A Short History of England: The Glorious Story of a Rowdy by Simon Jenkins

By Simon Jenkins

The heroes and villains, triumphs and failures of English background are immediately familiar—from the Norman Conquest to Henry VIII, Queen Victoria to the 2 international Wars. yet to appreciate their complete importance we have to be aware of the full story.

A brief heritage of England sheds new mild on all of the key members and occasions in English historical past through bringing them jointly in an enlightening account of the country’s delivery, upward thrust to worldwide prominence, after which partial eclipse. Written with aptitude and authority through Guardian columnist and London Times former editor Simon Jenkins, this is often the definitive narrative of the way today’s England got here to be. Concise yet complete, with greater than 100 colour illustrations, this gorgeous single-volume heritage often is the regular paintings for years to come.

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Extra info for A Short History of England: The Glorious Story of a Rowdy Nation

Sample text

Only when referring to all these collectively do I use the terms Britain and Britons. Indeed England is now part of two confederacies, of the United Kingdom and of the European Union, with separate assemblies and variable tiers of sovereignty. To be British and to be European is to be a legal member of one of those unions, and to become British is to sign a piece of paper. To be English is more a matter of self-definition, identifying with a distinctive culture and outlook as well as geography.

Building began on the fortress cathedral of Durham and later on Westminster Hall by the Thames, probably the biggest buildings, ecclesiastical and secular, in northern Europe at the time. Such spending demanded an increasingly severe fiscal policy. Rufus confiscated the revenues of all heirs inheriting under age. When the archbishop of Canterbury, Lanfranc, died in 1089, Rufus left his post vacant to pocket the Canterbury income. During the instability following the Conqueror’s death, the lords of the Welsh and Scottish ‘marches’, or borders, took quasi-autonomous power from the monarch, symbolised by Goodrich castle on the Wye.

Seeing their chance, four Norman knights fought their way to him and hacked him to pieces. With the death of their leader, the Saxons fled to the surrounding woods. Harold’s body was so mutilated in the melee that his mistress, the charmingly named Edith Swan-Neck, had to be summoned to identify its parts. Harold was buried at Waltham Abbey, north of London. The narrative of Hastings was recorded in a tapestry, commissioned probably from English needleworkers by Bishop Odo, William’s half-brother.

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