Our Newsletters

We produce free newsletters that are emailed from time to time (about three times a year) to anyone interested in history and archaeology. They contain our latest news, as well as features on anything that appeals to us and hopefully you as well. We are able to stray well beyond the confines of our published books, as well as use photographs and other illustrations. At times we include a competition.

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All our newsletters are listed below, with a brief description of their contents, and you can click on each newsletter to read it. After reading or browsing, you will then need to click on ‘Our Newsletters’ in the sidebar to return to the newsletter list. They are listed in in reverse order, so that the last one appears first – a bit like a blog, but much more varied and easier to use!

    • Newsletter 69 – April 2024
      (Rushes and chimney swallows. Book Snippets: deliberate errors, hidden humour and books as history. Penguin vending machine. The Brocklebank Line, two Mahrattas and the Goodwin Sands. Lloyd’s Register Foundation maritime stories. A Flamborough postcard mystery)
    • Newsletter 68 – November 2023
      (Trafalgar Gun Company and Exeter Heritage Harbour Festival.  Goose quills and their uses.  Insect increase.  Calpe 2023 conference in Gibraltar, 240th anniversary of the ending of the Great Siege of Gibraltar,  the Windsor Bridge,  the Skywalk and dolphins.  All at Sea and Lloyd’s Register Foundation maritime stories)
    • Newsletter 67 – April 2023
      (When There Were Birds paperback.  Forthcoming talks (Taunton’s Brendon Books, Exeter, Wokingham and London).  Johnny Cope.  Six Stars for The War for All the Oceans.  Jack Tar on World Book Day at Gibraltar.  Scud Hill and sailors at Gibraltar.   Loads of Lloyd’s, including Lloyd’s Coffee-House, Lloyd’s List, Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund, Lloyd’s Register and Lloyd’s Register Foundation. The 1874 Cospatrick Disaster.   Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum, A Picture of Health and The Birds of Devon.  Our books as audiobooks)
    • Newsletter 66 – December 2022
      (Royal window display.  Literary festivals.  When There Were Birds update.  Cool Gibraltar.  Kishmul’s Galley and Folklife West.  ‘A Broken Horse’ and a seafaring gravestone at Bosham.  ‘Making the Best of It, with severe snow in 1880 and 1881 (the Great Blizzard), a new Ice Age, failed harvests in 1881, a Punch weather forecast pastiche, a hurricane in October 1881 and the Eyemouth fishing fleet disaster.  Chrismas parcels and letters in 1889)
    • Newsletter 65 – August 2022
      (St Wilfrid’s Chapel at Church Norton in Sussex and church moved to Selsey.  Pagham Harbour, RSPB and Arthur Knox.  ‘The Birds’ by Daphne du Maurier and Alfred Hitchcock,  ‘Rook with a Book’ sculpture and the Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature.  Thomas Hardy’s Dorset.  Alfred Cart de Lafontaine gravestone, Athelhampton House and art exhibition by Belinda Smith. Superstitions at sea, albatrosses and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.  Budleigh Salterton festival.  Julian Stockwin summer bookpicks.  HMS Victory restoration.  Shepherd.com website for books)
    • Newsletter 64 – May 2022
      (Hour glasses and egg timers. Books in war – First and Second World Wars, destruction of libraries and publishers, increased demand for books, wartime book tokens. The Inland Haven and Exeter’s Ship Canal. When There were Birds audiobook, review by Mark Avery, various talks. Our books in the Gibraltar Heritage shop. Article in BBC History Magazine. Podcast interview on History Extra. Blog piece for Wokingham libraries. The Twa Corbies. Royal Mail bird stamps)
    • Newsletter 63 – February 2022
      (St Valentine’s Day – Christian martyrs, Chaucer, birds pairing up, drawing lots, begging, love tokens, cards, marriage omens, How Books Were Sold – Net Book Agreement, book clubs and publicity, When There Were Birds – stages of modern publishing, reviews, talks, categories, audiobook and next book, London Library, Quarterdeck, John Jones and Gibraltar, Folklife West and selling ballads)
    • Newsletter 62 – November 2021
      (Publication of ‘When There Were Birds: The forgotten history of our connections’, Daily Mail book of the week, Recorded music (phonographs, gramophones, needles, radios and the revival of vinyl LPs), Eagle symbols (Roman legionary standards, heraldry, American Great Seal, Napoleonic eagles, Spread Eagle pubs, and eagle lecterns in churches)
    • Newsletter 61 – August 2021
      (When There Were Birds new book, Devon violets, body odour, perfumes and tourist souvenirs, World War One, autograph books, Red Cross hospital, RNAS and the Pilot’s Psalm, Quills, feathers and down)
    • Newsletter 60 – March 2021
      (Tools of the trade for historians, including Duchy of Cornwall document 1804, will of Susannah Bragg 1873, Exeter Maritime Museum ticket, letter from Van Diemen’s Land 1833, a road map, photographs of haymaking, turnpike milestone, gravestone of a pig killer, pub sign, poor rate receipt, 1942 message from Elizabeth R, rag and bone man advert, post-war ID card, Morning Chronicle, lawnmower advert. Jack Tar and Nelson’s Trafalgar audiobooks)
    • Newsletter 59 – December 2020
      (Wooden benches and bench ends in churches.  St Nonna at Altarnun in Cornwall.  Zennor mermaid and St Senara church.  Henley Bridge over River Thames and steam engines.  Holly, how to find a husband and Christmas customs)
    • Newsletter 58 – September 2020
      (Daisy Powders, quack medicines and Covid-19. World War One tanks. Tank regiment cap badge. Jane Austen Society’s 80th virtual party. Thatched roofs, materials, fires and pauper roofs. ‘A Good Pair of Boots’, cob walls and thatch. Trafalgar audiobook)
    • Newsletter 57 – April 2020
      (Defences against invasion in World War Two, with stop-lines and pillboxes. Hellfire Corner.  A 1948 book of postage stamps, postal rates, GPO, Post Office, Royal Mail and British Telecom. Family History Shows. Parishes, shires, hundreds, wapentakes and boundaries)
    • Newsletter 56 – December 2019
      (Boz in Oz and Charles Dickens in Exeter. Combe Gibbet, murders, hangings and John Schlesinger. Portsdown Lodge, Frank Austen and Charles Austen. Jane Austen Society. The latest Kydd novel. 25 years of the Gibraltar Heritage Journal)
    • Newsletter 55 – September 2019
      (Petrolia and the early oil industry. Tar tunnel in Coalbrookdale. Climate change in July 1859. US artist John Singleton Copley buried at Croydon Minster. Alton market town, Curtis Museum, Holybourne Rare Books and Big Dig)
    • Newsletter 54 – May 2019
      (We’re back! Penguin books, Exeter, Agatha Christie, Allen Lane, station bookstalls and WH Smith.  Gibraltar Penguin.  London’s Green Park gates, Devonshire House, Mrs Dalloway, Mozart’s ‘O Calpe!’ and Gibraltar House.  Why We Love Dickens. Jane Austen in China.  Discovering Diamonds.  More on Jone Jones and HMS Britannia)
    • Newsletter 53 – May 2018
      (GDPR burden.  Sad irons, flat irons and ironing boards.  Exeter’s ungodly murder of Walter de Lechlade, Broadgate and Cathedral Close.  ‘Seafurrers’ book.  Reading matters)
    • Newsletter 52 – March 2018
      (Lancaster Roman fort, origin of name, early history, port, Gillow furniture, the Slave Trade and Maritime Museum.  The Lune Aqueduct, Lancaster Canal and Alexander Stevens.  Gibraltar in America, the American Revolution and John Trumbull.  Tthe Prudential in UK and US, adoption of Gibraltar motif and slogan.  Henry Ince, soldier-artificers, Methodism, Gibraltar’s tunnels and gravestone at Gittisham)
    • Newsletter 51 – December 2017
      (Christmas cards, types of letter boxes, mail to and from Gibraltar and their letter boxes. Lancaster Historical Writing Festival.  The Gibunco Gibraltar International Literary Festival.  San Roque history, Governor’s Palace, Carteia Museum and bullfighting.  Souvenir rock and confectionery)
    • Newsletter 50 – September 2017
      (Gibraltar: The Greatest Siege in British History published.  Summary of the Great Siege, linked to American War of Independence.  George Augustus Eliott 300 years (and Gibraltar stamps).  John Drinkwater, 72nd regiment, Regent’s Canal, working the canal, towpaths, tunnels and locks)
    • Newsletter 49 – June 2017
      (200th commemorations of Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. Scribes, hand printing, steam printing and computers.  Early balloon flights and the first women to ascend)
    • Newsletter 48 – March 2017
      (HMS Britannia, Gibraltar, and First World War, hit by UB-50 and John Jones.  Simnel cakes and Mothering Sunday.  Travelling roundabouts, traction engines, dobbies and steam fairs)
    • Newsletter 47 – December 2016
      (Great Siege of Gibraltar and American War of Independence.  Coxheath Camp in Kent, militia recruits, Nancy Granger dressed as a soldier.   Maximinus Thrax Roman emperor.   Seafurrers blog.  Britain’s pre-decimal coinage.  Christmas bells, bell ringing and peals)
    • Newsletter 46 – September 2016
      (Link extinguishers, pre-gas lighting, link boys.  The Year Without a Summer 1816, including Tambora volcano, Frankenstein, The Vampyre and JMW Turner paintings.  Famine and fever, including typhus, bubonic plague and cholera.  Messages in glass bottles)
    • Newsletter 45 – June 2016
      (The forgotten Georgian town of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis, George III, spa town, bathing machines and Nothe fort.  The duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton in the US presidential campaign of 1804.  Teasels used in woollen cloth industry)
    • Newsletter 44 – March 2016
      (Roman fish sauce, garum, Baelo Claudia Roman town in Spain, amphorae and Ostia.   Pillars of Hercules myth.  Gibraltar sieges.  Jane Austen and ‘Emma‘.  Talking Archaeology)
    • Newsletter 43 – December 2015
      (Plots for sale.  Selsey (in Sussex) holiday camp, Manhood Peninsula, World War 2 evacuees, war memorials and smuggling.  Book blogs and bloggers.  Jane Austen’s Emma.   Old Christmas greetings cards)
    • Newsletter 42 – September 2015
      (Cyprus and the sugar industry, sugar factories and Crusaders.  William Jones, Broxbourne, elm coffins and elm disease.  Stagecoaches, Benjamin Silliman, changing horses and London’s Belle Sauvage.  The London Library.  Bonfire Night, Guy Fawkes, begging for money and Swing Riots)
    • Newsletter 41 – June 2015
      (Transatlantic wireless telephone call from Arlington, Virginia, to the Eiffel Tower in Paris and World War One.  Sweet F.A. and the murder of Fanny Adams at Alton. Salt horse, salt junk, canned meat and history of cans and can openers.  World War Two miniature socks, Ivy Clarke and munitions factory.  Waterloo teeth and dentures. A Trafalgar retrospective; and more)
    • Newsletter 40 – March 2015
      (Magna Carta 800 years, King John, feudal system and Runnymede.  Learned societies.  Jane Austen Down Under. Three-Age System, prehistory categories.  Magna Cartacopies, wax seal, Rochester Castle siege, death of King John and United States)
    • Newsletter 39 – December 2014
      (Doctress Who? with gravestone of Doctress Ann Pounsberry at St Peter and St Paul church, North Curry, and wise women.  William Sampson and an illicit still at Whitestone in Devon. The ‘John Lilley’ shipwreck at Appledore in 1843.  Napoleon, 100 days, Grenoble and Champollion)
    • Newsletter 38 – October 2014
      (The War for All the Oceans retrospective and the 200th anniversary of the 1812 war.  Corn dollies, old harvesting methods, and Frazer’s The Golden Bough, Santorini;  Academic jargon.  Chimneys, problems, chimney doctors, Roman flues, coal fires with grates.  St Breaca’s church at Breage, Cornwall, with a Celtic goddess, Roman milestone and King Charles I painted board)
    • Newsletter 37 – August 2014
      (Jane Austen in Southampton, Holy Rood Church in Southampton, with its memorials to the 1837 fire, sinking of the Titanic and Charles Dibdin, and the destruction in World War Two.  Charles Dibdin and his career, Henry Wood’s Fantasia on British Sea Songs. Too many anniversaries.  World War One silk postcard souvenirs and their production.  Ending of the first ‘Great War’ in 1814, with a rare monument, return of Louis XVIII, Congress of Vienna)
    • Newsletter 36 – May 2014
      (Jane Austen in paperback.  World War One and humour in hymns.  Cotton reel tanks, shapes of old cotton reels.  Roman port of Ostia, pirates and Pompey, mosaics used for advertising.  Captain Benjamin Clement, Trafalgar, Frank Austen and and Jane Austen.  Mr Darcy’s wet shirt)
    • Newsletter 35 – February 2014
      (The broken bridge at Avignon, the famous song ‘Sur le pont d’Avignon’, medieval papal court and schism.  Flooding and Muchelney in the Somerset Levels, River Parrett.   Te first steam locomotives, Richard Trevithick, Stephenson’s Rocket and description by Fanny Kemble.  Great Oxendon ventilation chimney.  Mansfield Park 200 years ago)
    • Newsletter 34 – December 2013
      (Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Column and lions, linear measurement plaques.  Medieval strip fields, furlongs, ploughing, Leper Fields of Great Torrington.  Paradise Square in Sheffield (and selling wives).  Christmas weather in 1799, ashen faggots, St Thomas Day.  The Great War meaning.   Christmas in the First World War)
    • Newsletter 33 – October 2013
      (Hardcovers v. paperbacks.  Georgian letter writing, the postal service and inns, receiving letters, postal costs, wrappers and cross-writing.  The navy in ancient Rome.  Bread and circuses, amphitheatres and Colosseum.  Dead Woman’s Ditch – a Somerset murder in 1789)
    • Newsletter 32 – August 2013
      (Jane Austen’s England in the US; Huffington Post, Washington Post, reviews, blogs.  New Alresford – prisoners-of-war, Watercress Line, and the Portland Spy Ring.   Edward II, cancelled coronation commemorations and abdication)
    • Newsletter 31 – June 2013
      (Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England publication.  William Holland and Robert Blincoe.   James Woodforde and the Parson Woodforde Society. Rough Music; Punch and Judy shows, Riddley Walker, Chariveri and Punch.  Maiden Garlands, Tideswell, Selborne, Abbotts Ann etc.  Exeter’s Theatre Royal fire and William Hunt.  Tuthmosis IV and hieroglyph decipherment)
    • Newsletter 30 – March 2013
      (1812 war with America, capture of the Argus by the Pelican.  Teddy bears and Theodore Roosevelt.  William Henry Pyne’s book on costume.   The Nag’s Head pub sign.  May Day bonefires and other horse head rituals.  General Pitt Rivers, an early archaeologist, Cranborne Chase and burial at Tollard Royal)
    • Newsletter 29 – December 2012
      (Seasonal holly and ivy, wassailing, John Brand on old customs, Christmas decoration and Puritans.  Austerity Christmas after World War 2.  Loss of HMAV Bounty.    Road maps; north and south.  Andover, Jane Austen, capture of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and prisoners-of-war)
    • Newsletter 28 – September 2012
      (Autumnal weather.  Thatched roofs and eaves.  Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England (our next book).  Big Ben, the tower, clock, bell, Whitechapel Foundry.  American newspaper adverts 200 years ago, apprentices.  Warminster, Rural Rides, William Cobbett, food riots, cloth industry and riots)
    • Newsletter 27 – June 2012
      (The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 1952, the Commonwealth, Cyprus, EOKA and partition.  Deserted villages on Cyprus.  Rollright Stones, stones used as charms, witches, king and army turned to stone.  Wychwood name, royal forests; forest crimes.  Firewood; woodland crafts, hurdle making, bodgers, chairs and charcoal making)
    • Newsletter 26 – March 2012
      (Old new year, Julian and Gregorian calendars, and calendar changes;  Hamstone country, Ham Hill hillfort, Montacute.  Slingstones, Vegetius, Roman soldiers and testudo, Sir Mortimer Wheeler and Chesil Beach.  Weymouth, Portland castle, Portland stone, Olympia and the Olympic Games 2012.  Timeball station at Lyttleton, Christchurch.  Hailstorm at Brentford 1813.  More on Romulus and Remus monument near Wells)
    • Newsletter 25 – December 2011
      (Foretelling the future, oracle at Delphi.   Christmas Day landslip at Axmouth.  Julian calendar and 1703 storm over Britain.  Battle between Java and Constitution in December 1812.  HMAV Bounty.  The Mistletoe Bough ballad.  Horse songs from canals, dead horse shanty, mummers, Sailor’s Grace, flogging the dead horse ceremony)
    • Newsletter 24 – September 2011
      (Bristol Channel and tidal range, mud horses and fishermen.  Axes of Mesolithic and Neolithic, including axe factories and flint mines, use of axes, thunderbolts and use in fasces.  Fighting Sail series. Thomas Cochrane.  Naval cartoons by Galf.  Lindsey Davis and Falco.  Thomas Whistler and Adelaide)
    • Newsletter 23 – June 2011
      (Pannier markets, baskets, Celia Fiennes, packhorses and West Country roads.  Blacksmiths, including shoeing cattle for market.  Rag trees, Golden Bough, holy wells and springs, tree spirits, Christmas trees.  HMS Invincible disaste off Happisburgh.  Falmouth, with King’s Pipe, obelisk, packet boats, replica HMAV Bounty)
    • Newsletter 22 – March 2011
      (William Wilberforce, Brambe, rotten politics, castle and port.  The depression gun and Great Siege of Gibraltar.  Jay’s or Kay’s grave on Dartmoor.  Beatrice Chase and Widecombe churchyard.  Suicide burials at crossroads and stakes.  London’s Beer Flood of 1814.  Codd bottles, spas, carbonated water and marbles)
    • Newsletter 21 – December 2010
      (Christmas in Basingstoke, including the wireless, motor cars, speeding, houses for sale, fires, and the movies.  Halcyon days and St Martin’s Day (Martinmas).  Mold cape and a ghost story.  Romulus and Remus monument near Wells, World War 2 prisoner-of-war camps, foundation of Rome, Lupercalia and the Christian Festival of Purificiation.  The London Library)
    • Newsletter 20 – September 2010
      (End of the book?  Tourist guide to Greece, Pausanias and the Parthenon.  White House burned down in 1814, Star-Spangled banner and Battle of New Orleans in 1815.  Navy Records Society.  US Naval Institute.  Victorian values (snippets from the London Journal of 1863).  Weather forecasts and Robert Fitzroy.  Groynes and lynchets)
    • Newsletter 19 – May 2010
      (200th anniversary of death of Collingwood,.  On Collingwood, Trafalgar, Bounce, the monument at Tynemouth and cannons from Royal Sovereign.  Navy Records Society.  Charlecote and Shakespeare.  Thumbs up in Roman times, with editors, gladiators and Thomas Hughes.  White Horse at Uffington, St George slaying the dragon, Thomas Hughes and Tom Brown’s schooldays, Scouring the Dragon.  Ordnance Survey maps)
    • Newsletter 18 – February 2010
      (Exeter Theatre Royal fire in 1887, with heroic seamen.  Family history and Nelson.  William Hoskins and local history.  William Hutton walking from Birmingham to Carlisle and along Hadrian’s Wall.  Vindolanda and writing tablets.  John Tregerthen Short at Barnoon Cemetery, St Ives, and Givet prison.  The history of salt, salarium, Carthage, Nantwich, Northwich, salt tax, excisemen and St Gregory’s at Seaton)
    • Newsletter 17 – November 2009
      (Mountbatten Maritime Literary Award.  County Hotel in Taunton (now Waterstones).  Devon witches and witchcraft.  Olive oil, wine and bread from ancient Greek times, Roman trade with Britain.  Anglo-Saxon Sandbach crosses. Forebitters)
    • Newsletter 16 – September 2009
      (Anglesey, Mick Sharp and Jean Williamson.   Holidays pre-Industrial Revolution, seamen visiting foreign parts, Gibraltar, blackstrap and Mistela wine.  Box pews, Branscombe and St Winifred, other church seating, disputes and class)
    • Newsletter 15 – June 2009
      (Langport, River Parrett, Walter Bagehot, Stuckey’s Bank and Somerset Trading Company. Isle of Athelney, King Alfred and Battle of Langport.  Post boxes, cannons, carronades and the Carron Company.   William Camden, cropmarks and aerial photographs; Quarterdeck; Dartington Hall and the Elmhirsts)
    • Newsletter 14 – March 2009
      (Bath history, the theatre and snow.  Captain John Moutray, his wife Mary, their son John and Nelson.  Pell Mell, Pall Mall, gas lighting and shopping malls.  Publisher Johann Philipp Palm shot by Napoleon)
    • Newsletter 13 – December 2008
      (Jack Tar.   Sheffield Grinder folk song, an old police box and Doctor Who’s Tardis.  Chesapeake Mill at Wickham and 1812 war with America.  Audlem’s Bear Stone and bear baiting. Prehistoric stone circles)
    • Newsletter 12 – October 2008
      (Nelson’s 250th birthday.   Burgh Island, St Michael’s chapel, Agatha Christie mysteries and the pilchard industry.  Swarland monument to Nelson erected by Alexander Davison.  Jack Tar.  Handbook of British Archaeology; Kydd novels)
    • Newsletter 11 – September 2008
      (Exmouth, A La Ronde, Parminters and National Trust libraries.   Brean Down fort and proposed harbour at Weston-super-Mare.  Hadrian’s Wall and Hadrian the emperor.  Greek rulers of Egypt)
    • Newsletter 10 – June 2008
      (Mediterranean voyage.   Meaning of Chester and other place names.  Temples of Paestum.  Livorno British cemetery and William Broughton.  Winchelsea and the new town)
    • Newsletter 9 – March 2008
      (‘Land of England’ by Dorothy Hartley, including brose and bracken.   Roman and Greek bridges and aqueducts.   Porchester Castle, including prisoners-of-war, William Wylie and James Lind.  Kensal Green Cemetery and its boundary stones)
    • Newsletter 8 – December 2007
      (Tales of Christmas past with candles, feasts, Sol Invictus, yule log tradition, 12 days of Christmas, dread of hunger and wassail   Christmas snow and temperatures.  Christmas postal service.   Books recommended for Christmas in 1887.   Amelia Edwards and the Nile.  Cassandra Austen gravestones and letters from Jane Austen)
    • Newsletter 7 – October 2007
      (Marine artist Robin Brooks.  Flints used in buildings.  Sheep country, chalk and cheese.  History of Eddystone lighthouse.   Egypt in Britain, including Cleopatra’s Needle, Egyptian Hall and Egyptian House.  Victory, Implacable, Trincomalee and Unicorn)
    • Newsletter 6 – August 2007
      (Book titles.   Greenwich expedition.  East Greenwich Pleasaunce, including Mark Halpen Sweny of HMS Colossus.   Britain’s old fields, with ridge and furrow, hedges, water meadows and field boundaries.   Sir Sidney Smith and slave trade)
    • Newsletter 5 – May 2007
      (Market Drayton, canals and William Wilkinson of the Sirius at Trafalgar.   Miniature Stonehenge at Cheswardine.   Paris, Pere Lachaise cemetery,  Dominique Vivant Denon monument, Napoleon and Egypt.   Turnpike roads, tollhouses and milestones.  Dendera zodiac and age of the world)
    • Newsletter 4 – February 2007
      (Brixham Museum, harbour, the Bellerophon and the Napoleonic fort at Berry Head.   Development of Torquay.   Secklow Mound in Milton Keynes and Silbury Hill.   Traditional songs for spring and summer)
    • Newsletter 3 – December 2006
      (John Collingwood Bruce memorial at Newcastle, and Hadrian’s Wall.   Alexander John Scott memorial and Jack Aubrey naval surgeon.   Christmas in Napoleonic times.   Old Christmas Day)
    • Newsletter 2 – September 2006
      (Broseley Pipeworks and clay pipes.  Seamen smoking and chewing tobacco.  Frederick Marryat memorial at Langham, Norfolk, and the Walcheren expedition.   Beer ration in Nelson’s navy, awful water and Pale Ale)
    • Newsletter 1 – July 2006
      (Anson wreck at Loe Bar, Helston, with Henry Trengouse’s rocket-propelled line and The Burial of Drowned Persons Act 1808. Thomas Randle of Trafalgar at Topsham)