In England, all they ever do is talk about the weather. But no one does a damn thing about it.

GEORGE AXELROD (1922-2003)


King of England and Scotland

James I and VI united the thrones in 1603, and was the first to win the triple crown of England/Wales, Scotland and Ireland. However Edward I (the Hammer of the Scots) was formally recognised as ‘Lord Paramount’ and feudal superior of the realm of Scotland in 1292: all freeholders were required to swear an oath of homage to the English king, who ruled Scotland through viceroys. It was Edward who brought the Stone of Scone to London.
But there's an even earlier claimant. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the Scots King Constantine II submitted to Athelstan at Bamburgh after the Battle of Brunanburh in 937, as did the kings of Cornwall, Wales and Northumbria. Athelstan then took the title 'King of All Britain'.
By calling himself King Edward and not King Edward IV, Edward I established the convention that no English King prior to the Norman Conquest is given a regnal number.  In practice, this has hardly been an issue, as Edward is the only name that has been shared by pre- and post-conquest monarchs. The present Queen is, of course, Elizabeth II even though she is the first person of that name to be Queen of Scotland, thus setting a precedent which suggests that future monarchs may use the higher number or, if you like, the lowest number which hasn't yet been used in either kingdom.

If there were another Queen Victoria, she would unequivocally be Victoria II because there has only been one Queen Victoria in either England or Scotland (the same person). Similarly (but differently), if there was a King John he could be called John II because there's been one King John in England and also one King John in Scotland (different people). But if there was a King Kenneth he'd have to be Kenneth IV because there have been three King Kenneths in Scotland.

King Edwy the Fair of England was forced to banish his wife Elfgifu as they were too closely related.

VIRGINIA WOOLF (1882-1941)

Those comfortably padded lunatic asylums which are known, euphemistically, as the stately homes of England.

English Lakes

Bassenthwaite Lake is the only actual lake in the English Lake District. There are at least 84 named bodies of water big enough to qualify as lakes elsewhere which  are Waters, Meres, or Tarns (the latter being Cumbrian dialect). Even Bassenthwaite Lake was known as Bassenwater until the 18th century. There is a Lake Windermere, but it's in Tasmania. There are also four reservoirs called 'Lake’ Windermere (one in Australia and three in the USA) and two 'Windermere Lakes', both in Canada.
Other non-lakes in the Lake District include: Alcock Tarn, Brothers Water, Crummock Water, Goat’s Water, Gurnal Dubs, Scoat Tarn, Siney Tarn, Skeggles Water, Sprinkling Tarn, Three Dubs Tarn and Watendlath Tarn.
All the land in England higher than 3,000 ft above sea level is in the Lake District. The local mountains are not mountains but 'fells'.  Yan Tan Tethera is the traditional (now obsolete) system for counting sheep in the Lake District and elsewhere in Northern England/Southern Scotland. It's based on 20s and seems to be Celtic in origin. There are many local variations; the Borrowdale one goes: Yan, Tyan, Tethera, Methera, Pimp, Sethera, Lethera, Hovera, Dovera, Dick, Yan-a-dick, Tyan-a-dick, Tethera-dick, Methera-dick, Bumfit (15) up to Giggot (20).

In 1950s England, pizza was known as 'Italian Welsh rarebit'.

At the time of the Domesday book, around 10% of the population of England were slaves.

There used to be a tradition of inter-village jumping contests in northern England.


English - Who needs that? I'm never going to England!

VICTOR HUGO (1802-85)

England has two books, one which she has made and one which has made her: Shakespeare and the Bible.

England in Comparison

England is about the same size as New York State. Its population density is four times that of France. The English consume a third of the world’s tea exports and 50% of English homes have a pet. A quarter of all words used in English are the nine words: THE, OF, AND, TO, IT, YOU, BE, HAVE, WILL.
The English Channel has only existed for about 9,000 years – no more than twice as old as the Great Pyramid. In its deepest parts, it is only as deep as St Paul's Cathedral is tall. The tallest cathedral in England is Rochester in Kent.


England is not the best possible world but it is the best actual country, and a great rest after America.

In 14th-century England, children were baptised in cider.