Religion

In this section religions, religious belief and many elements of religiosity are explored and discussed. Early pagan beliefs in Britain and Ireland to the worship of gods across Europe are explored as are the religious changes that monotheism introduced. How religion affects themes of power, individuality and architecture are debated as are key historical movements such as the Reformation and the crusades.

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  • The Christian Kingdoms of Nubia and Ethiopia

    Article

    Adam Simmons draws our attention to the need for further research into the relationship between the medieval Kingdoms of Ethiopia and Nubia – a fascinating time and place in African history which is neglected in the historical archive and about which, so far, there are only limited sources. The kingdoms of Ethiopia...

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  • The British Empire on trial

    Article

    In the light of present-day concerns about the place, in a modern world, of statues commemorating figures whose roles in history are of debatable merit, Dr Gregory Gifford puts the British Empire on trial, presenting a balanced case both for and against. In June 2020 when the statue of slave-trader Edward Colston...

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  • What did it mean to be a city in early modern Germany?

    Article

    Alexander Collin examines the significance of cities within the Holy Roman Empire in early modern times. With a strong political identity of their own, cities were at the heart of the Empire’s economy and, also, centres of theological and social change. If you have ever read a description of a...

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  • Out and About in Cairo

    Article

    Nicolas Kinloch guides us round the fascinating city of Cairo. Cairo has always been a traveller’s destination. That indefatigable explorer, ibn Battuta, arrived there in 1326, and declared that it was ‘boundless in its multitude of buildings, peerless in beauty and splendour...extending a friendly welcome to strangers’. Most of this is...

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  • My Favourite History Place: St James Church, Gerrards Cross

    Article

    Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, is a well-to-do town in the Chilterns and a wealthy commuter dormitory for London. It also harbours what might be one of the most remarkable, under-appreciated churches of the mid-nineteenth century. St James, the parish church, was built for the ‘unruled and unruly’ agricultural labourers and traders who inhabited...

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  • Queens of Jerusalem: The Women Who Dared to Rule

    Article

    Queens of Jerusalem: The Women Who Dared to Rule, Katherine Pangonis, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2021, 250p, £20-00. ISBN 978-1-4746-1407-8. For many historians Outremer was the destination of the Crusades and our focus has been on what happened to the crusaders, both on their journeys and in their struggles at that...

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  • Come Wind, Come Weather: Storm: Tempest and Other Natural Phenomena within Local Sources

    Article

    Come Wind, Come Weather: Storm: Tempest and Other Natural Phenomena within Local Sources, Trevor James, Lichfield Press, 2021, 116p. £10-00.  ISBN 978-0-905985-62-6  What a pleasure it is to review a book by that arch-reviewer, Dr Trevor James. This book follows closely on his previous one, England’s Saintly Landscapes, and confirms...

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  • Building St James's spire: Louth's guilds and popular piety in the later middle ages

    Article

    Medieval historian Dr Claire Kennan continued our Virtual Branch series with a local history talk on the building of St James's spire, Louth.  In her talk Kennan traces the important role that Louth's major guilds of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Holy Trinity played in the building of the St James’s spire. Throughout the...

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  • My Favourite History Place: The Chantry Chapel of St Mary on Wakefield Bridge

    Article

    Wakefield Bridge Chapel, by the River Calder, is thought by many to be the finest of four bridge chantries, the others being Bradford-on-Avon, Derby and Rotherham. The chapel at Wakefield was originally founded and endowed by the people of Wakefield and district between 1342 and 1359. In 1397 Edmund de Langley,...

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  • Out and About: Tynemouth Priory

    Article

    Approximately 10 miles east of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and just over 10 minutes walk from my home, the imposing ruins of Tynemouth Priory command sea, river, and land from the promontory between King Edward’s Bay and Prior’s Haven. While the Priory dates back to the eleventh century, the headland on which it sits,...

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  • Monty’s school: the benign side of Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

    Article

    Field-Marshal Montgomery has a reputation as a strong-willed battle-hardened leader, with a touch of the impetuous. Few know of his charitable side and yet in his later years this side was just as important to his activities. In this article we find out a bit more of this often simplistically...

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  • History Abridged: the Acropolis

    Article

    History Abridged: This feature seeks to take a person, event or period and abridge, or focus on, an important event or detail that can get lost in the big picture. Think Horrible Histories for grownups (without the songs and music). The Acropolis of Athens is one of the landmarks of...

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  • Out and About in Paestum

    Article

    Trevor James introduces the extraordinary archaeological remains from Greek and Roman occupation to be found at Paestum. Paestum is the more recent name of a location originally known as Poseidonia, named in honour of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. Poseidonia was a Greek settlement or colony on the west...

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  • The many queens of Ancient Egypt

    Article

    Joyce Tyldesley explains the significant but often hidden roles played by queens in Ancient Egypt.   For almost 3,000 years – from the unification of the land in 3100 BC to the arrival of Alexander the Great in 332 BC – the king (or pharaoh) of Egypt served as an essential...

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  • Sacred waters: Bath in the Roman Empire

    Article

    Eleri Cousins explores the dynamics of Romano-British religion at the sanctuary at Bath. What do you think of when you think of Roman Bath?  Most of us probably think of, well, the Baths – in particular the iconic image of the Great Bath, with its Roman swimming basin and its...

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  • Real Lives: Tahereh (Tāhirih)

    Article

    Paula Kitching tells us of the incredible courage shown by Fatima Baraghani while campaigning for human rights, especially women’s rights in nineteenth century Persia. Fatima Baraghani lived in nineteenth century Persia and was a poet, a religious leader and a campaigner for women’s rights. She was born sometime between 1814 and 1919,...

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  • Michael Wood, Hadrian and the Making of Early England

    Article

    Michael Wood opened the summer lecture series for the HA virtual Branch on the Making of Early England. In it he introduced key characters and texts that help to establish the cultural past of that time and also reveal to us what we know of it. These people included overlooked...

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  • England’s Saintly Landscape

    Article

    England’s Saintly Landscape, Trevor James, Lichfield Press, 2020, 95 pp, £10-00. ISBN 978-0-905985-94-7 The author is quick to credit W G Hoskins and Eilert Ekwall and their influence is readily apparent in the enthusiasm that permeates this study. Trevor James’ contention is that church dedications, place names, pilgrimage routes, local industries, fairs and...

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  • The 1620 Mayflower voyage and the English settlement of North America

    Article

    On the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims in New England on the Mayflower, Martyn Whittock explores the reasons for migration to the New World in 1620 and later, and the significance of those migrants, both at the time and their impact on the evolution of the USA...

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  • Film: Religion and Tudor Royal Authority – discussion

    Article

    In this film Professor Sue Doran, Jesus College, University of Oxford and Professor Steven Gunn, Merton College, University of Oxford, look at the role religion played in defining the reigns and authority of the Tudor monarchs.

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