Amberley Blog

  1. Slavery in Roman Lincolnshire by Antony Lee

    Slavery was an accepted part of the economy in the ancient world. Defeated peoples might expect to have been enslaved by their conquerors, and the desperation of poverty could lead to children being sold to slave traders to provide money for the family, and even give the child an opportunity to avoid starvation. One thing that marks ancient slavery out...
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  2. 'Shipwreck Survivors Caught on Camera' - The Wreck of the SS London by Simon Wills

    What motivates an author to write a book? Well, in my case it was an old photograph. I bought it in a junk shop for a few pounds, simply because I liked it. It’s dated 1866, and shows three very stern-faced Victorian gentlemen staring into the lens. The men in question seem unremarkable, but they were the only passengers to...
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  3. The Private Life of Edward IV by John Ashdown-Hill

    I seem to have become celebrated as ‘a historian with a special talent for getting behind the mythology of history’. My work in this direction began as a result of my interest in the case of King Richard III. Later, I also explored the wider mythology which surrounds the Wars of the Roses. But the key feature of my initial...
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  4. Reading in 50 Buildings by Stuart Hylton

    It was only after I had agreed to write the Reading edition of Amberley’s ‘…in fifty buildings’ series that I started to have misgivings. I remembered John Betjeman’s words, that “no town in the south of England hides its attractions more successfully from the visitor”. That was in 1949 and the town had since undergone a further two-thirds of a...
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  5. Did Harold die at Hastings? by Teresa Cole

    Although it was a turning point in British history we don’t actually know exactly how King Harold died. Two different stories have come down to us. The traditional one, known to every schoolchild probably from that day to this, is that he was fatally struck in the eye by an arrow in the final stages of the battle of Hastings...
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  6. The Servants' Story by Pamela Sambrook

    There were several reasons why I wrote my new book on the servants of Trentham Hall, Staffordshire, the country home of the Dukes of Sutherland. In the early 19th century they were reputed to be the richest non-royal family in England and the largest private landowners in the UK, thanks to their huge land holdings in Scotland. But this is...
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  7. Oxford in 50 Buildings by Andrew Sargent

    When I agreed to write the story of Oxford in 50 Buildings I knew I had accepted a difficult assignment. This is no ordinary town. Oxford can be seen as the product of many individual decisions. First being Alfred the Great’s decision to turn this insignificant river crossing settlement with its convent into one of his system of defensive burhs...
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  8. Trevor Ford: The Authorised Biography by Neil Palmer

    It was a March evening in Cardiff City’s 1992/93 season, a season in which the Bluebirds won Promotion out of footballs bottom tier and also added a Welsh Cup under the excellent stewardship of manager Eddie May. I sat in the grandstand at Ninian Park with my father to watch an evening game against Scarborough, (yes following football is not...
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  9. Rugby Union Memorabilia by Phil Atkinson

    OBSERVED OR OBTAINED: OLD ‘OVAL’ OFFERINGS & ODDITIES ……. There were two reasons why I was particularly delighted to be asked by Amberley to write the short introduction to Rugby Union Memorabilia which was published in September. One was that I had long wished to attempt such a volume, the other that it would be the first, and much-needed, such...
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  10. Newcastle-under-Lyme Pubs by Mervyn Edwards

    Newcastle-under-Lyme Pubs has recently hit the bookshelves. It is my eighteenth published book, my ninth title for Amberley. It occurs to me that the nature of a historian’s remit and his duty to view the past objectively and sometimes dispassionately may not always benefit either him or his readers. The thought struck me when I was writing the introduction to...
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