The History of England

By David Crowther

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Subscribers: 1878
Reviews: 10

 Jun 16, 2020
One of my all time favourite podcasts. David is such an amazing presenter, and the depth and range of his narrative history of England is extremely impressive. informative and fun, it's always a highlight of my week.

 Apr 3, 2020
David is a fantastic storyteller taking you through the history in a light and engaging way. Highly recommended

 Aug 21, 2019

 Jun 15, 2019

 May 22, 2019
Amazing journey with a charming host


Please note that because iTunes limits the number of episodes displayed to 300, to start at the beginning of my retelling of the story of England, you need to SUBSCRIBE. You'll then find a regular, chronological podcast, starting from from the end of Roman Britain. I’m a bloke in a shed, but I make sure this is good, properly prepared history, and then fill it with my enthusiasm. You’ll find the great events and people for sure – but also some of the byways, of how people lived, their language, and the forces that shaped their lives and destinies.

Episode Date
300 Trade and Exploration

Elizabeth's reign famously saw England enter the search for new markets with which to trade and explore. In this episode, we focus on trade with West Africa, and John Hawkins' infamous voyages of the 1560s.


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Oct 18, 2020
299 West Africa

A horribly brief introduction to the West African kingdoms with which the Portuguese started to trade and a smidge of their backstory, before the English began to arrive in the 16th century. 


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Oct 04, 2020
Introducing the Fault Line: Bush, Blair and Iraq

The Fault Line: Bush, Blair and Iraq is a new podcast that explores the 18 months between 9/11 and the start of the war. it goes on to explore how the distrust in the leadership response to crisis effects our world today. The series is led by the excellent and renowned journalist David Dimbleby, 


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Sep 29, 2020
298 A Curate's Egg

What started as a curate's egg of an episode, ends up with an introduction to a new player, Francis Walsingham, and the story of the St Bartholomew's Day massacre in Paris in 1572.


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Sep 20, 2020
297 Servant of Crime

Through the 1560s, the progress of the reformation gave both the Protestant Godly and Catholics much leeway and wriggle room. A series of events in the late 1560's and early 1570s would begin to end that. One of those was the Papal bull, Regnans in Excelsis.


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Sep 06, 2020
296 Rising of the North

The saga of the life and times of Mary Queen of Scots continues, but in 1568 something stirs in the north of England...


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Aug 23, 2020
295 Marvellous Good order

In Scotland Mary's grasp on her kingdom begins to wobble. In 1566, Elizabeth's parliament also gives her serious grief, drawing an increasingly waspish response.


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Aug 09, 2020
294 Alarms and Excursions

Did Elizabeth have a foreign 'policy'? If so what principles drove it - dynasty, parsimony, protestantism? This week Elizabeth intervenes in Scotland and France.


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Jul 26, 2020
293 Sex and Marriage

Dudley was for long considered the front runner for any possible marriage; but there was a long list of suitors. And Elizabeth was under pressure from the badgers of the House of Commons.


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Jul 07, 2020
292 The Queens Marriage

What were the issues around marriage for Elizabeth and her subjects? Because as the continuing barney between the two of them would prove, it really mattered to both parties.


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Jun 28, 2020
292 The Queen's Marriage

What were the issues around marriage for Elizabeth and her subjects? Because as the continuing barney between the two of them would prove, it really mattered to both parties. 



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Jun 28, 2020
291 Queen and Court

How did Elizabethan government work, and what was Elizabeth's court like?


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Jun 14, 2020
290 The Religious Settlement

Elizabeth's England was awash with expectation - from Mary's bishops demanding that no change be made to Mary's church, to a wave of Protestant Marian exiles returning with visions of Geneva. How to avoid a religious warlike that soon to engulf France?


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Jun 01, 2020
289 Elizabeth Regina

A game of 2 halves this week; the major themes of Elizabeth's reign and then the Funeral of Mary and Elizabeth's coronation . Ooh, and the appointment of Cecil as the Queen's Secretary.


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May 11, 2020
288 Elizabeth I and the Historians

Elizabeth's reputation has been broadly positive except for Catholic historians, established by the man pictured, William Camden (1551-1623) though sometimes rather cold and unsympathetic. More recently the debate has questioned her level of control.


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Apr 26, 2020
287 Enter Good Queen Bess

In January 1559, Elizabeth finally entered London, and on the day of her coronation, she processed through London. Elizabeth's personality turned the event into a more than just a spectacle - it became a conversation.


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Apr 12, 2020
286 Sex and the Reformation of Manners

What concerned society about sexual behaviour and why ? How did they intervene in the way people lived their lives; what did you have to do to be whipped at four corners of the churchyard? And what impact did the Reformation have.

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Dec 29, 2019
285 Reformation of Manners

How far did parish life change in the 16th century, and how far was the Reformation responsible? What did 16th century folk enjoy themselves, and how did that change over the century?

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Dec 15, 2019
A History of England announcement

Our dear friend and podcaster David has fallen ill and is postponing future episodes of The History of England for the next couple of months. We expect him to return to the microphone and be creating new material come spring.

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Nov 09, 2019
284 Popular Culture in the Ritual Year

The Lord of Misrule, the Boy Bishop. dancing the Morris and May games. A little about the celebrations of the ritual year, and how things changed.

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Oct 20, 2019
283 Little Commonwealth

The patriarchy, love and marriage, gender roles and huswifery, the daily grind and a bit about food and clothing. It's a smorgasbord.

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Oct 13, 2019
282 Parish and Protest

The parish was the essential and ever present canvas on which most lives were painted in early modern England. We discuss how it changes, it's harmonies and the context of protest

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Oct 06, 2019
The History of England Tour

Come and join me and listeners of the history of England to spend 6 days talking about history stuff and touring round some fabulous historical sites.

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Oct 01, 2019
281 Winners and Losers

The population growth and inflation of the 16th century had different impacts depending on your situation. And the difference was land. Plus we talk about the regions and landscapes of England.

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Sep 22, 2019
280 The Land was Never So Full

The start of a suite of 7 episodes about social and economic issues charts the changes in population and how the society it affected described itself.

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Sep 08, 2019
279 Who Wished All for the Best

1558 was a fateful year for England which would have a fundamental impact on its future. Find out why.

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Aug 25, 2019
278 The King's Honour

The return of the King meant demands for the English to enter a war they did not want, and in which none of their interests were really at stake.

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Aug 11, 2019
277 A Firm Hand

The story of the Marian persecution. And of a Queen's need to have her Prince at her side to help with the alarms and excursions of protestant rebels.

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Jul 28, 2019
276 The Reformation of England

The plan was that 1555 saw the transformation of England - the birth of an heir for Mary and Philip, the launch of a new Reformation Anglicae to re-invigorate Roman Catholicism in England

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Jul 14, 2019
275 The Time of Trial

Once Pole had returned and parliament had re-enacted the heresy legislation after the brief Edwardian holiday, the Marian church could at last exercise the full force of the law against protestants. John Rogers was the first to go.

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Jun 30, 2019
274 Not to Destroy but to Build

When Pole told parliament that he came to build he meant what he said., and would deliver, in part. And join us on Flick Chat

Jun 16, 2019
George Lane D Day by Giles Milton

The story of Commander George Lane and his undercover D Day mission 

Jun 06, 2019
273 Pope II - The Return

In 1554, 300 schoolboys of London played out the divisions of their parents on the fields of Finsbury. It was an instructive backdrop to the return of Papal authority in the form of Cardinal Reginald Pole.

Jun 02, 2019
272 The Spanish Marriage

In July 1554 Philip finally landed in England, and all went very well; Mary and Philip were married, and were kind to each other, there was a great pageant of welcome in London. Join us on Flick Chat

May 19, 2019
271 Most Faithful Subject

Once Wyatt had been dealt with, Gardiner, Renard,Mary - all could see a greater target in their sights. The surely the Lady Elizabeth had been involved, and here was the chance to remove a thorn.

May 05, 2019
Intelligent Speech

A conference of podcasters New York, 29th June - including Mike Duncan. To find out more go to

May 03, 2019
270 Wyatt's Doom

Mary faced the biggest challenge to her reign in 1554 as the London Trained Bands, the White Coats, joined Wyatt's army of Kent. She responded like a Tudor appealing to her people at the Guildhall. 

Apr 21, 2019
269 Scorn and Ill Will

In 1553, Mary's real religious policy become clear. More worrying for many was the announcement of her choice of husband Philip of Spain. Some blokes met in a pub to figure out how they could stop that happening.

Apr 07, 2019
268 This Hand Offendeth

After Mary rode into London in August 1553, Thomas Cranmer must have known he would be in the firing line - and yet at first nothing happened. And it was his own defiance that caused the queen to take action. This is story of Cranmer's defiance.

Mar 17, 2019
267 Girt with a Sword

Mary was well aware that it was critical for her to establish her right and authority as equal to that of any king; and she consciously pursued that aim. Which did not stop people worrying about her choice of husband.

Mar 10, 2019
266 Mary, Bloody or Otherwise

After her brave and audacious rebellion, Mary became Queen in 1553. Historians have not been kind to Mary for many centuries. What have they been saying? What are they saying now?

Mar 03, 2019
265 Live Still to Die

After Mary's victory, Jane Grey was imprisoned comfortably in the Tower, and spent her time studying - and had a reasonable expectation of long, if a little dull, life. Until in 1554 Thomas Wyatt and her father Henry Grey, raised rebellion.

Dec 16, 2018
264g Rebel Queen 8 The Duke

The game played out, the Mary entered London and the Duke was to die. But Northumberland had one more surprise to spring

Dec 09, 2018
264f Rebel Queen 7 Regina

Whether Jane and Guildford understood the commotion in the city outside the Tower we do not know, but it was the duty of her father, the Duke of Suffolk, to break the news

Dec 08, 2018
264e Rebel Queen 6 The Fleet

Around the 14th July a ship called the Greyhound sailed into Orwell Haven. Its captain was in gaol in Lowestoft, its crew had smashed open the cash box. Meeting with Sir Henry Jermingham may well have changed the course of history.

Dec 07, 2018
264d Rebel Queen 5 Resistance

Northumberland made good speed towards East Anglia and Mary, and his army swelled with troops and artillery. But in London, the mood was ugly, and Mary was having some success too.

Dec 06, 2018
264c Rebel Queen 4 War

Mary's letter of 10th July brought home an uncomfortable truth that Northumberland had expected to avoid - that Jane must fight for her crown. If an army could be found

Dec 05, 2018
264b Rebel Queen 3 Rivals

Mary had a decision to make - submit, fight or flee. She took the decision with her household - and they raised the rafters with their cheers.

Dec 04, 2018
264a Rebel Queen 2 Proclamation

On the morning of 9th July 1553 the 16 year old Jane was walking in the Grey manor at Chelsea in blissful ignorance. Then the Duke of Northumberland's daughter, Mary Sidney, came to call

Dec 03, 2018
264 Rebel Queen 1 Gathering

The life of Lady Jane Grey to 1553, and the fate of Edward VI is settled as the vultures gather. The first in our series on the succession crisis of 1553.

Dec 02, 2018
263 The Devise

Edward VI's 'Devise for the Succession' would plunge England into turmoil. Was it his own work, or was it the work of a manipulative and power hungry Northumberland? Here's what happened.

Nov 25, 2018
262 Northumberland

John Dudley, as Duke of Northumberland for a while dominated the King's Council - and was a man with the imagination to change the rules. And the Edwardian Reformation continued, step by step, to transform religious practice. 

Nov 18, 2018
261 The Trouble with Mary

In 1550 Edward's views on reformation began to harden - and brought him into conflict with his sister. Under pressure from King and Council, Mary decided that she must flee the country for the safety of the firmly Catholic Empire

Nov 04, 2018
260 A Double Coup

Somerset came away from the Commotion Time with a wobbly reputation. Could he survive politically ?

Oct 30, 2018
259 The Time of Camps

1549 was a year of upheaval which led to rebellions which offer a fascinating window into English society. It also saw the publication of the Book of Common Prayer, Cranmer's masterpiece which would form the bedrock of the English church for centuries

Oct 14, 2018
258 Protector Somerset

Somerset was an effective soldier, and as uncle to the king he seemed like an ideal choice as Protector. Would he prove an effective political? Good Duke, Bad Duke or just Duke? Over the next few episodes, we'll find out.

Oct 07, 2018
257 His Blood Crieth out against Thee

Within week, Edward Seymour was safely ensconced on the seat of power. But brother Thomas was not impressed, and would involve three women - Catherine Parr, Princess Elizabeth and Jane Grey in his attempt to gain power and influence

Sep 16, 2018
256 The Boy King

Poor Edward's reign tends to be ignored, sandwiched as it is. This week we pay it proper respect - what has history had to say of the lad, what were the controversies of his reign and the players that trod its boards?

Sep 09, 2018
255 Europe XI The Spanish Century

By 1600, the Spain and her Empire was acknowledged as the richest and most powerful state in Europe. the hardworking Phillip II worked into the night deep in his massive palace of El Escorial to keep the wheels turning. But by his death in 1598, the seeds of her fall were already apparent.

Sep 02, 2018
254 Europe X Chaos and Threat

Our survey of 16th century Europe moves on to the growth of the Ottoman Empire under Suleyman, and the chaos of the French religious wars.

Aug 19, 2018
253 Europe IX Confessionalism Unleashed

How the rise of Calvinism, the Catholic Reformation and the peace of Augsberg combined with attitudes towards heresy to divide Europe along harsher, confessional lines.

Aug 12, 2018
252 Henry VIII - Judgement Day

Alternative views of the Big Man presented in this week's megasode and your chance to vote and be entered into the prize draw for coins kindly donated by Halls Hammered Coins. Thank you Simon.Here's the link to the episode on the website

Jul 22, 2018
251 The End of Days

In 1546, Gardiner and the religious conservatives moved their sights from Cranmer, to the new darling of the evangelical cause - the Queen. Getting evidence from Anne Askew was the key - and they would stop at nothing to get it.

Jun 24, 2018
250 Catherine and Anne

In 1545 the struggle between conservative and evangelical, between mumpsimus and sumpsimus grew more intense as Catherine Parr's household shed an evangelical light over the court. And into this situation came a noblewoman from Lincolnshire, Anne Askew.

Jun 03, 2018
249 Knaves I Cannot Rule

It's time for a naval encounter, marked by the sinking of the Mary Rose, and then we set the scene for the cut-throat politics of the last years with Richard Rich, Thomas Wriothesley and William Paget.

May 27, 2018
248 To Arms!

In 1544 Henry traveled to France and hauled himself into the saddle for his last chance to emulate Henry V. A little like his predecessor, he was also investing in a royal navy; and this time, it's an investment that would last.

May 20, 2018
247 Queen Catherine the Third

The arrival of Catherine Parr (and family) and preparations for war in France. And rather a lot of digressions.

Apr 29, 2018
246 A Rough Wooing

In 1542, Henry's sought war with France; but before that, he must make sure his northern borders were safe. So began the Rough Wooing, as Henry sought to bring a Pro-English part to power in Scotland, and then bully her into a marriage alliance.

Apr 22, 2018
245 The Prebendaries Plot

In 1543 religious conservatives were in the ascendant, dominated the aristocratic Privy Council and a wave of prosecutions for heresy followed. When some of Archbishop Cranmer's own parishioners of Kent sought to discredit him Gardiner saw an opportunity to bring him down.

Apr 15, 2018
244 No More Time to Dance

Catherine had made a decent start of being queen. And it was really in no body's interest to reveal her old life. But dangers and memories were all around - as were temptations

Apr 01, 2018
243 A Jewel for Womanhood

In 1540 a new member at court, Catherine Howard, caught the eye of a king struggling with his marriage to Anne. By July Anne was gone and Catherine had embarked on her new career as queen of England.

Mar 25, 2018
242 Anne and Thomas

Anne arrived in England to be greeted by 6 burly disguised middle aged men. 1540 was a year neither Anne of Cleves nor Thomas Cromwell were to remember - with affection in one case, or at all in another.

Mar 18, 2018
241 The Illness of King Henry

Henry's attitude to illness, and possible medical explanations for his character and events of his realm. And a negotiation starts for a new wife.

Mar 11, 2018
240 Henry VIII in Ireland and Wales

The 1530's saw radical changes in both Ireland and Wales, following Cromwell's same policy as applied to the northern borders. The outcomes though, were to be very different.

Feb 25, 2018
239 Henry VIII and his Realm

Henry wanted a different relationship with his nobility - a service, court based nobility. Royal power meanwhile must be extended and enhanced. Today we look at Tudor lordship and royal power in the north of England.

Feb 11, 2018
238 The Fight Back

In 1539, Henry became convinced that religious reform was going too far. Cromwell and Cranmer failed to see the signs and during the 1539 the act of Six Articles shocked evangelists.

Feb 04, 2018
237 Dissolution and Destruction

At the start of 1538, the end of monasticism was widely predicted, and by 1540 the larger monasteries were all gone. Along with an assault on the veneration of relics and saints, the traditional practice of religion was deeply affected.

Jan 21, 2018
236 The Burning of Derfel Gadarn

In 1537 and 1538 the doctrinal debate intensified with the Evangelical cause appeared to advance step by step. Cromwell discredited the monastic movement by attacking the veneration of relics. 

Jan 14, 2018
235 Pilgrimage of Grace II

By December 1536 there were 50,000 rebels camped around Pontefract Castle while inside their leader Robert Aske composed a petition of 24 articles, to re-instate traditional religion and the Pope. No royal army of any size stood between them and London.

Jan 07, 2018
234 Pilgrimage of Grace I

It is not true to say that Henry died a Catholic without the Pope. The 1530's were a time of increasing doctrinal confusion which together with the attack on monasticism brought forth a bellow of distress.

Dec 17, 2017
233 Obedience

With Anne's death the traditionalists breathed a heavy sign of relief. now all the bad stuff would stop - evangelical reform would be reversed, Mary would be re-instated. They had a shock coming.

Dec 10, 2017
232 Evangelicals

From the mid 1520s, the church authorities began to face a more serious challenge from evangelicals like Thomas Bilney and Hugh Latimer. And in 1526 and 1534, Tyndale's New Testament in English transformed the situation

Dec 03, 2017
231 The Scandal of Christendom Debate
Some of the arguments about Anne Boleyn's life and career, to help you make you make your choice and vote on the History of England Facebook page before 19th November. 4 Prizes to be won!
Oct 29, 2017
230 The Execution of Anne Boleyn
On May Day 1536 at Greenwich, Anne and Henry could put their worries aside. Everything was well with the world as they watched the joust. Then Henry left suddenly and was seen arguing with Henry Norris. Find out what happened next.
Oct 22, 2017
229 The Reign of Queen Anne Boleyn
We discuss what we know about Anne as Queen consort, and chart the progress of the break with a thousand years of tradition in the declaration of royal supremacy.
Oct 15, 2017
228 Mistress Anne Boleyn, Scandal of Christendom
The start of 4 weeks of fun, debate, voting and prizes as we consider the life of Anne Boleyn and decide whether Catherine was being fair in describing Anne as the Scandal of Christendom. This week a summary of the life of Anne to 1532. You can find out more here
Oct 08, 2017
227 The Reformation Parliament
After Wolsey's fall was a period of stalemate; but between 1529 and 1532, Henry's thoughts crystalised, Anne became to be openly at his side - and a new weapon joined the king - the exocet that was Thomas Cromwell.
Oct 01, 2017
226 The Great Wether
In 1529 the campaign for the King's great matter, his divorce came to a climax. Wolsey persuaded the Pope to allow a court to be held in England under Cardinals Campeggio and Wolsey. On its success or failure would rest Wolsey's own future.
Sep 24, 2017
225 Matters Great and Personal
The king's Great Matter as it was to be called, outraged and divided Christendom, and has been dividing us ever since. What motivated it? Who was responsible? The debate starts here.
Sep 17, 2017
224 Deadly Poison
In 1520 the Pope threatened an obscure Augustinian monk with excommunication. Why ? What happened next? And how did the English react?
Sep 10, 2017
223 Venal or Vital?
The traditional story of the English Reformation has been of a rotten, moribund, venal church, just waiting to be toppled by reformers, the pyre ignited by Luther's teachings. But was the late medieval church really in such a rotten state?
Sep 03, 2017
222 From Hapsburg to Valois
The diplomacy of the early 1520s culminated at Pavia, with the ruin of French hopes - and also English as Hapsburg for a while reigned supreme. Domestic politics saw Wolsey discredited for the first time, and the Boleyns arrive at court.
Aug 20, 2017
221 The Finest Buck
Henry had shown a hint of the man he would become in 1510 by the execution of Empson and Dudley. In 1521, the Duke of Buckingham was in his sights, as Europe's Universal Peace sank beneath the waves.
Aug 13, 2017
220 Disguisings
It is in the reign of Henry VIII that we first hear of the 'masque' - entertainment that drew from Mummers, Mystery plays, and 'disguisings'. We talk about Anne and Mary Boleyn's education - and Shakespeare and the word 'bump'
Jul 30, 2017
219 Cloth of Gold
Enter Thomas Boleyn, courtier, and the realities of being a courtier. And the field of the cloth of Gold; Henry and Wolsey's mission to uphold the treaty of universal peace.
Jul 23, 2017
218 Universal Peace
Wolsey had tried war with France, they'd tried war by proxy, they'd tried peace. In 1518 the most remarkable of their plans - the Treaty of Universal peace where 20 states guaranteed the peace of Europe.
Jul 02, 2017
217 The Cardinal's Hat
Being made a Cardinal in 1515 gave Wolsey the perfect opportunity to give the vainglorious side of his nature full reign. He made full use of it.
Jun 25, 2017
216 Love and Marriage
The story of a love affair - probably. In 1514 Henry married off his 18 year old sister to the gouty, siphilitic, toothless 50+ year old Louis and sent her to France., She came back a year later married to someone else entirely
Jun 11, 2017
215 Hero of War
In 1513 there were two English victories. One of them would have a profound effect on English history. The other one was mainly a mad dash in pursuit of a bunch of cavalry eager to escape.
May 28, 2017
214 The Road to War
The path of Renaissance diplomacy was both torturous and without scruple; as Henry finds out as he thirsts for glory.
May 21, 2017
213 Background to War
Historians have identified the 16th and 17th centuries as a time of revolutionary change in Europe, driven by military technology. We talk a bit about that, and about the personalities Henry VIII was up against.
May 14, 2017
212 Pleasure and Liberty
Henry VIII was released by this accession to the courtly, chivalric life of the hunt, and masque, and tournaments. In this he was encouraged by by Council - while his father's 'peace party' got on with the business of ruling.
Apr 30, 2017
211 Heaven Smiles Earth Rejoices
The accession of Henry VIII was greeted with a huge sigh of relief and great enthusiasm. His court was to change immediately, and politics for ever. Although the Book of the Courtier would not appear until 1528, it could have been written for the Tudor court to explain how to win the favour of the Prince.
Apr 16, 2017
210 Bloody Beast
How Henry has been assessed by historians through the ages, and the controversies of his reign. And assessments of the man himself.
Apr 02, 2017
209 Exploration
Through the 15th century, Portugal explored the African coast in search of the Indies and the fabulous wealth of the trading networks with the East - such as those of Mansa Musa from Timbuktu. Until the great expeditions of Columbus and Da Gama led to the opening of contact with the Americas and Asia.
Mar 26, 2017
208 I Heart Henry
What happened when Henry was gone. And the report card - was Henry an incompetent tyrant, a fun loving saviour of England's future - or something in between? Should we listen to Francis Bacon or to Henry himself?
Mar 19, 2017
207 The Underworld
While the young prince Henry built a group of aristocratic companions and longed desperately for the joust, his father drove his hatchet men Dudley and Empson ever further into the dark world of extortion and oppression. But in 1509, Henry fell ill again.
Mar 05, 2017
206 Descent to the Underworld
Henry had found two hatchet men to replace Reginald Bray - Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley. They spread their tentacles and contacts through London and England, and used the Council Learned to drive their master's policy to extort every possible fee 'to the king's advantage'. And did pretty well for themselves too.
Feb 26, 2017
205 Do Not Let Me Perish
In the early 1500's Henry VII saw many of his closest confidentes and supporters die. Catherine of Aragon was to be one of those who suffered as a result. He also built the rather magnificent palace at Sheen, renaming it Richmond; not knowing that in a few years, it would be the place of his death.
Feb 19, 2017
204 Governing the Early Tudor State
Henry made changes to the English court, administration and legal system. He increased the health of royal finances, and tried to make the justice system work better, based around the JP. But many of his actions would be seen as setting a path to tyranny and avarice later in the reign
Feb 05, 2017
203 The Spanish Princess
After negotiations that would win prizes, it was finally time for Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth's pride and joy Prince Arthur to marry the Spanish Princess, Catherine of Aragon.
Jan 22, 2017
202 Scotland, Cornwell and Warbeck
The travels of Perkin Warbeck take him to Scotland, marriage and war; which leads to taxes, which leads to rebellion. T'was ever thus.
Jan 08, 2017
201 Poyning's Law
Ireland in 1495 was almost 3 societies living side by side. We take a trip to Ireland, hear about the Great Earl, and the law that became known as Poyning's law. Plus, Perkin arrives - will Ireland welcome him as it did Lambert?
Dec 25, 2016
200 Printin and Perkin
The appearance of a new pretender - Perkin Warbeck in Ireland was to distort Henry VII's domestic and foreign policy for the rest of the 1490's.
Dec 11, 2016
199 The New Men
Henry VII's ambitions were to rule in the French style - to better control and increase his income. He gathered around him bureaucrats - new men he could trust and who depended on him rather than the nobility of the court. We also start the story of printing.
Nov 27, 2016
198 Mothers and Wives
In 1485 and 1486 Henry established the foundations of his reign through parliament, and established his household. The relationship between his wife and his mother would always be a matter of some debate.
Nov 13, 2016
197 The Story of Henry VII
The personality of Henry VII, the story he created of himself, and how history has treated his reputation.
Oct 30, 2016
196 England at the Dawn of the Tudor Age
England in 1485 was at once a deeply traditional medieval society - and yet poised at the edge of change - economic, social, religious and political
Oct 16, 2016
195 The History of Europe Part VIII
15th Century European kingdoms were wracked by internal division as well as international war. By the end of the century, Rome was no more, Christendom was increasingly disunited and new monarchies were on the way.
Sep 25, 2016
194 The Wars of the Roses
1485 was not the end of the Wars of the Roses; the fear of dynastic strife lasts well into Henry VIII's reign. But we draw a close at the battle of Stoke, and ask what the Wars changed - if anything.
Sep 18, 2016
193 The Blood of Innocents
In 1483, the gates of the Tower of London closed on two innocent and defenceless boys; one, Edward, captured and the other Richard, given up by his mother. As far as we know, neither of were seen outside the walls again.
Sep 04, 2016
192 Bosworth
At last in 1485 Richard got to meet his challenger in person at the Battle of Bosworth - a meeting he needed every bit as much as Henry Tudor.
Aug 28, 2016
191 The Reign of Richard III
Unfortunately for Richard he was never able to simply concentrate of governing the realm; the hangover of his accession, the presence of Henry Tudor abroad - these things constantly took his attention away.
Aug 21, 2016
190 Good King Richard
Some argue that in a short time Richard showed that he good have been one of England's best rulers - is there any justification for the idea of Good King Richard?
Aug 14, 2016
189 Richard III Prize draw
The result of the voting...and the winners of prizes!
Aug 07, 2016
189 The Most Untrue Creature
Richard sought to start the reconciliation of the factions in the realm. But despite his triumphant progress through the Kingdom to York, trouble was brewing - including from the most unlikely quarter
Jul 31, 2016
188 Richard III - Knave, Fool or Saviour?
3 interpretations of the events of 1483 to help your all important vote - did Richard plan to usurp the throne; fall into it by mistake; or step into the breach to save the kingdom?
Jul 24, 2016
187 Edward V
The reign of Edward V is one of the great controversies of English history. This episode is as uncontroversial - just what happened. Then in 2 weeks time - we have the big debate and prizes, at THoE Facebook Page. It all starts with the death of Edward IV on 9th April 1483.
Jul 09, 2016
186 The King is Alive!
It was critical that the heir to the throne, the young Edward, was tutored and governed to be brought up to be a successful king - and so Rivers was given the job, in Ludlow on the Welsh borders, and there was time. Then in 1483 the king fell ill.
Jul 03, 2016
185 Edward the King
The 1470's were a marked contrast to the 1460's; a decade of complete calm, of control and authority. How did Edward do it?
Jun 26, 2016
184 Edward's Foreign Glory

Edward IV fancied himself as a latter day Edward III, and with his love of the Garter tradition on the one hand and his determination to gain revenge for French support for Lancaster, a European adventure looked on the cards.

Jun 19, 2016
183 The Brothers York
They had a complicated relationship - Edward, Clarence and Richard; Clarence and Richard had often been left together with Cecily and Margaret while Edward was with his father. In the 1470s, things came to a head.
Jun 12, 2016
182 Games and Beasts
An odd episode, where we talk about games they played in medieval days; and then completely unconnected, some of domesticated animals and where they came from.
Jun 05, 2016
181 The 15th Century Rural Economy
We know that the Magnates and peerage made some cutbacks and prettified fewer of their residences - but what of the Gentry, who by and large would have 1 or 2 manors? And the peasantry and their yardland?
May 22, 2016
180 Lives and Loves of the Gentry
Through the 15th century the Gentry become firmly established as the real rulers of the localities; and an enterprising part of England's economy. So it seems worth finding out a bit more about them.
May 14, 2016
179 The New Farmers
After a period of grace, the 15th Century posed serious challenges for Magnates and the rural economy - prices fell, wages rose, Magnates had to cancel parties. But every cloud has its silvery lining; and trouble for some was opportunity for others - the new Farmers.
May 08, 2016
178 The 15th C Economy I
A rest from politics. The population of England remained stagnant or falling throughout 15th century. But that didn't meant there was no opportunity for towns or for commerce. You just had to look for it a bit harder.
Apr 24, 2016
177 High Noon at Tewkesbury
Edward's troubles were not over with the victory at Barnet. He still faced two more invasions - the Queen and Prince, and Fauconberg in the South East. It was the final showdown between Lancaster and York.
Apr 17, 2016
176 The Readeption
In 1470, Henry VIth was released by Warwick from the Tower, and re-established as the rightful king of England. The Usurper Edward IV was banished forever. Sadly for the Lancastrians, Edward IV was determined to reclaim the throne when he landed at Ravenspur in 1471.
Apr 10, 2016
175 An Unholy Alliance
In 1470 the spin of the wheel of fortune was dizzying. Warwick had won, lost, won...where it ended nobody knew. But the most extraordinary thing of all was an alliance to be made, with the help of Warwick's 14 year old daughter, Anne
Apr 02, 2016
174 Warwick's Rubicon
In 1468, Warwick had a decision to make - as he himself said, 'It is a matter of being either Master or Varlet'.
Mar 20, 2016
173 Rivers Rising
There was a new faction at court - the Woodvilles, and they were there en masse. Were they really so bad? Had Edward boobed? And what did Warwick think - what would he do?
Mar 13, 2016
172 A Royal Marriage
The first three years of Edward's reign were spent dealing stamping on the fires of the Lancastrian resistance. But then, he found time for something much more controversial than dis-embowelling, and he found it under an oak tree.
Feb 21, 2016
171 Two Rulers
In the aftermath of Towton, Edward started his work to restore a broad based regime - crushing the recalcitrant, welcoming the turncoats, re-establishing royal justice. He also had a party. Margaret meanwhile traveled to build support for another return.
Feb 07, 2016
170 This Fair White Rose
In 1461 the Queen failed to seize London,and retreated to the north. Warwick and Edward walked through London's empty gates and then chased north for the largest, and bloodiest battle of English soil.
Jan 31, 2016
169 King without Rule
After the victory at Northampton and the Act of Accord, it looked as though all Richard of York had to do was wait or the crown to be his. But in the north and west, the Lancastrian opposition was growing.
Jan 17, 2016
168 With Horns and Trumpets
Warwick swashed and buckled his way up and down the channel until the Yorkists were ready to invade England again. But on his return from Ireland with horns and trumpets blowing, Richard of York had a shock for his allies.
Jan 10, 2016
167 The Triumph of Lancaster

In 1459 the trigger point was finally reached; after a year of phony war, both sides preparing for war, the call for a great council in 1459 proving the trigger point. By the end of 1459 the fortune of one of the two sides would lie in ruins.

Dec 12, 2015
166 The Reign of Queen Margaret

In 1455 it briefly looked as though York had won; but in fact it solved nothing - the king remained the centre of power, and the king was weak. By 1457, he had lost his status as Protector, and the Queen was effectively the new ruler of England. 

Dec 05, 2015
165 Bloodshed

In 1455, the quality and nature of the arguments and disputes about the king's fitness to reign and the need to reform the way England was governed changed very significantly. At St Albans, blood was spilled. 

Nov 28, 2015
164 Madness

In 1452 and 1453 Henry enjoyed a brief spell where he was on top of his job after the events at Dartford. But fate had something in mind. 

Oct 31, 2015
163 The Cousins' War

How did previous generations view the Wars of the Roses? What are the interpretations of the Wars of the Roses now? This, and an introduction to some key families, are what this week is all about.

Oct 17, 2015
162 The Return of York

It's still 1450. Because it was something of an eventful year. Richard of York, sat in Ireland, was worried - his name had been bandied about by Jack Cade and his rebels. See what happens...

Sep 30, 2015
161 Captain of Kent

1450 was an eventful year. The fall of Suffolk, and now Kent was once again in flames, just as it had been in 1381. This time the leader that emerged was one Jack Cade. 

Sep 12, 2015
160 The Fall of Suffolk and Normandy

By 1445, William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk was clearly Henry's most trusted adviser. He faced a difficult task - to steer a bankrupt nation into the harbor of peace. Avoiding the ship of France trying to sink her on the way in. Would they make it? 

Aug 16, 2015
159 From Arras to Tours

Through the late 1430's and early 1440's the situation in Normandy got no better, Alice Chaucer until a failed expedition convinced Henry and Suffolk that peace was required at any price. And the result was the Treaty of Tour and a royal marriage.

Aug 09, 2015
158 Catastrophe at Arras

In December 1431, Henry VIth became the only king of England crowned king of France in France. Which sounds great. But in fact it was a sign of English weakness than English strength. And at Arras things got substantially worse.

Aug 02, 2015
157 Joan of Arc

In 1428, the English were still sweeping all before them. Then came a figure so famous, that she was selected by Bill and Ted for their history project - and what greater recognition can there be than that? 

Jul 16, 2015
156 Reivers

There's really often little practical difference between what we call politics and some of what we call crime. Essentially it the history of the struggle for power by a bunch of aristocratic families. And a smidgen of life on the Borders. 

Jul 05, 2015
155 The Wonder Years

While Bedford and talented commanders like Salisbury were alive, the cause of the English in France was far from dead. But in 1423, buoyed by the arrival of the Scots, the French launched a fresh campaign into Normandy, and quickly took the mighty town of Verneuil

Jul 04, 2015
154 Henry VIth - A Weak King

An introduction to a new reign - Henry VIth, a name to make grown men tremble - and to the political leaders that dominated it. 

Jun 27, 2015
153 Medieval Working Women

Only 4% of women remained unmarried in the middle ages, and therefore for Harvestingboth men and women working life was a matter of team work. In towns in particular, women might find their opportunities for specialised work more limited than men, but not impossible - women like Margery Kempe showed how the mould could be broken. 

Jun 13, 2015
152 Death of a Conquering Hero

Henry's talents ran as much to managing his back yard as it did to war; this week how Henry organised his kingdom for war, and the last days of his life. Plus a guest bonus from Kevin Stroud and 'The History of English'. 

May 31, 2015
151 The Bridge at Montereau

In 1420, Henry faced an uphill battle again; his negotiations had failed with both Dauphinists and Burgundians, and instead they'd patched it up. So he faced an alliance - Dauphinist, Armagnac, Orleanist, Burgundian - Scot - against the English. And then came a meeting on a bridge that changed everything

May 24, 2015
150 Conquering Hero

 By 1417, Henry had sorted out his support in England, and was able to launch a war of conquest in Normandy. After butchery at Caen, castles and towns fell, and by June 1418 the final and biggest prize stood before Henry - Rouen, second city of France. 

May 17, 2015
149 Sex, Childbirth and Children

Medieval understanding of physiology had an impact on attitudes to sex, just as much as did the teachings of the church. Though who knows how much it had an impact on everyday life. And something about how childbirth fitted into community life, and rearing the outcome. 

May 09, 2015
148 Women and 1066, and Marriage

As far as women were concerned, was 1066 generally a Good Thing, a Bad Thing - or just a Thing?  That's the main item of debate this week, along with a bit about marriage, and a toe-curling piece about how to get out of an unwanted marriage contract by proving your partner failed to live up to their, um, duties.

Apr 19, 2015
147 Women and Anglo Saxon England

Unaccustomed as I am to social and economic is the first of a bit of a thread over the next few weeks and months about some social stuff, and indeed with a bit of a focus on women. Due to popular demand. We start of this thread with a look at the status and role of women in Anglo Saxon England.

Apr 11, 2015
146 Agincourt Campaign Part III The Battle

And so at last to one of England's most famous battles. Outnumbered and trapped, Henry and his English and Welsh faced the cream of the French warrior class. 

Apr 03, 2015
145 The Agincourt Campaign Part II

Henry probably now intended to be King of France or Duke of Normandy as a minimum. So what he planned was a war of conquest, not just the traditional chevaucee. It's likely that he planned to start with Harfleur, take it quickly and then advance to the capital of Normandy - Rouen - before winter. But Jean d'Estouteville, captain of Harfleur, had other ideas. 

Mar 28, 2015
144 The Agincourt Campaigns Part I

There is little doubt that Henry Vth always intended to fight in France - unless they completely rolled over. Which was unlikely; the French were perfectly ready to fight and on the surface at least united in the face of the English threat, and looking forward to giving them a beating. This week, Henry prepares. 

Mar 15, 2015
143 Champion of Christ

Last week we wondered about Henry - Monster or Hero...? This week you could look at it either way, as Henry faces the Lollards and his old pal, Sir John Oldcastle.

Mar 07, 2015
142 Greatest Man - or Monster?

Henry Vth is a man who has a reasonable claim to be the greatest of English kings. But what did contemporaries think of him? Successful he was no doubt - but in his rigid piety and ruthlessness was he also a monster?

Mar 01, 2015
141c The Romans in Britain Pt 2 by Richard Norton

And here we are with the second installment of the Romans in Britain, taking us to the fall of the western Empire. 

Jan 10, 2015
141b The Romans in Britain Pt1 by Richard Norton

For some reason, don't know why, my interest in English and British history starts with the Anglo Saxons. Not before. Don't ask me why - no idea. I love Ancient Greece, Rome etc etc  - but no interest in the British stuff. Sorry. 

Fortunately, Richard Norton does! yay! so here we are, part 1 of a 2 part overview of the Romans in Britain by Richard Norton....

Jan 04, 2015
141 De Heretico Comburendo

With John Wycliffe and the Lollards in the 14th century, heresy finally came to England. Up to this point, rural England had been notable for avoiding the religious turmoils that sprung up from time to time through the continent. 

Nov 09, 2014
140 Fathers and Sons

In his final years, Henry faced a new challenge - from his ambitious son Henry. Ill and tired, For a while he loses control to the young bucks, the new generation, the men of his son. 

Nov 02, 2014
139 The Fall of Glyn Dwr

The younger Henry enters our story full time as he leads to fight to Glyn Dwr. And for the alternative Prince of Wales after the failure of the French invasion the light went out of his rebellion. It wasn't all over yet - Harlech and Abersytwyth still stood - but without external help things looked pretty desperate. 

Oct 18, 2014
138 Glyn Dwr and the Showdown

In 1405, yet more rebellion in England, this time from the north led by an Archbishop; and the crowning glory of Glyn Dwr's diplomacy led to the arrival of the French on the shores to wipe the English out in Wales

Oct 12, 2014
137 The Battle of Shrewsbury

The battle of Shrewsbury of 1403 is one of those battles that deserves to be more remembered  than it is - along with Lincoln in 1217 for example. The issue at Shrewsbury was who would rule England - Henry IVth or the Mortimers and Percies. 

Oct 04, 2014
136 Glyn Dwr Ascendant

In 1402 and 1403 Glyn Dwr's power and influence grew. As Glyn Dwr looked for foreign allies, Henry was forced to look north, and look closely at the loyalty of those around this. 

Sep 14, 2014
135 Glyn Dwr Rising

As he looked around after dust of the Epiphany Rising had settled, Henry began to realise that he had problems that would make his life difficult; a mega fall in royal revenue, a restricted group of magnates to call on. Plus, things were stirring in the West...

Sep 06, 2014
134 The Golden Child Made King

The reputation of Henry IVth has changed through history - where he's remembered at all! So we look at that - we are left with those that think Henry was inadequate, and those that he did the best job possible in the circumstances. And then we deal with the first challenge of Henry's reign - the Epiphany Rising. 

Aug 23, 2014
133 The History of Europe Part VII

This week we finish off our survey of Europe, bringing us up to date with Byzantium, and the threat from the East. But we'll also bring you up to date with Scandinanvia, Russia and France. 

Aug 15, 2014
132 The History of Europe Part VI

The growth of Aragon and its mediterranean empire, consolidation and political change in Northern Italy, fragmentation in Germany; Jan Hus, heresy and the Council of Constance. 

Aug 10, 2014
131 The History of Europe Part V

Ths episode is the first of 3 to bring us up to date with the history of Europe to the time of Henry IVth. This week it's all about the Economic development of Europe, and about some of the technological change that impacts on it

Jul 26, 2014
130 Usurpation

In 1399 Bolingbroke and Richard were locked in a struggle - who would rule England and how. 

Jul 06, 2014
129 Dominion

At last in 1397 Richard would have felt that he had put his past humiliation from the Appellants behind him. But he was no happier or secure. He gathered his private army of Cheshire Archers around him and looked out at the world outside the court with mistrustful eyes. 

Jun 29, 2014
128 The Narcisist

In 1397, Richard finally saw the chance to try to get his revenge on the Appellants - Gloucester, Arundel and Warwick. So the parliament  of September 1397 was momentus. 

Jun 21, 2014
127 A Model of Chivalry

Henry Bolingbroke, Earl of Derby, son of the most powerful magnate in England, was a golden child blessed with every advantage. While Richard tried to get his royal feet under the throne, Bolingbroke left the wife to bring up the children and headed out to fulfil the image of the perfect medieval knight.

Jun 07, 2014
126 An Uneasy Calm

Between the Appellants crisis of 1388 and 1397, Richard ruled with increasingly confidence. He was hardly the most impressive English king but he appeared to have cast off the wildness of his early days, and accepted the need to rule together with his leading magnates.

Jun 01, 2014
125 Accusatio

By 1387, it was becoming clear that the Wonderful Parliament of 1385 had not solved the problem. Pressure had been building, and Gloucester, Warwick and Arundel were far from satisfied - and felt far from safe. The showdown came at the Merciless Parliament of 1388. 

May 24, 2014
124 The Character of a King

From the end of the Peasant's Revolt in 1381, England continues to be managed by the Council, but the young Richard began to have more and more influence. And despite his youth and lack of sole control, what he does manages to raise concern rather than to re-assure. As the war with France goes from bad to worse, by the time 1387 comes around there are more than a few murmers of discontent around. 

May 04, 2014
123 Wycliffe and the Lollards

Wycliffe's views finally began to attract the enmity of the church; and the crown, in the form of Richard, was no longer prepared to protect him - though unexcited about suppression. By 1384, open discussion at Oxford University of Wycliffe's ideas were a thing of the past, and Wycliffe was dead - but a new religious movement called Lollardy was precariously alive. It was helped by the first Bible in English - Wycliffe's Bible. Along with Chaucer, Gower, Langland - English was back to stay. 

Apr 22, 2014
122 Wycliffe and a University Education

Wycliffe's writings were to prove controversial and proved an interesting early echo of the Reformation. They heavily influenced the view of Jan Hus and the movement in Bohemia. And his ability to develop and present those views owed a lot to Oxford University, and its desire to protect intellectual debate and investigation. 

Apr 19, 2014
121 Counter Revolution

After Richard had broken the revolt in London at Smithfield it was time to tackle the chaos outside London. The Counter Revolution took something between 1,500-7,000 judicial executions, and did nothing to solve the breaches in a divided society. Also this week, a look at the state of the nation of the medieval English church, as we approach the story of John Wyclif and the Lollards. 


Apr 12, 2014
120 ...Who was then the Gentleman?

In June 1381 the revolt came to London. Before long, London was in flames, and the qualities of the young king Richard, and his advisors, were tested to the limit as they were made prisoners in their own castle. 

Mar 29, 2014
119 When Adam Delved and Eve Span...

On a hill outside Blackheath, just to the south of London, a hedge priest called John Ball is preaching to a massive crowd of pesants. When Adam delved and Eve span, he asked, who was then the Gentleman? What a great question. So why are there thousands of peasants sitting on a hill outside London? 

Mar 22, 2014
118 Introducing Richard II

Richard arrived with the expectation of a nation on his shoulders - the son of the illustrious hero Edward the Black Prince. So what was Richard like, and how has history treated him? 

Mar 16, 2014
117 The Medieval Year

The rythmn of the year would have been far more important to most medieval people that the goings on at Westminster and the court of the king. The stream of Christian festivals, the odd old survival from days pagan, the demands of the natural world - these were the things that really mattered.

Feb 16, 2014
116 The Good Parliament and a Bad Death

There were now unusual expecations for the parliament of 1376. But in fact a revolt from the Commons was brewing, dismayed by the failures of the war. The Good Parliament set a number of precedents but John of Gaunt did not allow it to stand for long. And by June 1377 both the King and his son the Black Prince were dead. 

Feb 09, 2014
115 The Rotten Apple

From 1371 to 1375 the army went from bad to worse. An English fleet was destroyed at La Rochelle and Poitou and the Saintonge fell to the French. The great counter attack by Gaunt in 1373 was a disaster. And in 1374 the end of English rule in Gascony looked on the cards. The truce of Bruges in 1375 saved the English position - but it all looked very temporary. And back at home, Alice Perrers tightened her grip. 

Feb 02, 2014
114 The Worm in the Apple

On the face of it, the 1360's were a continuation and celebration of the great victories of the 40's and 50's. In 1364, Charles of Blois was defeated and killed at Auray. In 1364 John II died, to be replaced by Charles Vth, and in 1367 the Black Prince won a brilliant victory at Najera. But in fact the English apple had the worm of decay in its centre. 

Jan 18, 2014
113 Fashion in the 14th Century

Fashion finally comes to town in the 14th Century. At the start of the century people are wearing what they've been wearing for centuries. By the end of it there are a wide variety of styles people may choose. 

Jan 11, 2014
112 On the Crest of a Wave

After the victory at Poitiers and capture of the French King, the English seemed to hold all the cards, and the Treaty of Bretigny in 1360 for a while maintained this illusion. Edward basked in his glories, and made sure he had provided for his thre eldest sons - Edward, Lionel and John. 

Dec 31, 2013
111 Poitiers 1356

1356 saw one of the greatest exchange of arms of the war. Early in the year, the Duke of Lancaster attacked into Normandy and with lightening marches ran rings round the French King. Then in the south the Black Prince attacked into the Poitou, seeking to link up with Lancaster on a march towards Paris. The campaign would end of the field of Poitiers as once again an English army faced a much bigger French opponent.

Dec 01, 2013
110 Fire and Sword

In 1354 - 1355 Edward and his court wavered between optimism that a negotiated settlement was within their grasp - and determination to continue to prosecute the war. The Treaty of Guines looked to have given Edward more than he could have hoped for - Aquitaine, Anjou and Calais in return for peace and the renunciation of his claims. But in the end it was to be war again. The Black Prince started things off with the Great Chevaucee

Nov 17, 2013
109 War between the Wars

The period between 1347 and 1353 was one of low level war and violence; punctuated by more or less effective truces. But even the truces don't stop the low level local violence that saw a creeping chaos in areas of France. Meanwhile at home, Edward's parliaments of 1351-3 introduced a range of legislation and saw the Commons become a more unified coherent unit. 

Nov 10, 2013
108 What has the Black Death ever done for you?

The theory runs that the Black Death transformed medieval society. With a dramatic shortage of labour, the English peasant was able to demand whatever wages and terms they wanted - liberating hte English from serfdom. Is this true? And what other impacts did the Black Death have on the medieval mind. 

Nov 03, 2013
107 The Death of Joan

In 1348 a 14 year old royal princess, Joan, set out from Portsmouth to marry Pedro of Castile. Her route went by Bordeaux, and with the massive trousseau she carried - enough to fill an entire ship - she would have expected a comfortable journey. But Joan never arrived.

Oct 19, 2013
106 Neville's Cross, Calais and Roche Derrien

By the end of the march across Normandy in 1346, Edward had accepted that he was not going to be able to hold French territory. But he had a clear objective - Calais. Philip meanwhile now hoped that the Scots would invade an empty, defenceless England and Edward would have to abandon his plans and rush back home.

Oct 13, 2013
105 Crecy

In 1346 Edward invaded finally launched the invasion he had hoped to lead in 1345. The target was Normandy a devastating raid through northern France, a glorious victory in battle followed by - well who knows. There followed a tense camapign that tettered on the edge of disaster until the two armies finally met outside the village of Crecy on 26th August 1346

Oct 05, 2013
104 Lancaster and the battle of Auberoche

Edward had little intention of keeping the truce for long. After a brief period of reconstruction, he repudiated the truce a year early. And so enters one of the most attractive figures of the hundred years war - Henry of Grosmont, the Earl of Derby, the Earl of Lancaster. His campaign in 1345 finally proves that the English can win.

Sep 27, 2013
103 The War in Brittany

1341 saw a serious political crisis - Edward returned home determined to put his English administration, parliament and particularly Archbishop in their places. In fact it's Edward who is forced to back down and accept a punitive legislative programme to rebuild his partnership with the political community. With a truce in place, Edward was saved from a life of fun and luxury by the start of civil war with a disputed succession to the Duchy of Brittany. 

Sep 01, 2013
102 Highs and Lows

In 1340 against all the odds - of numbers and quality - Edward defeated Philip VIth's Great Army of the Sea at Sluys. The impact on morale, English and French was dramatic. But none the less Edward's campaign still failed at the walls of Tournai, and his problems of debt and discordant allies rose like a flood around him.

Aug 31, 2013
101 King of France and England

Edward faced a weary time, a weary time. His allies demanded money, he had none to give them. So they refused to fight, while the French closed in on Gascony and  raided the south coast of England. Edward handed out impossible orders, sacked perfectly competent ministers and became increasingly isolated from his parliament, magnates and ministers. Against this background, in the Friday market at Ghent in 1340, Edward declared himself king of France.

Aug 17, 2013
100 Theatres of War

Edward had traditionally received much of the blame before the start of the Hundred Years War. But in fact there were many reasons why France and England ended up going to war, and many of them relate to French aggression and support for the Scots. And in fact the catalyst for war is the declaration by Philip VI that he has removed the Duke of Aquitaine from his lands - i.e. Edward. This is as straightforward a declaration of war as you are ever likely to see. 

Jul 04, 2013
99 Year One of a Hundred

There were many reasons why France and England went to war, relate to French aggression. The trigger was the declaration by Philip VI that he has removed the Duke of Aquitaine (Edward) from his lands. A pretty clear declaration of war.

Jul 02, 2013
98 The Disinherited

In the early 1330's, Edward was a hero searching for a way to undo the humiliations visited on him by Mortimer and by the French. And Edward Balliol, son of the ex king of Scotland John Balliol, gave him his chance. At the battle of Dupplin Moor, Balliol against all the odds defeated a much large Scottish army, but could not hold Scotland. Edward now had the chance to prove himself - if he could keep the French as bay. 

Jun 30, 2013
97 Above all Princes of his Age

In 1330 a group of Edward's friends gathered together at the foot of the rock on which Nottingham castle stands. They had learnt of a secret passage that led to Mortimer's private chambers, and were looking to free their lord from Mortimer's fierce grip. This week, then, the start of Edward's majority, a survey of how history has treated Edward, and a few of the Chroniclers we will talk about. 

Jun 23, 2013
96 A History of Medieval Europe Part IV

With the defeat of the Hohenstaufen, surely the Papacy had finally won it's battle for supremacy? Actually not. A new challenge rode into town in the form of Phillip IVth of France. And meanwhile the very success of the struggle against the Emperor was to contribute towards the start of the end for that most medieval thing - the unity of Christendom.

Jun 08, 2013
95 The History of Medieval Europe - Part III

Frederick II renewed the argument that had been going on since the time of Otto the Great - Emperor or Pope? This time there would be a solution one way or t'other. Meanwhile the unity of Christendom itself was under threat - ironically from one of it's greatest thinkers. 

May 26, 2013
94a The Mysterious Death of Edward II

Listen, think and vote at or The History of England Podcast facebook group

Now, traditionally, Edward II is supposed to have died after an unfortunate meeting with a red hot poker. Which has always been my firmly and fondly held belief. 

But ladies and gentlemen,History sleuths,  other views are, in fact, available. So this episode is all about whether Edward was 

A) Murdered in 1327 on the orders of Roger Mortimer 


B) Escaped and with the active conivance and knowledge of said Mortimer lived incognito for many years as an ex-pat

May 24, 2013
94 The Reign of Isabella and Mortimer

After Edward II's abdication in January 1327, England was ruled on behalf of the new King Edward III by Queen Isabella. But while Isabella probably wanted a life of respect, comfort and personal wealth Mortimer was hungry for power. This wasn't to be a story about the forces of life overturning the power of darkness. It was to be a new tyranny. 

May 11, 2013
93 The Wages of Tyranny

With the fall of Lancaster, the Despencers were off the leash, and able to vent the full force of their avarice on England. Their power and Edward's inability to control them even came between the king and Isabella - so that after a diplomatic mission to France Isabella refused to return. And then in 1326, she landed in England with 1,500 men and her rebel lover, Roger Mortimer. 

May 04, 2013
92 The Fall of Lancaster

 In 1322, things finally came to a head, and rebellion was out in the open. Lancaster must have had a fighting chance, but it all goes to show that the reign of Edward is essentially about a struggle between mediocrities.

Apr 20, 2013
91 The New Favourites

In the 1310's, Robert Bruce's ambitions grew - not simply content with throwing the English out of Scotland, or burning the north of England - he now wanted to establish his own Empire. And so his brother Edward was sent to invade Ireland, where he would face the king's friend - Roger Mortimer. Meanwhile in England Edward and Lancaster tried to work it out and live together in peace and harmony - and failed. 

Apr 01, 2013
90 How to hold a parliament

The modus tenendi parliamentum is a very unusual document from around this time. It describes how parliaments should be held, but also includes a number of very interesting claims about the primacy of the commons. It's interesting for the procedures and atmosphere around parliaments - as long as we take it with a pinch of salt. Also this week we hear and the political war with Lancaster, the physical war with the Scots  and defeat at Bannockburn.

Mar 30, 2013
89 The Great Famine

For a long time we have been having a ball, economy wise - the medieval warm period, towns springing up all over the place, prices gently rising, population growing. So the Great Famine of 1315-1317 came as a terrible shock. Over 500-750,000 people died, as years of bad weather destroyed the feeling of economic well being. The question is whether or not this was a blip or part of a wider trend?

Mar 23, 2013
88 Politics, scandal, intrigue and turmoil

The period between 1308 and 1311 was dominated by the attempts of the barons to resolve the issues left unsolved from Edward I's reign; and by the scandal and disruption caused by the king's favourite, Piers Gaveston. The conflict and turmoil led to another constitutional shuffle forward with the powers and role of parliament in the Ordinances of 1311. 

Feb 23, 2013
87 Scandal was brought upon the People

This week, and introduction to Edward II, quite probably the most reviled king in English history. So this week he have a bit of a survey of how history has treated the lad, and the chroniclers that have given him his reputation. And then we kick of the reign. 

Feb 16, 2013
86 Handing over

In 1305 two Scottish lords had a fall out next to the altar of a church in Dumfries. One them, Robert Bruce, resolved the argument by sticking a knife in the other, John the Red Comyn. Robert then raised the standard of rebellion and with the support of Robert Wishart, and the Scottish war was back on. Two years later, campaigning in Scotland, Edward finally reached the end of his death. Hate him or loathe him, Edward can at least say that no-one could ignore him. And there is something relentless about his tomb and inscription that sums up the man. 

Feb 10, 2013
85 Crime and Punishment

A digression this week - the state of the crime and punishment in 14th century, and the story of the theft of the crown jewels in 1303. We also get the final and rather gruesome end of William Wallace in 1305. 

Feb 03, 2013
84 War, Tournaments and Victory

We spend a bit of time in this episode having a bit of a catchup up - about arms, armour and armies, and about warfare for real and for pretend. Despite that we also find time to talk about the seeming final surrender of the Scots in 1305  - so how about that for value then? 

Jan 19, 2013
83 Crisis

From 1297, things became harder for Edward. The relentless pressure of external wars led to increased taxation. This continuous pressure on the magnates, church and people eventually led to a resistance. Edward's personality didn't help; up to now, he had carried everything before him - now, suddenly, he's faced with the concept of compromise. Meanwhile in the north it's come-uppance time for Wallace at the battle of Falkirk. 

Jan 12, 2013
82 The Sucker Punch

Since the Treaty of Paris in 1259, England and France had been friends, united by a monarchy with close ties and relationships. So when in 1293 a dispute blew up over a sea fight in the Channel, Edward clearly didn't expect it to become a problem.  But in fact Phillip IV (the Fair) of France was keen to strengthen the power of the French monarchy - and that didn't include having Gascony controlled by a foreign king. 

Dec 30, 2012
81 The Great Cause

Through a stunning piece of bad luck, Alexander III left no heirs. And now there was no clear successor to his throne of Scotland. For the search for the right successor, the Scottish Guardians of the Realm turned to Scotland's friend - England. But Edward had other plans - for him this was a great opportunity to revive the claims of the kings of England to be overlords of all Britain. 

Dec 22, 2012
80 In which we Dawdle

When Edward I arrived back in 1289 from Gascony, he was in many ways at the height of his awesomeness. A chivalric monarch, a leading stateman in Christendom, and at least partly responsible for legal reforms, that will cause a historian to call him 'the English Justinian'. But he also had problems. He was strapped for cash. There was a background of discontent against the firmness of Edward's rule. But Edward was a clever politician as well as a chivalric monarch, and knew how to negotiate his way back to popularity - and it would not be good news for England's Jewish community.

Dec 02, 2012
79 Conqueror and Statesman

The second Anglo Welsh war was very different in character to the first. Here was a genuinely national uprising against rule by the English. Here was a war with no compromise - where Edward clearly decided from the start that the only long term issue was complete conquest. 

Nov 24, 2012
78 The Crisis in Wales

In 1270, you would have been more likely to pick Alexander, king of Scotland or Llewellyn of Wales as the leader most likely to breach the peace. Edward looked more like a candidate for a peace prize. And, Wales was more united than ever; at the Treaty of Montgomery in 1267 Llewellyn had been confirmed as Prince of Wales. So the events of 1277 was something of a surprise. 

Nov 17, 2012
77 Reconstruction

The country Edward came back to in 1274 wasn't in particularly good nick. Crime was on the rise, with a general disaffection with the regime as the benzedrine of de Montfort's years continued to race through the nation's veins. The magnates were used to ignoring Henry and his royal officials. There was no money in the treasury. With the help of Robert Burnell and his close circle of magnates, in the first few years of his realm Edward re-established a good degree of firm government, financial stability  - and built a shared esprit de corps between him and his court. 

Nov 10, 2012
76 The Personal Rule of Henry III Part 2

The last 5 years of Henry's rule were pretty eventful. The Statute of Marlborough confirmed the changes of the Provisions of Westminster, but royal power remained based on the pre-Provisions of Oxford basis. Edward whiled away his time by going on crusade, returning in August 1274 for his coronation. 

Oct 21, 2012
75 Nemesis

In April 1265 Gilbert de Clare had left court in something of a huff. De Montfort was well aware that if he lost de Clare, his whole hold on power would be threatened. 

Oct 13, 2012
74 The Wheel of Fortune

In 1264 when De Montfort set out from London he would have been conscious that this was a last throw; after losses to the Royalists in the midlands his only chance was a decisive victory. Lewes gave him that victory, and opened a remarkable period in England's history, a period of constitutional monarchy. 

Oct 13, 2012
73 Return of the Jedi

In 1262, it looked for all the world as though the royal party was back in control and the whole struggle for reform was over. But that was before you take into account the ability of Henry, Eleanor and their son to get up the collective English nose. So de Montfort was able to return and once again the battle was on. This time though, the royal party fought back right away, and won a string of victories. By March 1264, De Montfort was drinking at the last chance saloon. 

Oct 06, 2012
72 The Empire Strikes Back

Things looked pretty good for the reformers in 1259; but at the heart of the reform movement were faultlines that weakened them, and made them vulnerable. The differing aims of the magnates; the avarice of de Montfort; and the fact that would pague the civil war 400 years later - how ever many times they defeated the king, he would still be the king. And in 1261, the royal fight back began.

Sep 22, 2012
71 Enter the Leopard

We sort of get back to the political narrative this week, but only sort of. We discuss the young prince, Edward, who will be one of England's most famous kings at some point and is already an important political player, and we bring oursleves back up to date with the relevance of the provisionf of Oxford

Sep 15, 2012
70 13 C Lords, Knights and Gentry

The 13th Century sees the start of changes that will come to full fruit in the 14th Century - the development of the role of the knight in the shires, the appearance of the 'Gentleman', Bastard Feudalism. 

Sep 08, 2012
69 13th C Life - Merchants and Magnates

Wool was the wealth of England, the great trade that brought wealth and prosperity to England. The people who really made the money were the big ticket Italian Merchants. This week we also look at the life of Magnates, the super-rich during the period, and their households.

Sep 02, 2012
68 13 C Life - Peasants fighting back...and Towns

Being a Peasant was no doubt a pretty hard existance. But they were not without their methods of fighting back, and protecting their rights. This week also we look at the history of towns in the 13th century, as the economy continues to grow. 

Aug 05, 2012
67 13th Century Life - Peasants

Over the 13th century, economic growth continued. For the Peasantry, this gave some opportunities; more chance to sell their produce and get involved in a wider range of money making ventures. It meant that population growth continued, since cottagers and wage earners were able to make enoiugh to get by on small plots of land; and so the density of landholding grew. During the 13th century all of this is fine - but there could be trouble ahead. 

Aug 05, 2012
66 The Road to Revolution

In 1258, the resentments all came together and the pot boiled over. The pope Alexander did his vassal no favours what so ever by pushing so hard that Henry had to ask his great men for more money.Together with some blazing rows between the Lusignans and the English barons, the spark had been applied to the powder keg. The result was the hobbling of the king by the Provisions of Oxford. 

Jul 15, 2012
65 Why was Henry III so unpopular?

It seems strange. Henry III was a likeable enough chap, who did his best to keep a harmonious court, and gave England an extended period of peace. And yet it's all going to go up in flames around him. So the question is, why was he so unpopular? 

Jul 07, 2012
64 The Personal Rule of Henry III - Part 1

Henry III brushed off his great officers of state and the priod of 1234 to 1258 is a period of personal rule. Henry finds himself a wife, a new personal favourite in the form of Simon de Montfort, and makes one last attempt to regain Poitou. 

Jun 27, 2012
63 The Last Great Justiciar

From 1227 to 1234 we are sort of in betweeners - the minority has ended, but Henry's government in still dominated by the old guard, people like Hubert de Burgh. But it doesn't go well - money is still tight, Henry's campaigns in France aren't great, and in 1232 Peter des Roches, the old enemy, is back in town. 

Jun 23, 2012
62 The Minority Abroad

Harmony with Scotland, the career of Llewellyn the Great, the loss of Poitou. During the minority of Henry, English prestige and power was at something of a low point - with the one exception of Gascony, where a supreme effort brought one success. And meanwhile in Souther France, the Cathars burned. 

Jun 02, 2012
61 The minority of Henry III

The years between 1219 and 1227 saw the gradual resumption of royal power. It also saw a power struggle between Peter des Roches, the Bishop of Winchester, and Hubert de Burgh the Justiciar. By January 1227 when Henry took control of the royal seal, that struggle at least seemed to be fully resolved in favour of Hubert. 

May 19, 2012
60 The Regency of William the Marshal

A man was needed to guide England through a civil war and minority. So who do you think they picked? The answer was of course William the Marshal who was now a very old man by the standards of the time. The Earl of Chester was politely asked, given the size of his holdings, but there was no holding William. In the two and a half years left to him, William was able to throw Louis out of the England and establish Henry as the rightful king. But he left an awful lot more for his successors to do. 


May 07, 2012
59 Magna Carta and the Death of a Tyrant

Bouvines wasn't the cause of the Baronial revolt, but it probably was John's last chance to avoid it. In 1215 at Runymede Magna Carta was signed. It's extremely unlikely that John ever intended to allow the treaty to survive - and his untimely death at Newark was the biggest single factor in Magna Carta's survival. 

May 05, 2012
58 Tyranny and Death

From 1213 to 1214, John seemed to have got his problems more under control, and had built an alliance that looked to be capable of taking on Philip. There was trouble in the background caused by the tyranny of his rule and relationship with his barons, but his reconciliation with the Papacy and his international alliance held it at bay. But his hopes died on the field of Bouvines. 

Apr 21, 2012
57 The Excommunicate

John took a detailed interest in administration, and made effective changes to the way things worked. Partly his interest was motivated by the need to raise money - as inflation ate away at his earnings, and his desire to reconquer France magnified his need. The break with the church from 1208 to 1213 actually helped his need for money, and doesn't appear to have materially damaged his reputation in England.

Apr 06, 2012
56 The History of Medieval Europe Part 2

The Holy Roman Empire to the death of Barbarossa, the briefest of histories of Norway, Denmark and Spain, and the 4th Crusade. It's action packed.

Mar 31, 2012
55 The History of Medieval Europe Part 1

From Charles Martel and the battle of Tours in 732, through Charlemagne and Otto the Great, the first installment concentrates on France, Germany and Italy and takes us to the shores of Gregory VIIth. 

Mar 25, 2012
54 Fighting Back - A Bit

John immediately launched attempts to get his lands back - and ran into the Barons. He does run up a pretty good Navy though. And we hear of Roland the Farter. 

Mar 17, 2012
53 Torn Apart - the Loss of an Empire

After the defection of William des Roches the military situation was poor for John but not irretrievable. Unfortunately, John failed to provide the leadership needed.  He distrusted his barons; he panicked and had no coherent strategy. When he killed Arthur, he pushed the self destruct button, and Normandy collapsed from with - the Barons no longer supported the descendants of William the Bastard. 

Mar 11, 2012
52 John Softsword

As a younger man, John had been given the nickname Lackland because unlike his brothers he didn't have his own appanage. At the Treaty of Le Goulet in May 1200 he acquired the name Softsword - people couldn't understand why he'd signed away Gisors, parts of Berry, £20,000 and bent his knee to Phillip. On the other hand, John probably felt he'd had a good deal. Then John caused fury with the Lusignan by stealing their bride, they appealed to Phillip and and Phillip declared John to be stripped of his lands. But at the start of the war, John gets off to a flyer. 

Feb 18, 2012
51 The Fouler Presence of John?

In 1199, Richard the Lion Heart died after being shot by a cook outside the castle of Chalus in the Limousin. The Empire was split between supporters of Arthur and supporters of John. Philip was for himself, with a bit for Arthur. That year was one of John's best years, where he showed that he could be effective. 

Feb 11, 2012
50 Defence of the Empire

The war between Richard and Phillip went on from 1194-1198 in fits and starts; usually there was no more than 3 months of fighting before a truce came along. But the general flow was steadily in Richard's favour when in 1198 they agreed to make peace. Meanwhile in England Hubert Walter ran an efficient administration that fed Richard with troops and arms.

Feb 04, 2012
49 Travel Chaos

Richard set off from Outremer right at the end of the sailing season - October. He knew the Duke of Austria, the Holy Roman Emperor, Count of Toulouse and King of France were out to get him, so very sensibly tried to slip across their lands in disguise. Rubbish plan, predictable revolt. Meanwhile back in England John was making a bit for power, Phillip making his first attempt to bring down the Angevin Empire - and Robin Hood might have been hanging out in Sherwood Forest. Richard eventually arrived home at the start of 1194. 

Jan 22, 2012
48 Richard and the Third Crusade

Was the Third Crusade a success or a failure? While it failed to achieve its objective, it was the most successful after the First Crusade. It rescued Outremer from an eradication that looked all too likely in 1190. The Crusade was controversial even at the time - in the eyes of most of Christendom it made Richard a hero - the victor of Acre and Arsuf. But to Philip's friends, Richard had failed, and betrayed Christendom to the Turk. To my mind it gave Outremer another century of life until the fall of Acre in 1291. 

Jan 15, 2012
47 The Fall of Jerusalem

For 50 or so years after the capture of Jerusalem, Outremer was a part of the political and military dance between Christian and Muslim states. Then in 1144, signs of Muslim unity begin to appear through Nur ed Din when Edessa falls, and by 1150 one of the states is wiped off the map. Outremer has passed it's high point. But it's not until the 1170's that Saladin, as leader of unified empire that included Egypt and Syria, was able to really threaten the Christian states. In 1187, after the dramatic battle of Hattin, Jerusalem and most of Outremer falls and is left with just a few toe holds on the coast. in 1190, Saladin's army is looking to finish the job when Richard and Phillip arrive at Acre. 

Jan 15, 2012
46 Richard and the Road to Outremer

Richard set off from Sicily probably intending to go straight to the Holy Land. But a chance storm enforced a landing at Cyprus, where the locals were not friendly. Which meant that Richard ended up conquering the place in it's entirety, putting it's ruler Isaac Comnenus in chains of silver, and selling the island to the Templars. 

Jan 08, 2012
45 Packing the Bags

Richard came into the lands of his father and was crowned at Westminster in 1189.  For the next 6 months he was packing his bags,  cleaning the fridge and getting ready to go. He sets up his administration, makes sure his borders are safe and sets off for Sicily. So was Richard a feckless warrior who had no interest in administration ? We talk about this and also about the Jewish communities in England in the 11th and 12th Centuries. AND Don't forget to go to post for the Great British Coin Giveaway

Dec 17, 2011
44 The Lionheart

To most contemporaries, Richard I was a hero. Since then his reputation has suffered badly, until even Winston Churchill describes him as the worst of our Richards - which given the other two is going some. So we look at how history has treated the guy, his early years, and what he was like. And we look at how to behave in medieval company.

Dec 17, 2011
43 The Greatest of all Monarchs
Dec 12, 2011
42 English Justice and the Invasion of Ireland

So here are two completely unconnected subjects then! Henry is responsible for reforms to the process of English justice that had a long lasting impact on English Justice - including the development of Common law and the Jury system. OK, so he wasn't thinking about the long term futuire, all he wanted to do was to bring more royal revenue in, and more quickly; but none the less, a long term impact he had. The events of his reign would also have a long term impact on Irish politics and society. in 1169. Richard  'Strongbow'  FitzGilbert arrived on the coast of Ireland with the Gaelic king of Leinster, and the Anglo Norman invasion was on. 

Nov 19, 2011
41 Murder in the Cathedral
After Thomas recanted from his signature of the Constitutions of Clarendon, things got really nasty. Before long, Thomas was in exile, and Henry couldn't care less. But by 1167 the political situation had changed - Henry wanted to crown his son, and the Archbishop of Canterbury wasn't around to do...
Nov 10, 2011
40 Bishop Trouble
The 1160's. A time of consolidation of the Angevin Empire, still ruled by a dynamic, young and aggressive Henry. But mainly remembered for the start of the struggle between church and state - or more accurately, the struggle between Henry and Thomas Becket. We start that well trodden paths, with...
Nov 06, 2011
39 Ruling the Angevin Empire
Bear in mind at all times that Henry, while being a Good King, was a tyrant. Still, he was a tyrant who ran a mean administrative system for the time. This week, the nature of the Angevin empire, how it was ruled, and a bit about travel and economy. Click...
Oct 30, 2011
38 Born of the Devil - the Angevins
Geniuses, devils, spoilt brats, villains, heroes; war, sex, violence, bravery, treachery, peace, reform... the Angevins that founded the Plantagenet dynasty have it all, in spades. Not so much history, as soap opera. This week we kick things off with the arrival of Henry II and Eleanor on the English throne....
Oct 16, 2011
37 12th Century Life - Village, Town and Trade
12th Century England was envied for it's fertility and yes it's climate. Any during the 12th century, the population of England and its towns and villages expand. But by and large, this is expansion without growth, and for many average income falls. 37 12th C Life - Village Town and...
Oct 09, 2011
36 Magnates and Churchmen
After joining Henry II's household, William's rise was steady - but with the arrival of Richard the Lion Heart it really took off. By the time of his death he was one of the most powerful men of the realm. We also look at the church - the village priest, monasteries, and what went on under a monk's habit.
Oct 01, 2011
35 12th Century Life - A Knight's Tale
Medieval England thought of it's people in 3 estates - those who fight (nobles), those who pray (churchmen) and those who work (peasants). This week in the history of England we look at the life of the nobility, through the life of William the Marshal. Click and play podcast: 35...
Sep 25, 2011