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The History Vault

Five minutes with… Dan Snow

Dan Snow is an author, historian, TV presenter and the mastermind behind the hugely popular History Hit podcast series. His latest BBC endeavour, 1066: A Year To Conquer England, is available via iPlayer.  What is an historian? Someone who explores what happened before now. Was there anything in particular that made you decide to pursue a career in history? Nope. History was so woven with my …

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Five minutes with… Jem Duducu

Jem Duducu is a historian and author of The Presidents in 100 Facts, The Busy Person’s Guide to British History and Deus Vult, among many others history books. He is also the mastermind behind History Gems and runs the regular podcast series Condensed History Gems. What is an historian? Someone who brings the past to life but leaves their personal biases …

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Five minutes with… Olivette Otele

Dr Olivette Otele is a historian of transnational colonial history at the College of Liberal Arts, Bath Spa University. Her latest book, a history Afro-Europeans will be released next year.  What is an historian? A person who seeks to not only understand, to write histories that influence our comprehension of the past. He/she is passionate about trajectories and experiences that shaped societies. …

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Spells for sale: the grubby reality of magic in early modern England

By Francis Young Popular perceptions of magic in Tudor and Stuart England have largely been formed by scholarship on three figures, one real and two fictional: John Dee (1527–1608/9), the astrologer and crystal-gazer who famously advised Elizabeth I; Prospero, the magician in Shakespeare’s The Tempest; and Christopher Marlowe’s learned and hubristic Doctor Faustus. Unfortunately, none of these figures is truly …

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A Disaster in Bolama by Joanne Major & Sarah Murden

Henry Hew Dalrymple (1750-1795) has been forgotten by history, but in his lifetime he enjoyed a brief period of renown. During 1788 and 1789 he travelled to the Caribbean island of Grenada where he owned a plantation, but appalled at the treatment of the slaves, he took the decision to free all those on his own land. Back in London, …

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Why Society Needs Historians

The following article was written by Jonathan Healey for The Social Historian Blog. Jonathan Healey is Associate Professor in Social History at the University of Oxford. Society doesn’t need a 21-year-old who is a sixth century historian. It needs a 21-year-old who really understands how to analyse things, understands the tenets of leadership and contributing to society, who is a thinker and …

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Scandalous Liaisons, Charles II and his Court by R.E. Pritchard

Everyone knows of King Charles II as ‘the merry monarch’, with his perky Cockney mistress, Nell Gwyn. We think of a Court life of gaiety and romance; portraits of the time depict glamorous figures flamboyant in silks, satin and ruffles, with flowing, lustrous locks (and that’s just the men,let alone the Court beauties); records list astonishing displays of wealth, often …

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In search of Lord Lovell

It was a beautiful afternoon on which to visit an ancient medieval ruin in the middle of England. Minster Lovell was once home to Viscount Lovell, one of England’s richest barons. But what I saw, when I started to take a few photographs, had the hairs rising on the back of my neck. Lovell was Richard lll’s Lord Chamberlain , who, because of …

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Medieval Textiles

Many modern people think that clothes in the Middle Ages were drab, grey-brown things. Archaeological finds of clothing or textiles, rare as they are, often seem to support this: they all look brown. This brown-ness is deceptive, though. Medieval people enjoyed colours, and dyeing textiles has been done since at least the Bronze Age. Modern methods are getting better and …

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Five minutes with… Gill Hoffs

Gill Hoffs grew up on the Scottish coast before gaining a BSc in Psychology from the University of Glasgow. Gill’s short nonfiction, Black Fish, won the 2011 Spilling Ink Nonfiction Prize, and her work is widely available online and in print, including Wild: a collection (Pure Slush, 2012) and The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the ‘Victorian …

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