Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around. — G. K. Chesterton

Story of the English - Helene Guerber



Middle school level introduction to British history, from the age of the Celts and Druids to the Victorian Age. Many of the most romantic stories from English history are recounted in simple terms for school aged children. Includes a great many famous anecdotes and legends from English history. Stories about Arthur, Alfred, Canute, Lady Godiva, William the Conqueror, Thomas Becket, Richard Coeur d' Leon, and many others English heroes are featured.

[Book Cover] from The Story of the English by Helene Guerber
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Preface

Down to the colonial period, if not to the Revolutionary War, English history concerns American children just as much as it does their brothers and sisters who speak the same language on the other side of the broad Atlantic. It is therefore very important that our boys and girls should as soon as possible become familiar with its salient events.

To interest them in their own race, introduce them to their mother country, and make the past as vivid as possible, characters, customs, and places have in this book been depicted principally through anecdotes, many of which have become classical, although not all are admitted into works intended for more mature minds.

The gradual evolution of English law, the growth of liberty, and the various changes in religion are as unintelligible as uninteresting to the average child; so they have been touched upon very briefly, and in the most simple way.

The principal object has been to make pupils so familiar with the prominent characters of English history that these shall henceforth seem like old acquaintances, and, in addition, to use every device to make history so attractive to youthful minds as to rouse their enthusiasm and stimulate them to further study.

Although all the main facts have been given, least space has been allotted to modern times. That is not only because many of the events which have occurred within the past two centuries are more difficult of comprehension, but because any intelligent child is sure to have them brought to his or her notice in other books. For that reason, also, the wars in America are merely mentioned, and pupils are referred to United States histories for detailed accounts of them.

To enrich young minds and to emphasize the need of patient endeavour, courage, faithfulness, gentleness, truthfulness, and all other desirable qualities, all that is good has been heartily commended, and all that is base or dishonourable has been made to appear in an unfavourable light. Nevertheless, it has also been the writer's aim to cultivate a spirit of fairness and charity towards all men.

Much reading and research stand back of this little book, and the author is indebted to historians, biographers, novelists, poets, and artists for the material of which it is composed. It is with the hope that the road to literature and history will seem easier and more attractive, after the way has been made somewhat smoother by these little paving stones, that this book is placed before the public.

The pronunciation of difficult proper names has been indicated in the text, in order to make easier the reading of the book, and to prevent the formation of incorrect habits of pronunciation. The symbols used for this purpose are self-explanatory in most cases; the diacritical marks are explained on p. 343. Besides this, the pronunciation of all proper names is more fully indicated by diacritical marks in the index.



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Contents

Front Matter
Review

Early Times
The Druids
The Britons
Caesar in Britain
Queen Boadicea
The Great Walls
The Great Irish Saint
The Anglo-Saxons
Brave King Arthur
The Laws of the Saxons
The Story of St Augustine
Three Great Men
The Danish Pirates
King Alfred and the Cakes
Alfred conquers the Danes
A King's Narrow Escape
The King and the Outlaw
The Monasteries
An Unlucky Couple
St Dunstan
King Canute and the Waves
A Saxon Nobleman
Lady Godiva's Ride
The Battle of Hastings
The Conquest
Lords and Vassals
Death of William
The Brothers' Quarrels
Arms and Armour
The "White Ship"
Matilda's Narrow Escapes
Story of Fair Rosamond
Thomas a Becket
Murder of Thomas a Becket
Richard's Adventures
Richard and the Saracens
The Faithful Minstrel
Death of Richard
The Murder of Arthur
The Great Charter
The Rule of Henry III
A Race
Persecution of the Jews
The Conquest of Wales
A Quarrel with France
The Coronation Stone
The Insolent Favourite
Bruce and the Spider
Death of Edward II
The Murderers punished
The Battle of Crecy
The Siege of Calais
The Age of Chivalry
The Battle of Poitiers
The Peasants' Revolt
Richard's Presence of Mind
A Tiny Queen
Henry's Troubles
Madcap Harry
A Glorious Reign
The Maid of Orleans
The War of the Roses
The Queen and the Brigand
The Triumph of the Yorks
The Princes in the Tower
Richard's Punishment
Two Pretenders
A Grasping King
Field of the Cloth of Gold
The New Opinions
Death of Wolsey
Henry's Wives
The King and the Painter
A Boy King
Lady Jane Grey
The Death of Cranmer
A Clever Queen
Elizabeth's Lovers
Mary, Queen of Scots
Captivity of Mary Stuart
Wreck of the Spanish Armada
The Elizabethan Age
Death of Elizabeth
A Scotch King
The Gunpowder Plot
Sir Walter Raleigh
King and Parliament
Cavaliers and Roundheads
"Remember"
The Royal Oak
The Commonwealth
The Restoration
Plague and Fire
The Merry Monarch
James driven out of England
A Terrible Massacre
William's Wars
The Duke of Marlborough
The Taking of Gibraltar
The South Sea Bubble
Bonny Prince Charlie
Black Hole of Calcutta
Loss of the Colonies
The Battle of the Nile
Nelson's Last Signal
The Battle of Waterloo
First Gentleman of Europe
Childhood of Queen Victoria
The Queen's Marriage
Wars in Victoria's Reign
The Jubilee