England

jenkins

The myth of the housing crisis

28 February 2015

There is no such thing as the English countryside. There is my countryside, your countryside and everyone else’s. Most people fight just for theirs. When David Cameron told the BBC’s… Read more

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Photo: Getty

France, England and the tragedy of DSK

28 February 2015

When we consider poets who perished before their day, thoughts turn to the Romantics or the war victims: Burns, Keats, Shelley: Owen, Keith Douglas. (Had both lived, Douglas would have… Read more

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It takes a village (or six): the battle for rural churches

21 February 2015

Some of the longest job descriptions belong to rural Church of England clergy. ‘So what do you do?’ ‘I’m the Rector of Aldwincle, Clopton, Pilton, Stoke Doyle, Thorpe Achurch, Titchmarsh… Read more

Jonathan Joseph celebrates his try with team mates during Six Nations match between Wales and England Photo: Getty

My grandson's getting into the rugby: 'Which one's West Ham?'

14 February 2015

My grandson and I had a lovely hour-long swim at the leisure centre. We had the learner pool to ourselves for the first half an hour, during which we threw… Read more

Beauty and exhilaration: hunting in Norfolk

The sheer joy of hunting

17 January 2015

This time three years ago, I hadn’t jumped a single thing for almost ten years. This season, I am happily jumping hedges that my horse and I can’t even see… Read more

Virgin and Child with Canon van der Paele flanked by Saint George and Saint Donation,  Jan van Eyck, 1436 Photo: Getty

Bruce Anderson

3 January 2015

An embarrassing confession: in the late 1960s, I was a Trotskyite. But that period of political adolescence has its uses. It made me aware of the methods employed by extremist… Read more

Dreams

Return of the fairy-hunters

3 January 2015

If like me you get all your news from the Cornish Guardian, you may have spotted an article announcing that the Fairy Investigation Society is conducting a survey. They’re seeking… Read more

‘The plan was to pour the apple juice into an oak hogshead, freshly emptied of its whisky’

The birth of a barrel of cider

6 December 2014

The fabulous October weather is now just a memory but it made for a golden, old-fashioned apple day down in Somerset. The plan was to pick and convert a mound… Read more

8 November 2014

Mind games Sir: I hope that people are not unduly put off by Melanie McDonagh’s misrepresentation of mindfulness as a cop-out for navel-gazers who lack the moral fibre to engage… Read more

?Explore the Home Counties?, LNER poster, 1936.

Escape from Omnishambleshire: the case for the old county boundaries

25 October 2014

Just over 35 years ago, in August 1979, Christopher Booker wrote a cri de coeur in The Spectator calling for the return of England’s ancient counties and the repeal of… Read more

18 October 2014

Nothing to fear Sir: So long as we are not breaking any law, we have nothing to fear from the police being able to access our mobiles (‘Licence to snoop’,… Read more

BullTerrier

I’ve spent years in war zones. And the most terrifying moment of my life just happened in Norfolk

11 October 2014

It happened so quickly, as these things always do. My wife Julia and I were pootling about on Wells beach with our fluffy mongrel Maisie when suddenly two fighting dogs,… Read more

The Garden of England

Why everywhere should be more like Essex

11 October 2014

Apart from the Wye Valley, where I grew up, there are only two places in Britain I’d consider living: Kent and Essex. Since Kent grabbed the ‘Garden of England’ moniker,… Read more

Matthew-Parris

I'll never feel the same about the Scots

20 September 2014

I doubt I’m alone among English readers of this magazine in having felt uncomfortable with our last issue. ‘Please stay with us’ was a plea I found faintly offensive to… Read more

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Countries shape character (so get ready to like Scots less)

13 September 2014

As I write this, I am sitting outside a weinhaus in Kaub, a half-timbered town on the wooded slopes of the middle Rhine. If you don’t know the place, I… Read more

Where are the Betjemans de nos jours?

We need more opinionated English eccentrics making documentaries like, ahem, me...

6 September 2014

Is it just me or are almost all TV documentaries completely unwatchable these days? I remember when I first started this job I’d review one almost every fortnight. Always there’d… Read more

Poet John Clare Photo: Getty

You owe it to yourself to visit John Clare country

2 August 2014

This has been a terrible year for horseflies. It’s bad enough if you’re human: often by the time you swat them off the damage has already been wrought by their… Read more

Spain v Netherlands: Group B - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Dan Snow

21 June 2014

Could there be a more timely advert for the Better Together campaign than on the field of sport? What the England football team manifestly need is the man who is… Read more

Shakespeare_SE

Shakespeare invented Britain. Now he can save it

12 April 2014

‘What country, friends, is this?’ We’ve been wrestling with Viola’s question almost from the moment she asked it. It was barely a year after Shakespeare had scribbled out those words,… Read more

Mitchell Johnson Photo: Getty

As England's cricketers wobble, the rugby team are finally getting it together

30 November 2013

My friend Miles was bowling in a festival of wandering cricket clubs in Oxford the other day. First wicket down and in walked an immaculately turned out Japanese gentleman. As… Read more

Strauss

Hurrah for Andrew Strauss

23 November 2013

Andrew Strauss is a serious man and Driving Ambition (Hodder, £20, Spectator Bookshop, £18) is a serious book. It looks like most other sporting autobiographies: there are heroes, jokes and… Read more

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It’s the summer of the topless man – and there’s nothing we can do to stop it

20 July 2013

Topless men. What does that mean, then? I was opposite one on the tube the other day, heading north from Finsbury Park, and I just couldn’t stop -staring. In terms of… Read more

4.2

Defending the real Downton Abbeys

9 March 2013

From a horrific Victorian murder to its role as a royal refuge from Nazi invasion, Newby Hall has known enough genuine drama to make a primetime telly series. And in… Read more

Muddling through

2 June 2012
How England Made the English Harry Mount

Viking, pp.340, £20

It so happened that in 1961 I was part of a little group — three of us — which welcomed ‘Mr Jazzman’ to London. That was the code name for… Read more

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Rotten, vicious times

14 April 2012
Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974-1979 Dominic Sandbrook

Allen Lane, pp.911, 30

A.N. Wilson recalls the worst decade of  recent history and the death throes of Old England There was a distressing news story the other day about a man who did… Read more