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By Simon Jenkins

The heroes and villains, triumphs and mess ups of English background are immediately familiar—from the Norman Conquest to Henry VIII, Queen Victoria to the 2 global Wars. yet to appreciate their complete importance we have to be aware of the total story.

A brief heritage of England sheds new gentle on the entire key participants and occasions in English heritage by means of bringing them jointly in an enlightening account of the country’s start, upward push to international prominence, after which partial eclipse. Written with aptitude and authority through Guardian columnist and London Times former editor Simon Jenkins, this can be the definitive narrative of ways today’s England got here to be. Concise yet accomplished, with greater than 100 colour illustrations, this gorgeous single-volume background would be the regular paintings for years to come.

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Extra resources for A Short History of England: The Glorious Story of a Rowdy Nation

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His nickname may have been ‘Bear’, the skin of his military tunic. Bear is artos in Celtic. This glint of light in the darkness is the nearest history gets to ‘Arthur’. On it was based a giant edifice of legend. From Gildas was derived the Arthur of the ninth-century propagandist Nennius, and of the twelfth-century fantasist Geoffrey of Monmouth, responsible for much of the imagery of north European chivalric culture. This led to the bestseller by Thomas Malory in the fifteenth century, Morte d’Arthur.

The survey was published in 1086 and dubbed the Domesday Book by the Saxons, ‘because its decisions, like those of the Day of Judgment, are unalterable’. It offered the most complete account of the land of England south of the River Tees until the Victorian censuses. It revealed East Anglia as most populous region, with 165,000 people in Norfolk and Suffolk. After the Norman ‘harrowing’, Yorkshire had just 30,000. London was omitted because of a fire, but was believed to have 25,000. Only 15 per cent of England was assessed as woodland.

William now turned his attention to the church, rewarding Norman bishops as he had barons. He replaced the Saxon Stigand as archbishop of Canterbury with Lanfranc, head of the abbey of Caen and a noted lawyer and administrator. Within two decades Norman bishops and abbots had been granted a quarter of England, in return for which they were expected to found monasteries and raise churches. The next seventy years saw church building such as England was not to experience again until the fifteenth century, a sign not just of William’s determination to master his new realm but of the wealth that resided in eleventh-century England, comparable even with that of France.

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