The British History Podcast show

The British History Podcast

Summary: The BHP is a chronological retelling of the history of Britain with a particular focus upon the lives of the people. You won't find a dry recounting of dates and battles here, but instead you'll learn about who these people were and how their desires, fears, and flaws shaped the histories of England, Scotland, and Wales. iTunes is restricting our list to 300 episodes for some reason. To access all episodes, click subscribe. Support the Show

Join Now to Subscribe to this Podcast
  • Visit Website
  • RSS
  • Artist: Jamie Jeffers
  • Copyright: Copyright © 2011 The British History Podcast, Inc. All rights reserved.


 PSA | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:58

Deadlines are coming up, make sure you're registered at or

 287 – The Conquest of Scotland | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 26:20

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 new Kingdom of England, the Kings of Wales were now mere members of his Court, and he was receiving tributes and gifts from Scotland, Norway, and Frankia. And the next generation of monarchs were living in his Court. Support the Show

 286 – Noble Pursuits | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 29:51

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 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 28:46

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 his generosity both with the church and also with his subjects. And there is plenty of real evidence that AEthelstan was a kind king and role model to those around him, and that he took his role as a ruler seriously and with care. Support the Show

 284 – AEthelstan the Victorious | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 27:14

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 Exeter. Support the Show

 283 – The Kingdoms of the Foreigners | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 23:15

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 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 25:13

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 defenses of Jorvik burn and dolled out Jorvik’s wealth to his loyal men – two of those loose ends, namely his former rivals Guthfrith and Turfrid, slunk away with little more than their lives. Support the Show

 281 – England | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 31:42

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 want you to realize about these things is first, that they took time. A strategic mind – a mind like AEthelstan’s – would see the long game and set his moves accordingly knowing they wouldn’t fully materialize for years to come. The second is that these tools were highly cultural. There’s nothing inherently political about marriage or fostering until a people make it so. By examining the tools that political actors wield we learn something important about the culture and society that underlies it. What it values, and how it prioritizes people and things. And all of these slow, important tools are working constantly in the background throughout AEthelstan’s reign. Support the Show

 280 – King AEthelstan’s Love Life | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 26:24

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 keeping his subjects happy and healthy? Support the Show

 279 – Dynastic Cults | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 42:47

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 all, they’re the source for our story about AEthelflaed’s defense of Chester. They were so interested that they told us about the bees. And it’s not like the Irish annals didn’t bother to record deaths of Anglo Saxon figures. For example, they recorded the death of Eadwulf of Bamburgh, a man whose biggest accomplishment in the record seems to be that he was the father of Ealdred (the guy who allied with Scotland and fought against Ragnald… and lost). But the Irish mention his death, and ignore the King of the Anglo Saxons… Support the Show

 278 – The Thunderbolt | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 22:56

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 most popular episodes – and the most popular history shows – are about stories and figures that people already know. Now, this isn’t because the people who say they want to hear something new are lying. It’s just because they’ve forgotten what else they are looking for – they want to know more about stories that are important. Which is reasonable. But the problem is that this creates a self-defeating loop, because we often judge whether someone or something is important based upon whether or not we have heard about it before. If you have already heard about something, there’s a good chance you’re going to assume it was significant. Similarly, if you haven’t heard about something, you very well may assume that it’s unimportant. Support the Show

 277 – King AEthelstan: Say Yes to the Dress | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 23:18

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 people at ease is to work diligently to get up to speed as quick as possible. Support the Show

 276 – The Bastard Rebel King | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 31:56

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 dominion over Wessex and Kent. Huge portions of his kingdom were in outright rebellion against him. Now at the end of his reign he holds all the Anglo Saxon land south of the humber, and has the submission of all the Welsh Kingdoms, Jorvik, the rest of Northumbria, Strathclyde, and the Scots. Support the Show

 275 – King Edward the Almost First King of England | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 35:41

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 expecting. He was an effective king. Support the Show

 274 – The Missing Shire | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 26:44

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 conclusively make a statement on what he did… it’s shrouded. All I can do is give you the evidence, and then give you the context in which that evidence took place, and provide a few thoughts and theories on what it might mean. That’s why the BHP has felt a bit like Serial over the last month or so. That’s coming to an end, and we’re going to return to the usual tone very soon, but I hope you have enjoyed this foray into the questions that Edward’s reign has raised. Because questions like this… questions without answers… and questions that require a thorough look not just into the written record, but also into the archaeology and cultural matters, is what makes the study of history come alive. The questions, and the digging, is what the study of history is all about. So let’s get into one of the last big questions about the end of Edward’s reign. Support the Show


Login or signup comment.