Category Archives: British

When Twitter+History=Awesome: #AskHenryVIII

I have been on Twitter (@a_williams06 and @MyLifeIsHistory) for over four years now, and I find it awesome. I use my personal account to keep tabs on friends, institutions, favorite artists and celebrities, causes I care about, etc. My “professional” account (the one I use for this blog) is used for following Twitter accounts that have a historical focus. These include museums, individuals, universities, professional organizations, and so forth. Mostly I post links to articles, but occasionally I’ll put in more personal tweets. Sometimes, Twitter can be put to use as a method of historical conversations… Continue reading When Twitter+History=Awesome: #AskHenryVIII


Sutton Hoo, treasure hunters and a lucky escape

I’ve seen the Sutton Hoo treasure at the British Museum! I experienced the exhibit back in September 2010 when I arrived in England to study at Lancaster University for a semester. Hearing so much about it and then seeing it made me want to study Anglo-Saxon England more, as it did the curator of the collection and author of this blog post.

Interestingly, it is a dream of mine to work at the museum one day, even as a volunteer. I love English history, and to be able to interact with old treasures such as these would be incredible.

British Museum blog

Sutton Hoo helmet Sue Brunning, curator, British Museum

Fifteen years ago I visited the British Museum as an undergraduate. As someone who’d most recently studied the English Civil War, I’d taken a course on Anglo-Saxon England because I was curious to learn what life was like at a time when the date only had three numbers in it. Our professor brought us to Room 41, the gallery of Early Medieval Europe – and there I had a fateful encounter with the Sutton Hoo ship burial. Dating to the early AD 600s, this remarkable Anglo-Saxon grave in Suffolk was arranged inside a 27-metre-long ship and covered with an earth mound, known to posterity as ‘Mound 1’. The burial’s spectacular nature has fuelled speculation that it belonged to a king of East Anglia. Seeing it back then for the first time, I was genuinely inspired. I’ve studied the Anglo-Saxons ever since.

Curators Sue Brunning (r) and Rosie Weetch (l) installing the Sutton Hoo helmet in the gallery Curators Sue Brunning (r)…

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The Holing Game: The Curious Case of Hole v. White

(Editor’s note: This submission is from an English friend of mine, Hannah. I met Hannah when I studied in England in 2010, and she became one of my closest friends (especially because we were in the Lancaster University History Society together, and, well, that is awesome!)

In early modern England slander and libel were a very serious business. One of the most bizarre court cases recorded is that of Hole v. White. The case drew out for four years of testimonies, punishments and charges supervised by the Star Chamber, one of the most powerful courts in England.

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This Week in History: The Death of Jane Seymour

It could be said that King Henry VIII of England went through wives like tissues. I mean, seriously! After Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn (his first and second wives respectively) kicked the bucket in 1536, good ol’ King Hal wed Lady Jane Seymour, daughter of Sir John Seymour of Wolf Hall in Wiltshire (a county in southwest England) just two weeks after the execution of Anne Boleyn in London.

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This Week in History: The Finding of the Rosetta Stone

One of my favorite things to do in my spare time is browse history news articles. And, in doing so, I found that it was this week in 1799 that the Rosetta Stone was discovered. What is the Rosetta Stone, you ask? Only one of the most important artifacts ever found. The primary importance of the Rosetta Stone is that it helped paved the way for understanding Egyptian hieroglyphs.

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The Finding of the ‘Car Park King’

I was recently invited to submit a summary of the news media surrounding the search for and discovery of King Richard III by the chief editor of the Midwest World History Association’s online journal, the Middle Ground. I happily complied, and the following is what I wrote, summarized from the numerous links I have posted on this blog’s Facebook page. Please note that I have deliberately left out any real personal commentary. I will be musing on that later. 🙂

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Family of Love

(Editor’s note: Rosemarie was one of the first people I met when I studied overseas two years ago, and she and I have remained in pretty good contact since then. She’s going to become a regular contributor to the blog (since I’m a pretty persuasive person like that), and she’ll provide not only international flair but also another voice! 🙂 )

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The White Rose Bled Red: Was Henry VI to Blame for the Fifteenth Century English Civil Wars?

(Author’s note: This post is based on research conducted at my time at Lancaster University in the U.K. Note that no primary sources were consulted given the nature of the assignment.)

The fifteenth century saw a period of civil wars in Britain, later termed the Wars of the Roses. Most history books tell us that these series of battles occurred between the cadet branches of the English royal family, both Plantagenets but one descended from the duchy of Lancaster and one from the duchy of York.

Continue reading The White Rose Bled Red: Was Henry VI to Blame for the Fifteenth Century English Civil Wars?

Holy is as Holy Does: Elizabeth Barton, the Nun of Kent

Holy is as holy does…

One would think that during the religiously and politically chaotic times of the 1530s in England, many people would learn to NOT incite the wrath of a vengeful monarch. But, no, many people tempted Madame Fate by actually disagreeing with their lovingly gentle and just monarch King Henry VIII, especially on the issue of his desire for an annulment of his marriage to the saintly Catherine of Aragon. With many people losing their heads and quite literally losing their own heads over “the Great Matter”, it must certainly have been an interesting period of time during which to live.

Continue reading Holy is as Holy Does: Elizabeth Barton, the Nun of Kent