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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37
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3answers
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Is there any proof that Robin Hood existed?

Is there any written proof/documentation that Robin Hood ever existed? Did he ever get arrested and got his name written in the prison books or something like that?
23
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5answers
711 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 ...
23
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3answers
906 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 ...
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 ...
21
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6answers
6k 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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6answers
3k 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 ...
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 ...
14
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1answer
712 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 ...
14
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3answers
1k 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 ...
14
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1answer
522 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 ...
14
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1answer
485 views

in what form did William the Conqueror write the date of his own coronation?

This is a question about the English legal calendar as viewed by people living at the time, not as historians recorded it later. New year shifts to 1-January To the best of my understanding, the ...
13
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1answer
333 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?
13
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2answers
325 views

How did Quebec transition from French Law to English Law?

When Britain conquered Quebec at the end of the Seven Years War, Quebec began a transition between French law and English law. How did that transition occur?
12
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2answers
254 views

Who gave King Richard I the title Coeur de Lion?

When King Richard I went to the Holy land during the Third Crusade, he was given the title coeur de lion (French for lion heart). Who gave him that title? I Imagine that it was a French person.
12
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1answer
217 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 ...
12
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2answers
165 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 ...
11
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2answers
746 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 ...
10
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0answers
354 views

What household servants would a Tudor gentleman have had?

There's a lot of easily-accessible information about the staffing of a Tudor nobleman's household, but very little about that of a Tudor gentleman's. Was it basically the same as a nobleman's? Or ...
9
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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.?
9
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2answers
5k views

What was the life expectancy in Medieval Britain?

I'm working on doing background research for one of my novels and I'm looking for roughly how old a male in the peasant class would've lived around 5th or 6th century Britain.
9
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2answers
291 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') ...
9
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3answers
479 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 ...
9
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1answer
281 views

What particularly watershed events led to the War of the Roses?

What were the key events that led to the War of the Roses occurring in England during the 15th century. Was there any particular event that was the tipping point?
9
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2answers
315 views

Has anyone tried to map the Tribal Hidage

The Tribal Hidage set out the number of households living in different kingdoms and sub-kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England. Has any work been done to map this data, in particular comparing it to the ...
9
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1answer
307 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 ...
8
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2answers
463 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?
8
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3answers
767 views

Why did the kingdoms of Scotland and England merge?

I'm from the states, so I'm not so sharp on the history of various European monarchs. Having been told as a child that my ancestors emigrated from Scotland, I've always had an interest in the country. ...
8
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7answers
803 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 ...
8
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2answers
715 views

Names in England during the Tudor period

While watching the Tudors, one thing I noticed was that most male first names were either Thomas, Charles or Edward. Is that historically accurate and if so, is there a reason behind this lack of name ...
8
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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 ...
8
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5answers
453 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 ...
8
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3answers
2k views

Did the Huns contribute to the Great Migration of Germanic Peoples into the Western Empire?

I just listed to this episode of the British History Podcast (which is excellent I might add). During the podcast, the podcaster states that climate change was a major contributor to the Anglo Saxons ...
8
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2answers
507 views

Was King Henry VIII, mid-late in his reformation campaign, motivated more by theology or absolutist drive?

King Henry VIII expended much of his rule pursuing religious reformation of England. The six articles, proposed by the Duke of Norfolk and signed by the King, essentially (not in totality but more so ...
8
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1answer
309 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 ...
8
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1answer
125 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 ...
7
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3answers
1k 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. ...
7
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3answers
1k views

Why did the Protestants in Ireland in the 1800s not want Home Rule?

I know there was conflict between Protestants and Roman Catholic nationalists due to their difference of opinion on Home Rule, but why would the protestants in Ulster and conservative party want to ...
7
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2answers
171 views

How did Edward Misselden become a deputy-governor of a merchant company at 15?

According to the wikipedia article Edward Misselden, he was born in 1608 and in 1623 became a deputy-governor of the Merchant Adventurers' Company at Delft. This means he got the job at the age of 15. ...
7
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2answers
450 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?
7
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1answer
418 views

What were the Government Press Prosecutions of 1858 and why did they occur?

In the second chapter of On Liberty, John Stuart Mill mentions in a note the "Government Press Prosecutions of 1858". He further writes that "The offence charged was not that of criticising ...
7
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1answer
106 views

What was the procedure for prosecuting criminals in England between the World Wars?

I'm doing some research on court procedures during the '20's and '30's in England. I understand that at that time there was a Director of Public Prosecutions, and some of the resources I have found ...
6
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3answers
387 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 ...
6
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1answer
485 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 ...
6
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1answer
184 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 ...
6
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2answers
197 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 ...
6
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2answers
224 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 ...
6
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0answers
113 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 ...
6
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3answers
282 views

What is the origin of the English Ship Building Philosophy?

I was reading an article on the Vasa the ship built under command of King Gustav Adolf, the ship sank during its launch on August 10, 1628. Part if the article mentions that the ship was somehow ...
5
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2answers
362 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 ...
5
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3answers
216 views

What language was the Charter of Liberties written in?

While researching my answer for the What was the official language used across European monarchies in the XII century? question I came upon the Charter of Liberties, or Coronation Charter, issued by ...