2021 - 600 years ago, 1521 Martin Luther 's speech at the Diet of Worms (also known as the Here I Stand Speech) is considered one of the greatest pieces of oratory in world history. It was given in response to the council's questions on whether Luther would stand by his doctrine or recant. His refusal to recant is a classic defence of personal freedom.
2020 - The Condition of the Working Class in England 1845.
175 years ago Friedrich Engels published ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England’. Engels was one of the main popularisers of communism in Western Europe who held Thomas More in high regard. Another author Karl Kautsky said that More’s ideas may be regarded as “the foregleam of Modern Socialism.”
At the time of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, Lenin himself suggested that Thomas More be included in a monument honoring great western thinkers that was erected in Alekandrovsky Gardens in Moscow.
2019 - The Martyrdom of King Edmund 869
The first patron saint of England was not St George, but St Edmund, King of East Anglia, who was killed by the Danes 1,150 years ago in 869. The Danish Great Heathen Army, led by Ivar the Boneless and Ubba (or Ubbi), descended on the Kingdom of the East Anglians in 869 AD. It is possible that the king was killed in battle, but legend has it that Edmund, refusing to renounce his Christian faith, was bound to a tree, shot full of arrows and then decapitated. His followers, later seeking to reunite his head with his body, were guided by the dead king’s cranium calling out to them, “hic, hic, hic” (“here, here, here”), and the missing item was found being guarded by a wolf.
2017 - Reformation 1517
Martin Luther challenges the Church
On 31 October 1517 the protest of Martin Luther, Doctor of Theology, against the practice of indulgences took expression in 95 Theses touching on questions of grace, repentance and forgiveness. He announced his intention to defend his statements orally in that place or by letter with those who could not be present.
Reaction from church leaders and scholars, at first on a small scale, gathered momentum with lives changed radically in German states and in many countries across Europe. Two years later, King Henry VIII of England started to write his Defence of the Seven Sacraments while he was reading Martin Luther's attack on indulgences. Luther himself composed a reply to King Henry, answered in turn by Thomas More. Although Luther's writings were banned in England, a small group started to meet in Cambridge to study them, along with other material emerging from the new movement on the Continent. Many of them .would become key figures in the English Reformation
2017 - Handel's Water Music 1717
The 1st performance is recorded as happening about 8 p.m. on Wednesday, 17 July 1717, King George I and several aristocrats boarded a royal barge at Whitehall for an excursion up the Thames toward Chelsea. The rising tide propelled the barge upstream without rowing. Another barge contained about 50 musicians who performed Handel's music. Many other Londoners also took to the river to hear the concert. According to The Courant, "the whole River in a manner was covered" with boats and barges. On arriving at Chelsea, the king left his barge, then returned to it at about 11 p.m. for the return trip. The king was so pleased with the Water Music that he ordered it to be repeated at least three times, both on the trip upstream to Chelsea and on the return, until he landed again at Whitehall.
2016 - Utopia 1516
Thomas More’s “Utopia” was written in Latin, and is in two parts, of which the second, describing the place ([Greek text]—or Nusquama, as he called it sometimes in his letters—“Nowhere”), was probably written towards the close of 1515; the first part, introductory, early in 1516. The book was first printed at Louvain, late in 1516, under the editorship of Erasmus, Peter Giles, and other of More’s friends in Flanders. It was then revised by More, and printed by Frobenius at Basle in November, 1518. It was reprinted at Paris and Vienna, but was not printed in England during More’s lifetime. Its first publication in this country was in the English translation, made in Edward’s VI.’s reign (1551) by Ralph Robinson. It was translated with more literary skill by Gilbert Burnet, in 1684, soon after he had conducted the defence of his friend Lord William Russell, attended his execution, vindicated his memory, and been spitefully deprived by James II. of his lectureship at St. Clement’s. Burnet was drawn to the translation of “Utopia” by the same sense of unreason in high places that caused More to write the book.
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2130/2130-h/2130-h.htm for the complete work
2016 - Henry James 1916
An American novelist and naturalized Englishman, Henry James was an important figure in transatlantic literary culture of the day. Born on April 15, 1843, in New York City, Henry James became one of his generation's most well-known writers and remains so to this day for such works as The Portrait of a Lady and The Turn of the Screw. Having lived in England for 40 years, James became a British subject in 1915, the year before his death. He died on February 28, 1916, in London, England and his monument is on the south wall of the More Chapel at Chelsea Old Church.