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. The History of England is available on iTunes and a podcatcher near you.

    241 The Illness of King Henry

    Henry’s attitude to illness, and possible medical explanations for his character  and events of his realm. And a negotiation starts for a new wife. A royal marriage proposal: Amelia andRead More

    239 Henry VIII and his Realm

    Henry wanted a different relationship with his nobility – a service, court based nobility. Royal power meanwhile must be extended and enhanced. Today we look at Tudor lordship and royal power inRead More

    238 The Fight Back

    In 1539, Henry became convinced that religious reform was going too far. Cromwell and Cranmer failed to see the signs and during the 1539  the act of Six Articles shocked evangelists.Read More

    236 The Burning of Derfel Gadarn

    In 1537 and 1538 the doctrinal debate intensified with the Evangelical cause appeared to advance step by step. Cromwell discredited the monastic movement by attacking the veneration of relics. The execution of JohnRead More

    235 Pilgrimage of Grace II

    By December 1536 there were 50,000 rebels camped around Pontefract Castle while inside their leader Robert Aske composed a petition of 24 articles, to re-instate traditional religion and the Pope.Read More

    234 Pilgrimage of Grace I

    It is not true to say that Henry died a Catholic without the Pope. The 1530’s were a time of increasing doctrinal confusion which together with the attack on monasticismRead More

    233 Obedience

    With Anne’s death the traditionalists breathed a heavy sign of relief. now all the bad stuff would stop – evangelical reform would be reversed, Mary would be re-instated. They had aRead More

    232 Evangelicals

    From the mid 1520s, the church authorities began to face a more serious challenge from evangelicals like Thomas Bilney and Hugh Latimer. And in 1526 and 1534, Tyndale’s New Testament in EnglishRead More

    227 The Reformation Parliament

    After Wolsey’s fall was a period of stalemate; but between 1529 and 1532, Henry’s thoughts crystalised, Anne became to be openly at his side – and a new weapon joined theRead More

    226 The Great Wether

    In 1529 the campaign for the King’s great matter, his divorce came to a climax. Wolsey persuaded the Pope to allow a court to be held in England under Cardinals CampeggioRead More

    225 Matters Great and Personal

    The king’s Great Matter as it was to be called, outraged and divided Christendom, and has been dividing us ever since. What motivated it? Who was responsible? The debate startsRead More

    224 Deadly Poison

    In 1520 the Pope threatened an obscure Augustinian monk with excommunication. Why ? What happened next? And how did the English react?        

    223 Venality or vitality?

    The traditional story of the English Reformation has been of a rotten, moribund, venal church, just waiting to be toppled by reformers, the pyre ignited by Luther’s teachings. But wasRead More

    222 From Hapsburg to Valois

    The diplomacy of the early 1520s culminated at Pavia, with the ruin of French hopes – and also English as Hapsburg for a while reigned supreme. Domestic politics saw WolseyRead More

    221 The Finest Buck

    Henry had shown a hint of the man he would become in 1510 by the execution of Empson and Dudley. In 1521, the Duke of Buckingham was in his sights,Read More

    220a An Oasis Discovered

    Here’s my story of the church  St Bartholomew the Grand and its founder. There are pictures and the text at St Bartholomew the Great    

    220 Disguisings

    It is in the reign of Henry VIII that we first hear of the ‘masque’ – entertainment that drew from Mummers, Mystery plays, and ‘disguisings’. We talk about Anne andRead More

    219 Cloth of Gold

    Enter Thomas Boleyn, courtier, and the realities of being a courtier. And the field of the cloth of Gold; Henry and Wolsey’s mission to uphold the treaty of universal peace.Read More

    218 Universal Peace

    Wolsey had tried war with France, they’d tried war by proxy, they’d tried peace. In 1518 the most remarkable of their plans – the Treaty of Universal peace where 20Read More

    217 The Cardinal’s Hat

    Being made a Cardinal in 1515 gave Wolsey the perfect opportunity to give the vainglorious side of his nature full reign. He made full use of it. We have three topicsRead More

    216 Love and Marriage

    The story of a love affair – probably. In 1514 Henry married off his 18 year old sister to the gouty, siphilitic, toothless 50+ year old Louis and sent herRead More

    215 Hero of War

    In 1513 there were two English victories. One of them would have a profound effect on English history. The other one was mainly a mad dash in pursuit of aRead More

    214 The Road to War

    The path of Renaissance diplomacy was both torturous and without scruple; as Henry finds out as he thirsts for glory. Renaissance Italy There’s a bit of a geography lesson this time –Read More

    213 Background to War

    Historians have identified the 16th and 17th centuries as a time of revolutionary change in Europe, driven by military technology. We talk a bit about that, and about the personalitiesRead More

    211a The Shakespeare Controversy

    Released as a bonus Shedcast a few weeks ago, here’s Eddy McLain’s take on the Shakespeare controversy. For a number of centuries, people celebrated William Shakespeare and his works and talents.Read More

    212 Pleasure and Liberty

    Henry VIII was released by this accession to the courtly, chivalric life of the hunt, and masque, and tournaments. In this he was encouraged by by Council – while his father’s ‘peaceRead More

    210 Bloody Beast

    How Henry has been assessed by historians through the ages, and the controversies of his reign. And assessments of the man himself. The famous Holbein mural was designed to greetRead More

    209 Exploration

    Through the 15th century, Portugal explored the African coast in search of the Indies and the fabulous wealth of the trading networks with the East – such as those ofRead More

    208 I Heart Henry

    What happened when Henry was gone. And the report card – was Henry an incompetent tyrant, a fun loving  saviour of England’s future – or something in between? Should weRead More

    207 The Underworld

    While the young prince Henry built a group of aristocratic companions and longed desperately for the joust, his father drove his hatchet men Dudley and Empson ever further into the darkRead More

    206 Descent to the Underworld

    Henry had found two hatchet men to replace Reginald Bray – Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley. They spread their tentacles and contacts through London and England, and used the Council LearnedRead More

    205 Do Not Let Me Perish

    In the early 1500’s Henry VII saw many of his closest confidentes and supporters die. Catherine of Aragon was to be one of those who suffered as a result. He alsoRead More

    203 The Spanish Princess

    After negotiations that would win prizes, it was finally time for Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth’s pride and joy Prince Arthur  to marry the Spanish Princess, Catherine of Aragon. CatherineRead More

    201 Poyning’s Law

    Ireland in 1495 was almost 3 societies living side by side. We take a trip to Ireland, hear about the Great Earl, and the law that became known as Poyning’sRead More