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.

shed-2I 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.

Who or what is Swyncombe Limited? 

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 10 Station Road, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 1AY. It’s registered in the UK, Company Number 10376438. 

Our Patronsladybird

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.

sellar-and-yeatmanAnd 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.

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.

This Website

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.

Privacy Policy

You can read it by clicking on this link to the Privacy Policy


38 thoughts on “About the History of England

  1. Sent a small donation yesterday and have just realised our Paypal account is in my wife’s name. Wanted to mention it because I offered to buy you a pint and didn’t want you to think you were being chatted up by some creepy woman.

  2. Wonderful Shedcaster ~ Really, a profile page needs to have a picture of you. Or, at least, a picture of your shed. And your dog. Your shed and your dog and you, ideally.

  3. I’ve been re-listening to the series recently and today I got to the revised version of episode 97 (now with the new music), but unfortunately, unlike all the others that I’ve reheard so far; while the new music plays in both speakers, the vocal track only plays in the left speaker.

  4. Hi David, just wanted to say how much I’m enjoying your podcast. I started a few weeks ago and I’m up to !066 and thereabouts. I sent a donation which is in no way adequate to the hours of entertainment you’re providing me but there you go! I really hope you manage to keep it up and make it all the way to the 20th century (19th century?). Phil

  5. Hi Phil! And donation received, most generous, I now love you forever, just like giving a dog a sandwich! Really glad you are enjoying it. Have you tried the Anglo Saxon England version? Only goes up to Offa as yet, but more professional…

  6. Good luck on the new site. I have two problems with it. It does not render well in Firefox on Linux. At least for me, and if I knew how to send you a screenshot showing the problem, I would.
    Second, it is harder to download episodes now. I don’t see any direct link to download episodes. There is some javascript nonsense to play an episode, but I want to download to a media player. I mean no insult to your coder, as I think all javascript on the web is nonsense. The idea of visiting a web site and running unvetted code is something any person who cares about security would reject.

    1. Hi Ralph. if you can email a screenshot to david54031@gmail.com that’d be grand. The downloading direct link, if I understand correctly, this been raised by someone else and we will fix – I think you want to download direct from the web page? The last comment…my degree is history with a focus on the medieval…but I will pass it on!

  7. David! I love the new site! All your labor neatly organized into easily accessible chunks and bits for us all to totally geek out on. Congratulations, sir. Well done indeed.

  8. Hi David, I’ve just started listening to these podcasts and they’re great. I studied Medieval History so it’s a topic close to my heart but I’m still learning new things every day by listening to you. They’re a great way to pass the time at work! I know a lot more now, especially about the earlier bits e.g. the Anglo-Saxons (I specialised in later Medieval history).

    As I’m a bit behind, what’s the most up to date email we can use if we have any questions?

    1. Hi Christine…and thanks! I also specialised in later Medieval History – the Conqueror in particular; but remember one very interesting essay I had to do on the migration, which seemed to focus mainly on interpreting shards of pottery! Email me whenever you like on david54031@gmail.com

  9. I have resubscribed after being auto-unsubscribed after a month. The auto-email that goes out when you’re unsubscribed is heartrending. Have no fear David, I love the podcast and Shedcasts (LOL at the Shed-ule) and have no intention of unsubscribing!

  10. Oh Happy Day! I received some money with instructions to spend it just on myself this Christmas. So I bought a year subscription to my favorite podcast! yay!

  11. Discovered your podcasts a week or so before Christmas and have been listening to them every spare moment since – as well as recommending them to others. Great work.

    1. Thank you for the support, thoroughly lovely of you! Long may it last…you’ve a few days worth of content to catch up on…

  12. Hello David,
    I discovered your podcast a couple weeks ago in frozen Minnesota. I listen to you everyday. Great information that has provided me a different view of English history.

  13. Hi David,
    I discovered your podcast a few weeks ago, and have been listening every day. It’s a great show, and I love the humor and sense of perspective you bring. That and the accents. As I can’t get enough, and am quickly closing in on getting up to date, I was wondering where to find the rebroadcasts of the early Anglo-Saxon period. Thanks for a great show!

  14. David-

    Been listening for two years whilst walking the dog, building tables in my workshop, driving out and about. Your shedcast brings me a lot of joy–you talk about history the way I think about it; in detail but with an eye to the odd bit here and there but mostly in an integrated whole, and with humor. Billy the conq is my fave.

    But now to matters more serious, to wit: I want to become a paid subscriber but your website steadfastly refuses to accept my entreaties. Or my credit card. It is time to for payback, sir. Please help me succeed.

    Dan from Vashon Island WA

    1. Hi Dan

      Thank you for your kind comments! Billy the Conq does seem to be popular…my prof way back when was less keen…

      I am equally distressed that the website is refusing to accept payment – more than I can say! So distressed I went and signed up for monthly membership myself – it’d better be good!

      But I have to say I managed to sign up by a debit card fine; could you give me a bit more information about where you had the problem? With credit card, or did you go the PayPal route?

      I will try to help! I sent you an email also…may have gone into spam…can I check you are trying to log in at https://thehistoryofengland.co.uk/become-a-member/?

  15. Hi David,
    Through a search for podcasts on Tudor history, I have discovered your podcast and am thoroughly enchanted…to the point where I’ve started from the very beginning. Thank you for the education and entertainment!

    Jessica / New Glarus Wisconsin

    1. Superb. Pretty sure I’ve never been called enchanting, so that’s very nice of you! Hope you enjoy it – when you get up to date, let me know who your favourite character was, and we can through it open to debate…

  16. Don’t know if this is the right place–do you have discussion boards? Anyway, from the states comes this quote from Dave Brat (gotta love the name), a hard-right wing u.s congressman: “We all ran on exactly the themes the president ran on,” Brat added. “We’re with him, but somebody’s gotten into his ear.” That sounds an awful lot like magnates and peasants bringing concerns to the king that he is being led astray by the bad advice of his evil councilors. Nice to see the paradigm’s the same, no matter the century or the country.

    1. Discussion board would be a great idea wouldn’t it? Jesse and I have discussed it. And yes, your’re right. Which kinda makes Trump a king then…

  17. I started on The History of England only last year, and having blasted through many episodes (much to the detriment of my other podcast listening) I have finally caught up (after a side trip to the Anglo-Saxon ‘casts) … and learned about Shedcasts! I am now a proud and grateful subscriber. Thank you, David, for the many hours of enjoyment (and quiet/not so quiet laughter — I grew up in Surrey and dearly miss British humour here in Silicon Valley, saved only by quoting Python dialogue with like-minded geeks. BTW, are you planning on building another shed? ). Keep the podcasts coming!



    1. Thanks Karl, and welcome. And what a good point! How could I have missed two Sheds Jackson? Actually I do in fact have two sheds – just that one of them is uninhabitable. So I qualify!

  18. Hi David,

    I’m like Karl – started listening late last year (the day after the US election – I could no longer stomach current affairs), doubled back through the Anglo-Saxons, and now have (nearly) caught up. I wasn’t looking forward to making do with a mere episode a week, so the members’ podcasts will be most welcome. One suggestion: sometimes I find myself wondering how old your protagonists are at key moments of their lives, especially their deaths – I don’t recall you mentioning Richard the Lionheart’s age at death, for example, or Richard III’s. Other than that, I’m loving it. Picture me with the History of England podcast in my ears as I walk the beaches of Port Fairy, on the rugged south-west coast of Victoria, Australia, petrels wheeling overhead and gales blowing in across the Southern Ocean all the way from Antarctica.


    1. Hi Steven – and yes I agree, the age these folks did what they did is fascinating – because often they are barely knee height to a grasshopper. Actually, I thought I was doing this, so I shall re-double my efforts! And I shall try to image the Petrels. Are the screeching like Gulls, are they dive bombing you are you approach the cliffs, are they raiding the nests and young of the unwary? I can feel the wind in my whiskers as I write…

  19. I really look forward to your podcast – such a nice combo of information and humor. I have always downloaded them through iTunes, but if I become a member, would the extra podcasts be downloadable that way? If I don’t get some new podcasts I will never get my gardening done, plus we are going to a “destination wedding” in Scotland in June so I want to bone up on Scottish history.

    1. Hi Jenny…Yes! You can indeed download through iTunes. But to my delight I see that you have already signed up which is lovely, and so you should have instructions. Let me know if you have any problems. PLUS i am very excited for you that you are going to Scotland and are going to hit eh museums to see Pictish Stones. I was at university for 4 years, studying history – and didn’t even know Picts had stones. For shame. Now, I would love to be up there with my new found knowledge…

  20. Hi David. Not sure if this is the right place for this but I have forgotten my password (I am a member). Can’t see a way of getting it reset. Please help!
    Love the podcasts and don’t want to miss any, especially as you are now on my homeland.
    Thanks, Alison.

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