Dionissia and the robber baron: a 13th century Northumbrian drama

  "My sire is of a noble line, And my name is Geraldine: Five warriors seized me yestermorn, Me, even me, a maid forlorn: They choked my cries with force and fright, And tied me on a palfrey white." Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Christabel, Part I   Between 20 and 26 January 1279 Dionissia Bechfeld  appeared in the …

‘Infernal war,’ by Emile Henriot, L’Illustration, 26 September 1914

[Translated by Alastair Dunn. The elipses “…” follow those of the original French text. The images below are a selection of those that accompanied the original.] In the midst of the French lines - in Soissons under bomabrdment - the ruins of Senlis.  17 September. We arrived by car in driving rain at La Ferté-Milon, having …

The poverty of utility – why we need a higher rationale for the Humanities

At the 2017 Telegraph Festival of Education at Wellington College, I spoke on the future of the Humanities. The posting that follows summarises my some of my key points. A common modern rationale for the study of the Humanities is the acquisition of skills that can be applied to particular workplace occupations. The incompleteness of …

A presentation on The Wilton Diptych

This presentation explores similarities between the imagery of Richard II's famous prayer panel of the 1390s, The Wilton Diptych,  and that of the historiated initial letter of the foundation charter of Mountgrace Priory,  North Yorkshire, which was established by the king's nephew, Thomas Holand, duke of Surrey and earl of Kent, in 1398. Presentation on …

Teacher and student voices in cross-subject learning: Sherriff’s Journey’s End and Monet’s Orangerie Waterlilies

For too long the boundaries between subjects have seemed like those ruler-straight colonial-era borders, pencilled across maps in distant chancelleries, answering to longitudinal and latitudinal abstracts, with little regard for topographical realities. Recently I have been exploring opportunities with colleagues to see how a collaborative approach might support student learning, through mobilising pedagogical skills and …

What do independent schools gain from working with the state sector?

“What do we get out of this?” is a question that may be asked fairly by an independent school when any form of structured relationship with a state school is proposed. The potential benefits to state schools from such contacts have been well rehearsed - including use of facilities, access to subject expertise for sixth …

Using French journalism in teaching The First World War: (1) The First Battle of the Marne

So much of our understanding of the First World War on the Western Front is derived from areas where the British Army was the predominant presence – notably parts of Picardy and the Ypres salient. The flooded shell craters and sunken duckboards around Passchendaele in the autumn of 1917 have become a visual signature for …