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It's one of the oldest newspapers in the world, dating back to 1665

Historical Notes: An unsolved crime three centuries old

"SIR EDMUND Berry Godfrey is dead and the papists have murdered him" was the cry in the mouth of every good Protestant Londoner in the winter of 1678.

Historical Notes: Secrets of the pillow and `Pickle the Spy'

THIS TIME around the Millennial James Bond has more baffling gadgetry and technology up his sleeve than ever to help him thwart the bad guy. But espionage is as old as history, and in the early days a spy often found that a good time in bed sufficed to loosen tongues effectively.

DISCIPLINE: Earl of Burford is ejected from Parliament again

THE EARL of Burford, who secured his footnote in history when he interrupted debate to abolish hereditary peers' voting rights, was ejected from Westminster for the second time in a week yesterday.

Historical Notes: Poet, politician and sophisticated republican

POETRY AND politics have often mixed but poets who are active politicians are a rarer breed. Andrew Marvell, whose best-known poems such as "To His Coy Mistress", "The Garden" or "On a Drop of Dew" might seem far removed from the turbulent politics of the English Revolution, was a diligent and hard-working MP for Hull from 1659 to his death in 1678 and the author of one of the most mature and sophisticated political poems in the history of English poetry: "An Horatian Ode upon Cromwel's Return from Ireland".

Historical Notes: Charles: an ever popular, hands-on monarch

THE RESTORATION was mired in compromise from the start. A Stuart sat once more on the throne but the scope and character of his kingship differed greatly from that of his father. No absolute power, no Star Chamber, no unparliamentary taxation and only an attenuated Divine Right. In 1664, the French ambassador observed that England had a king but "at the bottom, it was very far from being considered a monarchy".

Travel: The past really is a foreign country, if you know where to look - just pick your century and get out your guidebook

The land that time forgot. The land frozen in history. The land unspoilt by the ravages of modernity. The land where locals still practise their ancient arts of bread-baking, hat-wearing, wife-beating, sheep-tending, roof-thatching, wheel-fashioning, spear-hewing, maggot- eating, flint-chipping, etc., etc.

Books: The metaphysical artful dodger

World Enough and Time: The Life of Andrew Marvell by Nicholas Murray Little, Brown pounds 20

Earl of Derby aims to be seminar baron

WHEN IT comes to the family seat, the motto of the Derby family - Sans Changer (Nothing changes) - is so inappropriate that it borders on some kind of dynastic in-joke.

Books: John Knox is alive and well

Dynasty: The Stuarts 1560-1807 by John Macleod Hodder pounds 20

Politics: Peer takes seat after long title fight

THE GOVERNMENT is soft on drug addicts. The Tories are soft on reform of the House of Lords. And anyone who disagrees is soft in the head.

FLATTERY, DOGGEREL, INSPIRATION

"LAUREATE" MEANS "crowned with laurel". In ancient Greece, the victor in the Pythian games was awarded a laurel wreath. Laurel itself was believed to carry the spirit of prophecy and poetry. Subsequently, laurel wreaths were used to honour graduates in rhetoric and poetry in medieval universities.

Prophets of a lost paradise

350 years ago today, the English beheaded their anointed king. Tom Paulin uncovers and celebrates the forgotten Republicans; Writing the English republic: poetry, rhetoric and politics 1627-1660 by David Norbrook Cambridge University Press, pounds 40, 523pp

Fashion: The history of the wig: On a wig and a prayer

The wigs worn today - associated with positions of power or fancy dress- but the art of wig-making dates back to Egyptian times. They were made from human hair or sheep's wool and consisted of a bulky mass of plaits or braids. Men had shaved heads under their wigs and women wore their hair short. In Roman times, wigs were worn by women as a fashionable accessory. Since blond hair was in vogue then, expensive wigs were made from blond hair obtained from the conquered people in the north.

Wanted: ambitious women for safe Tory seats; blue rinses needn't apply

BLAIR HAS his 101 "Babes", Hague only has 14. The Tories have suddenly decided this is not good enough.

Why class is crucial to the English

CLASS IS a slippery word, used this week by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in one sense and by ordinary mortals in quite another. According to the ONS, the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, is upper class, on the highest rung in the ladder, the creme de la creme, as Miss Jean Brodie would say. But that is not how Mr Prescott describes himself. In fact he would burst his sides with laughter, and/or knock your block off, if you called him upper class - take it as a grievous insult. He describes himself - I once heard him do so - as working class and proud of it. So, of course, does Mr Major, the former Conservative Prime Minister, who is also, according to the latest findings of the ONS, upper class. No mystery here, really, of course. The ONS is using class as a term to describe how power and wealth in this country are nowadays realistically distributed, and you and I are using class as a term to describe the old social order, fond or bitter memories of which lie deep in all our hearts.
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All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf