BBC News

British Broadcasting Corporation

Whitechapel Road home of London's first black community

Parish records reveal that black citizens were in residence in Tudor England, especially after the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth I. The free people lived, worked and married in the city, in particular around Whitechapel Road in east London.

Havhingsten challenges modern Viking seamen

Tom Donkin of the BBC reports on the sailing of the Havhingsten, a 30 metres long reconstruction of a Viking ship, which sailed recently from Denmark to Germany. (video)

St Winefride's Well on your smartphone

Developers at the Centre for Advanced Software Technology (Cast) at Bangor University in Wales hope that their new smartphone technology will allow visitors to really enjoy the detail of the historic site.

Fifth copy of "the birth certificate of America" found

Experts previously believed that only four copies of the 16th century Waldseemueller map still existed, but a fifth copy has been discovered between the pages of a 19th century book in Munich's Ludwig Maximilian University. (photo)

Xena inspires modern armor design

The increase in the number of female soldiers in combat has prompted American engineers to design better-fitting body armor for women. Their inspiration: Xena: Warrior Princess, "with more curves in the chest and hips."

Mercia Movement hopes to return government to Anglo-Saxon times.

Some British citizens, disgusted with the current government, are looking to their Anglo-Saxon roots for inspiration. They would like to institute a new level of "civic engagement" harking back to the moots and witans of the post-Roman times.

Experts gather to study historic Iona, Scotland

The island of Iona was recently the site of a gathering of international experts to study the island's carved stones and grave markers, and its unique history. The workshop was sponsored by Historic Scotland and the Iona community.

Excavations reveal medieval trading center in Northern Ireland

Dr Philip MacDonald, leader of an archaeological excavation on Dunnyneil Island in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, believe he has found the "Holy Grail of retail" with the discovery of a 7th century trading emporium visited by merchants from around the world.

Wenlok Jug stolen from English museum

A hunt continues to recover a medieval bronze jug stolen from the Stockwood Discovery Centre in Luton, England. The "nationally significant" Wenlok Jug was taken from the museum May 12, 2012.

The castles of Wales

The BBC offers a beautiful 10-photo slideshow of castles in Wales. The photos include a date and a short description of the castles.

The myth of the "Tudor Era"

"The word 'Tudor' is used obsessively by historians," says Dr Cliff Davies of Oxford University "But it was almost unknown at the time." Davies research shows that the term "Tudor" was rarely used during the period.

The Dark Ages: Everything old is new again

In a new documentary, filmmaker and historian Michael Wood compares the economic gloom and social unrest of modern Europe with conditions in the western world at the beginning of the Dark Ages.

Thieves steal crusader statue from church window

Sometime between May 13-16, 2012, thieves chiseled the small stone statue of a knight from a window frame in St Michael's Church in Castle Frome, near Ledbury, England. The little knight is thought to commemorate a knight in the Crusades.

British couple share passion for history

Tony and Claire Thorpe of Dorset, England should never have met. He's a "heathen warrior in chain mail armour," and she's a World War II French nurse.

Hadrian's Wall Heritage receives UK£500,000 grant

The central section of Hadrian's Wall in northern England has been listed on the Heritage at Risk register for some time, but now a grant of UK£500,000 from the SITA Trust will allow Hadrian's Wall Heritage to repair and preserve the important historical site.

Lizzie Stark leaves Mundania

Freelance journalist Lizzie Stark wrote the book on LARPing, literally. Her Leaving Mundania explains the fantasy world of Live Action Role Playing games from D&D-types to Nordic avant-garde art LARP. She explains the appeal in a short video for the BBC.

Scotland's first bullaun stone discovered on Isle of Canna

Scottish archeaologists are excited about the discovery of a bullaun or "cursing stone" linked to an early Christian cross on the Isle of Canna. The small, round stone, marked with a cross, dates to around 800 CE. (photo)

Lincoln Castle's Magna Carta to receive new vault

Lincoln Castle, in Lincolnshire County, England, will receive a facelift thanks to grants and fundraising amounting to almost UK£19m. Improvements will include a new viewing vault for the Magna Carta. (video)

New Glastonbury Thorn vandalized

In 2010 vandals damaged the fabled Holy Thorn tree of Glastonbury, England, said to have been a cutting of the thorn first planted by Joseph of Arimathea. Now the replacement tree, planted soon after, has also been vandalized.

Cirencester's Roman amphitheatre to be revamped

The Cirencester town council has plans for their city's Roman ruins, including "the remains of one of the largest Roman amphitheatres in Britain."

Elizabethan medal illustrates explorers' influence

In a YouTube video, Neil MacGregor discusses a small silver medal commorating the 1577-80 around-the-world voyage of Sir Francis Drake. The video is part of the BBC program entitled Shakespeare's Restless World.(video)

Research reveals Middle Ages' dirtiest books

New research by experts at St Andrews University in Scotland reveals the reading habits of medieval people by determining accumulations of dirt on each page.

Fighting threatens historic Timbuktu

Fighting following a military junta in northern Mali is threatening the historic architectural and cultural center of Timbuktu, on the edge of the Sahara Desert. The city's 60 private libraries are a repository for over 700,000 ancient Islamic manuscripts.

Tudor costumes and weapons stolen from Northampton re-enactor

The education of school children in Northampton, England will be poorer after the theft of a van containing costumes and equipment belonging to re-enactor Steve Parish. Parish, who runs Past Alive, teaches children about English history.

"King size" bed returns to Ware, England

Since 1931, the Great Bed of Ware has been a beloved feature of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The three metres wide bed was built in 1590 by Hertfordshire carpenter Jonas Fosbrooke. (photo)

"Disgusting attack" on York's medieval hospital appalls local police

"This is a disgusting attack on York's heritage and those responsible should be deeply ashamed," said a North Yorkshire Police spokesman about recent graffiti inscribed on the ruins of York's 12th century St Leonard's Hospital. (photo)

Cathedrals: "our greatest architectural glories”

In a recent article and podcast for BBC News Magazine, David Cannadine "looks at a selection of the world's cathedrals and the important contribution that they have made to the broader lives of their respective cities and countries."

St. Johns skeletons prove to be Vikings

In 2008, 37 skeletons were discovered buried at St John's College in Oxford, England. Once believed to have been victoms of the 1002 St Brice's Day Massacre, the remains are now believed to be Viking raiders.

Horseback archery encouraged at British mosque

One of the last things one might expect to find at a mosque would be archery practice, but for members of Woking, England's Shah Jahan Mosque, archery is not only tolerated, but encouraged.

Plastic wrap removed to reveal renovation of 13th Century castle

Roch Castle near Haverfordwest, Wales has had a UK£6m facelift  and conversion as a "corporate retreat". During the two-year renovation, the 13th century castle was "completely wrapped in plastic."