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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Richard III and the Princes in the Tower [closed]

I know more ink has been spilt on this subject (did he, didn't he?) than blood was spilt on Bosworth Field, and I am not a medievalist, but it seems to me likely that Richard did have the Princes ...
22
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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
78 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
71 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
79 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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5answers
376 views

When did the English and Americans realize that vegetables were healthy?

I've recently come across two quotes in very unrelated sources implying that for centuries, the English and their colonial offspring did not appreciate the role of vegetables in a healthy diet. From ...
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0answers
42 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
5k views

Why did Great Britain switch alliances to France?

England (and it's 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 ...
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1answer
160 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
109 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
983 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
253 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
78 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 ...
5
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2answers
324 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 ...
2
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3answers
243 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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3answers
181 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
68 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 ...
3
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1answer
150 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
264 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 ...
3
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2answers
128 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
198 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?
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7answers
690 views

How close were the living standards of India compared to England during the medieval period?

India, China and the African continent today are mostly associated with poverty in Europe, the US and so on. Looking at India specifically, did it during the medieval era share a similar standard of ...
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1answer
76 views

When did western medical certification start?

When did medical certification start being a 'thing' in western cultures, ex. among US denizens, the British, etc.? In particular, who (organization, person, etc.) came up with the first standards ...
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3answers
379 views

What exactly were currours, and what were they used for?

In researching this question on Medieval light cavalry, I came across this reference to "currours" in Wikipedia, with no link: Many countries developed their own styles of light cavalry, such as ...
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2answers
597 views

What is a knight of the windmill?

In Thomas Paine's The American Crisis, while ridiculing Sir William Howe and his recently obtained knighthood, said: As a proper preliminary towards the arrangement of your funeral honors, we ...
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6answers
2k views

Why did England consistently adopt red as their primary colour for insignia and uniform?

Throughout the last 1000 years red has become a consistent motif for military clothing and heraldic imagery in England. What are the reasons for this? Are there economic, environmental (eg. dyes used ...
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2answers
104 views

Servitude to hereditary elite out of superstition

In Thomas Paine's Common Sense he says: Most wise men, in their private sentiments, have ever treated hereditary right with contempt; yet it is one of those evils, which when once established is ...
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1answer
474 views

What English king died from water intoxication?

I vaguely remember reading a story about an English king that died from drinking too much water after a hunt. I'm sorry to say that all parts of this story may be untrue…I'm not sure whether it was a ...
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3answers
149 views

Smoking as a throat cure

In the movie The King's Speech Prince Bertie at some point says his doctors had advised him to smoke, in order to improve his throat's condition. Does this stupid suggestion represent actual medical ...
6
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2answers
181 views

Were Uncles referred to by surname in Victorian England?

Merry Christmas, everybody! And speaking of Christmas ... In Charles Dickens' novelette, A Christmas Carol, the main character Ebeneezer Scrooge is referred to several times by others as "Uncle ...
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1answer
200 views

In the History Channel series the Vikings, who is Ragnar? [closed]

I've been watching the Vikings series on Amazon and I am curious who Ragnar, the main protagonist is supposed to be based on? I think he is supposed to be the "first" viking leader to raid England. I ...
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1answer
302 views

Was it customary for an executioner in Elizabethan England to ask for forgiveness from the executed?

The question is basically in the title already. I recently saw what is supposedly a historically correct account of Elizabeth I reign in the form of a documentary. The executioner there asked Maria I ...
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1answer
226 views

Did the civil wars of 17th century England facilitate an independent spirit in the American colonies?

From the 1620's on, it seems like England was endlessly dealing with battles between parliaments, kings and armies. Did these battles keep English leadership from getting overly involved in the ...
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2answers
116 views

Sect in England in the 18th century

As far as I know, the church at the time strictly forbade all heretical manifestations and was very strong. So I could not think sects existed at that time. But reading the book by Victor Hugo, "The ...
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1answer
287 views

How would Chess have been played in England in 1450-1600?

I'm trying to reconstruct how Chess would have been played at various points in history in England, specifically at three points: around 1450, 1530, and 1610. What rules would have been used at these ...
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0answers
105 views

Did Palmerston contribute to Louis Philippe's downfall?

I am reading this book and have come across a slightly puzzling passage on p. 154: [Palmerston] kept on good terms with Louis Philippe of France until he felt, in 1846, that Louis was taking an ...
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2answers
405 views

Was the enclosure responsible for the supply of factory workers in 18th and 19th Century England?

Were the enclosures of rural land responsible for the supply of workers to factories in the 18th and 19th century in England?
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2answers
275 views

Was it common practice in Victorian London or other Western European cities to name locations as places where fictional characters lived and acted?

When recently reading Dickens's description of Dr. Manette's residence in "A Tale of Two Cities" , I found in the notes to my edition (B&N Classics) the following: "A replica (of 'The Golden Arm') ...
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0answers
250 views

When and how did English become the Lingua Franca? [closed]

Specifically, how did it supplant French as the international language? Even in the height of Pax Britannica, many English upperclassmen still saw French as the more romantic language. How was this ...
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2answers
417 views

How was King Henry VIII able to get syphilis?

How did King Henry get this disease when syphilis was a disease originating from the Americas?
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3answers
497 views

Did Great Britain benefit economically from the loss of America?

I have been told by many acquaintances that the loss of the thirteen colonies actually BENEFITED the UK. Their claim is that the UK no longer had to pay for the colonies' defence and administration ...
4
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3answers
4k views

How effective were longbow archers against plate-armored infantry?

It is quite common knowledge that longbows most likely did not penetrate the plate armor worn by the French chevaliers at Poitiers and Agincourt. However, how effective were these longbows in ...
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1answer
499 views

What English company founded in the 1200s filed for bankruptcy in the 2000s?

I heard a news story about an English company that had been successful since about 1200 and filed for bankruptcy in the last ten years. I heard it reported on NPR's Morning Edition, in early spring of ...
6
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2answers
201 views

Organisation of mercenaries

In the War of the roses how were mercenary units organised and administrated? Were they paid per lance, archer, knight etc? Would there be a King's representative who would go the mercenary ...
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2answers
206 views

What role did British cartoonists play in the early 1800?

Can anybody explain the historical context and the reasons for which the comic below, preserved to the British Museum, was painted? What is its meaning? Why is Napoleon so little? And, more ...
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3answers
309 views

Why did Churchill accept the Order of the Garter in 1953?

Churchill had refused the Order of the Garter in 1945, quipping that he couldn't accept the garter from the king after the people gave him the boot. But in 1953 he relented and accepted the honour? Is ...
8
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1answer
272 views

Horace Walpole on Richard III

Thus reads Wikipedia: In Historic Doubts on the Life and Reign of King Richard III (1768), Walpole defended Richard III against the common belief that he murdered the Princes in the Tower. In ...
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0answers
85 views

Historically accurate films about the English Civil War [closed]

Last night I saw Cromwell which is good drama but absolutely grossly inaccurate. Do you know of other good films on the subject that do more justice to the history?
8
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1answer
112 views

Who was Asselin FitzArthur?

I stumbled in wikipedia upon a lovely story about a man called Asselin FitzArthur who stopped the burial proceedings of William the Conqueror in Caen, claiming that the church stood on land that had ...