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By Colin Wakefield. Illustrations by John Partridge.


Welcome to Rhyming History, an entertaining, ironic and informative journey in verse through English history. The series currently runs to nine volumes, telling England’s story from 55BC to 1789, but Rhyming History will eventually extend to the present day. Read below for brief descriptions of the first nine volumes. Volume Ten (1789 – 1837) will be published in 2020. Please join the mailing list and we shall let you know when future volumes become available.

  • Volume One: The Romans to the War of the Roses
 
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Volume One: 55BC – 1485
THE ROMANS TO THE WARS OF THE ROSES
From the first arrival of Julius Caesar in 55BC to the defeat of Richard the Third at Bosworth Field in 1485 this action-packed volume includes King Alfred the Great and his routing of the Danes, William the Conqueror’s victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, Domesday Book, King John and Magna Carta, the Black Death and Henry the Fifth’s triumph at Agincourt in 1415.Read excerpts / Buy the book
Volume Two: 1485 – 1603
THE TUDORS
From the largely unsung yet impressive reign of Henry the Seventh, the victor of Bosworth Field, to Henry the Eighth and his six wives; from Queen ‘Bloody’ Mary to the glorious and dangerous reign of Queen Elizabeth, with her turbulent cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots, The Tudors spans one of the most exciting and colourful periods of English history.Read excerpts / Buy the book
Volume Three: 1603 – 1649
THE EARLY STUARTS AND CIVIL WAR
Where James the First was intelligent and astute, if personally flawed, his son was obstinate and rash. Charles the First plunged his kingdom into bloody civil war. The King lost the struggle – and his head. The Gunpowder Plot, the assassination of Buckingham, the New Model Army and the rise of Cromwell, the bloody battles of Edgehill, Marston Moor and Naseby – all feature in this astonishing period of seventeenth century history.Read excerpts / Buy the book
Volume Four: 1649 – 1660
CROMWELL AND THE COMMONWEALTH
The execution of Charles the First left the nation in shock. Who was to govern and by what authority? This volume spans the unsettled years of the Commonwealth, dominated by the commanding figure of Oliver Cromwell. It charts the early success and final decline of the revolution, closing with the triumphant return of Charles the Second to reclaim his stolen kingdom.Read excerpts / Buy the book
Volume Five: 1660 – 1685
CHARLES THE SECOND AND THE RESTORATION
The Restoration of Charles the Second ushered in a new age of scandal, danger and political turmoil. The Great Plague, the Great Fire and the Popish Plot are just three of the extraordinary events that distinguish this tempestuous age. Nell Gwynn, Titus Oates, Christopher Wren, John Bunyan, Aphra Behn… the cast of characters is rich and diverse.Read excerpts / Buy the book
Volume Six: 1685 – 1688
JAMES THE SECOND, THE FORGOTTEN KING
James the Second was obstinate, headstrong and inept. He inherited a kingdom at peace, but rebellion was in the air. The birth of a Catholic son, the revolt of the Anglican bishops and the landing of William of Orange combined to ensure the King’s downfall. Famously dropping the Great Seal into the Thames, James fled to France. The Glorious Revolution had begun.Read excerpts / Buy the book
Volume Seven: 1688 – 1714
GLORIOUS REVOLUTION, THE LAST OF THE STUARTS
James the Second fled. Had he abdicated or simply deserted? In a ’Glorious Revolution’ William and Mary were invited to reign jointly. William was never popular. War in Europe stoked divisions between Whigs and Tories. Under Queen Anne the victories at Blenheim and Ramillies revived the monarch’s popularity, but Anne died childless and disillusioned. The Stuart dynasty had drawn to a close.Read excerpts / Buy the book
Volume Eight: 1714 – 1760
THE EARLY HANOVERIANS
The accession of George the First ushered in an era of change The Protestant succession was secure, but Britain was plagued by Jacobite rebellion, financial scandal and war in Europe. Yet under the stewardship of Robert Walpole the country prospered. This was the age of Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson and William Pitt the Elder. The turbulent reign of George the Second ended with the celebrated Year of Victories.Read excerpts / Buy the book
Volume Nine: 1760 – 1789
GEORGE THE THIRD AND THE LOSS OF AMERICA
The reign of ‘Farmer George’ was the third longest in British history. Diligent, cultured and a man of peace, King George the Third was held to blame for the loss of the American colonies. This was the age of Lord North, Charles James Fox and William Pitt the Younger. Other great figures include David Garrick, Samuel Johnson and ‘Capability’ Brown. The first signs of the King’s madness were beginning to show.Read excerpts / Buy the book

 
Volume Ten: 1789 – 1837
THE LAST OF THE HANOVERIANS will be published in February 2020, with subsequent volumes published annually.

“Believe me, if history had been this interesting at school, I might have paid more attention.”