Two Kings of Ireland

On June 24 (or thereabouts), 637, the Battle of Moira was fought by the Gaelic High King of Ireland Domnall II against his foster son King Congall of Ulster in the Woods of Killultagh. It’s thought to be the largest battle ever fought in Ireland. After establishing a power base in Dalaradia, Congall was recognized as King of Ulster in 627. Unfortunately, his ambition brought … Continue reading Two Kings of Ireland

The Great Charter

On June 15, 1215, King John of England put his seal to the Magna Carta in the meadow at Runnymede, after months of negotiations with his rebellious barons. The Magna Carta was the first document forced on an English king by his subjects that basically said he couldn’t do whatever the hell he wanted. In return, the barons renewed their oaths of fealty to John … Continue reading The Great Charter

Opening Night

On June 12, 1997, Queen Elizabeth II re-opened the Globe Theatre in London, following its reconstruction about 230 meters from the original site. The original Globe was owned by Richard Burbage and his brother, Cuthbert, William Shakespeare, John Heminges, Augustine Phillips, and Thomas Pope. The theatre was built in 1599 using timber from an earlier theatre that was built by the Burbages’ father, James. The … Continue reading Opening Night

England’s Got a New Queen

On June 1, 1533, England got a new queen: Anne Boleyn. Anne was crowned in a spectacular ceremony at Westminster Abbey just four days after the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, declared her marriage to Henry VIII valid. Anne and Henry were married in secret shortly after returning from a meeting with the King of France in Calais in late 1532. Shortly after, she became … Continue reading England’s Got a New Queen

Upstairs Downstairs vs. Downton Abbey

For some bizarre reason, Upstairs Downstairs co-creator Jean Marsh (who also played Rose) found it necessary to kick out at Downton Abbey, hinting (actually, pretty much flat-out saying) that it was a copy of UD: “I think we were all surprised. The new Upstairs Downstairs had been in the works for about three years. We were trying to sort out…40 years of rights and then … Continue reading Upstairs Downstairs vs. Downton Abbey

All Together Now

On May 1, 1328, the English Parliament ratified the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton, ending the First War of Scottish Independence, which had dragged on since 1296. Under the provisions of the treaty, Scotland paid England £20,000 and England recognized Scotland as an independent nation, with Robert the Bruce as king and his heirs as rightful inheritors of the crown. The peace lasted only five years: in … Continue reading All Together Now

Story Time

On April 17, 1397, Geoffrey Chaucer first told The Canterbury Tales at the court of King Richard II, introducing the world to one of the most lasting literary works in history, driven by such memorable characters as the Wife of Bath. The Tales, which may have been the first to use a pilgrimage as its framing device, drew from many other famous works of the … Continue reading Story Time

The Tudors: The Horse is Symbolic! Get it?

Previously on The Tudors: Henry married and got rid of a lot of women, had three kids, changed England’s religion (kind of), and got old. Bishop Gardiner tried to nail Queen Katherine for heresy, and Henry had Surrey tried and found guilty of treason.

Hey, Natalie Dormer, Maria Doyle Kennedy, and Annabelle Wallis are back in the opening credits! Welcome back, dead wives! I guess we’re pretending Katherine Howard didn’t exist.

Continue reading “The Tudors: The Horse is Symbolic! Get it?”

Charles I

On March 27, 1625, the ill-fated Charles I became King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Sadly, as with his grandmother, it was not a job to which he was well suited. Charles, the grandson of Mary, Queen of Scots, was born during Elizabeth’s reign and came to the throne at the young age of 24. He believed firmly in the divine right of kings and … Continue reading Charles I

The Death of Reform

On March 13, 1881, Alexander II, Tsar of Russia, was assassinated by a bomb in St. Petersburg. Unlike many of his predecessors (and the tsars who came after him), Alexander was fairly liberal minded. He freed the serfs, earning him the nickname Alexander the Liberator, moved to develop Russia’s natural resources, and attempted to reform all branches of government. On the very day he was … Continue reading The Death of Reform