The British History Podcast

The British History Podcast
A Chronological History of Britain

349 – AElfgifu’s Tale
May 25 • 22 min
Successful Kings don’t rule alone. This is especially true for Kings with as much going on as Cnut. And one of Cnut’s most influential right-hand men was actually his Queen. And Emma was more than just an advisor. She was wielding considerable power in…
348 – Ruling Hard or Hardly Ruling
May 12 • 30 min
Europe was in chaos in the 1020s. Crises just kept coming, and the powerful were trying to capitalize on disorder. And in times like these, actions can have outsized impact, even the smaller ones.
347 – Aggressive Diplomacy
May 1 • 25 min
What we call history was, at one point, just current events. And world affairs never happen in a vacuum. It’s never just one thing happening after another…
346 – Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Drakkars
Apr 22 • 31 min
It’s 1025 Cnut had a problem on his hands. Barely a year after putting down Thorkell’s rebellion, Cnut was sailing for Denmark… again. To war, again.
345 – Building Blocks
Apr 10 • 19 min
In the early 11th century, the English were crushed by the Scots in the Battle of Carham. We are told that King Malcolm of Scotland, supported by King Owain of Strathclyde, brought their combined armies to bear against the forces of Ealdorman Uhtred of…
Bonus Episode: Slavery
Mar 20 • 30 min
More material is coming, but here is a bonus episode to keep you company while you’re practicing social distancing.
344 – Cnut’s Mad Lads
Mar 12 • 29 min
In the year of 1021, the Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells us two things. A Bishop died. And Thorkell the Tall was expelled from the country. And that’s all it tells us.
343 – By Thorkell’s Beard
Feb 27 • 22 min
This is a story of palace intrigue, murder, and atypical alopecia… and it all begins where these things usually do… with a real estate transaction.
Bonus Episode: Shrove Tuesday
Feb 25 • 10 min
Today is Shrove Tuesday. And if you’re not in Britain, you might be wondering what Shrove Tuesday is, and even if you are British, you might be wondering why you’re celebrating it.
342 – King Cnut of Denmark and England
Feb 13 • 29 min
If you have heard of King Cnut, what you probably heard was the story of Cnut and the Tides. The most common version of it goes like this.
341 – King Cnut of England
Feb 5 • 28 min
Cnut made a lot of smart moves in a very short amount of time. He outlawed much of the corruption that had plagued the courts of AEthelred. He scrubbed his new kingdom of the loyalists to Edmund Ironsides. He granted key lands to key followers. Executed…
340 – A Bit of a Cnut
Jan 23 • 32 min
When we left off, Cnut had managed to get Eadric to go on the record calling for the execution of the English claimants to the throne… and then Cnut rejected the suggestion, and instead outlawed Eadwig, and exiled the sons of Edmund to Sweden.
339 – Cnut the Conqueror
Jan 16 • 24 min
The fall of the House of Wessex and the rise of Cnut looks like a simple story of conquest. After all, it’s right there in the title. Virtually every book on this era has a chapter called “The Conquest of England.” And for good reason… Cnut /was/ a…
338 – The Fall of King Edmund Ironsides
Dec 27, 2019 • 37 min
Edmund hadn’t lost, and for now that was enough.
337 – The Rise of King Edmund Ironside
Dec 21, 2019 • 31 min
Can you feel it? It feels like there is a lull before the storm. AEthelred Unread is now gone, and Normandy is now officially on the board. 1066 is on the doorstep.
336 – The End Is The Beginning Is The End
Dec 10, 2019 • 38 min
Christmas is old. Older than Christianity, in fact. As a consequence, there’s a lot to it. Symbols and traditions that come from all over the world, and from all across time. It’s a complex event that, predictably, can provoke a complex set of emotions…
335 – Acts of Spasmodic Violence
Nov 26, 2019 • 23 min
Morcar and Sigeferth were under a lot of stress.
334 – No Cnut November
Nov 14, 2019 • 32 min
There are worse things than spending a holiday in Normandy. And one of those things is spending a holiday in Normandy because you just lost your entire Kingdom to the Danes.
333 – The Conquest of England
Nov 7, 2019 • 33 min
England in 1013 was a Kingdom begging to be conquered. Decades of bad decisions have eroded its foundations and now it sat as a mere shadow of its former glory. It had none of the military prowess established by King AEthelstan. None of the political…
Teig O’Kane and the Corpse
Oct 30, 2019 • 23 min
Happy Halloween
332 – The Jomsvikings
Oct 25, 2019 • 29 min
So here we are. With two full companies of Jomsvikings laying waste to southern England… and in response, the nobility… the people tasked with defending the population and the Kingdom… decided that this was an excellent chance to fight among themselves,…
331 – Thoughts and Prayers
Oct 17, 2019 • 24 min
AEthelred, for the first time in quite a while, had a chance for a breather. King Sweyn Forkbeard, having been paid a king’s ransom, had withdrawn his forces with a promise never to return.
330 – The Purge
Oct 7, 2019 • 27 min
The Court of AEthelred had turned over three times during his reign. First, there was his regency council. Then, when he took full power he replaced his regency council with his young friends and corrupt enablers. Then the old guard reasserted itself,…
329 – Forkbeard
Sep 26, 2019 • 32 min
When you go to your local grocery store there’s a pattern. You go down your usual aisles, grab your bread, your tea, that thing you know you’re not supposed to eat but do anyway because it is delicious and you have no self control.
328 – The St Brice’s Day Massacre
Sep 19, 2019 • 23 min
The year 1002 was still 64 years away from 1066, but The House of Normandy had already begun a coup upon the Kingdom of England. The dynasty held only a minor Duchy, and for a fairly short amount of time, as it was only Duke Richard’s great grandfather…
327 – Sail Away Sail Away Sail Away
Sep 13, 2019 • 30 min
Now that we’ve checked in with the rest of the world, let’s get back to our story…which lately hasn’t been going so well. In the space of 70 years the Kingdom went from a preeminent power in the West to little more than a viking hunting preserve.
326 – The Year 1000
Sep 7, 2019 • 35 min
It’s so easy to lose the forest for the trees. This show is a show about one small island which, even at this part of the story, is still at the edge of civilization. It is very easy to forget that there is a whole other world out there…
325 – From Bad to Worse
Aug 24, 2019 • 21 min
When we left off, England was reforming its legal structure. Now, law isn’t known for being a sexy subject…neither are lawyers for that matter. But law shapes our societies in ways that are so fundamental that they are often invisible to us. And these…
324 – Law and Lawlessness
Aug 21, 2019 • 21 min
With the Scandinavian raiders gone, and with AElfric of Hampshire defanged, England was free to get back to work. And, as we saw last episode, this meant that the King was once again redistributing wealth from the have-a-lots to the have-even-mores. Which…
323 – Brotherhood of the Wolf
Aug 9, 2019 • 26 min
And we are back! Thank you all for being patient while the BHP went on a brief parental leave. And speaking of things that are back… The Dowager Queen AElfthryth has returned to the King’s inner council following what looks like a political coup against…
PSA: Are We Dead?
Aug 3, 2019 • 1 min
(We aren’t)
322 – We’re Absolutely Forked
Jul 12, 2019 • 31 min
Ealdorman AElfirc of Hampshire was out… and Ealdorman AEthelweard the Chronicler was in. He would now be the King’s chief councillor… and he would be supported by his son, AEthelmaer… the King’s uncle, High Reeve Ordwulf of Devon, and the King’s mother,…
321 – Course Corrections
Jul 6, 2019 • 24 min
992 was a bad year. There was treason, Vikings, the King’s closest advisor absconded with half the navy, and tipped off an enemy invasion with just enough time to let them escape.
320 – Our Wooden Wall
Jun 27, 2019 • 21 min
The Battle of Maldon was a catastrophe. The brave last stand of Ealdorman Byrhtnoth was never going to change that fact. He was the leading man of Essex and the second most powerful Ealdorman in England and now he was dead. And his Fyrd was defeated. To…
319 – The Battle of Maldon
Jun 20, 2019 • 31 min
Battles don’t appear out of thin air, not even in honor cultures. There’s a reason, a context, that develops long before soldiers or warriors enter a field prepared to do violence. And the Battle of Maldon comes with a lot of context. We left off in 988……
318 – Chaos is a Ladder
Jun 13, 2019 • 28 min
By 984 the Regency council had been broken and a new inner circle of nobles had been elevated. And this development was accompanied by a rapid series of changes at the highest levels of the kingdom. The political rivals of this new council were rapidly…
317 – A Culture of Corruption
May 30, 2019 • 26 min
At 16 years old, King AEthelred was considered fully grown by Anglo Saxon standards. And as a bonus graduation present, the powerful Bishop AEthelwold of Winchester… who appears to have been the defacto head of state while AEthelred was a child… had died.…
316 – The Old Guard
May 23, 2019 • 25 min
Before we get back to our story, I’ve been seeing your conversations online and it made me realize I need to clarify something. Some of you took the discussion of AEthelred’s unflattering nickname, and how he caught hell for some things that were out of…
315 – The Cracks in the Foundation
May 16, 2019 • 30 min
“Under AEthelred nothing was done; or, more truly, throughout his whole reign he left undone those things which he ought to have done, and he did those things he ought not to have done.” That is the damning conclusion of Edward Augustus Freeman, a…
314 – Æthelred: Are You Ready?
May 2, 2019 • 26 min
King Edward, like those before him, had died under mysterious and apparently violent circumstances. And the next in line for this increasingly bloody throne of England was his 12 year old little half-brother. Æthelred.
313 – How to Make a Martyr
Apr 25, 2019 • 38 min
“No man can make himself king, but the people have the choice to choose as king whom they please; but after he is consecrated as king, he then has dominion over the people, and they cannot shake his yoke from their necks.” So reads the homily written by…
312 – King Edward
Apr 20, 2019 • 22 min
King Edgar is Dead… and in his place reigned his son, King Edward of England. And you’d think that we’d be referring to him as King Edward the First. Or, if you wanted to fudge it a bit and give Edward the Elder some credit for forming the Kingdom of the…
311 – Team Edward
Apr 11, 2019 • 42 min
King Edgar the Peaceable was buried at Glastonbury in 975. But weirdly that isn’t the end of his story. William of Malmesbury tells us that nearly a century later, in 1053, the Abbot Ailward re-opened the King’s tomb. Malmsbury doesn’t tell us WHY the…
310 – Political Theater
Mar 28, 2019 • 32 min
Human beings can’t really be summed up in a nickname. Usually we are more complicated than a word or two. And sometimes, the nickname just doesn’t reflect reality. If you take Edward the Elder, for example, the name probably conjures up an image of…
309 – Size Doesn’t Matter (until it does)
Mar 21, 2019 • 30 min
You would think that someone named Edgar the Peaceable enjoyed a good reputation. But the closer you look, the more things start to look…off. And if you look closer than that, you start to get the sense that maybe things WERE off. Support the Show
308 – A Thirst for Reform
Mar 14, 2019 • 32 min
Across the North Sea, in Scandinavia, a man named Harald Greycloak was struggling for dominance in the region. He wasn’t just any man, he was a son of Erik Bloodaxe and Gunnhilde. And his fight brought him into direct conflict with King Haakon.
307 – Cleaning House
Mar 7, 2019 • 26 min
The King is dead. Long live the King. Eadwig, the 18 year old King known for his beauty, had died. Somehow.
306 – King Eadwig
Mar 1, 2019 • 31 min
The King is dead, long live the King. So … last episode was a bit of a shocker wasn’t it?
305 – A Very Special BHP Valentine’s Day Episode
Feb 14, 2019 • 16 min
History is known as a field for being a bit of a slog. Tracing events, and people, and social movements through decades and centuries is a huge task and the results are usually dense at the best of times. But once in a while, in between all the battles…
304 – A Kingdom Divided
Feb 12, 2019 • 34 min
Northumbria was always the hot mess of the heptarchy. There are a few exceptions where they manage to pull it together long enough to produce something important, like Bede, or when Leeds United won the premiership in 1991. But generally, it’s a bit of a…
303 – Eric Bloodaxe
Jan 31, 2019 • 24 min
We can probably assume that Harald Fairhair, the King of Norway, had fantastic hair. It was either big, or really long, or super glossy, and it was almost definitely blonde. But it wasn’t the only trait he was known for. Harald Fairhair was also known for…
302 – King Eadred
Jan 25, 2019 • 21 min
Ok, where were we? With all this focus on culture, it’s been a little bit since we last talked about the political situation in Britain. So lets remind ourselves of where things were politically.
Chapter 8 – Twilight of the Anglo Saxons
Jan 17, 2019 • 3 min
This isn’t going to end well.
301 – Common Folk
Jan 10, 2019 • 26 min
Today, we’re going to wrap up this cultural series with a focus on my favorite group of people. The people who rarely, if ever, get talked about. The commoners.
300 – Noble Lives
Dec 18, 2018 • 24 min
When we left off, we were talking about Thegns. Specifically, we were talking about King’s Thegns and how they could wield degrees of power that could rival even the formidable Ealdormen. At this point in this short series, the hope is that you have a…
299 – The Shape of Power
Dec 7, 2018 • 36 min
Ealdormen… Thegns… Ceorls. These were the important cogs in the machine of government. They had powerful roles, and held powerful spaces within anglo saxon culture. And it’s time we get to know these roles like the back of our hand. Support the Show
The Achavanich Beaker Burial Project: Ancient DNA with Maya Hoole
Dec 2, 2018 • 42 min
Links to material referenced in the show. * The Achavanich Beaker Burial* ‘Ava’: a Beaker-associated woman from a cist at Achavanich, Highland, and the story of her (re-)discovery and subsequent study, Published in the Proceedings of the Society of…
298 – Uptown Ceorl
Nov 16, 2018 • 37 min
Long ago there was a settlement that had been occupied and farmed by the British and the Anglo Saxons for centuries. In fact, by the time that the Scandinavians arrived on the island, this village known as Wharram Percy was already well established, and…
297 – The Hundreds and the Wapentakes
Nov 9, 2018 • 25 min
We have spoken a lot about the life of a handful of individuals – namely the rulers that have descended from the line of Alfred. There are a couple of reasons for that. The first is the simple fact that by virtue of how limited literacy was during this…
The Halloween Special
Oct 26, 2018 • 24 min
I love Halloween. I think it might be my favorite holiday, and it’s not really because I like spooky things. I actually kind of hate horror movies. The reason I love Halloween is because in the pantheon of modern holidays it stands out. Most holidays in…
296 – Darkening Skies
Oct 19, 2018 • 33 min
It begins in France. The struggle for power between King Louis IV and Hugh the Great had been raging for quite some time… When we last visited the continent, , Hugh the Great, King Otto of Germany, Duke William of Normandy, Count Herbert II, and various…
295 – The Return of England
Oct 11, 2018 • 24 min
You know the pieces on a chessboard? There’s the knight, and the queen, and the castle….and then there’s the bishop. There’s a reason why a game that simulates medieval power strategy has a piece called the bishop. Bishops had power. And it was a power…
294 – It All Comes Crashing Down
Oct 4, 2018 • 25 min
The story of the last few episodes is a story about a lesson that humanity has had to re-learn again and again throughout history. When your society is ordered around a single figure it’s likely to descend into chaos the minute that figure goes away. And…
293 – The Beacons are Lit
Sep 23, 2018 • 24 min
When we left off, AEthelstan had recently died, Olaf had returned from Dublin and been crowned King of Jorvik (which meant that the Kingdom of Jorvik was back). The English Fyrd was still recovering from the bloodbath at Brunanburh. And the English Navy…
292 – King in the North
Sep 10, 2018 • 21 min
How we understand any event comes down to what angle we are able to view it from. And the story of AEthelstan is no exception. On the one hand, it is easy to see AEthelstan as one of the greatest kings in English history, one to place on our shelf of…
291 – Pandemonium
Aug 30, 2018 • 27 min
When King Edward died, the plan was that his second son would take the throne. By all indications, neither Edward nor the power structures within Wessex, wanted AEthelstan. The young AEtheling had been discarded and sent to be raised in Mercia far from…
290 – This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land
Aug 23, 2018 • 29 min
Brunanburh had been a titanic struggle. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle speaks of how the fighting lasted from morning to night, until “the field grew dark with the blood of men.” Blood spilled from warriors of no less than four separate kingdoms. The scribes…
289 – Brunanburh
Aug 18, 2018 • 33 min
You can’t just go to war. I mean… I guess you can. But it’s not a good idea. War takes work. It takes planning. It takes preparation. War, to put it simply, is a pain in the ass. You really have to want it. And the workload only increases with the number…
288 – Extracurricular Activities
Aug 10, 2018 • 24 min
I wonder if King Rudolph of France resented his crown. I mean, seeking the crown probably seemed like a good idea at the time but the whole thing had been turning out to be an enormous headache. And it all started when Rudolph’s father in law (Robert)…
287 – The Conquest of Scotland
Jul 26, 2018 • 26 min
For the last six years, AEthelstan had been ruling in a manner that hasn’t been seen in Britain for generations. Beyond being a warlord, or even a King… AEthelstan was acting more like an Emperor. All of the Anglo Saxon territories were annexed into his…
286 – Noble Pursuits
Jul 21, 2018 • 29 min
After generations of devastating war, England has found itself at peace. Which leaves a question we haven’t had to ask in a while. What did the Anglo Saxons actually do during peacetime? Support the Show
285 – Full Court Press
Jul 11, 2018 • 28 min
The Era of AEthelstan is one of contradictions. His behavior, his policies, his wars… pretty much everything that is happening during this period seems to have an element of duality. This man was discussed by scholars of his time in terms of his piety and…
284 – AEthelstan the Victorious
Jul 6, 2018 • 27 min
Last week, we ended with King AEthelstan’s aggression towards Kingdoms of Wales and Cornwall. We don’t know precisely what occurred, or why AEthelstan demanded crippling tributes from the Welsh and then violently expelled or executed the Cornish of…
283 – The Kingdoms of the Foreigners
Jun 28, 2018 • 23 min
Imagine that you went from being a disfavored bastard with little power, to the most powerful English king that had ever existed, in the space of just a few years. Support the Show
282 – How To Win Friends and Influence Jorvik
Jun 14, 2018 • 25 min
AEthelstan had completed his annexation of Jorvik, and in doing so he had outperformed every last one of his predecessors, including his grandfather, Alfred the Great. But there were a few loose ends that he still needed to knot up. And as he watched the…
281 – England
Jun 8, 2018 • 31 min
The last couple of episodes have focused on the political tools that AEthelstan had at his disposal. Marriage alliances, fostering, dynastic cults and diplomatic entreaties were all powerful pieces moving on a huge dark age chess board. And the thing I…
280 – King AEthelstan’s Love Life
May 25, 2018 • 26 min
What is a King’s most important duty? Is it the defense of the realm? Or perhaps the growth of the kingdom’s borders? What about developing the economy? Fostering strong diplomatic alliances? Shepherding the souls of his subjects to Christ? How about just…
279 – Dynastic Cults
May 17, 2018 • 42 min
Want to know something strange? When Edward died, the Irish annals said nothing. Not a mention about his death, nor the circumstances of it. And it’s not like the Irish Annals were disinterested with what was happening in the Anglo Saxon kingdoms. After…
278 – The Thunderbolt
May 10, 2018 • 22 min
There’s a dirty secret to history podcasts, and it only becomes clear when you actually start one. The truth is that many people will SAY that they want to learn something new, and hear new stories and hear new facts. But every time, without fail, the…
277 – King AEthelstan: Say Yes to the Dress
Apr 26, 2018 • 23 min
It’s important to hit the ground running when you start a new job. Especially if it is one that carries a lot of responsibility. When you’re new, people are often trying to work out who you are and how you’ll fit into the system, and the best way to put…
276 – The Bastard Rebel King
Apr 20, 2018 • 31 min
The story of Edward is one of contradictions. There’s something about his rule that seems … complicated and requiring more nuance than many of our earlier rulers. Here we have a King that did what must have seemed impossible… he began his rule holding…
275 – King Edward the Almost First King of England
Apr 13, 2018 • 35 min
The story of Edward is undeniably odd. There are events that are at best, unexplained and at worst look potentially horrible. But he’s also a man of contradiction, because the one thing we haven’t talked about is the one thing you’re probably not…
274 – The Missing Shire
Apr 5, 2018 • 26 min
In the last several episodes I’ve been breaking down the weird evidence that surrounds Edward towards the end of his reign. It’s been a deep dive and has been focused on some pretty granular details, and the reason why I’ve done that is because I can’t…
273 – I Do… Do I?
Mar 29, 2018 • 24 min
Last episode we talked about the rapid growth of AEthelflaed’s power, Edward’s militarizing AEthelflaed’s borders, Edward visiting her at her capital city and bringing his army with him… the fact that she died shortly thereafter and Edward ordered his…
272 – The End of the Age of AEthelflaed
Mar 15, 2018 • 29 min
Trying to tell the story of AEthelflaed is like trying to study gravity. We know her indirectly, by the impressions she left and the political shifts that happen around her. We can see the impact she left both on her lands, and in the devotion of her…
271 – How to Break a Kingdom in Six Months
Mar 11, 2018 • 58 min
For the last several years, the Anglo Saxons had been on a true war footing. AEthelflaed and Edward had been showing skill and audacity in the field, and it had paid dividends. Under their leadership, the Anglo Saxon kingdoms of the south had been taking…
270 – War in the Five Boroughs
Feb 28, 2018 • 25 min
There’s an entry from the Irish Fragmentary annals that caught my attention. It talks about the defeat of Hroald and Ohter at the hands of AEthelflaed… and it specifically gives credit to AEthelflaed for this battle, and then goes on to say that following…
269 – The Western Front
Feb 22, 2018 • 27 min
Wessex and Mercia have had a busy decade. Both kingdoms militarized their borders, fought off invasion forces, and even took the offensive and marched into neighboring kingdoms. And even though the Chronicle is mysteriously tight lipped on all of these…
268 – Viking Invasion
Feb 15, 2018 • 27 min
AEthelflaed, Lady of Mercia, and her brother, King Edward, had been bringing the fight to the Danes… they had been stretching their borders into Danish controlled lands and they haven’t just been on the offense… they’ve been winning. When an army was…
267 – The Southern Expansion
Feb 1, 2018 • 25 min
O potent elfleda! Maid, men’s terror! You did conquer nature’s self; worthy The name of man! More beauteous nature’s form of A woman; but your valour shall secure Man’s higher name. For name you only need Not sex to change: unconquerable queen, King…
266 – The Rise of AEthelflaed and the Breaking of Northumbria
Jan 26, 2018 • 23 min
The Battle of Tettenhall, as we discussed last episode, remains a mystery to us. We aren’t certain of the circumstances that started the battle, exactly where the battle took place, nor which Anglo Saxon leaders actually fought in it. But one thing…
265 – The Battle of Tettenhall; and Zombies, maybe.
Jan 12, 2018 • 31 min
There is so much that the Chronicle hides from us after the death of Alfred. Edward’s apple seems to have fallen fairly far from the tree, because the record his court produces during his reign is spare even by Anglo Saxon standards. But even with all of…
264 – The Lost Rebellion
Jan 4, 2018 • 38 min
In the year 909 we get an odd entry from the Chronicle. “This year St. Oswald’s body was removed from Bardney into Mercia.” It’s an weird entry that caps a very strange section of the Chronicle. In the seven year period from 902 to 909 we’ve got three…
263 – AEthelflaed and Ingimund
Dec 6, 2017 • 24 min
When we left off last episode, war had come to Mercia. Ingimund and his Scandinavian allies abandoned their peace treaty and were seeking to expand their borders, but according to the Irish Annals and the Welsh annals, it wasn’t AEthelred Lord of Mercia…
262 – AEthelred and AEthelflaed
Dec 1, 2017 • 27 min
A year after Edward took the throne – in year 901, while he was still fighting AEthelwold’s rebellion – something strange appeared in the Charters. This event doesn’t get discussed in the Chronicle. But these Charters reveal that in 901, there was an…
261 – The Anglo Saxon Chronicle and the Mercian Register
Nov 25, 2017 • 24 min
I hope that after the last few episodes (and honestly, the last few years) have dispelled the myth of elegance that surrounds monarchy. Especially medieval monarchy. Support the Show
260 – King Edward’s Forgotten Love Life
Nov 17, 2017 • 23 min
Sometimes life comes at you fast. So much happens in such a short space of time that you barely have a chance to take note of where you’re at and, only after it’s all passed, only /then/ do you have a chance to say “oh my god, what /was/ all of that?” I…
259 – The Last Stand of the House of AEthelred
Nov 3, 2017 • 30 min
It was an audacious move. To take possession of two towns, to fortify himself inside the Royal Estate of Wimborne (the resting place of his father), and to do all of this after taking an unnamed nun as his wife. But that was what AEthelwold son of…
258 – The Rise of King Edward I of Wessex
Oct 30, 2017 • 27 min
On October 26th, 899, Alfred the Great died. He left behind his wife, Eahlswitha, as well as his grown children. I imagine that the loss of Alfred was probably quite difficult on all of them. It’s always hard to lose a family member. But for Edward… the…
257 – Political Accommodation Within The Danelaw
Oct 21, 2017 • 36 min
Things in Britain are changing rapidly. In Scotland the MacAlpin dynasty is rising, and with it comes the merging of the Scottish and Pictish cultures. A similar blending is happening in the Anglo Saxon regions. As we’ve see in the last few episodes –…
256 – Scandinavian Settlement in England
Oct 12, 2017 • 27 min
For the last few episodes we’ve been discussing the way life has been changing in Southern Britain. While the dramatic battles and political maneuvering dominated the story of the last season, you’re now learning of the many of the changes that were…
255 – Londonwic to London
Sep 28, 2017 • 34 min
London is a world unto itself, and it has been for most of its very, very long history. One of the weirdest things about the city is that it contains its own separate city – distinct from the rest of London. It has its own laws, its own government, its…
254 – Worcester
Sep 14, 2017 • 23 min
If you read of old Britain… even if you read of modern Britain… you’d be forgiven if you thought it was all London. And London does soak up a ton of the spotlight. It’s like the Stonehenge of the non-neolithic period. You can’t avoid it. And we won’t…
253 – Anglo Saxon Market Towns in the Viking Age
Sep 7, 2017 • 26 min
Cultures change all the time – yours is changing right now, in ways you may or may not realize. It’s a completely normal, everyday fact that has been with humanity since we began. Probably before we began. And yet, telling the story of how a culture…
252 – The Coming of the Anglo-Scandinavians
Aug 31, 2017 • 26 min
At the start of 867, there were four major Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in Britain. By 874, three of the four – Northumbria, East Anglia, and Mercia – had lost their independence. That’s a timespan of only 7 years, and in that 7 years the political landscape of…
251 – Chapter Seven: England
Aug 17, 2017 • 2 min
We are entering a new era in the BHP. Support the Show
250 – The Year 900
Aug 10, 2017 • 36 min
It’s the year 900. We’ve closed out another century, and the 900’s are looking as tumultuous as the 800’s. But before we move forward in our story of our Island – still in many ways at the end of the world – the BHP is going to take a moment to look at…
249 – Kenneth MacAlpin and the Birth of Scotland
Aug 3, 2017 • 33 min
We’ve reached the end of an era. It was late 899, and Alfred (who has been our central figure for dozens of episodes) was at last at rest. But with his death, there was a sudden opening at the top levels of West Saxon politics and Alfred’s son, Edward,…
248 – The Death of Alfred the Great
Jul 16, 2017 • 25 min
By 897, everything Alfred had known…. changed. He was barely in his 20s when he took the throne and he hadn’t had a chance to stop for a breath for the decades that followed. He had been king for over half of his life, and in those years he’d proven…
247 – Our Wooden Wall
Jul 8, 2017 • 22 min
The Danes encamped at Bridgnorth had been campaigning for years. Many had come here with Haesten and the Appledore fleet. They were the veterans of the continental campaigns. And for years now they had been fighting tooth and nail with the Anglo Saxons.…
246 – The Hard Edge of Soft Power
Jun 25, 2017 • 36 min
When I write an episode I begin by looking at what has happened in the past, then at what will come in the future, and only after that do I allow myself to focus on what is occurring for this episode. I do this because I want to know the context of these…
245 – King Alfred: Infrastructure is Sexy
Jun 12, 2017 • 25 min
For the Viking army fleeing Shoebury, there wasn’t much to look forward to in a winter holiday at Chester. It would be wet. It would be cold. It would be creepy. The old Roman settlement had been abandoned for quite some time, and that probably didn’t sit…
244 – Haesten’s Advance
May 31, 2017 • 24 min
“Then came the king’s troops, and routed the enemy, broke down the work, took all that was therein money, women, and children and brought all to London. And all the ships they either broke to pieces, or burned, or brought to London or to Rochester.”…
The Achavanich Beaker Burial Project: The Beaker People with Dr. Alison Sheridan
May 24, 2017 • 34 min
Learn more about Dr. Sheridan and her work Dr. Sheridan’s Wiki page Dr. Sheridan’s Great Archaeology page Dr. Sheridan’s page The Achavanich Beaker Burial Project Links Twitter: @AvaBeakerBurial Facebook:…
243 – The Sieges of AEthelred of Mercia
May 20, 2017 • 26 min
Imagine that you’re in your 20s. You are a member of the royal dynasty… the next in line for the throne. But your future court is filled with powerful Ealdormen who expect their king to be a warrior. Given the mood of the nobles, and how some of them are…
242 – Edward AEtheling at Farnham
May 12, 2017 • 28 min
892 was not a very good year. Alfred’s gambit to pacify the forces of Hastein through the power of baptism and gifts had failed utterly, and now they were encamped in Benfleet Essex, launching raids into Wessex and (probably) Mercia. And as for the…
The Achavanich Beaker Burial Project: Discovering Ava with Maya Hoole
May 2, 2017 • 98 min
Twitter: @AvaBeakerBurial Facebook: Website: Canmore: Support the Show
241 – Haesten
Apr 27, 2017 • 25 min
What was Alfred’s reaction to the news of a massive viking fleet crossing the channel? Was it a surprise? Did he just expect it at this point? Was he angry that he would have to fight for his kingdom yet one more time? Based on his apparent devotion to…
240 – Viking Roadshow: Rollo edition
Apr 21, 2017 • 28 min
A massive fleet was off the coast of Kent, heading directly for Alfred’s realm. It was a fleet of 250 ships teeming with skilled, highly experienced raiders. But fleets don’t materialize out of thin air. They come from somewhere… And curiously, over the…
239 – The Dying Time
Apr 13, 2017 • 30 min
Today we’re going to cover 5 or 6 years, and we’re going to cover a fascinating theory that (if true) should color virtually everything we know about the life of Alfred the Great… and that’s because the Life of Alfred the Great might not have been written…
238 – A Patchwork of War
Mar 31, 2017 • 28 min
The Sons of Rhodri Mawr were in a difficult position. Their father had been a powerful ruler in Britain… he was a man who had gained vast swaths of territory for his dynasty and was one of the few kings in British history that could claim the title of…
237 – Asser
Mar 24, 2017 • 27 min
The Sons of Rhodri, rulers of vast swaths of Wales, have followed in their father’s footsteps in their quest to bring all of the Western Kingdoms under a command of a single dynasty. Their dynasty. In aid of this, they sought common cause with the Danes…
236 – A Return to Scholarship
Mar 17, 2017 • 33 min
“I can not find anything better in man, than that he know, and nothing worse than that he be ignorant.” That’s a quote from Alfred, and I think it’s my favorite quote. The nice thing about Alfred is that he’s a man for all seasons. There’s something in…
235 – Alfred’s Educational Reforms
Mar 9, 2017 • 25 min
One of the interesting things about piecing together the life of Alfred is that we find little windows into who he was in the strangest of places. Most kings of this era didn’t write much down for us to read… but Alfred did. In fact, he translated entire…
234 – The Sons of Rhodri and AEthelred’s Beautiful Hair
Mar 2, 2017 • 27 min
This episode has been difficult to write. In fact, the last several have been difficult, and it all comes down to issues of time. Not space time flexing due to gravitational pull, and issues of whether a minute for Alfred in Wessex was the same as a…
233 – Alfred’s Powerplay and the Restructuring of Wessex
Feb 24, 2017 • 33 min
While all of the political wrangling was occurring in Tamworth, Guthrum-AEthelstan was relocating to East Anglia, and he was bringing serious changes with him. Culture isn’t something that you can easily uproot in a person – it goes deep. Sure, Guthrum…
232 – Fifth Century Britain with Dr. Catherine Hills
Feb 19, 2017 • 58 min
Dr. Hills discussed material culture, ethnicity, Anglo Saxon migration, and more in this fascinating interview. You can learn more about what Dr. Hills at her departmental website here. Support the Show
231 – Anglo Saxon Economics and Money with Professor Rory Naismith
Feb 11, 2017 • 82 min
Follow Rory on Twitter @Rory_Naismith and make sure to follow him at his Academic page at Kings College London as well as on This episode covers how the economy transitioned from food rent to coinage, how currency was a reflection of the…
230 – Guthrum Gets a Bath
Feb 3, 2017 • 28 min
For Alfred, everything had changed at Chippenham. It was at Chippenham where he had lost his crown and his kingdom… it’s also possible that he was the victim of a coup, considering how Guthrum’s conquest had gone virtually unchallenged. Chippenham was a…
A Ten Year Old in WWII: A Memorial
Jan 30, 2017 • 12 min
Thank you for always being there for me, Nanna. <3 Support the Show
229 – The Battle of Edington
Jan 14, 2017 • 26 min
Four months is a long time. It might not seem it. And in many ways, four months can pass in the blink of an eye. But four months is around 120 days. It’s a full season. In four months, the harshness of winter can be replaced by the the bright warmth of…
228 – Alfred and Odda: The Audacity of Nope
Jan 7, 2017 • 27 min
In spite of everything standing against them, Alfred and AEthelnoth are bringing the war directly to Guthrum on a daily basis. We know this thanks to Asser and the Chronicle, but both sources neglect to tell us exactly HOW the rebel army was bringing the…
227 – Alfred’s War for the Mind
Dec 21, 2016 • 29 min
The last episode ended with an account by Ethelweard which told us that after the arrival of AEthelnoth, Alfred was attacking Guthrum on a daily basis. Alfred was no longer just trying to survive, he was trying to take his kingdom back. Support the Show
226 – Alfred and Legitimacy: The First Steps to War
Dec 10, 2016 • 29 min
Today, we are going to talk about the early steps of Alfred’s guerrilla war against King Guthrum. We will talk about the elements of this sort of war, the circumstances of the West Saxons under Guthrum’s rule, and the resulting fallout within Wessex.…
225 – Alfred in Somerset
Dec 1, 2016 • 30 min
It was January of 878. The dead of British winter – and Alfred was running. Through fields, past hamlets, keeping out of sight whenever he could. He ran. He headed for the Somerset Levels. This was a coastal plane during the 9th century – a dense network…
224 – Chapter Six: Wessex
Nov 23, 2016 • 1 min
For generations, the Anglo Saxon dominance in eastern Britain has gone largely unchallenged. In the face of this, the warlike vagabonds that first came to these lands had been transformed into gentry. Power had calcified into the hands of a few, war had…
223 – King Alfred and Chippenham
Nov 17, 2016 • 28 min
How do you redeem a year like 877? If you’re Alfred, how do you fix something like this? Even if he cast it in the best possible light, the story of 877 would still be the story of how Wessex lost control of two of its major coastal strongholds, was…
222 – Viking Kings and The Black Pool
Nov 10, 2016 • 23 min
At some point early in the Viking Age, a group of Northmen came across a natural harbor on the western side of the Irish Sea. Being that they were a seafaring people, having places in foreign lands where they could safely make port was a significant…
221 – Alfred and Guthrum: The Price of Peace
Nov 3, 2016 • 26 min
When we left off, Guthrum had marched into the heart of Wessex without being noticed, lead his forces right past Alfred’s hold in Winchester, and seized the Royal tun of Wareham. In response to this, Alfred raised the Fyrd, marched upon the southern port…
220 – Alfred and Guthrum: Magic, Madness, Heaven, Sin
Oct 28, 2016 • 31 min
It’s the year 876 and historians Dudo and Flodoard tell us that a fleet of Vikings slammed into the Frankish city of Rouen and nearly leveled it to the ground. In response to this attack, King Louis the Stammerer, brother of Judith, launched a campaign to…
219 – The Halloween Special: The Statement of Randolph Carter
Oct 21, 2016 • 18 min
I repeat to you, gentlemen, that your inquisition is fruitless. Detain me here forever if you will; confine or execute me if you must have a victim to propitiate the illusion you call justice; but I can say no more than I have said already. Everything…
218 – The Kingdom of Jorvik
Oct 19, 2016 • 38 min
Today we begin in Orkney. The history of Orkney is rather obscure, and that fact is reflected in the show… with it appearing only occasionally in the Scotcasts and Celtcasts. However, in the last 80 years, things have been changing rapidly for the…
217 – Halfdan’s Ravaging of the North
Oct 6, 2016 • 28 min
We begin our story in Alt Clut. Alt Clut was an ancient British Kingdom and it could trace itself back to Roman Britannia – and possibly even further. At the center of this kingdom was an old fortress on a River, the River Clyde. The Kingdom’s name…
216 – The Great Heathen Army: Always Be Prepared
Sep 29, 2016 • 32 min
Click here to go the Summary of Zee’s PhD that I talked about. We are coming to a major turning point in the story of Britain.The Anglo Saxon kingdoms never had a chance of turning the Great Heathen Army back, and now it looks like they’re here to stay.…
215 – King Burgred and the end of the Danish Sausage Fest
Sep 15, 2016 • 50 min
It’s 873 and so far Halfdan has extracted THREE Danegelds from King Burgred in exchange for promising to not occupy Mercia. And, of course, he’s gone on to occupy Mercia… most recently in a town called Torksey. He also put down a rebellion in Jorvik and…
214 – National Lampoon’s Viking Vacation
Sep 4, 2016 • 24 min
It’s 872 and Halfdan’s year has been a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, he had received a major Danegeld from Mercia, to add to the one he received from Wessex in the previous year. And now he was residing within London. But on the other hand, he had…
213 – Danegelds, Peace, and Shame
Aug 24, 2016 • 33 min
Last time we left off, Alfred… who we have been following since his earliest days, and whom we now know the most intimate details of, including the state of his butt (which was swollen) and the state of his libido (which apparently was also swollen)……
212 – Alfred the Last AEtheling
Aug 11, 2016 • 30 min
It’s mid April of 871. For four long months, the House of Wessex has been battling against an invasion army of Danes who are holding the Royal Tun of Reading. Battle after battle had resulted in bruising defeats at the hands of these pagans. They had won…
211 – The Battles of Basing and Meretun
Jul 27, 2016 • 28 min
It’s January of 871, still… A tremendous amount has happened in the last fortnight, and the year had barely even begun. People tend to compress the past… especially periods they are unfamiliar with… into short blurbs. It’s why many people are completely…
210 – The Battle of Ashdown
Jul 19, 2016 • 34 min
“God, in his goodness and justice so much offended by our sins, had thus worn down the lands and kingdoms of the Christians.” That’s a quote from Prudentius of Troyes, who was struggling to explain why the Franks met abysmal failure every time they fought…
209 – The Battle of Reading
Jul 8, 2016 • 20 min
When we left off, the Danes had occupied Reading, fortified it for several days, and then sent a detachment West along the river Kennet… In response, Ealdorman AEthelwulf of Berkshire had raised the local Fyrd, killed one of the Danish lords, and for the…
208 – The Battle of Englefield
Jul 1, 2016 • 21 min
When we left off the Great Heathen Army had conquered East Anglia, established their dominion, and then a good portion of it returned to their territory of Jorvik. However, not everyone returned north or stayed in East Anglia. Their leaders, Ivarr and…
207 – Christianity in Early Danelaw
Jun 23, 2016 • 33 min
Here is part two to our story of religion and religious life at the age of the Great Heathen Army and the Danish invasion of Britain. Last episode, I told you about how the stories we’re often told – of violent atrocities committed against Christian…
206 – Did the Great Heathen Army Persecute Christians?
Jun 10, 2016 • 29 min
Last week we covered the events of 869. The situation was dire. We have at least one dead Anglo Saxon king, two Anglo Saxon kingdoms that were now under the thumb of the Danes, and as far as the record tells us, everyone else was just keeping their heads…
205 – Saint Edmund the Martyr
Jun 2, 2016 • 27 min
Last episode we ended with the engagement of Prince Alfred to Ealhswith, daughter of Ealdorman AEthelred Mucel of Mercia and descendant of King Coenwulf of Merica, and I briefly mentioned political implications of such a match. But there was a personal…
204 – Snottingham
May 27, 2016 • 30 min
At the end of last episode, the gates of Jorvik had opened and the Great Heathen Army marched forth. They were headed South, to the Kingdom of Mercia. Mercia makes sense for the Northmen. The leaders of the Great Army had already bolstered their northern…
203 – Jorvik
May 19, 2016 • 31 min
I’d like to start today’s episode with a poem. Not about my feelings, or about a tough breakup… but a skaldic poem from the 12th century. It’s called The Lay of Kraka, and it was probably recorded somewhere in Scotland. The reason why it’s important is…
202 – The Fall of Eoforwic
May 11, 2016 • 29 min
When we left off last time, King Edmund of East Anglia had paid a Danegeld to the Great Heathen Army… and rather than leaving, the army had set up camp in his Kingdom. It was a situation that would have caused all manner of havoc for virtually everyone…
201 – East Anglia’s Danegeld
May 2, 2016 • 35 min
Here we are, with a new king in Wessex. King AEthelred, son of AEthelwulf, was now sitting the throne. He was in his 20s, and despite having a large family back when he was a child… now his only family left were his wife… Queen Wulfthryth (and good on you…
200 – The Q&A
Apr 24, 2016 • 46 min
To celebrate the 200th episode, I took questions from the community which gave me a good excuse to complain about bad GI Joe villains, Rome, Lack of Sources, Rome, and a dearth of available female historical figures to crush on…. and Rome. (It was bad,…
199 – AEthelred vs Alfred: One of the Most Exciting Moments in Probate History
Apr 17, 2016 • 22 min
It’s 865 and we just had yet another King of Wessex die. Alfred has been losing family members fast and furious, and this time it was his older brother, King AEthelberht. What’s worse is King AEthelberht seemed like he was a pretty decent fellow, and…
198 – The Great Heathen Army Begins
Apr 2, 2016 • 23 min
On 864 or 865, a great Scandinavian fleet of Dragon ships, or Drakkars, beached themselves at Thanet in Kent. For the people of the south, this would have been terrifying It had been scarcely more than a decade since the last fleet of Drakkars landed in…
The April Fool’s Episode
Apr 1, 2016 • 1 min
Things are changing at the BHP, and here’s a preview!
197 – The Sons of Ragnar Lodbrok (versus Battle-Cattle)
Mar 26, 2016 • 47 min
We’re at a massive turning point for Britain. The Great Heathen Army is arriving on the Northern shores. I have been racking my brain for weeks trying to figure out how best to tell you this story deal with the Great Heathen Army, because it has all the…
196 – Vikings and Mercs and Franks. Oh My!
Mar 16, 2016 • 28 min
When we left off last week we spoke about King AEthelberht’s ascension to the throne of Wessex in 860 and how, despite the insistence of the Chroniclers that his rule was marked by peace and tranquility, on that same year we had records of a Viking raid…
195 – Red Sea Rising
Mar 7, 2016 • 23 min
Today’s episode will focus upon the goings on in Britain for King AEthelberht, AEthelred, and Alfred. We will also cover what has been happening up in Northumbria… and predictably, it involves a lot of civil war. We will also have a quick discussion about…
194 – My Big Fat Dark Age Wedding
Feb 26, 2016 • 36 min
King AEthelbald of Wessex, Queen Judith, Bjorn Ironsides, Prince Alfred, King Charles the Bald, Pope Nicholas I, Baldwin Iron Arm, Ivar the Boneless… this episode has it all! (History of Britain, History of England, History of Wessex, French History,…
193 – Alfred the Young Part Two
Feb 21, 2016 • 33 min
When we left off last week we were talking about Alfred’s upbringing and how he was a proficient hunter from a young age, and how he honed those skills throughout the rest of his life. But also how he lamented the fact that he was illiterate until he was…
192 – Alfred the Young
Feb 13, 2016 • 21 min
We’ve discussed Anglo Saxon propaganda, and what goes down in Anglo Saxon cities, now let’s get back to the main story. When last we checked in with the House of Wessex, King AEthelwulf had died, but thanks to his incredible fecundity he had a wealth of…
191 – Urban Fervor
Feb 5, 2016 • 25 min
You might not realize it, but we on the precipice of a major change in Britain. Alfred the Great is about to reach adulthood and enter the scene. The era of Danelaw is coming. Things are about to come to a head. But if I’m being honest, we’ve been seeing…
190 – House (of Wessex): Everybody Lies
Jan 28, 2016 • 42 min
This episode is going to be a bit different from most, because I’m going to be addressing something which has been bugging me about the 800s, and Wessex in particular. I feel like I haven’t done a good job pointing something out. So I’m going to explain…
189 – What on earth is an English
Jan 15, 2016 • 27 min
This episode is going to be a little different from most episodes. We’re going to break from the main story briefly and talk in larger terms about what is going on in Eastern Britain, because I realized that my slavish attention to the main storyline has…
188 – Rebellion and Succession in the Kingdom of Wessex
Jan 8, 2016 • 27 min
Before we begin, I’d like to address something from our last episode. I told you about reports of Vikingr armies marching around the countryside near the Wrekin. I offered a variety of methods of reaching the Wrekin, all of which would have involved quite…
187 – The Queen of Wessex: aka The Worst Midlife Crisis Ever
Jan 2, 2016 • 26 min
It’s Christmas day 854. King AEthelweard of East Anglia, a king who we know almost nothing about, is dead. The only evidence we really have that he was alive in the first place are his coins, and this is likely due to the fact that, throughout the Viking…
186 – Wessex: A story of Myth building, Opportunism, and Annexation
Dec 18, 2015 • 19 min
This episode is getting a bit into the political weeds and it’s for a very important reason. We’re seeing the development of that dynastic juggernaut we all know and love, the House of Wessex, and I want you to see how and why it’s forming into what it…
185 – Building the House of Wessex
Dec 11, 2015 • 33 min
When we left off last time, we were taking a look at the problem facing Europe that no one wanted to talk about. And this wasn’t like plague of people mistaking tights for pants. In that situation, the only solution is to ignore it until it retreats back…
184 – The Chaos of Bad Governance
Dec 3, 2015 • 26 min
When we left off last time we discussed the viking raids of Paris and Hamburg… though they were far more than the raids we’d seen in the last 40-50 years. Now we’re looking at fleets that number in the hundreds and we’re seeing the nobility on the…
183 – Ragnar’s Siege of Paris
Nov 21, 2015 • 35 min
This is a big event for Medieval Western Europe, and it doesn’t come out of nowhere. The surge of Northmen, and in particular the Danish attacks against Frankia, had a starting point. This wasn’t a simple matter of pagans picking a random point on the map…
182 – Ragnar Lodbrok
Nov 14, 2015 • 28 min
Ok, when we left off, a fleet of 120 ships set sail from Scandinavia. And at their head, according to legend, was Ragnar Lodbrok. Ragnar Hairy Breeches. Support the Show
181 – Vikingrs Gotta Viking
Nov 7, 2015 • 32 min
When we left off last week, the Vikingrs had established fortified bases in Ireland… Not only that, but after building the bases they decided to hang out there for the winter, choosing to stay in the relatively warmer climes of the British isles rather…
180 – The Cracks in the Shieldwall
Oct 30, 2015 • 29 min
It’s 838. Only two years earlier the West Saxons were defeated by a fleet of Vikingrs, and they responded to this loss the way you would expect them to… by completely ignoring the loss and, instead, focusing on dynastic politics and making endowments to…
Halloween Special: H.P. Lovecraft’s The Music of Erich Zann
Oct 26, 2015 • 23 min
The Music of Erich Zann By H. P. Lovecraft You can read a copy of the story at Happy Halloween!
179 – The Battle of Carrum
Oct 16, 2015 • 19 min
When we left off last week, 35 ships launched from Denmark and set their course for England. As we have been learning, the Anglo Saxon kingdoms were now seriously in danger of Vikingr attacks for the first time, having lost the protection of the Frankish…
178 – Dereliction of Duty
Oct 9, 2015 • 24 min
When we last left off we were talking about what a big deal King Egbert of Wessex was. And for good reason. In 829, King Egbert of Wessex held virtually all of the south and even demanded the submission of Northumbria after a battle at the River Dore, an…
177 – The Road to 830
Oct 2, 2015 • 29 min
Last episode I gave you a forest view of where we are going and, roughly, who these Viking raiders were as well as the scale of the impact that they will have upon Europe. And it really is something to behold. The Viking Age isn’t very long, but Europe…
176 – The Prophecy of Jeremiah
Sep 25, 2015 • 24 min
“Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. They shall hold the bow and the lance: they are cruel, and will not show mercy: their voice shall roar like the sea.” Jeremiah…
175 – Chapter Five: A Sea of Blood
Sep 3, 2015 • 3 min
A sea of blood. Support the Show
174 – CeltCast Part 3
Aug 28, 2015 • 17 min
We start today with a few bare statements in the record. They’re easy to overlook, and most people do, but they hint at a very important aspect of Pictland in the 700s. The absolutely enormous amount of political wrangling. Here’s what we know. In 725,…
173 – The CeltCast Part 2
Aug 19, 2015 • 25 min
I’m continuing my quest to organize and bring all the stories back together and so today we’re going to move the timeline forward (to get us closer to the Vikings) and we will also be talking more about the kingdoms that were active in the region that…
172 – CeltCast Part 1
Aug 10, 2015 • 27 min
Today we’re beginning the process of creating a singular British history podcast. The side casts made sense when the story was first beginning, but now (rather than helping you understand the story better) they’re confusing it) and so today we are merging…
171 – The Welshcast Part Seven
Jul 28, 2015 • 38 min
When we left off last time, we were talking about how we have a limited understanding of this area of history due to a combination of scarce resources and the victorians building a mythology of englishness. We also covered the early middle ages and the…
170 – The Welshcast Part Six
Jul 20, 2015 • 21 min
It’s been two years since we checked in with the Britons of the West, and last time we spoke, a big part of our discussion was focused upon the people that Gildas hated. Which was pretty much everyone. Support the Show
169 – The Rise of Wessex
Jul 8, 2015 • 28 min
This season we’ve seen the Anglo Saxons come incredibly close to forming an early unified English Kingdom… in fact they will continue their attempts in this episode. Though we can guess how that will go because we have seen their culture and governmental…
168 – The Fall of Mercia
Jul 1, 2015 • 29 min
When we left off, King Beornwulf was reigning over Mercia. Beornwulf was the beginning of the creatively named B-Dynasty, due to the fact that Anglo Saxons seemed to denote their dynasties by selecting the same first letters for their kids. So Beornwulf…
167 – The Beginning of the End
Jun 22, 2015 • 40 min
Season Four is called Anglo Saxon Ascendancy because we have been seeing mighty kings like Offa, AEthelbald, and Coenwulf acquire vast amounts of power in Britain that enable them to nearly become the first kings of England. Their hegemonies were so big…
166 – Wulfred: The Rogue Archbishop
Jun 13, 2015 • 24 min
We start today with a death. On the 28th of January, 814, Charlemagne died and the throne passed to Louis the Pious. The death of Charlemagne was a big deal for early medieval europe, not just because it meant that we wouldn’t have anymore passive…
165 – Did Archbishop Wulfred Just Kill a Guy?
Jun 2, 2015 • 30 min
Last week we talked about the impact that the Church was having on internal politics within the Anglo Saxon kingdoms, and that is something we will continue to talk about today. However, before we begin, let’s talk about something strange that’s happening…
164 – Shadow Governments in Britain
May 21, 2015 • 25 min
When we last left off, King Egbert was ruling over Wessex, King Cuthred (Coenwulf’s brother) was ruling over Kent… and Emperor Coenwulf held Mercia. I call him Emperor, by the way, because that’s what he called himself. And also because he does seem like…
163 – The South of Britain Grows Restless
May 16, 2015 • 23 min
There’s a shift that’s happening in Anglo Saxon politics that’s occurring… we’ve had powerful queens in the Anglo Saxon kingdoms (especially in Mercia, where Queens were more powerful than most). But something is happening in Wessex that will impact…
162 – Emperor Coenwulf, Emperor Charlemagne, and The World
May 7, 2015 • 29 min
So today, lets briefly talk about the world context since we’ve largely just focused on our main character. No not Coenwulf, or Offa… the main character is and has been Britain… but sometimes it feels like it’s an island adrift and alone, when in actual…
Q&A: How to Start a Podcast
May 1, 2015 • 7 min
I’ve gotten this question a lot over the years and after quite a lot of thought, I’ve come up with a few basic pieces of advice. I talked it over with some fellow podcasters and they gave it the thumbs up, so hopefully it will help you out if you’re…
161 – King Ceonwulf’s Rise in Power
Apr 30, 2015 • 23 min
While Offa was an effective leader in Mercia during his life, his dynastic purge was a disaster. Looking at what followed, it appears that he heavily targeted extended members of his own family. Now this placed his immediate family in a very good position…
160 – An Offa Inheritance
Apr 21, 2015 • 24 min
King Offa of Mercia has died after a surprisingly long and productive reign. The degree of power he had gathered for himself was truly something to behold. While his reach didn’t stretch into Mercia’s ancient enemies beyond the Humber, Northumbria, he had…
159 – An Offa End
Apr 8, 2015 • 26 min
Lets start with Christmas Day 795. That’s the day Pope Hadrian died… so uh… Merry Christmas? Hadrian was actually a pretty decent Pope… not Pope Francis level of awesome, though really who is? But he was still pretty good, and upon hearing of his death,…
158 – Offa With His Head
Mar 31, 2015 • 22 min
Last week was dark, wasn’t it? Not only that, but it only covered the first half of 793. The end of the 8th century was an eventful period so lets pick up right where we left off and talk about what else was happening in the other half of 793… and…
157 – Lindisfarne
Mar 24, 2015 • 27 min
Northumbria was no stranger to problems… blood feuds, regicide, and kinslaying… they really have it all up there. But as 793 began, it was clear that things were taking an even darker turn. As the new year dawned, a massive whirlwind slammed into the…
156 – An Offa Marriage
Mar 5, 2015 • 27 min
When we left off things were looking pretty good for Mercia. Wessex was now acting as a subkingdom, with their King (Beohtric) married to Offa’s daughter… Kent was thoroughly dominated, East Anglia appears to have been brought fully under Offa’s control.…
155 – Its Always Sunny in Mercia: The Gang Throws a Party
Feb 25, 2015 • 23 min
Back to our story, when we last left off, King Offa of Mercia was doing pretty well. He had just received Papal support for his plans of succession and he was demonstrating that he was a mover and shaker not just among the English kingdoms, but on the…
154 – Having it Offa
Feb 18, 2015 • 25 min
Today we’re covering more about King Offa, and the reason is that he’s a really big deal. He reigned for about as long as King Henry VIII, he constructed one of the wonders of the world, he was the starting point for the continuous use of currency in…
153 – An Offa You Can’t Refuse
Feb 11, 2015 • 27 min
As you might have guessed, today we’re talking mostly about Offa. But before we get into some of the cool things that were going on under Offa’s reign… lets start with something shady. Support the Show
152 – Limited Time Offa
Feb 4, 2015 • 26 min
Today we begin in Northumbria. King AEthelred of Northumbria, son of AEthelwold Moll, was sitting the throne, having taken it from a man who claimed to be from the Line of Ida. And initially it seems that many people were quite happy with AEthelred, and…
151 – Offa and Acceptance
Jan 30, 2015 • 20 min
Alright, where did we leave off. We had a new Archbishop of Canterbury, King Offa of Mercia was on the rise, Kent was in decline, and the minor kingdoms were being brought to heel by… yep, Offa of Mercia. Support the Show
150 – King Offa: The Turnover
Jan 19, 2015 • 24 min
Today’s episode is going to go all over the kingdoms of the Heptarchy. We have the Kings of Kent, Wessex, East Anglia, Northumbria, and of course, Mercia all involved. It’s a busy one. But Offa will continue to be our main character. Support the Show
149 – King Offa Ascends the Throne
Jan 12, 2015 • 29 min
Today we’re starting a series on one of the most influential Mercian kings in history. King Offa. But before we start this story, I need to fess up to a couple things. Support the Show
148 – The Fall of King AEthelbald
Jan 2, 2015 • 29 min
Alright, as you already know, King AEthelbald of Mercia had a bit of a rough start… what with being exiled and living in a swamp. But once he was able to take the throne, he hit the ground running and it wasn’t long before he was the supreme power in the…
147 – The Twelve Days of Christmas
Dec 23, 2014 • 20 min
This year for our Christmas special, I thought I would give you an idea of what Christmas was like for some of the people in Middle Ages Britain. Now, Christmas in the middle ages was quite different from our modern experience in many ways. And like with…
146 – King AEthelbald: A Whirlpool of Perdition
Dec 15, 2014 • 30 min
The first half of this episode is a combination of letting you know what is happening in the Heptarchy (basically, chaos unless you’re in Mercia) and it’s also setting the stage for the second half, which… I’m not going to lie to you… is going to get a…
145 – The Rise of King AEthelbald of Mercia
Dec 12, 2014 • 26 min
Ok, so we ended our last episode with the death of King Ceolred at a banquet. And he went out swinging… or at least gibbering and cursing the heavens. Let’s face it, Ceolred was a colorful character and really brought his A game right until the end. I…
144 – King Ceolred: A Lunatic Running the Asylum
Dec 1, 2014 • 24 min
Ok, so recently we’ve chatted about some cultural matters and I’ve also given you a broad overview of the failed dynastic politics of Northumbria and where this is all headed. But we really didn’t cover too much of what was going on elsewhere. We hinted…
143 – Man Up: Gender in the Middle Ages
Nov 18, 2014 • 39 min
Often times, the way the Middle Ages are presented, are as an era where everyone was lily white and a time when men were men and women were women. A time of hyper masculinity where all the guys were muscle bound warriors with big bushy beards and a bone…
142 – The Failed Dynastic Politics of Mercia and Northumbria
Nov 11, 2014 • 41 min
Now today is going to be a little complex. But if you keep the theme in mind, you should be largely ok… and that theme is the bloody dynastic politics in the midlands and the north are getting completely out of hand. And Wilfrid is Wilfrid. Support the…
141 – King Aldfrith and St. Wilfrid
Oct 29, 2014 • 32 min
Ok, when we left off, Bishop Wilfrid was jilted out of the Archbishopric of Canterbury, and instead Abbot Beorhtwald became Archbishop Beorhtwald. So Wilfrid readjusted and made an attempt to reunify the Bishopric of York and then head it up. But King…
140 – Wilfrid: How to Win Friends and Influence People
Oct 21, 2014 • 26 min
Today’s episode will take place in the turbulent years from 686 to 692 and the main characters will be… Aldfrith – King of Mercia, son of Oswiu, brother of Ecgfrith, and scholarly dude. Wilfrid – Former Bishop of York, friend of the terrifying pagan king…
139 – The Rise of Aldfrith and Caedwalla
Oct 14, 2014 • 33 min
This episode will roughly cover the eventful years between 685 and 689. The main characters today will be two kings, two wannabe kings, and a bishop… here we go: First we have King Aldfrith of Northumbria – He was the brother of the slain King Ecgfrith…
138 – Religious Lives in Britain
Oct 7, 2014 • 28 min
Alright, so last week we talked about how uneven and confused the conversion of Britain was. And how the beliefs of one village might not bare all that much similarity to the beliefs of another village even though they both might profess to worship the…
137 – Preaching in the Dark Ages
Sep 29, 2014 • 25 min
Today we’re going to cover the crazy environment that early Christian converts found themselves in during the Dark Ages, and some of the bizarre notions they might have gotten regarding their religion thanks to poor access, education, and stubborn…
136 – The Power of Mercia
Sep 15, 2014 • 30 min
This episode will cover the years 678 to 685 and its major characters will be… King Ecgfrith of Northumbria, the man who brought down Wulfhere, was wielding supreme power in Northumbria and was arguably exercising quite a bit of power south of the Humber…
135 – A Reshuffling of Power
Sep 9, 2014 • 25 min
Today we’re going to cover the eventful years of 675 to 678, and our main characters will be… King Wulfhere of Mercia, Son of Penda and tough guy with a bloodied lip. King Ecgfrith of Northumbria, Son of Oswiu and guy who bloodied Wulfhere’s lip. And…
134 – The Power of Northumbria
Sep 5, 2014 • 25 min
This episode covers the years 670 to 685. The main characters are: King Ecgfrith of Northumbria – son of Oswiu, former hostage of the Mercians, and generally tough dude. King Wulfhere of Mercia – son of Penda, veteran warrior, and leader of a growing…
133 – Scotcast: Part Ten
Aug 25, 2014 • 34 min
To start with, we have nine praise poems that tell us of a mighty king of Rheged named Urien, who reigned in the 580’s and 590’s. Urien was no slouch and from the records, it appears that his kingdom stretched all the way to the Solway and he was also…
132 – Scotcast Part Nine: St. Columba and King Brude
Aug 5, 2014 • 22 min
This episode will cover the years 506 to 584 and will focus primarily upon: King Brude (also known as King Bridie), the King the the Northern Picts … also referred to as King of Fortriu and St. Columba, the man credited with converting the Northern Picts……
131 – Scotcast Part Eight
Jul 28, 2014 • 23 min
So we will begin the account of what was going on with the Picts following the withdrawal of Rome with a rather discouraging fact… isn’t it nice when I can start an episode on an up note? In the Group A version of the Pictish Chronicle there are only 3…
130 – Scotcast Part Seven – Who Were The Picts?
Jul 17, 2014 • 23 min
The last time we had episodes focusing upon the Scotcast, it was at the end of Season Two… at the end of roman Britannia, and quite a lot of things have changed for our friends in the north. So, as is our custom, now that we’re changing gears and focusing…
Chapter Four: Anglo Saxon Ascendancy
Jul 7, 2014 • 6 min
It began with Cassivellaunus. The first recorded King to have commanded the submission of most, if not all, of the British tribes and who fought valiantly against Caesar and his legions. And although the hegemony under Cassivellaunus didn’t last, it…
129 – The Life of King Wulfhere
Jul 3, 2014 • 27 min
About a year and a half ago I did a series on the Staffordshire hoard. And talking with the experts and viewing the relics was easily one of my favorite moments from the entire experience of putting together the BHP. As you might remember, the hoard was…
128 – The End of King Oswiu’s Hegemony
Jun 25, 2014 • 23 min
The episode covers 664 to 670 and the major characters are… King Oswiu, ruler of Northumbria, son of AEthelfrith, and all around terrifying fellow King Alhfrith of Deira, Oswiu’s son and one of his probable rivals Wilfrid, abbott of Ripon, guy who argued…
127 – The Synod of Whitby
Jun 4, 2014 • 27 min
The major players for today will be Hild (who was the daughter of King Edwin’s nephew, Hereric), King Oswiu of Bernicia, Bishop Colman of Lindisfarne, Wilfred the abbot of Ripon, and Bishop Cedd. And they will be, ostensibly, arguing over Easter. See?…
126 – The End of an Era: The Triumph of Christianity in Britain
May 27, 2014 • 32 min
Today we’re going to tackle the history from 660 right up to the lead up to the Synod of Whitby… and we’re going to have a lot of moving parts, but the theme that is developing here is one of the last gasps of Paganism in Britain and the rise of two rival…
125 – King Oswiu: A Gathering Storm
May 15, 2014 • 23 min
So in late 655, following his victory at the Winwaed, King Oswiu occupied and ruled Northern Mercia and thus now ruled over an additional 7,000 households, according to Bede. Consider how much power that was conferring upon the King. We’re talking about…
124 – Social Mobility: Getting a Raise in Anglo Saxon Kingdoms
May 9, 2014 • 60 min
Today we’re going to wrap up this talk that we’ve been having on the development of social classes in Anglo Saxon britain. Hopefully, once we’re done, much like our talks on other matters like food, clothing, and warfare… you’ll have a fuller…
123 – Retail Therapy: The Rise of Anglo Saxon Towns
Apr 30, 2014 • 32 min
Alright, lets get to history. Specifically, lets talk about towns. And to start with, lets establish a couple terms I’m going to be using a lot. When I talk about towns and cities, what I’m largely talking about are larger communities that have a…
122 – The Concentration of Power and Wealth
Apr 21, 2014 • 26 min
I’ll be talking in broad strokes today, but I want to give you a forest view of what we’ve been talking about over the last couple seasons. Support the Show
121 – King Oswiu: The Aftermath of the Winwaed
Apr 9, 2014 • 22 min
The Battle of the Winwaed is over and Penda is dead along with 30 noble warleaders who had joined him in battle… with them was King Anna’s brother, King AEthelhere of East Anglia… and as for King AEthelwald of Deira… well, I’m not sure what happened to…
120 – Penda and Oswiu: The Winwaed
Apr 1, 2014 • 28 min
So when we last left off, things were going crazy in the North and in the Midlands. But the very last thing I mentioned was that Honorius, the Archbishop of Canterbury, had died. Well, his seat remained vacant for about six months until March 26, 654 (or…
119 – King Penda: No Posers
Mar 25, 2014 • 23 min
So where were we? Oswiu had arranged for the murder of his cousin, which is awkward in itself… but the slain King Oswine was also related to Eanflaed, Oswiu’s wife. So… even if Oswiu wasn’t fussed about kinslaying, chances are that dinner still had…
118 – Oswiu and Oswine: There’s No Anglo Saxon Word for Take Backsies
Mar 18, 2014 • 23 min
When we left off Cenwalh of Wessex had left his wife, irritated Penda (since his wife was Penda’s sister), and gained a fancy new wife but lost his kingdom when Penda arrived to have a little chat with him. So he did what many nobles of the time seemed to…
117 – Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
Mar 10, 2014 • 26 min
Oswald was the King of Northumbria and son of AEthelfrith who was killed by Penda at Maserfield. Oswiu was his brother Osric of Deira was the King of Deira, and nephew of Edwin, who was killed by Cadwallon. and Oswine was the son of Osric… So to recap……
116 – Wait, Where Are We? Part two of the history of Britain so far.
Feb 27, 2014 • 52 min
It’s been about 2 years and 100 episodes since I did a recap episode to remind you where we were, what the flow of history was, and give you a forest view of the whole thing. Seriously, 100 episodes! And since then, we have gotten to know the Anglo Saxons…
115 – Maserfield: Blood Makes The Grass Grow
Feb 19, 2014 • 39 min
Edwin, Osric, Eanfrith, Eadfrith, Cadwallon, Sigeberht, Ecgric… Following Hatfield Chase, we have seen a blood letting of the aristocracy of Anglo Saxon Britain of epic proportions. And we are only hearing about the very highest echelons… but how many…
114 – Oswald and Sigeberht: The Softer Side of Rule
Feb 13, 2014 • 34 min
This is going to be one of those episodes that has a lot of moving parts and you might want to listen to it twice. Just a heads up. Alright, so things have gotten pretty exciting. We’ve had the downfall of Cadwallon of Gwynedd and the rise of Oswald of…
113 – Religious Ambitions: The Rise of Oswald (and Others)
Feb 4, 2014 • 30 min
When we last left off, Oswald son of AEthelfrith and Acha, defeated and killed Cadwallon of Gwynedd at the battle of Heavenfield. The defeat was a serious blow for the Northern Welsh kingdom. In fact, in the praise poem written about Cadwallon, we see the…
112 – The Battle of Heavenfield
Jan 29, 2014 • 20 min
The year was 633 or 634, and the tide was turning against Northumbria for the first time in as long as anyone could probably remember. AEthelfrith’s victory at the Battle of Chester was not just a problem for the Welsh, it was also a problem for Mercia…
111 – Edwin: What Goes Around Comes Around
Jan 23, 2014 • 27 min
That’s something I’ve heard my entire life. When I was younger and picked on at school my father would sometimes say “Don’t worry, Jamie, what goes around comes around.” The problem with that bit of advice is that it requires a sense of fairness in the…
110 – Mercia: A New Contender Enters the Ring
Jan 14, 2014 • 20 min
Ok, last episode, we jumped forward a little to take the story of East Anglia to the point where Sigebehrt took the throne… but lets go back about 3 years… to 628 (ish)… and look at what is going on in Mercia. Mercia, the Midland kingdom, has been a bit…
109 – Edwin’s Ambitions
Jan 6, 2014 • 28 min
When we last left Edwin, Bishop Paulinus finally had his prize. He convinced the great King of Northumbria… the Bretwalda!… Edwin… to abandon his gods and convert to Christianity. It had been a long hard road for the Bishop. Failed assassinations, war,…
108 – The Christmas Special
Dec 23, 2013 • 17 min
Ever since I was a kid in Catholic school, I’ve been somewhat fascinated by the date of Christmas. I often wondered where it came from, given that it doesn’t appear anywhere in the Bible, and (as the feast is celebrating the birth of Jesus) it seemed…
107 – Edwin’s Conversion
Dec 16, 2013 • 25 min
Ok, so when we left off, Bishop Paulinus thought he was about to get Edwin to convert… but then Edwin pulled a bait and switch, and said that god hadn’t jumped through enough hoops yet. And that he wanted to speak with his council and then deliberate…
106 – If You Give Edwin an Inch…
Dec 6, 2013 • 23 min
Alright, so when we last left Edwin he was installed as King of Northumbria by King Raedwald, Bretwalda. And he had wielded his newly granted power to exact revenge upon King Ceretic of Elmet, probably in response to the British King poisoning Edwin’s…
105 – Sutton Hoo: Treasures of the Dead
Nov 25, 2013 • 56 min
Alright, so last episode we learned all about Edith and Basil’s experience at Sutton Hoo, and we covered the opening of four of the 18 mounds… and the excavation of the Burial Chamber of Mound 1. But we haven’t discussed what was actually found and what…
104 – Sutton Hoo: The Finding of Raedwald… and Rabbits
Nov 14, 2013 • 23 min
Raedwald… King of East Anglia… Bretwalda. When he is mentioned, if you had heard that name before this show, chances are you heard it in connection with Sutton Hoo, which is possibly his burial site. And Sutton Hoo is one of the most famous archaeological…
103 – Edwin the Conqueror
Nov 6, 2013 • 21 min
Alright, last week we finally saw the fall of AEthelfrith and the rise of Edwin of Deira and King Raedwald of East Anglia… Bretwalda! As you probably gathered, that was not the last would will hear of Edwin. Support the Show
102 – Have Exile, Will Travel
Oct 28, 2013 • 24 min
Ok, when we left off, Edwin… the exile from Deira, had been on the run for quite some time. The King of Bernicia, AEthelfrith, now occupied the throne held by his father, and his father’s father, and so on and so forth. His sister, Acha, had given birth…
101 – I Ran (So Far Away): The Life and Times of Edwin of Deira
Oct 21, 2013 • 25 min
Today we’re going to talk quite a bit about Northumbria. And actually, Northumbria is going to start to get really important in our story going forward. Now much of what we know of Northumbria during this period is due to the efforts of Bede, and other…
100 – There’s a New Barber In Town
Oct 7, 2013 • 21 min
So you might not know this about me… but I used to have long hair. Really long hair. That flowed down my back in ringlets and, if I left conditioner in it, sausage curls. Basically, I had captain hook hair. And of course, I had all manner of people taking…
99 – False Starts
Sep 30, 2013 • 29 min
This episode is going to have a lot of moving pieces and a lot of AEthel’s. So many AEthels. I’ll do my best to keep reminding you who I’m talking about and what they rule over and why they’re important, but this might be an episode you’ll want to…
98 – The Zeal of Augustine
Sep 24, 2013 • 34 min
Ok, when we last left off, Augustine had become the Archbishop of England, had been given orders to make London the seat of the English Church, and had some Papal answers to some rather odd questions. Support the Show
97 – Augustine and Gregory Make a Diocese
Sep 17, 2013 • 26 min
So last week we ended with Augustine converting the people of Kent to Christianity and AEthelberht coming out as Christian… was he converted by Augustine or had he already been converted? We just don’t know. Support the Show
96 – The Conversion of King AEthelberht
Sep 9, 2013 • 20 min
In the last several episodes we’ve been speaking about religion. We’ve spoken about the paganism that existed on the island, the christians that lived on the island, the reasons why individuals and rulers might want to convert, and of course we’ve spoken…
95 – Two Old Men and a Slave Boy
Aug 5, 2013 • 20 min
Ok, so lets leave Britain for this episode and head to Rome. I hear it’s nice this time of year. Actually, I hear it’s really hot this time of year. But it seems like everywhere is right now… so Rome it is! Support the Show
94 – Dark Age Beliefs
Jul 29, 2013 • 71 min
As we go forward in this series, what I hope you’re beginning to get a sense of from both the WelshCast and all the other shows focusing on the so called Dark Ages, is how fragmented life in Britain was at this point in history. We simply are not dealing…
93 – Chapter Three: The Warriors of God
Jul 22, 2013 • 1 min
It has been nearly two hundred years since Rome withdrew from Britannia setting this small island at the edge of the world on a course that could not have been predicted. Over the generations, a new culture has developed in the lands that will one day…
92 – WelshCast Part Five: More People that Gildas Hated
Jul 15, 2013 • 44 min
Alright, so we have two more kings of Wales before we leave Gildas and his spittle flecked rantings. And something that you might notice as we go forward is that we don’t haven’t been provided a Tyrant of Powys nor are any of the Eastern Kingdoms listed.…
91 – WelshCast Part Four: Three Kings of Wales Who Really Annoyed Gildas
Jul 9, 2013 • 28 min
Today, we’re going to talk about some of the people who were really pissing Gildas off. People that drove him so batty that he just couldn’t contain his rage. And since Gildas was Welsh, he was predictably focusing his ire upon the Welsh kings. Though,…
90 – WelshCast Part Three: The Silent Treatment
Jul 2, 2013 • 21 min
As you probably remember from the main podcast, before we had the appearance of major Anglo Saxon kingdoms, there was an initial migration and invasion in the sub-Roman period, with famous Germanic leaders like Hengest, Horsa, and Aelle appearing in Kent…
89 – WelshCast Part Two: All The Comforts of Rome (well… some of them)
Jun 25, 2013 • 48 min
We’re now at the point where Rome has withdrawn from Britannia (and more important to our story, from Wales), and today we’re going to talk about the impact that had upon the people. Support the Show
88 – WelshCast Part One: From the Stone Ages to the Withdrawal of Rome
Jun 11, 2013 • 25 min
Ever since I did the Scotcast I’ve been receiving messages on facebook, on twitter, on the forums, and I’ve even been getting personal emails asking for more about Wales. And my response has always been the same, I’ll do it but not yet. Support the Show
87 – Concubinage and Apartheid in Anglo Saxon England
Jun 3, 2013 • 20 min
Ok, so last episode we ended at 597. For those of you who are really into Anglo Saxon history, you might recognize that date as the date that Christianity gets reintroduced to Anglo Saxon Britain. It’s a big deal. A huge deal, in fact. It will bring war,…
86 – The Fall of Ceawlin… and others
May 30, 2013 • 23 min
Ok, from the title you might have gathered that we’re going to be talking about Ceawlin today. Now from all this discussion of various anglo saxon leaders, you might have noticed that while I’ve been saying Cynric, Cerdic, and Ceawlin… with C being a CH…
85 – Ceawlin and the Sons of Ida
Apr 30, 2013 • 23 min
So it’s 568. And things in what will someday become England are still chaotic. Remember what was going on up north in Bernicia? Where Ida, who was probably part of some sort of Anglian group, had taken control of Bamburgh, then he died, and then his sons…
84 – The Q&A Episode!
Apr 16, 2013 • 30 min
We made it to 100! How awesome is that? (Well, it was the 100th episode before I combined a bunch of episodes… and now it’s the 84th episode). Support the Show
83 – Dark Age Warfare Combo Episode
Apr 8, 2013 • 106 min
Ok, so last time we talked about how Aethelberht of Kent invaded the kingdom of Wessex and was pushed out by Ceawlin and his army. We don’t have a lot of facts regarding that conflict, we aren’t even told why they were fighting, but we know that they were…
82 – War. What Is It Good For?
Apr 1, 2013 • 24 min
So the year is 586, and Ceawlin is the leader of the men of Wessex. Wessex has been expanding their holdings to the north and the west, and have been growing in power. Conversely, in the East are the men of Kent under the leadership of AEthelbehrt, who…
81 – In Search of Unity: A Tale of Selective Memory
Mar 25, 2013 • 27 min
Ok, we have a battle coming up but things are still changing rather rapidly and there’s some interesting stuff to cover regarding that, such as language, religion, culture, warfare, and that question that’s probably nagging you at the back of your head……
80 – Bloodletting
Mar 18, 2013 • 20 min
Ok, when we left off, Ida had become king of Bernicia and we had the beginnings of regional cultural groups. These groups were the result of a whole host of influences including everything from geographical features, to political decisions, to things as…
79 – Saint Patrick’s Day Special
Mar 11, 2013 • 69 min
We begin our story in Bannaventa Berniae, a small town somewhere in the West of Britain, probably along the coast. This was probably a small typical Roman style settlement laid out on a grid with small Roman houses and a villa, or villas, for prominent…
78 – It’s Only Natural
Mar 4, 2013 • 12 min
I’m going to wrap up the discussion of the development of regional cultures with a talk on an omnipresent (yet often ignored) influence on all of human development. This subject is often ignored in most disciplines, and it is definitely undervalued…
77 – Cliques: How the In Crowd Created Our Culture
Mar 1, 2013 • 24 min
Ok, when we last left off, we were talking about a new class of elites in sub-roman britain. A group of individuals we identify as anglo saxons and kings, and we also mentioned the class of nobles that was growing up around them. We also talked about how…
76 – Developing Class
Feb 18, 2013 • 23 min
Today we start with a death. Wihtgar, brother of beloved Stuff, warrior, conqueror of Cerdic’s-Ore, and ruler of the Isle of Wight died in 544. Or did he? Support the Show
75 – Cerdic and Cynric: A Story of… well… Probably Farmers
Feb 11, 2013 • 29 min
Alright, so when we left off, Cerdic and his son had recently arrived on the island and the Battle of Mons Badonicus had just taken place. So that’s exciting. And Gildas says that it was followed by peace, and procopius tells us that Germans were fleeing…
74 – When Neighbors Attack: A Story of “Kings”
Feb 4, 2013 • 24 min
Right, so here we are right in the middle of all the drama and bloodshed that has been called the Anglo Saxon invasion. We have famous names such as Hengest and Aelle showing up. Support the Show
73 – And This Gives You Power Over Me?
Jan 28, 2013 • 22 min
Ok, it’s been a while since we’ve spoken about the story. Instead, we’ve been chatting about the culture and the people, we’ve been speaking about digs and hoards, we’ve been discussed booze and horse dung. But we haven’t spoken too much about the…
72 – Staffordshire Hoard: Wrapping Up with Kevin Leahy
Jan 25, 2013 • 30 min
Today we’re wrapping up the Staffordshire Hoard project. We have been given an amazing amount of depth and detail thanks to the wonderful experts who took the time to talk with us. And today, we’re going to hear from Dr. Kevin Leahy. You might have read…
71 – Staffordshire Hoard: Psychopathic Peacocks with David Symons
Jan 21, 2013 • 54 min
Today we’re going to learn more about the context and the craftsmanship of the Hoard. I think this will help shed some light on what makes this find so special, and also help you understand the sort of research that’s going into it and the number of…
70 – Staffordshire Hoard: Interpretation with Cathy Shingler
Jan 17, 2013 • 37 min
Today we have more from Cathy Shingler! Now that we’ve heard about the discovery of the Hoard and how it has been excavated and preserved, we’re going to talk a bit about how it is being interpreted. And Cathy has quite a lot of fascinating theories to…
69 – Staffordshire Hoard: Conservation with Deborah Cane
Jan 14, 2013 • 40 min
Today we’re chatting with Deborah Cane about how the Hoard is being preserved for future generations. Some of this stuff is cutting edge work. I hope you’re as fascinated by it as I was. The Staffordshire Hoard: The Potteries…
68 – Staffordshire Hoard: A Bonus Update on the New Find
Jan 7, 2013 • 18 min
Deb Klemperer took the time to chat with us via telephone today regarding the treasury inquest that focused on the 81 new objects that were found and added to the hoard including a new cross and what looks like a “cheek piece” that matches the one…
67 – Staffordshire Hoard: Deb Klemperer on the Dig
Jan 7, 2013 • 15 min
I love the way Deb Klemperer tells stories, so today we’re going to hear more from Deb on the Hoard. As you might recall from the last episode, she is the head curator at The Potteries Museum at Stoke-on-Trent. She has quite a lot to share with us on what…
66 – Staffordshire Hoard: Receiving the Hoard
Jan 1, 2013 • 31 min
Today’s episode features Deb Klemperer, the head curator at The Potteries Museum at Stoke-on-Trent. We will be discussing the museum side of the Hoard, theories on the objects, and what it was like to be at the center of one of the biggest events in Anglo…
65 – Staffordshire Hoard: The Dig
Dec 26, 2012 • 46 min
Today’s episode features Stephen Dean, the principle archaeologist of the Staffordshire County Council. We will be discussing all things related to the first dig. And then, once the inquest is over in the new year, he will return and fill us in on the…
64 – Merry Christmas (plus listener email)
Dec 25, 2012 • 5 min
I just wanted to record a short episode today to thank all of you (and also respond to some listener email). Thank you very much, everyone! And Merry Christmas! Support the Show
63 – King Arthur Part One
Dec 18, 2012 • 12 min
We’ve reached 3,000 likes on facebook! So as promised, here’s a bonus member’s only episode. This time, I’m releasing an episode looking into the potential beginnings of the Arthurian myth. I hope you like it! Support the Show
62 – Staffordshire Hoard: Rise Up O Lord
Dec 17, 2012 • 15 min
Today’s episode features Cathy Shingler, of The Potteries Museum in Stoke on Trent. She will be discussing with us the iconic band, possibly from a cross, with Latin inscriptions along both sides of it. We will also speak about the cultural significance…
61 – Staffordshire Hoard: Introduction
Dec 11, 2012 • 15 min
Today we are beginning our project on the Staffordshire Hoard. We will be featuring interviews from major figures within the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, The Potteries Museum in Stoke on Trent, and with the Staffordshire County Council. The…
60 – The Return of the Kings
Oct 24, 2012 • 0 min
They’re coming… Support the Show
59 – The Halloween Special
Oct 22, 2012 • 22 min
As you might imagine since I’m doing an episode on it, Halloween has a lot of British influence upon it. In fact, the name itself comes from Scotland, where All Saint’s Eve (also known as All Hallow’s Eve) was shortened in the 16th century to Halloween.…
58 – Dark Age Medicine
Oct 15, 2012 • 103 min
This is a combination episode covering medicine in the Dark Ages! Support the Show
57 – A Tale of Three Cities (sort of)
Oct 1, 2012 • 18 min
Ok, we’ve been getting pretty deep into the weeds and have been getting farther and farther from a coherent story. On the one hand, the culture is the story, but on the other hand it’s hard to get attached to a story if you forget who we are talking about…
56 – Telling the Full Story (a Bonus Episode)
Sep 25, 2012 • 11 min
So I’m doing a short midweek episode because something’s been irking me. I’ve heard repeatedly from a variety of people that history is a guy thing. And that’s f#*king stupid. I mean, you could say that just on sheer mathematics, 51% of history is a…
55 – Anglo Saxon Construction
Sep 22, 2012 • 18 min
OK, So I had requests for an episode on construction. I actually had a surprising number of requests for it, actually. So we’re going to do a single episode on how things were built, and since we’ve been talking about feasts, we’ll talk about… of course……
54 – What Not To Wear: In The Dark Ages
Sep 14, 2012 • 25 min
Clothing… we all wear it. Well, most of us do. And in this episode we’re going to learn about what sort of clothing people were wearing in Britain during the Middle ages. Support the Show
53 – Producing the BHP Full Time, a Proposal
Aug 21, 2012 • 2 min
Ok, so right now I’m in a situation where I might need to make some hard choices on where my time goes. The thing is that this has been one of the best experiences of my life, but for financial reasons I might need to go back to law full time. The problem…
52 – DRUIDS! (Bonus Episode)
Aug 17, 2012 • 23 min
Today we’re going to talk about Druids, who they were, and where our information comes from. [s2If !current_user_can(access_s2member_level1)] Click here to be able to read the full rough transcript. [/s2If] [s2If current_user_can(access_s2member_level1)]…
51 – Dark Ages Feasting
Aug 3, 2012 • 87 min
This is a combination episode covering everything to do with feasting in Anglo Saxon Britain! Support the Show
50 – The Denbighshire Hill Forts
Jul 20, 2012 • 79 min
Today we have something pretty exciting. Listener Simon put me in contact with Erin Robinson and Fiona Gale, who are currently working on archaeological sites in Denbighshire north Wales, and they were kind enough to agree to speak to me via Skype. So…
49 – Dark Age Economics
Jul 3, 2012 • 65 min
This is a combination episode covering matters of economies and travel in the Dark Ages. Support the Show
48 – Dark Age Diets Combo Episode
May 25, 2012 • 128 min
This is a combination episode focusing upon the food and drinks that the Anglo Saxons enjoyed. Support the Show
47 – Was there an Anglo Saxon Invasion of Britain?
May 19, 2012 • 36 min
Ok, so last week I left you on a bit of a cliffhanger. We talked about the invasion stories and I alluded to how some people don’t believe that there was an invasion, but I didn’t really go into a serious analysis of the evidence as it relates to it. But…
46 – Hengist and Horsa
May 13, 2012 • 21 min
So to start with I’m going to try to compile the various accounts and stories we have of the Anglo Saxon invasion into a single narrative. As you might recall from prior episodes, this means that I’ll be drawing from some rather unreliable sources. But I…
45 – Britain: The Last Outpost
Apr 27, 2012 • 25 min
So today we’re going to do a forest view of what we’ll be talking about over the next few months. And then, after this episode, we’ll be getting down into the trees. I figure this is the best way for you to have a firm grasp of what is going on and what…
44 – Sources of Confusion
Apr 18, 2012 • 26 min
Ok… the dark ages. This is going to be a hell of a project, so let’s talk about what we know, what we don’t and why. I want you to be able to trust the stories I’m telling you, and so it’s required that I let you know how unreliable damn near every source…
43 – Le Mort d’Arthur (Bonus Episode)
Apr 9, 2012 • 15 min
Today we’re going to have a reading of Le Mort d’Arthur by Thomas Mallory, Book 1 Chapters 1 through 4. You can get a free Kindle copy of Le Mort de Arthur to read along with at Friend of the show, James Cartwright, was kind enough to do the…
42 – Wait, Where Are We? A summary of the history of Britain so far.
Apr 6, 2012 • 32 min
Today we are going to be recapping the story thus far. (History of Britain, History of Scotland, Celtic History, Welsh History, English History) Support the Show
41 – Chapter Two: The Birth of Britain
Mar 30, 2012 • 1 min
Next week we will start our second season. So here’s a promo of what to expect! I hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I am. :) Support the Show
40 – Scotcast Part Six
Mar 27, 2012 • 27 min
Here we have the sixth and final episode of the Scotcast. This will bring us up to 410, where we are in the main podcast, and we will be able to continue forward into the dark ages! (History of Britain, History of Scotland, Celtic History, Roman History)…
39 – Scotcast Part Five
Mar 20, 2012 • 29 min
We’re getting ever closer to uniting the two shows! Today we’re going to cover several hundred years (and about six months of podcasts) in a single show. (History of Britain, History of Scotland, Celtic History, Roman History) Support the Show
38 – Scotcast Part Four
Mar 10, 2012 • 32 min
We’re closing out the BC period. Which means we’ve got iron, Celtic culture, and Brochs. Good times! (History of Britain, History of Scotland, Celtic History) Support the Show
37 – Scotcast Part Three
Mar 2, 2012 • 22 min
Bronze Age Scotland! (History of Britain, History of Scotland, Celtic History) Support the Show
36 – Scotcast Part Two
Feb 26, 2012 • 35 min
We’re still in Pre-history… there’s a lot of it! (History of Britain, History of Scotland, Celtic History) Support the Show
35 – Scotcast Part One
Feb 17, 2012 • 21 min
We’re catching up with what was going on beyond the Wall during all of this drama. And to start with, lets talk about how Scotland got its shape and talk a little about the early inhabitants who lived there. (History of Britain, History of Scotland,…
34 – Cribs: Britannia Edition
Feb 10, 2012 • 37 min
We’re nearly done with the Romans! (History of Britain, History of England, History of Wales, History of Scotland, Celtic History, Roman History) Support the Show
33 – Strength and Honor(ius)
Feb 4, 2012 • 48 min
This one was a beast, but we’re finally done with the Roman occupation of Britannia! But Rome isn’t going to let us go without a serious amount of chaos and general nuttiness. (History of Britain, History of England, History of Wales, History of Scotland,…
32 – Theodosius and Theocracy
Jan 27, 2012 • 22 min
With special guest Valentinian II. (History of Britain, History of England, History of Wales, History of Scotland, Celtic History, Roman History) Support the Show
31 – Magnus Maximus
Jan 20, 2012 • 24 min
There’s some serious name envy going on in this episode. (History of Britain, History of England, History of Wales, History of Scotland, Celtic History, Roman History) Support the Show
30 – What is Best in Life?
Jan 13, 2012 • 29 min
Things in Britannia just keep getting worse! (History of Britain, History of England, History of Wales, History of Scotland, Celtic History, Roman History) Support the Show
29 – An End to Prosperity
Jan 6, 2012 • 30 min
Our luck could only hold out so long. And now Britannia is getting a taste of what the rest of the Empire had already come to know. Here’s a bust of Constantius II. (History of Britain, History of England, History of Wales, History of Scotland, Celtic…
28 – Constantine and Britannia Sitting in a Tree
Dec 20, 2011 • 32 min
Oh yeah, we’ve got a real love affair going on here. (History of Britain, History of England, History of Wales, History of Scotland, Celtic History, Roman History) Support the Show
27 – York’s Revenge!
Dec 12, 2011 • 20 min
Constantius, throwing caution to the wind, follows in the footsteps of Severus. The featured image here is a bust of Constantius… And I thought I had a big nose. (History of Britain, History of England, History of Wales, History of Scotland, Celtic…
26 – Occupy Britannia!
Dec 1, 2011 • 25 min
I’m back and so is Carausius! Here we go! (History of Britain, History of England, History of Wales, History of Scotland, Celtic History, Roman History) Support the Show
25 – Listener Questions Special Episode
Nov 12, 2011 • 29 min
Next week we will return to the tale of Carausius and his British Empire, but today is our 25th episode and so I’ll be answering questions submitted by listeners! (I can’t believe it’s already been 25 episodes). Support the Show
24 – Another British Empire
Nov 4, 2011 • 28 min
This time Carausius is going to try his hand at this empire thing and see if he can do better than Albinus and Postumus. (History of Britain, History of England, History of Wales, History of Scotland, Celtic History, Roman History) Lets talk about…
23 – We’re In Between Emperors at the Moment
Oct 28, 2011 • 23 min
Things are changing rather quickly on our little island. (History of Britain, History of England, History of Wales, History of Scotland, Celtic History, Roman History) So the Gallic Empire has been defeated and now Britannia was back within the folds of…
22 – The Dim Ages – Part 2
Oct 21, 2011 • 18 min
It’s starting to get dark in here! One of the coins of Pertinax, from the MET at NYC. (History of Britain, History of England, History of Wales, History of Scotland, Celtic History, Roman History) Support the Show
21 – The Dim Ages – Part 1
Oct 19, 2011 • 21 min
Someone turn on the light! (History of Britain, History of England, History of Wales, History of Scotland, Celtic History, Roman History) Alright, we are entering the third century. And as we enter it, we cannot help but have the feeling that a profound…
20 – Dysfunction and Sibling Rivalry
Oct 11, 2011 • 29 min
The family of Severus brings their own particular brand of family bonding to the shores of our island. Busts of Caracalla, kept at the MET in NYC, where he’s showing his winning personality. (History of Britain, History of England, History of Wales,…
19 – Britannia’s Emperor
Sep 26, 2011 • 18 min
Ok, this one is pretty heavy on Roman intrigue. But it’s necessary to get us to the all the fun stuff in the next one. And besides, while much of what occurs in this episode is on the continent, it is still heavily influenced by the legions in Britannia.…
18 – Abandonment and Reoccupation
Sep 18, 2011 • 28 min
Today we’ve got Antoninus, Marcus Aurelias, Russell Crowe… we’ve got it all! And Members, check your email. You should have a link for how to get your Members-Only episode! A bust of Marcus Aurelias from the MET in NYC. (History of Britain, History of…
17 – Advancement and Occupation
Sep 9, 2011 • 18 min
Rome is going to start expanding her borders. Why? Because why not? Well, it’s actually a little more complicated than that, and we’re going to get into it in this episode. Consequently, Emperor Antoninus will build his own wall in Britain far beyond…
16 – Bonus Birthday Episode on the Celts!
Aug 27, 2011 • 19 min
So it’s my birthday this weekend, and so I’m not doing one of my gigantic episodes. However, I thought I’d give you all a present (especially since we now have 500 members on the facebook page) and give you a sneak peak at the members-only content I’m…
15 – Hadrian’s Wall
Aug 21, 2011 • 41 min
Have you ever wanted to know about Hadrian’s Wall? Have you ever wondered what life was like there, how it was constructed, or even just the basic question of “what exactly is Hadrian’s Wall?” Then this is the podcast for you! (History of Britain, History…
14 – The Mystery of the Ninth Legion
Aug 8, 2011 • 43 min
Ok, I’ll be the first to admit this one is a little confusing. After all, the whole mystery is more than a little confusing. So here is a list of the bits of evidence we’re talking about. * The Ninth was nearly destroyed in a night assault by the…
13 – Agricola
Jul 28, 2011 • 21 min
We’re going to talk about the governorship of Agricola, the Scots, the Irish, and I’m going to say “isthmus” an unreasonable number of times! Here’s a map of Agricola’s advance. HOWEVER the dates listed are the later of the two dates I mention in the…
12 – The Road to the North
Jul 19, 2011 • 22 min
70 CE to 78 CE. This episode we’ll be talking about how awful life under Roman Rule was in the first century, the year of the four emperors, and the events that lead up to Agricola. (History of Britain, History of England, History of Wales, History of…
11 – Boudica’s Rebellion, Part Two
Jul 8, 2011 • 32 min
60 CE Having burned several cities to the ground, Boudica and her army of enraged Britons are a seemingly unstoppable force. However, Governor Suetonius has returned from the West, and has marshalled his forces. It was a conflict is so famous that even…
10 – Boudica’s Rebellion, Part One
Jul 1, 2011 • 31 min
This episode focuses upon the year 60 and the story of the queen of the Iceni. Rome’s chickens are coming home to roost. After nearly 20 years of conflict and domination, things are hitting a fever pitch in the first of two episodes that will cover one of…
9 – Suetonius, Part-Time Mountain-Climber and Full-Time Jerk.
Jun 27, 2011 • 21 min
This episode covers the years 54 CE to 60 CE and the major characters are… Cartimandua, Queen of the Brigantes and unhappy wife Venutius, King of the Brigantes and unhappy Husband and Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, governor of Britannia… and probably unhappy…
8 – Caractacus, the Home-Wrecker
Jun 20, 2011 • 37 min
This episode will cover the years 42 to 54 CE The main characters will be… Caractacus, leader of the British resistance and exiled king of the Catuvellauni. Aulus Plautius, the general who took Britannia for Emperor Claudius Publius Ostorius Scapula, a…
7 – The Claudian Invasion of Britannia
Jun 15, 2011 • 30 min
This episode covers the invasion of Britannia in 42 CE by emperor Claudius. The major characters we’ll be talking about today are… Emperor Claudius – Emperor of Rome and man in need of a serious PR campaign. Aulus Plautius – His General, and the man…
6 – The Heir of Caligula and the Son of Commius
Jun 10, 2011 • 19 min
We are rocking through about 100 years of history… from about 54 BCE to 42 CE, and we will cover the events that eventually lead to the Roman Occupation of Britannia. The major characters of this episode will be…. Octavius Augustus – the First Emperor of…
5 – The Island at the Edge of the World – Part 3
Jun 8, 2011 • 25 min
54 BCE. Julius Caesar is returning to Britain. And Cassivellaunus isn’t excited about it. However, this time Caesar is bringing over 800 ships with him. This isn’t a minor expedition, Caesar is coming in force. This is a clash of titans and we will see if…
4 – The Island at the Edge of the World – Part 2
Jun 3, 2011 • 25 min
55 BCE. Julius Caesar with the 7th and 10th Legions are trying to subjugate the Britons. The key word here is “trying.” The celts of Britain aren’t going down without a fight and it seems that the elements are on their side. This episode you’re going to…
3 – The Island at the Edge of the World – Part 1
May 30, 2011 • 26 min
56 BCE to 55 BCE. Julius Caesar is coming to Britain, and he’s bringing his friends. He claimed that he wanted to punish the Celtic warriors from Britain for interferring with his Gallic wars, but modern scholars suspect that he was simply trying to…
2 – Invasion of Giant Deer, Cannibals, and Celts!
May 28, 2011 • 28 min
A whirlwind tour of the 70,000 years of the history of Britain, taking us through pre-historic Britain and landing us finally at the eve of Julius Caesar’s invasions of Britannia. You will learn about the early beginnings of England, Scotland, and Wales…
1 – A History of Britain
May 28, 2011 • 9 min
Hi! Welcome to the British History Podcast. My name is Jamie, and this show is a chronological retelling of the story of Britain, from its very earliest days when prehistoric man shared the island with Giant Deer and massive earth grinding glaciers… all…