Thursday, May 17, 2012

How Well Do You Know British History?: Part 1

Every year in Britain, the test for the Townsend-Warner Preparatory Schools History Prize is given to students at prep schools all over the country. The prize was the idea of a housemaster at Harrow, who wanted students to enjoy the study of history. The test is in two parts. The first part is a series of 100 questions requiring one-word or one-sentence answers, with a time limit of two hours. The second part is of the test is in essay form, and students can choose to write on a wide variety of topics.

Here are the first three groups of questions from Part I of last year's test.

1.Answer these questions on past English or British monarchs.

a) 1066 was the ‘year of three kings’. Two of them were Harold and William the Conqueror. Who was the third?

b) Which English king was responsible for the murder of Thomas Becket?

c) Which English king spent less than six months of his ten year reign in the country?

d) Which English king, who lost lands in France, was given the nickname of ‘Softsword’?

e) Which English king married the French king’s daughter and was accepted as heir and regent of France in 1420?

f) What name is given to the lengthy power struggle in England between two branches of the royal family between 1455 and 1487?

g) Which English ruler was known as the Virgin Queen?

h) Which king had ruled his country for 36 years before replacing the English ruler responsible for the execution of his mother?

i) Who was restored at the Restoration of 1660?

j) Who was the first reigning British monarch to visit Scotland (in 1822) since 1650?

k) Who was the British monarch from 1910 to 1936?

2. Identify the historical link between the following:

a) Woden, Thor, Freya

b) Miccosukee, Seminole, Creek

c) Marengo, Ulm, Austerlitz

d) Maxim, Lewis, Vickers

e) Magersfontein, Colenso, Spion Kop

3. Answer the following:

a) What is the modern name of Camulodunum, the first capital of Roman Britain?

b) What structure marked the northern boundary of the Roman empire in Britain for most of the period of Roman occupation?

c) What religious meeting took place in 664?

d) A raid in 793 on which ‘holy island’ off the Northumbrian coast started the Viking era?

e) What document was begun in 1086?

f) What royal Order was started in 1348 and is the world’s oldest Order of knighthood in continuous existence?

g) What book was begun in 1387 and contains 24 stories about a group of pilgrims, travelling from London to visit Becket’s shrine?

h) Which medieval English port perhaps once had a population of 5,000 and is now Britain’s most famous drowned city?

i)  What was first established in England by William Caxton in 1476 and led to the production of mass-produced books?

How did you do? I knew all but three of the answers. (I missed 2d, 2e, and 3a.) My husband, not being an amateur historian, missed a lot more.

The final group of questions will appear in a few days.

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