered at Edinburgh Castle

Construction of new viewing stands for the Edinburgh Tattoo at the Castle has revealed a previously unknown boundary wall.

Roman bones found under Jersey church

Contractors working on an extension to a church in Jersey, UK, were surprised to discover human remains during excavation. They were doubly surprised to learn that the remains are from Roman residents of the island.

Royal Shakespeare Company to hold costume sale

Costumers: The opportunity of a lifetime presents itself on Feruary 12, 2011 when the Royal Shakespeare Company will sell thousands of costumes worn by such theatre luminaries as Ian McKellen and Kenneth Branagh.

Red Cross takes aim at Robin Hood

The British Red Cross has threatened a Scottish production of the pantomime show 'The Magical Adventures of Robin Hood" for placing a red cross on a nurse's costume.

Da Vinci document discovered in French library

A "fragment of paper with brown scrawls" discovered recently in a public library in the French city of Nantes was not just trash. It was a coded document written by Leonardo da Vinci. (photo)

Holy Thorn of Glastonbury vandalized

Police in Glastonbury, England are looking for vandals who cut the branches from the Holy Thorn, a 2,000-year-old tree said to have been planted by Joseph of Arimathea. (video)

Dunster cobblestones "extremely dangerous”

Once part of the Luttrell family estate, the village of Dunster, England could lose its medieval cobbled streets due to injuries caused by the cobbles' poor condition.

Sumptuary laws plagued Renaissance bankers

"Our state is less strong because money which should navigate and multiply lies dead, converted into vanities,"  said the rulers of Venice, who enforced laws designed to curb the spending habits of the rich. These sumptuary laws are the subject of an article by Sarah Dunant on the BBC News Magazine blog.

Trees threaten Roman wall in St. Albans

Sycamore trees are the culprits in damage done to the historic Roman wall in St. Albans, England. Built in the 3rd century, the wall is what remains of a five metres high and three metres wide wall, circling the city, with a walkway on top. (photo)

Horse archery making comback in Europe

Horse archery is a sport appreciated by only a few, but its popularity is gaining strength in England which now holds a national championship.

Welsh students hope to find medieval Whitelands

Teacher Karl James Langford and his students are on a quest: to find the lost medieval village of Whitelands near Porthkerry in Wales.

Berryfield Mosaic removal and conservation underway

"The main trouble is getting it through the door," said Nick Barnfield, project conservator with Cliveden Conservation, about the removal of the Berryfield mosaic at Colchester Castle, once the dining room floor of a 2nd century Roman townhouse.

Brits recognize Druidry as a religion

The British Charity Commission has accepted that druids' worship of natural spirits is a religious activity, making it the first pagan practice to be given official recognition as a religion.