For questions relating to the historic Kingdom of England prior to 1707, or the country of England within the modern United Kingdom and one of Britain's Home Nations.

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Historical information about dustmen in Edwardian England

I'm helping a middle schooler who was assigned Shaw's Pygmalion. I found a nice write-up about flower girls but now I need something about dustmen. For example, why does Alfred Doolittle, dustman, ...
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164 views

Is Lady Arabella Stuart wearing a Jewish symbol?

In this portrait, Lady Arabella Stuart, a member of the Tudor royal court, is shown wearing a hexagram, presently known as the Star of David. It is unclear from the highest resolution photograph ...
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137 views

What evidence is there that Alfred paid the Danes to leave Wessex in 876?

The Danes struck at Wareham in 876. Alfred made peace there with Guthrum, and there was an exchange of hostages. However, the Danes broke the peace and during the night they killed the hostages and ...
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1answer
80 views

How accurate is the respresentation of York/Jórvík in the manga Vinland Saga?

In the manga Vinland Saga, the heroes arrive at "York". Clearly, it should have been called Jórvík but let's forgive them that for now. Below is how the manga shows the city from the sky. Comparing ...
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1answer
150 views

Why was the Cornish Militia stationed in Devon in late 18th Century?

On Genealogy & Family History SE, I asked a question about Finding late 18th Century service record of Francis Green in Cornish Militia?, and it looks like it will need a degree of luck to find ...
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3answers
4k views

What did English people really say when knighting someone?

A while ago I curiously looked up this question and found out that people did not say "I dub thee..." or "Arise..." to him who was being made a knight, but instead used a Latin phrase which I forget. ...
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1answer
151 views

A Principality within England

Ages ago I came across a brief mention on the Web of a principality existing briefly within England. It was made up of the County Cheshire and some surrounding territory. I think it was created by ...
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1answer
199 views

Who was the last English king whose first language was French?

What I remember from my college course is that whenever a delegation of barons came to discuss their grievances in English, the King would hear them out politely without understanding a word, conclude ...
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2answers
209 views

Did any English duke ever grant away an earldom he held?

The standard idea said of feudalism is that nobles have vassals, which could have vassals of their own. So that noble might have an extra title lying around and grant it to someone in exchange for ...
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1answer
62 views

Primary Sources for the Seizure of the Mint

What primary sources are there for Charles the First's 1640 seizure of gold from the Tower mint? It is described here in the tertiary source, Wikipedia: ...
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2answers
3k views

How long did it take for a letter to arrive in England in the 1830s?

How efficient was the postal service in England in the 1830s? For example, is it possible to estimate how long it would have taken for a letter to arrive if sent by a standard service from London to ...
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7answers
8k views

Was England considered a “colony” of France?

After the "Norman conquest of England", many things including languages, the ways of life, etc. have changed a lot in Europe. Especially it affected the English language significantly that a lot of ...
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How many wives did John Thurloe have – or did he have a mistress?

John Thurloe - Cromwell's Spy Chief Most sources say two, but I suspect these all derive from the introduction Birch edition of the State Papers being “a lady of the Peyton family”- first name unknown ...
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39 views

What was Prince Henry Fredrick's personality towards people of other religions like, especially Catholics, and especially those who were Spanish?

What was Prince Henry Fredrick's personality towards people of other religions like, especially Catholics, and especially those who were Spanish? I really want to know about his attitude towards the ...
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0answers
75 views

Bail bonds in UK Victorian period

If you were arrested in Victorian England, and the offense was 'bailable' (i.e. too severe) you could get bail and not be stuck behind bars before your trial. In the period, did you have to hand over ...
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4answers
638 views

Why was William III of England referred to as the British-Batavian Nassau?

While reading through the book Medallic illustrations of the history of Great Britain and Ireland to the death of George II vol. I, I came across this interesting description. My question is why ...
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2answers
393 views

Why was the swordsman of Calais chosen as Anne Boleyn's executioner?

Anne Boleyn was executed on May 19, 1536. Displaying an act of "mercy", King Henry VIII dispatched a skilled executioner to perform the execution by sword rather than by axe or being burned at the ...
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1answer
540 views

Robin Hood: Muslims in England in the 12th century

Ever since the 1984 BBC adaptation of Robin Hood, the addition of a Muslim warrior to the band of Merry Men has been a staple of the mythology. From a storytelling perspective, the benefits are clear: ...
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1answer
189 views

How many illegitimate children did King Henry VIII have?

I am aware of Henry FitzRoy, his illegitimate son that he acknowledged whom he had with Bessie Blount. Are there any other confirmed illegitimate children?
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98 views

Early medieval history of England as seen by ordinary people [closed]

I'm having trouble finding resources for the period around the conquest of England by Normans in 1066. I'd like to take it from a commoner's perspective and depict how ordinary people lived before ...
7
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1answer
182 views

How extensive was the slighting of castles in the English Civil War?

Wikipedia states During the English Civil War many castles and fortified houses were slighted by the Parliamentarians to stop them being used by the Royalists. Most of the destruction was in ...
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1answer
89 views

Why was the Old Wardour Castle not demolished after the English Civil War?

After the English Civil War, some strongholds such as Corfe Castle were slighted, that is demolished, by order of Parliament. Another Royalist castle, the (Old) Wardour Castle appears to not have ...
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2answers
226 views

Did Catherine Howard use some form of birth control?

Catherine Howard, Henry VIII's 5th wife was sexually experienced before marrying the king. She was also accused of having an affair with the king's groom while married to the king. She obviously had ...
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1answer
163 views

What is the term for a person who surveys the land and relays messages from a noble to his governed village?

The question is self-explanatory: What is the term for a person who surveys the land and relays messages from a noble to his governed village? The officer would: Survey the village or tenant, to ...
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1answer
746 views

Why is the charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations signed “HOWARD”?

Why is the charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations signed "HOWARD"? Note also that the Charter of Connecticut is likewise signed "By Writ of Privy Seal, HOWARD". But, the keeper of the ...
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1answer
314 views

How did this 900AD key work?

The Wikipedia Keys article shows this ancient Anglo-Viking voided key from circa 900AD: Unlike a tumbler lock which needs cuts at exact depths on the key to align its barrels, this key looks very ...
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1answer
450 views

What was the political consciousness of a 15th century English peasant?

How did they feel about the monarchy and living under lords? Were they are aware of alternative political structures? Did they believe their lives were fair?
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1answer
370 views

What was the reaction to English monarchs using the title “King of France”?

After the Hundred Years War (or "wars") the English had been wiped off France, but English monarchs kept using their official title "King of France". As I understand, this was to legalize their claims ...
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121 views

Sloop of War Hand

It was recorded in our family history by a R.N.Lt that a John Chandler (who had prepared charts of the North Sea) died when in 179? the sloop of War "Hand" foundered in the North Sea with all hands. I ...
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2answers
302 views

Were children often renamed in late Saxon England?

In Bernard Cornwall's The Last Kingdom the protagonist is renamed at age 10 or so after his brother, aged 16+, is killed by Danes. The protagonist is an Alderman's second son in Northumberland and is ...
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1answer
3k views

When did challenging to a duel cease to be a practice in English culture?

In the Aubrey Maturin series of novels, there are at least two scenes where the protagonists are challenged to a duel: Post-Captain - Aubrey and Maturin about Aubrey's reputation with the Admiralty ...
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1answer
201 views

Was Henry III of England the first fully “English” king? [closed]

With his focus on Edward The Confessor, underscored by naming a his son Edward, did Henry III represent some sort of a political transition from from France to England? It also seems like there was ...
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1answer
101 views

Were the Barons who pushed King John to Sign the Magna Carta descended from the Normans? [closed]

In reading "The Plantagenets" I noticed the names of many of the barons had a name like "so-and-so De so-and-so". It's the "De" that caught my attention as not sounding very British or Anglo. Instead ...
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1answer
156 views

When did the Ecclesiastical courts in England lose the authority to mete out punishments such as imprisonment and execution?

In 1401, the ecclesiastical courts in England were given the power to burn heretics. In modern times the ecclesiastical courts have no control over anyone who does not belong to the Church of England, ...
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2answers
127 views

What type of ferry boats were used in England in the early 19th century?

In 1800-1820, what sort of ferry boats were used by the general public in England and how were they powered? In particular I am interested in ferries used to access the Isle of Wight, and also ...
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6answers
7k views

Why did Great Britain switch its alliance to France?

England (and its succeeding states) were at war with France for close to 1000 years. First it was over land, then they competed over religion, then they competed over colonies. For much of that time, ...
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1answer
247 views

How were Warrant Officers appointed to Royal Navy ships during the Age of Sail?

As I understand it, Warrant Officers got their name from the warrant issued by the Admiralty (depending on the applicant having the correct qualifications). From the descriptions I've read, these ...
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0answers
152 views

Was it controversial when Parliament restricted the suffrage to the Forty Shilling Freeholders in 1430?

According to this House of Commons Library research paper, suffrage in the county constituencies was initially open to every man who was head of a household, or at least that's my understanding of the ...
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2answers
2k views

What are the “ancient liberties” of the City of London?

I recently learned that three clauses of the Magna Carta are still part of UK law — the liberties of the English Church, the privileges of the City of London, and the right to trial by jury. I think ...
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1answer
377 views

In which places of the UK did the Vikings/Scandinavians have most frequent contact or colonies?

I was in York, England and there was a museum called Jorvik Viking Centre, which spoke about the Vikings who lived there. It said that the area back then was mostly populated by the Vikings. Since ...
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1answer
95 views

Link between Mary I and Bloody Mary [closed]

I've heard that Queen Mary I of England have another name that is "Bloody Mary". and there also is a folklore about the Bloody Mary which is about holding a candle in front of mirror. Is there any ...
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2answers
390 views

Was either side legally in the right in the Hundred Years War?

Legalistically speaking which side was right in the Hundred Years War. My view is that the Salic law combined with the principle that nobody can transmit a right greater than he himself can possess ...
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3answers
407 views

What was the impetus behind the British Empire's acquisition of what is now Canada?

What led the British to Canada as part of a plan to colonise North America? There are no good natural resources in Canada and, from what I can see, there was no point in getting a military ...
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2answers
255 views

Besides Crecy and Poitiers, in what battle was the Longbow the decisive weapon?

I am looking for the Longbow itself being the decisive weapon, not the Longbow men, as was the case in Agincourt. This could mean some significant disadvantages to the enemy, including things like: ...
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0answers
91 views

Eohric of East Anglia and the usage of lion heads on banners

I was reading a historical novel by Bernard Cornwell (The Pagan Lord), when I came to this: Eohric, who had been King of East Anglia before we killed him, had a lion on his banner and his animal ...
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1answer
247 views

What was the name for a group of 12 men in old England responsible for each others actions?

I remember learning in school about how men in England were grouped together in a group of 12 or so and were responsible for eachothers actions (breaking law, debt, etc). What was the name of this ...
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2answers
658 views

What was the social and cultural role of a “country squire” in Victorian/Edwardian England?

In Agatha Christie's "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd", the following passage appears: Ackroyd has always interested me by being a man more impossibly like a country squire than any country squire ...
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2answers
170 views

When was King Alfred first called 'Alfred the Great'?

In his book on Alfred the Great, historian Justin Pollard notes that it was in the 16th century that King Alfred was first called 'Alfred the Great' - no reference, no note, no bibliographical text ...
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3answers
2k views

In British heraldry, what happens when a woman with a coat of arms marries someone without?

I'm aware this isn't very time-specific, and not sure if the right SE, but what happens when a woman who belongs to a noble family and has a coat of arms, marries someone without a coat of arms etc.?
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1answer
423 views

When did it become customary to address the King/Queen of England as Majesty?

In written sources I've read of Henry VIII's time the King is referred to as Grace (as nowadays a duke is) so it's probable that the Majesty appellation became current. But when exactly? And why?