English

Portrait of Renaissance children with guinea pig is a first

A painting of three Elizabethan children is believed to be the first to show a pet guinea pig. The portrait dates to 1580. Guinea pigs were brought to Europe by Spanish merchants in the late 1500s, but proof they were kept has pets has only been found recently.

Reenactor creates replica of Bayeux Tapestry

A medieval reenactor in England has completed a 2:1 scale replica of the Bayeux Tapestry. The embroidery is 40 feet long and took 18 years to complete.

The mysterious buildings of Longforth farm

Archaeologists working at Longforth farm near Wellington, England, are puzzled by the discovery of a group of substantial medieval buildings, apparently abandoned between the 12th and 14th centuries.

The mystery of the missing manor

Excavations at an archaeological site at Longforth Farm in Wellington, England have discovered a 900-year-old medieval manor that never existed, at least in historical records. What is the building, and why has it disappeared from the records? Inquiring minds want to know.

Oyez! Oyez! A prince is born!

The recent birth of Prince George has led to a great deal of pomp and circumstance including the appearance of unofficial royal crier Tony Appleton, whose bell and bellow announced the blessed event. (video)

The tug-of-war over the Lindisfarne Gospels

The Lindisfarne Gospels are a British national treasure and should be part of the national collection, says the British Library. The Lindisfarne Gospels were written in the North and dedicated to St Cuthbert. They belong in Durham, says the Northumbrian Association. Who will win?

Lincoln Castle may hide Roman townhouse

The Lincolnshire County Council is sponsoring the restoration of Lincoln Castle in England. So far, archaeologists have found the remains of the Norman foundations of the castle and a previously-unknown Anglo-Saxon church. They expect to reach the Roman era soon in which they expect to find a Roman townhouse.

Staffordshire Hoard glass

A 2012 entry on the Staffordshire Hoard blog takes an "up close and personal" look at the use of glass in the gold artifacts of the Hoard. While the majority of gemstones in the objects have been identified as garnets, a number of the colored, transparent inlays are glass. The article includes a number of photos.

Leicester site reveals double coffin

The now famous car park in Leicester, England has revealed another interesting find - a stone coffin containing another lead coffin. This is the same site where Richard III's remains were found in 2012.

Social media may help choose patron saint of England

There are two camps in England when it comes to who would be the best patron saint, St Edmund or St George, and both are being promoted in a surprising way: Facebook. While George has been the preferred saint since Richard the Lionheart, Edmund is gaining support.

Lancaster Castle to become tourist attraction

The site of Roman forts, a prison, a court, an execution site and the Pendle Witches Trial, Lancaster Castle now has a new role to play: tourist attraction. For the first time in 900 years, the castle will be open to the public.

Stone priory seal restoration complete

In 2011, English metal detector enthusiast Tont Burke found a treasure in a Survey field with the discovery of a copper 12th Century seal matrix of Stone Priory, bearing the image of the Virgin and Child. Now, fully restored, the seal is returning to St Michael and St Wulfad's church in Stone. (photo)

Lyminge excavations shed light on the "Dark Ages"

After the Romans left Britain in the 5th century, the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes moved in, bringing their culture and architecture to the country. The recent discovery of what is believed to be an Anglo-Saxon royal feasting hall in the Kent, England village of Lyminge is shining a new light on the 7th century in England. Jason Urbanus of Archaeology has a feature story. (aerial photos)

Young scholars learn the alphabet in 17th century England

Throughout time, children have struggled to learn to write the alphabet. On its blog Collation, the Folger Library presents examples of not only 16th and 17th century writing manuals, but actual copy books of English children. One can almost see the clenched teeth of concentration in their work.

The impact of Shakespeare's investment

In 1594, William Shakespeare made a move that gave him financial stability and, some say, changed the way he wrote plays: he purchased a one-eighth share in the Lord Chamberlain's Men. One of those people is Dr Bart van Es of Oxford University's Faculty of English Language and Literature, who claims that the purchase gave the playwright a better relationship with and understanding of actors.

The Godwine Charter returns to Canterbury

Somewhere between 1013 and 1018, Godwine sold his swine pasture in Kent, England to Leofwine the Red for 40 pence and two pounds rent and an allowance of corn. How do we know this? The sale was recorded in the Godwine Charter, an "exceptionally rare" document which recently made its way home to the Canterbury Cathedral Archives.

Jewelry leads to expansion of knowledge of Vikings in England

Fifty years ago, little was known about Viking settlements in England, where they were and who lived in them, but the discovery of Nordic metalwork and jewelry in the past twenty years, thanks largely to the development of the metal detector, has opened up a whole new world of understanding. Jane Kershaw of OUPblog has the story. (photos)

Haverhill research center to be built over Roman farm

Archaeologists working on what will become the Haverhill Research Park have discovered artifacts ranging from the Iron Age to the 19th century on the site. The science research complex will be constructed on what was once a 2nd century Roman farm.

The weight of civic duty

Since 1954, John Mattick has carried the 16th century ceremonial sword  before the mayor at civic events in the Welsh city of  Carmarthen. Before that, his father carried it. Now it will be passed to his son. "It is a weighty thing to carry, and that's mainly why I'm having to give it up at my age," Mr Mattick said. (photo)

Rewriting Shakespeare

Many writers have re-interpreted the works of William Shakespeare, and a new project, The Hogarth Shakespeare, is just the latest. Launching in 2016 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, the series will commission prominent authors to create "cover versions" of the Bard's plays.

New Leicester parking lot discovery

It's been quite a year for Leicester archaeologists. First there was the discovery of Richard III under a parking lot. Now a 3rd century Roman cemetery has been found under a second lot. The cemetery includes 13 burials -- both Christian and Pagan, an unusual practice at the time.

Richard's new army

An army of 100, some dressed in medieval garb, marched on the city of York recently in support of their king, Richard III. Led by Vanessa Roe, the king's 16th great niece, the march was a "moral crusade" to bring Richard's body back to Yorkshire where, according to Roe, he washed to be buried. (photo and video)

New Battle of Hastings book neglects sources, says History Today reviewer

Marc Morris, author of The Norman Conquest, finds some of the facts in a new history of the subject by John Grehan and Martin Mace "uncomfortable." The Battle of Hastings 1066: The Uncomfortable Truth places the site of the famous battle at a different location, Caldbec Hill. His review is on the History Today website.

Life of Elizabeth Woodville dramatized on BBC One

Best-selling historical novelist Philippa Gregory has inspired a new series, currrently running on BBC One, which tells the stories of Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville. The White Queen is based on Gregory's series The Cousin’s War.

Lindisfarne Gospels on display in Durham

Until September 30, 2013, the Lindisfarne Gospels book will be on display in Durham University's Palace Green Library as the centerpiece of  an exhibition of artifacts from Anglo-Saxon England. In conjunction with the exhibit will be performances and family activities.

The valor and villainy of Shakespeare's Star Wars

"'Tis a tale told by fretful droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearstome Stormtroopers, signifying...pretty much everything," reads the description for Ian Doescher's new Shakespearean parody, William Shakespeare's Star Wars.

Oxford chapel may have inspired Arthurian legend

New research finds that Geoffrey of Monmouth's great The History of the Kings of Britain may have been written in St George's chapel, a teaching base for Oxford students, which was destroyed during the construction of Oxford Castle.

Richard's head goes on tour

Richard III is getting the rockstar treatment these days, and now he is scheduled to go on tour - or at least his head is. The re-constructed head, created using the king's actual skull, will go on display in Leicester, Bosworth, York, Northampton and the British Museum. The head will eventually reside at a museum dedicated to the discovery.

Elizabeth I's greatest secret

In what might be the strangest story of the year, author Steve Berry proposes that Queen Elizabeth I might have had an incredible secret: She was a man. The theory is laid out in a new book by Berry, The King’s Deception.

Exploratory excavations at Clare Castle considered "exciting"

For nine days in the spring of 2013, volunteers joined archaeologists to work on four investigative trenches on the grounds of Clare Castle in Suffolk, England. The result was the discovery of human remains, leading experts to believe that a previously-unknown church existed on the property, possibly before the construction of the castle.