What became of Thomas Becket’s bones?

The St Brice’s Day Massacre? I must admit I hadn’t heard of this ‘most just extermination’ of Danes in Oxford at the instigation of King Aethelred the Unready in 1002, perhaps because the teaching of history in this country tends to kick off in 1066. You certainly don’t think of Oxford as a place that pioneered techniques of ethnic cleansing. Crypt is a collection of seven essays that unearth details about how certain people lived and died in the past. If you didn’t already know Alice Roberts’s background as an anatomist and biological anthropologist, you’d have a good chance of deducing it from this book. The old jibe that archaeology

It is impossible to imagine Henrician England except through the eyes of Hans Holbein

‘Holbein redeemed a whole era for us from oblivion,’ remarks the author of a trilogy of novels set at Henry VIII’s court. ‘He has forced us to believe that his vision of it was the only feasible one.’ This is a bit of a tease. It’s not written by Hilary Mantel, as you might be expecting, but by Ford Madox Ford, who, a century before Wolf Hall, published a sequence of novels about Henry’s fifth queen, Katharine Howard. Nevertheless, Ford’s point is irrefutable. It is impossible to imagine the England of Henry VIII except through the eyes of ‘the King’s Painter’, Hans Holbein. Not just the king, portrayed as massive,

The trouble with Erasmus is not just the cost

It was curious to see the explosion of outrage over the UK no longer participating in the Erasmus scheme. We were told it broadened young people’s horizons by sending British undergraduates to study at a European university. We were told our young people are being deprived of this opportunity. But having spent my pre-politics career working with young people, Erasmus and deprivation are not things I’ve ever associated with one another. The outrage is largely coming from a collection of the firmly middle class and affluent anti-Brexit folk – TV broadcasters and QCs among them. They had been on Erasmus themselves and expected it to be a rite of passage