English

The codpieces of Wolf Hall

This spring, viewers of the BBC and PBS will be treated to a video version of the Hilary Mantel book Wolf Hall set in the court of Henry VIII. Since its announcement, there has been discussion of the size of the actor's codpiece, perhaps smaller than is historically accurate. Jane Huggett of The Guardian joins the conversation.

Orange was the new black for London's all-female Henry IV

It's true that Shakespeare's plays bent gender over backwards by requiring female roles to be played by male actors, but a new version of Henry IV, staged at the Donmar Warehouse in London, took the practice even father by presenting an all-female cast set in a women's prison. (photo)

Two different Magna Cartas in Washington

In 2014, the city of Washington DC was privileged to host two copies of the Magna Carta, one permanently housed in the National Archives, and another on loan from Lincoln Cathedral in England, displayed at the Library of Congress. Geoff Edgers of the Washington Post looks at the differences between the two documents.

What's in a name?

A new study by Gregory Clark of the University of California, Davis and Neil Cummins of the London School of Economics reveals that those people with Norman surnames are more likely to have a higher social status in the UK that those without.

12th century chess pieces show demand for leisure products

Archaeologists working on a dig in St John's Street in Northampton, England have found two medieval chess pieces dating to the middle to late 12th century. The pieces, made of antler, show evidence of the demand for "leisure products." (photos)

Dressing like an Anglo Saxon

Toby Martin, of the University of Oxford, has published a series of abstrats on papers and presentations on his university blog pertaining to Anglo Saxon dress and jewelry. PDFs are available on request.

Historical women's letters auctioned in Paris

The auction of around 1500 letters of famous women, including Catherine of Aragon's plea to Pope Clement VII to block her divorce from Henry VIII, took place in November 2014 in Paris. The auction, whose book was entitled Women: Letters and Signed Manuscripts, brought a total of EU 794,173. (photo)

The lions of London

The lion is the symbol of the King of England, and for the first time since the early 13th century, the city will be without the king of the beasts. The lack of lions will occur due to a new exhibit being built at the London Zoo, causing its three residents to be relocated until 2016. The BBC Magazine Monitor has a feature about the history of the London lions.

Henry VIII graces stages in New York and New Jersey

Henry VIII and his wives will be on the minds of New Yorkers as two very different productions have been scheduled: King Henry VIII at the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey (Fall 2014) and Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2 by the Royal Shakespeare Company (Spring 2015). The latter is an adaption of the books by Hilary Mantel. Michael Sommers of the New York Times has a review. (photos)

Volunteers aid in dig at York's All Saints' Church

The first phase of an archaeological dig at All Saints' Church in York, England has wrapped with the discovery of artifacts from Roman times to the 19th century including "two medieval dice, Roman pottery and a spindle whorl thought to be from the Viking era." Phase two will begin next spring. (photos)

Metal detector hobbyist finds treasure in English fields

Treasure hunter Stephen Auker is a bit of a metal detector rock star. In recent years, he has discovered more than 100 Roman coins in a field near Silsden in northern England, offering them to a museum in Keighley. More recently, Auker found a merchant's signet ring dating to the 1550's. (photo)

Damaged crypts to be restored at Coventry Cathedral

Coventry Cathedral, a 14th-century Gothic church, was almost totally destroyed by German bombs in World War II. Now three of its medieval crypts are scheduled to be restored and opened to the public.

The search for King Harold continues

Cousins Terry Muff and Kevin McKenzie, who claim King Harold, of Hastings fame, as an ancestor, believe that the remains of the Saxon monarch lie beneath an ancient church in Hertforshire. Ellie Zolfagharifard of the Daily Mail has a feature story. (photos)

Staffordshire Hoard gallery as never seen before

The discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard is undoubtedly some of the greatest news in archaeology in the past decade. The incredible collection of Anglo-Saxon gold is on display at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Now you can watch a time-lapse video of the construction of the exhibit.

Newcastle Museum to permanently display Lindisfarne Hoard

In 2003, Richard Mason, a builder from Rothbury, England discovery a pottery jug in the foundation of a Lindisfarne house. The jug, and its contents of gold and silver coins dating to Tudor times, will now be on permanent display at the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle, thanks to public donations and heritage grants. (photo)

Winchester Bible on display at the Met

The Winchester Bible is "magnificent, lavishly ornamented - a pivotal landmark of medieval art from around 1200," and pages from it will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York until March 8, 2015. (photos)

Stonehenge in 8th century poem?

The 8th century, Old English poem called The Ruin may be the oldest surviving literature to mention Stonehenge, says medieval liguist Dr Graeme Davis. The poem refers to stones called "the old ones" or the "elders."

Staffordshire Hoard teaches lesson in Anglo-Saxon metallurgy

Gold was believed to have magical powers in Anglo-Saxon society, which may have led to discovery of special processes to make the metal appear "more golden than gold." These findings are part of a new study of the Staffordshire Hoard which "showed goldsmiths knew how to remove alloyed metals such as copper and silver from the surface of objects."

Richard III burial timetable and appeal for funds

As the reburial of King Richard III approaches, the city of Leicester, England and Leicester Cathedral prepare for the festivities by calling on the locals to help with fundraising. The diocese has raised only UK£1.9m of the £2.5m cost of the celebration.

Medieval friary stonework among finds at Yorkshire dig

A team of archaeologists from AOC Archaeology Group, along with members of the community, were intrigued by discoveries resulting from two weeks of excavations near York, England's Guildhall. The workers found artifacts dating from Roman times through World War II, including evidence of a medieval friary.

Lavenham seeks World Heritage status

According to Wikipedia, Lavenham, England "is a village and civil parish in Suffolk, England noted for its 15th-century church, half-timbered medieval cottages and circular walk." Now the town's business forum and parish council plan to apply to UNESCO for a World Heritage grant to "help balance tourism, the local economy and traffic." (photos)

Where is Harold?

The Bayeux Tapestry famously depicts King Harold II's death by arrow to the eye during the Battle of Hastings, but new evidence may show that the king survived the battle.

Community gets involved in Sudbury's "big dig"

Dr Carenza Lewis is well known to audeinces of Channel 4’s Time Team and the BBC’s The Great British Story, but now she has a different role: leading members of the community of Sudbury on an archaeological survey. Lewis heads up the "big dig" organized by the Sudbury Society, the Sudbury History Society, and the Sudbury Museum Trust.

Catholics and Protestants unite over Richard III funeral

Richard III died before the Reformation, but Leicester Cathedral, where the king will be buried, is staunchly Anglican, facts which should have produced strife. The funeral of a king, however, has brought the two faiths together to offer Richard III a burial "with the dignity befitting his rank."

Witches at the British Museum

The British Museum has been invaded by witches - at least until January 2015. A new free exhibit, Witches and Wicked Bodies, will look at the history of witches in Great Britain from the 1400s until the Victorian era, and will include artists' renditions, objects of sorcery and magic, as well as artifacts from antiquity depicting famous witches.

Ancient castle found under British primary school

Construction workers on a project to replace two classrooms of English Bicknor Primary School in Ross-on-Wye, England, were surprised to uncover the remains of what is believed to be a keep and bailey castle. (photo)

Rebuilding the Temple of Mithras

In 1954, there was much debate over what to do with the recently discovered remains of a Temple of Mithras. Unable to reach a conclusion, the ruins were packed up and have led a nomadic existance ever since. Now the ruins are being returned to their original site, underneath a London office block.

Seaton Hoard - in Pictures

Numismatists in England found themselves squirming with delight over the discovery in Devon of approximately 22,000 copper-alloy coins, "the largest of its kind ever found in Britain." Now Culture24 allows visitors to take a closer look at some of the coins with a slide show. (photos)

Northern Ireland looks to the Isle of Man for preservation of Gaelic languages

In the 1980s, Manx Gaelic was nearly extinct, but the language has made a comeback on the Isle of Man, thanks in part to the Bunscoill Ghaelgagh, the world's only Manx-speaking school. Now educators in Northern Ireland are taking note and considering how to use the same methods to save Irish Gaelic.

Beauty from tragedy in Roman Colchester

Experts working on the restoration and preservation of the Fenwick Treasure, found in the summer of 2014 under a floor of a house in the town center of Colchester, England, believe that the hoard of jewelry had been hidden during the Boudican revolt of 61 CE. In the future, the treasure will be displayed at Colchester Castle Museum. (photos)