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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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 ...
16
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2answers
1k views

Were Shakespeare's plays written for “high culture” or “entertain the bawdy masses” during his time?

Currently, the plays of William Shakespeare are viewed as great English literature, and viewed as "high culture". However I heard someone say that Shakespeare was writing "bawdy, violence filled plays ...
3
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2answers
231 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 ...
2
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0answers
102 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 ...
2
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1answer
59 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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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 ...
1
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1answer
81 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 ...
3
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1answer
84 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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1answer
74 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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5answers
389 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 ...
14
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3answers
881 views

Why did baseball become more popular than cricket in the USA?

Recently I started reading a very interesting comic about high school baseball. I found that baseball shares so many similarities with Cricket. So I tried to look for some information regarding the ...
21
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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 ...
8
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3answers
406 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 ...
2
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0answers
112 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 ...
3
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1answer
164 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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2answers
1k 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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3answers
923 views

Who should be the king/queen of England? [closed]

If you start from 1066, the last direct line legitimate monarch was Richard III. Then you have the Tudors with a fairly weak claim, then they handed it on to the Stuarts with an even weaker claim. ...
6
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2answers
188 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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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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7answers
719 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 ...
3
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1answer
265 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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2answers
330 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 ...
23
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5answers
688 views

Besides Magna Carta and general decentralization, what specifically led to democratization in England?

In England, the gradual weakening of the central government (starting with the Magna Carta), and the gradual rights given to nobility slowly pushed England to a democratic form of government. Yet in ...
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1answer
79 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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3answers
268 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
188 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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2answers
278 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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0answers
72 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
153 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 ...
4
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2answers
205 views

What happened to the princes in Tower of London?

According to Sir Thomas More and William Shakespeare, Edward IV's sons were murdered by their uncle, King Richard III. But I've heard (in song) that this was a "Tudor propaganda" lie. If King ...
11
votes
2answers
695 views

English monarchs on the battlefield

It seems that in English 'older times' it was expected for the King or monarch to lead the armies in battle. My research suggests that this was the case in the 12th century in the civil war between ...
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2answers
130 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
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 ...
12
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2answers
164 views

Completeness of Old Parish Registers in the 1700s

In England, local churches were required to keep registers of all baptisms, marriages and burials. Are there any studies that show how complete these records generally were, in particular in relation ...
2
votes
1answer
203 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?
4
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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 ...
6
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1answer
455 views

When were the heresy laws abolished in England?

We know that during the English Reformation several "heretics" were burnt at the stake. We also know that during the reign of Henry VIII both protestants and catholics were burnt or beheaded while ...
4
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2answers
600 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 ...
16
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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 ...
23
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3answers
815 views

Why was language not used to establish dominance throughout England 1066 AD–1360s CE?

Why didn’t the Normans enforce the use of their native tongue throughout the whole of England after William the Conqueror (of Normandy) became king of England? During William’s reign as king he ...
0
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2answers
108 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
243 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 ...
3
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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 ...
5
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1answer
482 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 ...
2
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1answer
211 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
324 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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2answers
203 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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1answer
295 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 ...
2
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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 ...
6
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3answers
314 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 ...