I’ve loved and lived with the story of the history of the English for as long as I can remember. This is my retelling of that story, in a regular, chronological podcast; we go from the cataclysmic end of Roman Britain, and at some point will get all the way through to the present day.
I am a history graduate, but I am not a professional academic historian; I am essentially a bloke in a shed. Here you can see a picture of the shed, which is not pretty, but at least I have left out the sound of the rats in the rafters. And one of the daughters did paint the end pretty colours, so it’s looked worse. Anyway, enough of the shed. It is a silly place.
I’ve done everything I can to make this good, rigorous history – but it’s not a dry retelling of events. You’ll find my love of and enthusiasm for our history, and some of the things that make me laugh. You’ll find the great events and people for sure – but also some of the byways as well as the highways, of how people lived, their language, and the forces that shaped their lives and destinies.
To get the best out the podcast it’s best to follow it through chronologically to some degree at least. Ideally that means from episode 1 and onwards, but to be honest don’t think you’ll struggle too much if you start in the middle. A bit like a soap opera – you’ll pick up who’s who.
Members, and who or what is Swyncombe Limited?
You can now also Become a Member of the History of England – it’s a nice way to support the podcast, and you get 90 minutes of special ‘Shedcasts’ each month – plus access to the complete back catalogue of Shedcasts.
Now that I am turned professional podcaster. Well, now that I have a paid-for service, I have set up a company. It’s called Swyncombe Ltd – it’s possible you’ll come across it. There is one Director – me! It makes me feel very important. It has a trading name – The History of England, and a registered office which is 30 Nelson Street, Leicester LE1 7BA. It’s registered in the UK, Company Number 10376438.
As you’ll soon find out, we have two patrons of the Podcast, who stay with us throughout, and gives us a lodestone so
that we can always find our way home. Neither of them have any idea. In fact neither of them are actually animate, which is an issue. One of my abiding memories of childhood, before everything got complicated, is of devouring the stories of English history – especially the Ladybird books of course. So there’s one the old version of the Ladybird Kings and Queens of England. Here’s a nice picture – and it’s the pictures that have stayed with me for ever.
And the other is the immortal, the irrepressible Sellar and Yeatman, and their memorable history of England. Actually as a kid I never liked it – I took England’s story far too seriously. But it’s grown on me – it reminds us that Academics might tear trips off each other to get at the latest version of the truth; but it takes a long time to change the history that most of us recognise. I sometimes think there are two histories – the one spoken of in the ivory towers, and the other the one the rest of us recognise. King John, hate it or loathe it, will always be Bad king John.
And now we have been joined by a mascot. After a bit of a vote-ette, listeners decided that the person they wanted to represent them was William Marshal. And so Felecia created our very own, and here he is, Wooliam Marshal, Knit of the Garter. There are two Woolia here, because one lucky listener will have possession of Wooliam II after the Members’ survey 2017.
Nor will it hurt, by the way, to like Douglas Adams and Monty P. And I’m thinking of making Dylan the Dog a patron too, but since he can’t eat it, he probably won’t be interested.
Who is the podcast for?
This is a podcast for people who love history, but also want something to keep them entertained and sometimes amused while they cycle, run, do the ironing, swim, walk, commute – or even try to get to sleep. I hope you’ll find it to be the smooth end of a pineapple.
There’s this handy website to help you along with things like maps, biographies, background information, original sources, places to go for more information. Maps are essential aren’t they? And try out the Regnal Lists – pretty (ish) looking lists of monarchs in different places at the same time. They are a triumph, if I do say so myself.
It is also where you can become a member, support me in my endeavours, and get extra podcasts for a small and very reasonable fee.