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There's a little book I bought several years ago that I can thoroughly recommend. It's "Hudson's English History, a Compendium" by Roger Hudson. He's a Cambridge graduate who has made a career as a researcher for authors of historical books, has edited biographies of a number of famous people, and worked for a number of history publishers.

The book is a bit quirky, and consists of bits of information he's turned up over the years of doing research. It's arranged roughly by period, but the subjects covered are wide-ranging to say the least.

In the Mediaeval section there are topics such as Huntsmen and Hounds of the Royal Household c1136, Crimes in London punishable by the pillory in 1419, The Exchequer, tallies and rolls.

Under the Tudors he includes The Border Clans, the English and Spanish Fleets 1588, Elizabethan monopolies, and The Inns of Court and Chancery.

The Stuarts include 2 17th Century banquetting menus, and a list of Charles II's illegitimate children,

the 18th century includes Roads and coaches, Waterways, the cost of subsistence living in Leeds, 1832 (I know 1832 is 19th Century but the section is called 'The long 18th Century' and that's where he puts it.)

etc etc up to the end of the Victorian period.

I've dipped into it many times in the last few years and never failed to find a gem or two. Some I've quoted on here from time to time.The main problem is the ease with which you get sidetracked.

Since it's seven or eight years since I bought it I checked on Amazon to see whether it's still available. Not only is it available there are new copies going for £1.75!

If you like your history a bit quirky and unusual, I recommend it.

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I'd be interested to know what you make of it. I'm always a bit hesitant recommending books, they're a very personal thing, but this one's so unusual and covers so many subjects I thought there should be something to interest everybody. It's only a small book, but he shoehorns a lot of stuff into it!

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