BBC News

British Broadcasting Corporation

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."

Post-punk band goes medieval in new album

Sumer Is Icumen In is believed to be the oldest known song in the English language. Now the post-punk band, The Futureheads, is giving the song new life when it is included in their a cappella album Rant, to be released in April 2012.

Artifacts found at site of Roman fort in Scotland

A team of archaeologists, supervising the installation of a water main through the site of a Roman fort near Kirkton, Scotland, has discovered a cobbled roads and artifacts dating to Roman times.

Solving the mystery of Roman Wales

Visitors to Caerleon, near Newport in south Wales have long admired the huge 1st century Roman amphitheater, the site of gladiatorial combat, but new discoveries point to the area as an important Roman outpost in Britain. (video)

Heart of St Laurence O'Toole stolen from Dublin cathedral

Police in Dublin, Ireland are puzzled by the theft of the heart of St Laurence O'Toole, a 12th century relic housed at Christ Church Cathedral. The heart, in a wooden box, was stolen March 2, 2012 when the protective metal bars were cut.

Behind-the-scenes look at the treasures of the Mary Rose

Take in inside look at the artifacts recovered from the Tudor ship the Mary Rose with BBC South Today's Sally Taylor and historic weapon expert and actor Robert Hardy in a BBC video clip.

British universities come together to study Vikings

"Experts coming together to pass on their knowledge to students in the beautiful environments of Oxford and Kirkwall - what could be better?" said Dr Donna Heddle, director of the Orkney-based Centre for Nordic Studies about the collaboration of scottish and English universities on Viking studies.

Summer Was Deadly for Tudors

Recent research indicates that summertime produced the most fatal accidents during the 16th century.

Volcanoes key to "Little Ice Age"

A new study, led by Gifford Miller at the University of Colorado at Boulder, US, may show that a series of volcanic eruptions around 1300 may have led to the Little Ice Age, which dropped temperatures in Europe in the 1500s.

"Best preserved medieval timber barn in England" bought by English Heritage

English Heritage has purchased Harmondsworth Barn, the "Cathedral of Middlesex," for UK£20,000. The barn, originally used for storing grain, "resembles the nave of a large church." It was built in 1426. (photo)

Cow shed appears to be oldest Welsh house

Experts working on a project to date Wales' oldest buildings by studying tree rings believe they may have found the country's oldest house. A cow shed in Llanrwst, Conwy has timbers dating to before 1402, the date of the previous oldest house. (photo)

Beheaded skeletons might be victims of royal decree

Dr Britt Baillie, from the University of Cambridge, believes that 54 skeletons discovered in 2009 at Ridgeway Hill in England were Viking mercenaries from the time of Aethelred the Unready. All remains were found beheaded "in an unusual fashion from the front."

Hoard of Roman Coins Found in Bath

Believed to date from 270 CE, more than 30,000 Roman coins were found in 2007 in Bath, England.

11th century penny found in Gloucester, England

Maureen Jones has found a treasure. The metal detector enthusiast discovered a hammered silver coin dating to the time of William the Conqueror while searching a Gloucester field in November 2011. (photo)

William Wallace letter to be display at Scottish Parliament

Historians in Scotland have long hoped to reclaim a letter written by the French king giving safe conduct to William Wallace to speak with Pope Boniface VIII. Now the 700-year-old letter will be loaned to the National Records of Scotland for display at the Scottish Parliament.

Wakehurst yew saw reign of Richard II

An ancient yew tree, dating to the 14th century, has been identified at Wakehurst Place in West Sussex. The tree is believed to have been part of a large landscaped garden, and was planted just after the Black Death.

Wikipedia to cover life in Monmouth

Roger Bamkin, of Wikimedia UK, has invited the public to take part in an experiment: chronicle life in Monmouth. The online encyclopaedia will create Monmouthpedia, a site where citizens and visitors can "contribute articles and photographs on interesting and notable places, people, artefacts and other aspects of Monmouth life."

Grant awarded to search for Viking "court circle" in Sherwood Forest

Several years ago, the Friends of Thynghowe, an amateur history group, was instrumental in discovering a Viking Thing in England's Sherwood Forest. Now the group has received a grant to search a wider area.

Grant awarded to preserve 15th century "deadly sins" paintings

The devil is in St Cadoc's church in Llancarfan, Wales, and officials from the Heritage Lottery Fund have decided to award the church UK£500,000 to keep him there. (photos)