Great Tales from English History: The Truth About King Arthur, Lady Godiva, Richard the Lionheart, and More
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With insight, humor and fascinating detail, Lacey brings brilliantly to life the stories that made England--from Ethelred the Unready to Richard the Lionheart, the Venerable Bede to Piers the Ploughman.
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Imperfect version of it. ‘History’ and ‘story’ derive from the same linguistic root, and if history can never escape its authorship, it should at least try to make the authorship readable and bright. Unlike English, maths, and science, history is not in the core curriculum of British schools. You can give it up at fourteen, and the minority of pupils (around 5 per cent) who do choose to study history at GCSE and A level are not taken through every reign and century of their country’s.
Legend to this day. Elmer decided to test the story of Daedalus by making wings for himself, then trying to fly from the tower of the abbey. In an age when Britain was still suffering Viking raids, many Saxon churches had high bell-towers, both to serve as a lookout and to sound the alarm. Whenever the Vikings captured a church, the bell was always the first thing they tore down. Its valuable metal could be beaten into high-quality swords and helmets - and anyway, to capture the Christians’.
PEOPLE c.325 BC CHEDDAR MAN HAD LIVED IN AN ERA OF global warming. As the glaciers of the last ice age melted, sea levels were rising sharply, and this turned high ground like the Isle of Wight, the Isle of Man, and modern Ireland into separate islands. The waters flooded over the land bridge, severing the physical link with Europe. Thus was created the great moat that we now call the English Channel. As you approached England by boat across the narrowest point where marshes had once.
Been, you were confronted by the striking prospect of long, tall cliffs of bright chalk - the inspiration, according to one theory, for the country’s earliest recorded name, Albion, from the Celtic word for ‘white’. Europe’s great white-capped mountain chain, the Alps, are thought to have derived their name from the same linguistic root. It was Pytheas, a brave and enquiring Greek navigator, who probably wrote down the name around 325 BC. Nearly seven thousand years after the death of Cheddar.
Royal forests. When he went to France in 1158 to negotiate a marriage treaty for one of Henry’s daughters, he travelled in fabulous luxury. ‘If this be only the Chancellor,’ marvelled onlookers, ‘what must be the glory of the King himself?’ Henry would tease Thomas wryly about his grandeur. As the two men rode together through London one winter’s day, the King saw a poor man shivering in the cold and suggested that he needed a coat. Thomas agreed - whereupon Henry grabbed at his chancellor’s.