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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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Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin