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How did the Tudors do it?

Imaginative re-construction of the marriage of Catherine and Own Tudor /

Imaginative re-construction of the marriage of Catherine and Own Tudor /

The ‘gentry’ in English history were and are middle to upper class folk, untitled except for the odd baronet or hastily-dubbed knight, owning land, serving as magistrates, being ‘squires’ of villages. They were the backbone of English rustic life, fighting and often giving up their lives for their king; on the reverse side they frequently plotted against their king, and were usually axed for their pains.

The Tudors, obscure and nearly penniless squires from North Wales, would have remained obscure were it not for the fact that one of them, a handsome young man called Owen, had got himself into service in the royal household. He was about twenty-six years old when it is said he ‘caught the eye’ of a widow only a year or two younger; but she was the widow of Henry V – that gallant royal winner of the battle at Agincourt, the third great victory for England in the Hundred Years War against the French after Creçy and Poitiers. Henry had died young and left his wife, Catherine of Valois, herself a French princess as well as ex-Queen of England, at the London court. Just how young Owen managed to ‘catch her eye’ is not noted, but it is said that he fell drunk into her bed (a likely story!), or that she saw the good-looking youth bathing without the benefit of clothes in the River Thames. An historian of the time, who apparently knew Catherine well, wrote that she was ‘unable fully to curb her carnal passions’ when confronted with the superb sight of young Owen disporting himself in the water. (more…)

By | 2015-03-01T17:57:42+00:00 February 27th, 2015|Church history, English Language, French History, World History|0 Comments

Don’t forget to read books!

Don’t neglect your reading!

Expert or inexpert, millions of people read blogsites, blogspots, online books, political pamphlets etc. The offer is endless using the Internet. But one should NOT forget the good old book . . . books have been around in printed, readable form for centuries. A well-made bookshelf full of printed knowledge may take up much more room in your bed-sitter or your palace, but it is worth it.

Talking of books, General-History comes in book form too, in softback and on sale at reasonable prices on almost any of your Amazon outlets; (USA),, even which invariably deals with books in Spanish. General-History by Dean Swift has not yet been translated from the original English. The book is divided into 3 volumes – Vol. I with a red cover stripe, Vol.II with a green one, and Vol. III with a blue stripe. There are well over a thousand pages in all three volumes, all selected and edited from the website

Please go to Amazon, click on ‘Books’, then key the following – General History Dean Swift. Up should comethumbsof all three volumes, with details of price and packaging, delivery etc. Do not be confused by the author-name: ‘Dean Swift‘ is a pen name of historian Jeremy Taylor.

This website receives an average of 100.000 visits per annum according to Statistics. Why not consider having all three volumes among your own books?

By | 2018-04-24T15:10:28+00:00 February 26th, 2015|History, Today, World History|0 Comments

Plagues, Epidemics & Pandemics

Asian 'flu patients /

Asian ‘flu patients /

In the book of Isaiah you will find records of outbreaks of pestilence, when God is supposed to have punished the Chosen People for offences against Him. He destroyed, for example, the people of Sennacherib; but 2000 years before the Old Testament was composed, outbreaks of plague and other lethal visitations are recorded in Egyptian and early Chinese texts.

‘Plagues, pestilence, epi- and pan-demics’ have reduced the human population of this planet for thousands of years. A recent example was the Aids Pandemic, which killed enormous swathes of people of both sexes, and their children, before it was brought, somewhat jerkily, under control. In much earlier times, epidemics of smallpox, tuberculosis, measles, sweating sickness and even the common cold or ‘flu decimated populations before correct palliatives were found. Even now malaria kills, despite the discovery of penicillin especially in the continent of Africa and parts of the Far East, and many bacteria are now antibiotic-resistant. (more…)

By | 2015-03-01T17:59:38+00:00 February 25th, 2015|Today, World History|0 Comments

‘The Stab in the Back’ – Myth or Reality



After the Normandy Invasion of 1944, the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler, and during the last few months of the Third Reich, with Russian and Allied armies closing on Berlin, Hitler gave orders to his remaining generals and field marshals that could leave no doubt in their mind; they had to fight to the last man and the last round . . . and then fight on . . .for the Fatherland!’ The word ‘defeat’ was not permitted use on any document, or on radio broadcasts. Nor were euphemisms like ‘strategic withdrawal’. Hitler was determined that no such thing as ‘the stab in the back’ of 1918 would occur again. But what was this apparently mythical stab in the back? (more…)

By | 2015-02-18T21:06:10+00:00 February 18th, 2015|German History, World History|0 Comments

Revolutionary Lajos Kossuth



One of the great Hungarian heroes, about whom much fact and fiction has been mixed, Kossuth was born in 1802. His family was poor but noble. He was part Slovak, part ethnic German. Well educated, he worked as a jobbing lawyer for a while, before entering politics as a deputy at the Diet (Parliament) of Pressburg.

He also published pamphlets that could not by law be published, so he had them transcribed and widely circulated. It was said of him at the time that it would be difficult to stop him in any activity he chose to follow, but the pamphlets got him into jail. After freedom came in 1840 he was appointed editor of the polkitical journal, published twice-weekly called Pesti Hirlap – an extremely liberal paper with perhaps too much of a chauvinistic approach. (more…)

US President Monroe & his Doctrine



James Monroe was born in Virginia in 1758, and became the 5th President of the United States. He did not shine as a diplomat but he did manage to orchestrate the Louisiana Purchase (q.v.), one of the most important facets of US history. He became Madison’s Secretary of State in 1811, and was active in the Anglo-American War of 1812-14.

In 1817 he became President, worried by the question of slavery, because though he was not officially an abolutionist he knew that this canker on the American soul was evil. When black people were occasionally freed he encouraged sending them to Liberia, and got that country’s capital Monrovia named after him. (more…)

Fascism – a dreaded word

Fasci or Fasces /

Fasci or Fasces /

Fasci, literally meaning ‘bundles’, and perhaps descending from the fasci of thin staves of wood carried by Roman officials as symbol of authority, were established in Sicilian towns and villages in the late nineteenth century. They were mutually – supporting societies of peasants and workers; the basic trade union in fact. Their leaders varied in type and political opinion, but were usually anarchists, though many were teachers, local landowners and gentry, members of ancient and respected families. Not a few among them were local mafiosi. (more…)

By | 2015-01-10T19:01:21+00:00 January 10th, 2015|Italian History, Philosophy, Today, World History|1 Comment

William the ‘Sailor King’



William IV King of Great Britain and Ireland was born in the eighteenth century (1765) and died seventy-two years later. He was also King of Hanover from 1830 to 1837, because he was the third son of George III. He was called ‘the Sailor King’ because he joined the Navy at fourteen, serving around the coasts of the United States and in the West Indies. He was promoted admiral in 1811 at forty-six – not bad for the crusty British Navy – and then rose to be Lord High Admiral in 1827.

George IV (who had been the infamous Prince Regent) died in 1830, and William ascended the throne because his older brother had died. He was to be the penultimate British monarch of the House of Hanover. The country believed he had Whiggish (liberal) sentiments, and this might have beeen true, but he soon abandoned them, developing serious Conservative sympathies, obstructing the passing of the first Reform Bill in 1832.

William IV was the last British monarch to use prerogatory powers to dismiss a ministry which had won by a majority vote. He achieved this by firing Lord Melbourne in 1834 and inviting the Tories to form a government. He died in 1837 and was succeeded in that year by his niece Victoria at the age of eighteen. Queen Victoria did not fire Lord Melbourne; she learnt about politics and power from him. Ascending the throne as a Hanoverian, she changed the name to Saxe-Coburg-Gotha when she married a German prince.

Henry VI of England, sad man and king

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Henry was born in 1421, and became King of England at the age of one. He had two reigns, due to the Wars of the Roses. The first lasted from 1411 to 1461; he was noted for his piety and general air of preferring to be left out of things. He was the only son and child of a very famous warrior, Henry V, who after the Battle of Agincourt married a daughter of the French King – Catherine of Valois. This sturdy couple managed to produce only our subject, a weakly child, disposed to illnesses and madness. During his infancy and adolescence his tutor the Duke of Bedford (a younger brother of Henry V) was regent, while another uncle, Humphrey of Gloucester was Lord Protector of England. Nothing of these three redoubtable men showed in the future Henry VI. The one useful thing he managed successfully was the founding of Eton and King’s College, Cambridge.

Latest news on the books



Oyez! Oyez! Latest news on the books!

All three volumes of Jeremy Taylor’s brief chapters on world history, written under the name of Dean Swift for the website and now in cheap paperback form, are available on and also Amazon. com in America. The price plus p. & p. is extremely reasonable. The reading matter is colossal. The three volumes offer nearly one thousand pages of easily read history covering up to twenty-one different nations on this planet. Wars, treaties, personalities, politics, religions and philosophy plus many other categories abound. Order your copy/copies now, in this first month of the year 2015. Enjoy the wry humour and keen observation. Just go to Amazon and under books key in the words ‘General History Dean Swift’ and then choose – all three books, two or just one. ‘He (or she) who hesitates is lost!’

By | 2015-01-07T08:55:36+00:00 January 7th, 2015|English Language, Today, World History|0 Comments
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