English

Shakespeare's grammar key to his prominence

Dr. Jonathan Hope believes that the key to William Shakespeare's success was not the words that he used, but the way in which he used them. In a chapter in his new book on the English language, Hope finds that the Bard's grammar and word ordering are what set him apart from other writers.

British library offers eBooks for iPhones

iPhone and iPad users may spend a chill, winter day curled up with a Shakespeare first folio, a Medieval Beastiary, or Sultan Baybars’ Qur’an. The eBook editions are available for download on eTeasures.com.

The economics of Viking raiding

For those who want to mix economics with blood and gore, Mary Valante has posted a paper presented at the Fourth Annual Appalachian Spring Conference in World History and Economics (2009).

Will linguistic research pinpoint 9th century battlefield?

Keith Briggs, a visiting research fellow in linguistics at the University of the West of England, believes he has discovered Hægelisdun, the site of the 869 CE battle between the East Anglians and the Vikings which led to the death of St Edmund. His research involves the use of linguistics.

York Mystery Plays to Be on Internet

As part of the York 800 celebrations, the York Mystery Plays will be streamed live on the Internet during the weekend of August 11 and 12. (Yes, it's the last weekend of Pennsic.)  The plays will be set in the Museum Gardens with the ruins of St. Mary's Abbey as their backdrop.  They were last performed in 1988.

Tales and Ceremonies at the Tower of London

Go behind the scenes at the Tower of London. Learn about the "Oldest Ceremony in the World"; read about the "bribe" ships pay to traverse the Thames; see photos of the graffiti carved into the very stones of the cells of the Tower!

Touring Hampton Court Palace

Historic Royal Palaces has a YouTube site which includes a video for school children who will be visiting Hampton Court Palace.

Hampshire dig produces evidence of 12th century settlement

The Reverend James Bruce of St Michael and All Angels in Lyndhurst, England wanted a new driveway for the church, and allowed archaeologists to excavate the mound on which the church stands. Under the church, they discovered nearly 100 bits of medieval pottery.

Canadian Richard III Society to host 3-day conference

Victoria Moorshead, Vice Chair of the Richard III Society of Canada, reports that the Society will host the American Branch of the Society in Oakville for its Annual General Meeting. Speakers are needed.

Child's burial slab missing from Herefordshire church

Police in the village of Foy, near Ross-on-Wye, England, are looking for a medieval burial stone stolen from St Mary's Church on January 5, 2012. (photo)

"Y-shaped" Roman structure stumps archaeologists

Archaeologists are puzzled about the discovery of a winged-shaped building which appears to be unique in the Roman Empire in Norfolk, England. The 3rd century structure can be seen in aerial photographs. (photo)

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.

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.

No White Glove Treatment at British Library

The British Library nixes the “requirement” that white gloves are necessary in order to handle historical manuscripts, saying that it is “in fact a modern phenomenon, and one that has little scientific basis.” Gloves can actually be a detriment to manuscripts, they claim.

Roman mosaic corridor to go on display in Gloucestershire

Victorian excavations at the site of the Chedworth Roman Villa in Gloucestershire, England led to some surprises, including a 35m (115ft) long Roman mosaic floor, "one of the longest in-situ corridor mosaics in the country." Soon the mosaic will be displayed for the public. (photo)

Henry VIII Decapitated...in Painting

Why was Henry VIII’s face replaced in the painting “Field of the Cloth of Gold”?  The facial image of him on horseback is not the original, and theories abound as to why he was “decapitated”.

Erotic Tudor love poem discovered in West Virginia library

English gentlewomen of Tudor times, especially, married Catholic women to Protestant scholars, were not supposed to pen love poems to men, but this did not deter Lady Elizabeth Dacre, whose work was recently discovered in a 16th century copy of Chaucer.

Scholar thinks original Robin Hood may be from Kent, England

An English scholar and author has put forth the theory that Robin Hood was originally William of Keynsham, a bailiff who led a group of archers against the invading French in the woods near Sussex and Kent in 1216.

Roman brothel coin first of its kind found in Britain

London pastry chef Regis Cursan must have been surprised by his discovery of an ancient coin near Putney Bridge in West London, especially since the coin "depicts a man and a woman engaged in an intimate act." (photos)

Ogle Castle up for sale for nearly UK£2m

Those with an extra UK£1.79m may wish to purchase Ogle Castle, near Ponteland in Northumberland, England, one of the oldest inhabited buildings in the country. Bo Boanas, owner of the castle, says he doesn't believe the building is haunted, despite its violent past. (photo)

Medieval mystery writer researches by doing

Writer Jeri Westerson of Menifee, California loves the Middle Ages, particularly the world of Crispin Guest, her "ex-knight turned detective on the mean streets of fourteenth century London." Scott Butki, of the Seattle P-I has an interview.

Historical Christmas celebrations in London

Countess Alys Katharine reports that two sets of photos of Christmas interpretations, taken by British photographer and historical interpreter "spiral_tower," are available on Flickr.

Ancient stone may hold the fate of modern London

The Stone of Scone and the Tower Ravens may have some competition. A fight has broken out over the fate of London's Stone of Brutus. A development company wants to relocate the stone, while tradition holds that, "So long as the Stone of Brutus is safe, so long will London flourish."

"Cumbrian Dragon" may have belonged to a knight

A stunning miniature of a 15th century knight slaying a dragon has been found in Carlisle, England. The cast silver gilt piece is of high quality and thought to be a piece of jewelery rather than a pilgrim's badge.

The Queen's Servants: a review

On the blog KimikoSews, the author offers a detailed review of the book The Queen's Servants by Caroline Johnson which focusses on clothing of the serving class in Tudor England.

Medieval Barn Is Saved

Built in 1426 to store grain, the medieval Harmondsworth Barn is as large as a cathedral nave, and still has the marks from the carpenters and masons who constructed it. English Heritage has added it to its national collection which includes Stonehenge and parts of Hadrian's Wall.

Rappin' to Chaucer with Baba Brinkman

Canadian Baba Brinkman is a performer - and a scholar of medieval literature. He combined both in a recent one-man show, The Canterbury Tales Remixed, which set the Chaucer’s 14th-century work to original hip-hop songs. Catherine Rampell of the New York Times, has a review.

Silver coins reveal previously unknown Viking ruler

The coroner in Lancashire, England has declared a hoard of Viking silver "treasure." The hoard, discovered by a metal detector enthusiast, consists of 201 coins, including some identifying a previously unknown Viking ruler of northern England, as well as jewelry. (photo)

Royal Shakespeare Company to create "portable" theater for London performances

Stratford's Royal Shakespeare Company is hoping to construct a "flatpack replica" of famous theater for use in large productions in London. The theater interior would be reconstructed inside an existing building.

Wroxeter’s Roman Town House copes with tourist increase

When Channel Four TV challenged a team of builders to construct a Roman town house, it never expected the crowds of visitors to converge on the site, leading English Heritage to require emergency repairs. The Roman Town House was the subject of the Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day program. (video)