BBC News

British Broadcasting Corporation

"Dear Edward, Leave the Scots alone!"

A copy of a previously unknown letter from Robert the Bruce to King Edward II has been discovered at the British Library. The letter, written in 1310 during the build-up to the Battle of Bannockburn, requests that Edward recognise Scottish independence and end persecution of its people. (video)

The dark history of Tom Fool

Each year, a jester is chosen to liven up life at Muncaster Castle, near Ravenglass in Cumbria, England. The custom goes back centuries to Tom Skelton, believed to be the original Tom Fool, a real-life jester believed to have a murderous past. (photo)

Houses scheduled to grace Fulford battlefield

The "most likely candidate" for the site of the Battle of Fulford, according to English Heritage, is Germany Beck, an area scheduled to be developed into a community of 600 new homes, approved by the City of York Council.

CW premieres "Reign" in fall 2013

The BBC has announced Reign, a new drama based on the teenage years of Mary, Queen of Scots, which will hit American TV screens autumn 2013. The series will star Adelaide Kane as Mary and will begin with 15-year-old Mary's arrival in France as the bethrothed of the French prince Francis.

Spooky Rait Castle still mystifies

Rait Castle, on an island in a loch near Naim, Scotland, is haunted, or so say some of its admirers, by the ghost of a handless girl, killed by her father for loving a son of the enemy.

Old Duchy Palace restoration completed

Thanks to the Cornwall Buildings Preservation Trust and The Prince's Regeneration Trust's UK£1m grant, Cornwall's Old Duchy Palace in Lostwithiel has been restored and will contain a permanent heritage exhibition about the palace and its restoration in its basement. (photos)

"Mysterious" skeleton found in Irish crannog

Archaeologists are pondering the cause of death of a 15th century teenager buried in an "irregular" manner on a crannog, a man made island settlement, in County Fermanagh, Ireland. The remains of the young woman seem to indicate a hasty burial, leading experts to consider foul play.

Scottish "wall" built fifty years before Hadrian's

BBC History Magazine reports that archaeologists have identified a first century Roman defense system that extended 120 miles across Scotland. The series of forts, watchtowers and defensive ditches predates Hadrian's Wall by 50 years, and the Antonine Wall by 20. (photos and map)

Plantagenet descendants battle for bones of Richard III

Descendants of King Richard III have launched a legal challenge to the burial of the king's remains in Leicester Cathedral, near the site where his skeleton was discovered. Sian Lloyd of the BBC reports in a short video.

Archaeologists hope to find Roman fort in Midlands flood zone

After serious flooding, the Environment Agency in England is studying plans to build flood defences along the River Derwent near Derby in the Midlands, but before that work begins, archaeologists are being given access to an area known to be the site of a Roman fort.

Construction workers find Bath's Roman wall

Archaeologists are excited by the discovery of part of the 4th century Roman wall in England's city of Bath. The discovery was made during sewer repairs to Burton Street.

Could Winchester bones be Alfred the Great?

Archaeologists have exhumed the remains from an unmarked grave at St Bartholomew's Church in Winchester, England, hoping they have found the bones of the Saxon king Alfred the Great who died in 899.

17 Jewish "souls are now at peace" in Norwich

In a recent burial service considered an "historic event," 17 sets of remains of Jewish descent were laid to rest in Norwich, England. The bones were discovered in 2004 in a well, and are believed to be victoms of 12th century religious persecution.

Archaeologists hope to find tunnels under Nottinghamshire marketplace

Attention Don Wildman of Cities of the Underworld: Archaeologists plan to investigate if the legendary tunnels beneath a Newark, England marketplace really exist. The two-month study, using ground-penetrating radar, will be funded by the town council.

Plague burial discovered in London construction project

In the 14th century, Charterhouse Square in London was no-man's land, making it an excellent place to bury victims of the Black Plague. Now the site is the focus of archaeological investigations after being unearthed during construction of the city's Crossrail project. (video)

LIDAR may reveal camp of Hadrian's Wall builders

The study of a series of old LIDAR (light detection and ranging) aerial photos has led to the discovery of what may be a camp of the men who constructed Hadrian's Wall. The find could change the way historians view civilian life in Roman Britain.

King Edmund under the tennis court?

King Edmund of England, later St. Edmund after being shot by Viking raiders in the 9th century, might be buried under the tennis courts at Bury St Edmunds, once the Abbey graveyard. After Richard III, some historians would like to know.

Hadrian's Wall to get new visitor center

Northumberland National Park Authority and Youth Hostel Association have teamed up to back a new visitor center and youth hostel for Hadrian's Wall. More than UK£10m will be spent on the project.

The intriguing history of the English home

In a BBC 4 series If Walls Could Talk, Dr Lucy Worsley, the chief curator of the Historic Royal Palaces in England, looks at the history of the home, its rooms, and their intriguing history. Video episodes are also available on YouTube.

Livres de perchage chronicle Guernsey properties

For years, Guernsey resident Hugh Lenfestey spent time collecting detailed local manorial records and creating a map of the island's fiefs. After his death, his family has donated his records, dating from the 15th century, to the Island Archive. (photos)

Work begins on Cardigan Castle restoration project

For years, officials at Wales' 12th century Cardigan Castle have dreamed of raising funding to restore the castle and turn it into a heritage center and site for open-air concerts. The castle is believed to be the birthplace of the eisteddfod,  a festival of poetry and music, dating to the 12th century.

North Yorkshire claims Richard III

"Why should we trust them? They misplaced him for 500 years," says Conservative Councillor Tom Fox of the Scarborough Borough Council about his objection to Richard III's burial in Leicester, England. (video)

Scots mercenary tradition

Since the Middle Ages, Scottish men have been involved in military pursuits, often on foreign soil. Fierce fighters, especially from the western islands, were particularly prized by the armies of Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain and France. Steven McKenzie of the BBC looks at their history.

Kent church: "Reputed to be the tomb of Richard Plantagenet"

A derelict church in Eastwell, Kent, England, may hold the final resting place of Richard Plantagenet, illegitimate son of King Richard III. A grave in St Mary's churchyard is marked with the inscription: "Reputed to be the tomb of Richard Plantagenet". Now scientists want to know the truth.

A tour of the Border Abbeys

Planning a trip to Scotland? You may want to visit the four Border Abbeys, Melrose, Jedburgh, Dryburgh and Kelso, founded by King David I of Scotland in the 12th Century. A recent BBC article looks at the history of the religious sites in a troubled area. (photos)

Unidentified Winchester bones could be exhumed for testing

The recent discovery of the remains of Richard III have led experts to wonder if an unmarked grave in Winchester, England might hold the bones of King Alfred the Great.

Hadrian's Wall: Exciting New Aerial Photographs

Aerial photographs are rewriting the history of Hadrian's Wall. Images indicate there were hundreds - even thousands - of Iron Age settlements there long before the Romans. (photos, video)

Adrian IV last English Pope

The Conclave is over and a new Pope chosen, but the English never stood a chance. There has not, in fact, been an English Pope since Adrian IV in 1155.

Remarkable Roman Finds in London

Eight photos from London's "deepest" Roman dig include leather goods, tableware, a horse pendant and amber.

Roman "industrial complex" found in Wales

"We have a remarkably well-preserved Roman road in good condition and the site is throwing up all manner of interesting things including a lot of lead, which suggests it was connected with the lead workings on Halkyn Mountain," said Will Walker, of Earthworks Archaeology about the discovery of a Roman site near Flint, Wales.