Author Archives

Stephen Basdeo

Stephen Basdeo is a historian and writer based in Leeds, UK.

Reading Robin Hood in World War Two (1939–45): Data from Mass Observation

Did film completely destroy the market for Robin Hood books? Perhaps not as quickly as we might think.

Criminality and Animal Cruelty in 18th-Century England

In 1824, the lawyer, Andrew Kapp, asked, “Do not these creatures, when they are bruised and wounded, shew an equal sense of pain with ourselves? Are not their shrieks and mournful cries, as so many, calls upon their tormentors for pity? And do not their dying pangs, and the painful convulsions of their tortured bodies, cause uneasiness in every human spectator?”

Passo di Lupo: An Italian Bandit

Contrary to stories of Robin Hood, an outlaw’s life was not a merry one: in the 1820s, banditry in Italy was rife; at this time, a young travel writer named Charles Macfarlane was touring the country and managed to obtain a rare interview with one of these brigands.

The Last Dying Speech and Confession of Jack Straw

“We would have killed the king and driven out of the land all possessioners, bishops, monks, canons, and rectors of churches. We would have created kings, Walter Tyler in Kent and one each in other counties, and appointed them and we would have set fire to four parts of the city and burnt it down and divided all the precious goods found there amongst ourselves.”