England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It
shares land borders with
Scotland to the north and
Wales to the west.
Irish Sea lies northwest of
England and the
Celtic Sea lies to the
England is separated from continental
Europe by the North
Sea to the east and the
English Channel to the south. The country
covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the
North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the
Isles of Scilly
Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
The area now called
England was first inhabited by modern humans
Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the
Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula,
who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries.
England became a unified
state in the 10th century, and since the Age of Discovery, which began
during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal
impact on the wider world. The English language, the Anglican
English law – the basis for the common law legal systems
of many other countries around the world – developed in England, and
the country's parliamentary system of government has been widely
adopted by other nations. The
Industrial Revolution began in
18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first
England's terrain mostly comprises low hills and plains, especially in
central and southern England. However, there are uplands in the north
(for example, the mountainous Lake District, and the Pennines) and in
the west (for example,
Dartmoor and the
Shropshire Hills). The capital
is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United
Kingdom and the European Union.[nb 1] England's population of over
53 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom,
largely concentrated around London, the South East, and conurbations
in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, and Yorkshire, which
each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th
Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included
Wales – ceased
being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union
put into effect the terms agreed in the
Treaty of Union
Treaty of Union the previous
year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of
create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain
was united with the
Kingdom of Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland through another Act of Union to
United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Ireland. In 1922 the
Irish Free State
Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the
latter being renamed the
United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern
2.1 Prehistory and antiquity
2.2 Middle Ages
2.3 Early Modern
2.4 Late Modern and contemporary
3.3 Regions, counties, and districts
4.1 Landscape and rivers
4.3 Major conurbations
5.1 Science and technology
9.4 Visual arts
9.5 Literature, poetry, and philosophy
9.6 Performing arts
9.8 Museums, libraries, and galleries
11 National symbols
12 See also
15 External links
See also: Toponymy of England
The name "England" is derived from the
Old English name Englaland,
which means "land of the Angles". The
Angles were one of the
Germanic tribes that settled in
Great Britain during the Early Middle
Angles came from the Anglia (Angeln) peninsula in the Bay of
Kiel area (present-day German state of Schleswig–Holstein) of the
Baltic Sea. The earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla
londe", is in the late ninth century translation into
Old English of
Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was then
used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land
inhabited by the English", and it included
English people in what is
Scotland but was then part of the English kingdom of
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book
of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but
a few years later the Chronicle stated that King
Malcolm III went "out
of Scotlande into
Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more
ancient sense. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its
modern spelling was first used in 1538.
The earliest attested reference to the
Angles occurs in the
1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the
Latin word Anglii
is used. The etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by
scholars; it has been suggested that it derives from the shape of the
Angeln peninsula, an angular shape. How and why a term derived
from the name of a tribe that was less significant than others, such
as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people
is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling
the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English
distinguish them from continental
Saxons (Eald-Seaxe) of Old Saxony
between Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish
Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great
Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England
(Sasunn); similarly, the Welsh name for the
English language is
An alternative name for
England is Albion. The name
referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest
record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus, specifically
the 4th century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the
Pillars of Hercules
Pillars of Hercules is
the ocean that flows round the earth. In it are two very large islands
called Britannia; these are
Albion and Ierne". But modern
scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to
Aristotle but to
Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written later in the Graeco-Roman period
or afterwards. The word
Albion (Ἀλβίων) or insula Albionum has
two possible origins. It either derives from a cognate of the Latin
albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover (the
only part of Britain visible from the European mainland) or from
the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote
Periplus, that is attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which
the former presumably served as a source.
Albion is now applied to
England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for
England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England, Lloegr, and
made popular by its use in Arthurian legend.
Main article: History of England
Prehistory and antiquity
Main article: Prehistoric Britain
The earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as
England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximately 780,000
years ago. The oldest proto-human bones discovered in
from 500,000 years ago. Modern humans are known to have
inhabited the area during the
Upper Paleolithic period, though
permanent settlements were only established within the last 6,000
years. After the last ice age only large mammals such as
mammoths, bison and woolly rhinoceros remained. Roughly
11,000 years ago, when the ice sheets began to recede, humans
repopulated the area; genetic research suggests they came from the
northern part of the Iberian Peninsula. The sea level was lower
than now and Britain was connected by land bridge to
Eurasia. As the seas rose, it was separated from Ireland
10,000 years ago and from
Eurasia two millennia later.
Beaker culture arrived around 2,500 BC, introducing drinking
and food vessels constructed from clay, as well as vessels used as
reduction pots to smelt copper ores. It was during this time that
Neolithic monuments such as
constructed. By heating together tin and copper, which were in
abundance in the area, the
Beaker culture people made bronze, and
later iron from iron ores. The development of iron smelting allowed
the construction of better ploughs, advancing agriculture (for
instance, with Celtic fields), as well as the production of more
Boudica led an uprising against the Roman Empire
During the Iron Age, Celtic culture, deriving from the Hallstatt and
La Tène cultures, arrived from Central Europe. Brythonic was the
spoken language during this time. Society was tribal; according to
Geographia there were around 20 tribes in the area. Earlier
divisions are unknown because the Britons were not literate. Like
other regions on the edge of the Empire, Britain had long enjoyed
trading links with the Romans. Julius Caesar of the Roman Republic
attempted to invade twice in 55 BC; although largely
unsuccessful, he managed to set up a client king from the Trinovantes.
The Romans invaded Britain in 43 AD during the reign of Emperor
Claudius, subsequently conquering much of Britain, and the area was
incorporated into the
Roman Empire as
Britannia province. The
best-known of the native tribes who attempted to resist were the
Catuvellauni led by Caratacus. Later, an uprising led by Boudica,
Queen of the Iceni, ended with Boudica's suicide following her defeat
at the Battle of Watling Street. This era saw a Greco-Roman
culture prevail with the introduction of Roman law, Roman
architecture, aqueducts, sewers, many agricultural items and
silk. In the 3rd century, Emperor
Septimius Severus died
Eboracum (now York), where Constantine was subsequently proclaimed
There is debate about when Christianity was first introduced; it was
no later than the 4th century, probably much earlier. According to
Bede, missionaries were sent from Rome by Eleutherius at the request
of the chieftain
Lucius of Britain
Lucius of Britain in 180 AD, to settle differences as
to Eastern and Western ceremonials, which were disturbing the church.
There are traditions linked to Glastonbury claiming an introduction
through Joseph of Arimathea, while others claim through Lucius of
Britain. By 410, during the Decline of the Roman Empire, Britain
was left exposed by the end of Roman rule in Britain and the
withdrawal of Roman army units, to defend the frontiers in continental
Europe and partake in civil wars. Celtic Christian monastic and
missionary movements flourished: Patrick (5th-century Ireland) and in
the 6th century Brendan (Clonfert), Comgall (Bangor), David (Wales),
Aiden (Lindisfarne) and Columba (Iona). This period of Christianity
was influenced by ancient Celtic culture in its sensibilities, polity,
practices and theology. Local "congregations" were centred in the
monastic community and monastic leaders were more like chieftains, as
peers, rather than in the more hierarchical system of the
England in the Middle Ages
Replica of the 7th-century ceremonial
Sutton Hoo helmet
Sutton Hoo helmet from the
Kingdom of East Anglia
Roman military withdrawals left Britain open to invasion by pagan,
seafaring warriors from north-western continental Europe, chiefly the
Jutes and Frisians who had long raided the coasts of
the Roman province and began to settle, initially in the eastern part
of the country. Their advance was contained for some decades after
the Britons' victory at the Battle of Mount Badon, but subsequently
resumed, over-running the fertile lowlands of Britain and reducing the
area under Brythonic control to a series of separate enclaves in the
more rugged country to the west by the end of the 6th century.
Contemporary texts describing this period are extremely scarce, giving
rise to its description as a Dark Age. The nature and progression of
Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain
Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain is consequently subject to
considerable disagreement. Roman-dominated Christianity had, in
general, disappeared from the conquered territories, but was
reintroduced by missionaries from Rome led by Augustine from 597
onwards. Disputes between the Roman- and Celtic-dominated forms of
Christianity ended in victory for the Roman tradition at the Council
of Whitby (664), which was ostensibly about haircuts and the date of
Easter, but more significantly, about the differences in Roman and
Celtic forms of authority, theology, and practice (Lehane).
During the settlement period the lands ruled by the incomers seem to
have been fragmented into numerous tribal territories, but by the 7th
century, when substantial evidence of the situation again becomes
available, these had coalesced into roughly a dozen kingdoms including
Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, East Anglia, Essex,
Kent and Sussex. Over
the following centuries, this process of political consolidation
continued. The 7th century saw a struggle for hegemony between
Northumbria and Mercia, which in the 8th century gave way to Mercian
preeminence. In the early 9th century
Mercia was displaced as the
foremost kingdom by Wessex. Later in that century escalating attacks
by the Danes culminated in the conquest of the north and east of
England, overthrowing the kingdoms of Northumbria,
Mercia and East
Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great was left as the only surviving
English kingdom, and under his successors, it steadily expanded at the
expense of the kingdoms of the Danelaw. This brought about the
political unification of England, first accomplished under Æthelstan
in 927 and definitively established after further conflicts by Eadred
in 953. A fresh wave of Scandinavian attacks from the late 10th
century ended with the conquest of this united kingdom by Sweyn
Forkbeard in 1013 and again by his son Cnut in 1016, turning it into
the centre of a short-lived
North Sea Empire that also included
Denmark and Norway. However, the native royal dynasty was restored
with the accession of
Edward the Confessor
Edward the Confessor in 1042.
King Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt, fought on Saint Crispin's Day
and concluded with an English victory against a larger French army in
the Hundred Years' War
A dispute over the succession to Edward led to the Norman conquest of
England in 1066, accomplished by an army led by Duke William of
Normans themselves originated from
had settled in
Normandy in the late 9th and early 10th centuries.
This conquest led to the almost total dispossession of the English
elite and its replacement by a new French-speaking aristocracy, whose
speech had a profound and permanent effect on the English
House of Plantagenet
House of Plantagenet from Anjou inherited the
English throne under Henry II, adding
England to the budding Angevin
Empire of fiefs the family had inherited in France including
Aquitaine. They reigned for three centuries, some noted monarchs
being Richard I, Edward I, Edward III and Henry V. The period saw
changes in trade and legislation, including the signing of the Magna
Carta, an English legal charter used to limit the sovereign's powers
by law and protect the privileges of freemen. Catholic monasticism
flourished, providing philosophers, and the universities of Oxford and
Cambridge were founded with royal patronage. The Principality of Wales
became a Plantagenet fief during the 13th century and the Lordship
Ireland was given to the English monarchy by the Pope.
During the 14th century, the Plantagenets and the
House of Valois
House of Valois both
claimed to be legitimate claimants to the
House of Capet
House of Capet and with it
France; the two powers clashed in the Hundred Years' War. The
Black Death epidemic hit England; starting in 1348, it eventually
killed up to half of England's inhabitants. From 1453 to 1487
civil war occurred between two branches of the royal family
– the Yorkists and Lancastrians – known as the Wars of the
Roses. Eventually it led to the Yorkists losing the throne
entirely to a Welsh noble family the Tudors, a branch of the
Lancastrians headed by Henry Tudor who invaded with Welsh and Breton
mercenaries, gaining victory at the
Battle of Bosworth Field
Battle of Bosworth Field where the
Yorkist king Richard III was killed.
King Henry VIII became Supreme Head of the Church of England
During the Tudor period, the
Italian courtiers, who reintroduced artistic, educational and
scholarly debate from classical antiquity.
England began to
develop naval skills, and exploration to the West intensified.
Henry VIII broke from communion with the Catholic Church, over issues
relating to his divorce, under the
Acts of Supremacy in 1534 which
proclaimed the monarch head of the Church of England. In contrast with
much of European Protestantism, the roots of the split were more
political than theological.[nb 2] He also legally incorporated his
Wales into the
Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England with the 1535–1542
acts. There were internal religious conflicts during the reigns of
Henry's daughters, Mary I and Elizabeth I. The former took the country
back to Catholicism while the latter broke from it again, forcefully
asserting the supremacy of Anglicanism.
Competing with Spain, the first English colony in the Americas was
founded in 1585 by explorer
Walter Raleigh in
Virginia and named
Roanoke. The Roanoke colony failed and is known as the lost colony
after it was found abandoned on the return of the late-arriving supply
ship. With the East
England also competed with the
Dutch and French in the East. In 1588, during the Elizabethan period,
an English fleet under
Francis Drake was going to face Spanish Armada
which failed because of the storms. The political structure of the
island changed in 1603, when the King of Scots, James VI, a kingdom
which was a longtime rival to English interests, inherited the throne
England as James I — creating a personal union. He styled
himself King of Great Britain, although this had no basis in English
law. Under the auspices of King
James VI and I
James VI and I the Authorised King
James Version of the Holy Bible was published in 1611. It has not only
been ranked with Shakespeare's works as the greatest masterpiece of
literature in the
English language but also was the standard version
of the Bible read by most
Protestant Christians for four hundred years
until modern revisions were produced in the 20th century.
English Restoration restored the monarchy under King
Charles II and peace after the English Civil War
Based on conflicting political, religious and social positions, the
English Civil War
English Civil War was fought between the supporters of Parliament and
those of King Charles I, known colloquially as Roundheads and
Cavaliers respectively. This was an interwoven part of the wider
multifaceted Wars of the Three Kingdoms, involving
Ireland. The Parliamentarians were victorious, Charles I was executed
and the kingdom replaced by the Commonwealth. Leader of the Parliament
Oliver Cromwell declared himself
Lord Protector in 1653; a
period of personal rule followed. After Cromwell's death and the
resignation of his son Richard as Lord Protector, Charles II was
invited to return as monarch in 1660, in a move called the
Restoration. After the
Glorious Revolution of 1688, it was
constitutionally established that King and Parliament should rule
together, though Parliament would have the real power. This was
established with the Bill of Rights in 1689. Among the statutes set
down were that the law could only be made by Parliament and could not
be suspended by the King, also that the King could not impose taxes or
raise an army without the prior approval of Parliament. Also since
that time, no
British monarch has entered the House of Commons when it
is sitting, which is annually commemorated at the State Opening of
Parliament by the
British monarch when the doors of the House of
Commons are slammed in the face of the monarch's messenger,
symbolising the rights of Parliament and its independence from the
monarch. With the founding of the
Royal Society in 1660,
science was greatly encouraged.
In 1666 the Great Fire of
London gutted the City of
London but it was
rebuilt shortly afterwards with many significant buildings
designed by Sir Christopher Wren. In Parliament two factions had
emerged — the Tories and Whigs. Though the Tories initially
supported Catholic king James II, some of them, along with the Whigs,
during the Revolution of 1688 invited Dutch prince William of Orange
to defeat James and ultimately to become William III of England. Some
English people, especially in the north, were Jacobites and continued
to support James and his sons. After the parliaments of
Scotland agreed, the two countries joined in political union, to
create the Kingdom of
Great Britain in 1707. To accommodate the
union, institutions such as the law and national churches of each
Late Modern and contemporary
Saltaire, West Yorkshire, is a model mill town from the Industrial
Revolution, and a World Heritage Site
Under the newly formed Kingdom of Great Britain, output from the Royal
Society and other English initiatives combined with the Scottish
Enlightenment to create innovations in science and engineering, while
the enormous growth in British overseas trade protected by the Royal
Navy paved the way for the establishment of the British Empire.
Domestically it drove the Industrial Revolution, a period of profound
change in the socioeconomic and cultural conditions of England,
resulting in industrialised agriculture, manufacture, engineering and
mining, as well as new and pioneering road, rail and water networks to
facilitate their expansion and development. The opening of
Bridgewater Canal in 1761 ushered in the canal age
in Britain. In 1825 the world's first permanent steam
locomotive-hauled passenger railway – the Stockton and Darlington
Railway – opened to the public.
Cotton mills in Manchester, the world's "first industrial city", circa
During the Industrial Revolution, many workers moved from England's
countryside to new and expanding urban industrial areas to work in
factories, for instance at
Birmingham and Manchester, dubbed "Workshop
of the World" and "Warehouse City" respectively. England
maintained relative stability throughout the French Revolution;
William Pitt the Younger
William Pitt the Younger was British Prime Minister for the reign of
George III. During the Napoleonic Wars,
Napoleon planned to invade
from the south-east. However this failed to manifest and the
Napoleonic forces were defeated by the British at sea by Lord Nelson
and on land by the Duke of Wellington. The
Napoleonic Wars fostered a
Britishness and a united national British people, shared
with the Scots and Welsh.
The Cenotaph, Whitehall, is a memorial to members of the British Armed
Forces who died during the two World Wars
London became the largest and most populous metropolitan area in the
world during the Victorian era, and trade within the British Empire
– as well as the standing of the British military and navy – was
prestigious. Political agitation at home from radicals such as the
Chartists and the suffragettes enabled legislative reform and
universal suffrage. Power shifts in east-central
Europe led to
World War I; hundreds of thousands of English soldiers died fighting
United Kingdom as part of the Allies.[nb 3] Two decades later,
in World War II, the
United Kingdom was again one of the Allies. At
the end of the Phoney War,
Winston Churchill became the wartime Prime
Minister. Developments in warfare technology saw many cities damaged
by air-raids during the Blitz. Following the war, the British Empire
experienced rapid decolonisation, and there was a speeding up of
technological innovations; automobiles became the primary means of
transport and Frank Whittle's development of the jet engine led to
wider air travel. Residential patterns were altered in
private motoring, and by the creation of the National Health Service
(NHS) in 1948. The UK's NHS provided publicly funded health care to
all UK permanent residents free at the point of need, being paid for
from general taxation. Combined, these changes prompted the reform of
local government in
England in the mid-20th century.
Since the 20th century there has been significant population movement
to England, mostly from other parts of the British Isles, but also
from the Commonwealth, particularly the Indian subcontinent. Since
the 1970s there has been a large move away from manufacturing and an
increasing emphasis on the service industry. As part of the United
Kingdom, the area joined a common market initiative called the
European Economic Community
European Economic Community which became the European Union. Since the
late 20th century the administration of the
United Kingdom has moved
towards devolved governance in Scotland,
Wales and Northern
England and Wales
England and Wales continues to exist as a jurisdiction
within the United Kingdom.
Devolution has stimulated a greater
emphasis on a more English-specific identity and patriotism.
There is no devolved English government, but an attempt to create a
similar system on a sub-regional basis was rejected by referendum.
Main article: Politics of England
Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United
As part of the United Kingdom, the basic political system in England
is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary system. There has
not been a government of
England since 1707, when the Acts of Union
1707, putting into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union, joined
Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. Before
England was ruled by its monarch and the Parliament of
England is governed directly by the Parliament of the
United Kingdom, although other countries of the
United Kingdom have
devolved governments. In the House of Commons which is the lower
house of the British Parliament based at the
Palace of Westminster,
there are 532 Members of Parliament (MPs) for constituencies in
England, out of the 650 total.
United Kingdom general election, 2017, the Conservative Party
won 317 seats (the Speaker of the House not being counted as a
Conservative), more than any other party, though not enough to achieve
an overall majority. The Conservative party, headed by the prime
minister Theresa May, won 55 more seats than the Labour Party, led by
Jeremy Corbyn. The
Scottish National Party
Scottish National Party (
Scotland only) won 35 out
of 59 Scottish seats in the House of Commons.
Changing of the
Queen's Guard at the royal residence, Buckingham
United Kingdom is a member of the European Union, there are
elections held regionally in
England to decide who is sent as Members
of the European Parliament. The 2014 European Parliament election saw
the regions of
England elect the following MEPs: 22 UK Independence
Party (UKIP), 17 Conservatives, 17 Labour, 3 Greens, and one Liberal
Since devolution, in which other countries of the
United Kingdom –
Wales and Northern
Ireland – each have their own devolved
parliament or assemblies for local issues, there has been debate about
how to counterbalance this in England. Originally it was planned that
various regions of
England would be devolved, but following the
proposal's rejection by the North East in a referendum, this has not
been carried out.
One major issue is the West
Lothian question, in which MPs from
Wales are able to vote on legislation affecting only
England, while English MPs have no equivalent right to legislate on
devolved matters. This when placed in the context of
the only country of the
United Kingdom not to have free cancer
treatment, prescriptions, residential care for the elderly and free
top-up university fees, has led to a steady rise in English
nationalism. Some have suggested the creation of a devolved
English parliament, while others have proposed simply limiting
voting on legislation which only affects
England to English MPs.
Main article: English law
The Royal Courts of Justice
English law legal system, developed over the centuries, is the
basis of common law legal systems used in most Commonwealth
countries and the
United States (except Louisiana). Despite now
being part of the United Kingdom, the legal system of the Courts of
England and Wales
England and Wales continued, under the Treaty of Union, as a separate
legal system from the one used in Scotland. The general essence of
English law is that it is made by judges sitting in courts, applying
their common sense and knowledge of legal precedent – stare decisis
– to the facts before them.
The court system is headed by the Senior Courts of
England and Wales,
consisting of the Court of Appeal, the
High Court of Justice
High Court of Justice for civil
cases, and the
Crown Court for criminal cases. The Supreme Court
United Kingdom is the highest court for criminal and civil
England and Wales. It was created in 2009 after
constitutional changes, taking over the judicial functions of the
House of Lords. A decision of the Supreme Court is binding on
every other court in the hierarchy, which must follow its
Crime increased between 1981 and 1995 but fell by 42% in the period
1995–2006. The prison population doubled over the same period,
giving it the highest incarceration rate in Western
Europe at 147 per
100,000. Her Majesty's Prison Service, reporting to the Ministry
of Justice, manages most prisons, housing over 85,000 convicts.
Regions, counties, and districts
Main article: Subdivisions of England
See also: Regions of England, Counties of England, and Districts of
Not shown: City of London
Ceremonial counties of England
The subdivisions of
England consist of up to four levels of
subnational division controlled through a variety of types of
administrative entities created for the purposes of local government.
The highest tier of local government were the nine regions of England:
North East, North West,
Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands, West
Midlands, East, South East, South West, and London. These were created
in 1994 as Government Offices, used by the UK government to deliver a
wide range of policies and programmes regionally, but there are no
elected bodies at this level, except in London, and in 2011 the
regional government offices were abolished. The same boundaries
remain in use for electing
Members of the European Parliament
Members of the European Parliament on a
After devolution began to take place in other parts of the United
Kingdom it was planned that referendums for the regions of England
would take place for their own elected regional assemblies as a
London accepted in 1998: the
London Assembly was
created two years later. However, when the proposal was rejected by
England devolution referendums, 2004 in the North East,
further referendums were cancelled. The regional assemblies
London were abolished in 2010, and their functions transferred
to respective Regional Development Agencies and a new system of Local
authority leaders' boards.
Below the regional level, all of
England is divided into 48 ceremonial
counties. These are used primarily as a geographical frame of
reference and have developed gradually since the Middle Ages, with
some established as recently as 1974. Each has a Lord Lieutenant
and High Sheriff; these posts are used to represent the British
monarch locally. Outside Greater
London and the Isles of Scilly,
England is also divided into 83 metropolitan and non-metropolitan
counties; these correspond to areas used for the purposes of local
government and may consist of a single district or be divided
There are six metropolitan counties based on the most heavily
urbanised areas, which do not have county councils. In these
areas the principal authorities are the councils of the subdivisions,
the metropolitan boroughs. Elsewhere, 27 non-metropolitan "shire"
counties have a county council and are divided into districts, each
with a district council. They are typically, though not always, found
in more rural areas. The remaining non-metropolitan counties are of a
single district and usually correspond to large towns or sparsely
populated counties; they are known as unitary authorities. Greater
London has a different system for local government, with 32 London
boroughs, plus the City of
London covering a small area at the core
governed by the City of
London Corporation. At the most localised
level, much of
England is divided into civil parishes with councils;
London only one, Queen's Park, exists as of 2014 after they
were abolished in 1965 until legislation allowed their recreation in
Main article: Geography of England
Landscape and rivers
Skiddaw massif, seen from
Walla Crag in the Lake District
England includes the central and southern two-thirds of
the island of Great Britain, plus such offshore islands as the Isle of
Wight and the Isles of Scilly. It is bordered by two other countries
of the United Kingdom—to the north by
Scotland and to the west by
England is closer to the European continent than any other part
of mainland Britain. It is separated from France by a 21-mile
(34 km) sea gap, though the two countries are connected by
Channel Tunnel near Folkestone.
England also has shores on
the Irish Sea,
North Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
The ports of London, Liverpool, and Newcastle lie on the tidal rivers
Thames, Mersey and Tyne respectively. At 220 miles (350 km), the
Severn is the longest river flowing through England. It empties
Bristol Channel and is notable for its
Severn Bore (a tidal
bore), which can reach 2 metres (6.6 ft) in height. However,
the longest river entirely in
England is the Thames, which is 215
miles (346 km) in length. There are many lakes in England;
the largest is Windermere, within the aptly named Lake District.
Most of England's landscape consists of low hills and plains, with
upland and mountainous terrain in the north and west of the country.
The northern uplands include the Pennines, a chain of mountains
dividing east and west, the
Lake District mountains in Cumbria, and
the Cheviot Hills, straddling the border between
England and Scotland.
The highest point in England, at 978 metres (3,209 ft), is
Scafell Pike in the Lake District. The
Shropshire Hills are near
Exmoor are two upland areas in the south-west
of the country. The approximate dividing line between terrain types is
often indicated by the Tees-Exe line.
Terrain of Dartmoor, Devon
In geological terms, the Pennines, known as the "backbone of England",
are the oldest range of mountains in the country, originating from the
end of the
Paleozoic Era around 300 million years ago. Their
geological composition includes, among others, sandstone and
limestone, and also coal. There are karst landscapes in calcite areas
such as parts of
Yorkshire and Derbyshire. The Pennine landscape is
high moorland in upland areas, indented by fertile valleys of the
region's rivers. They contain two national parks, the
and the Peak District. In the West Country,
Exmoor of the
Southwest Peninsula include upland moorland supported by granite, and
enjoy a mild climate; both are national parks.
The English Lowlands are in the central and southern regions of the
country, consisting of green rolling hills, including the Cotswold
Hills, Chiltern Hills, North and South Downs—where they meet the sea
they form white rock exposures such as the cliffs of Dover. This also
includes relatively flat plains such as the Salisbury Plain, Somerset
South Coast Plain
South Coast Plain and The Fens.
Main article: Climate of England
England has a temperate maritime climate: it is mild with temperatures
not much lower than 0 °C (32 °F) in winter and not much
higher than 32 °C (90 °F) in summer. The weather is
damp relatively frequently and is changeable. The coldest months are
January and February, the latter particularly on the English coast,
while July is normally the warmest month. Months with mild to warm
weather are May, June, September and October. Rainfall is spread
fairly evenly throughout the year.
Important influences on the climate of
England are its proximity to
the Atlantic Ocean, its northern latitude and the warming of the sea
by the Gulf Stream. Rainfall is higher in the west, and parts of
Lake District receive more rain than anywhere else in the
country. Since weather records began, the highest temperature
recorded was 38.5 °C (101.3 °F) on 10 August 2003 at
Brogdale in Kent, while the lowest was −26.1 °C
(−15.0 °F) on 10 January 1982 in Edgmond, Shropshire.
See also: List of places in England
London Urban Area is by far the largest urban area in
England and one of the busiest cities in the world. It is
considered a global city and has a population larger than other
countries in the
United Kingdom besides
England itself. Other
urban areas of considerable size and influence tend to be in northern
England or the English Midlands. There are 50 settlements which
have been designated city status in England, while the wider United
Kingdom has 66.
While many cities in
England are quite large, such as Birmingham,
Sheffield, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Bradford,
Nottingham, population size is not a prerequisite for city
status. Traditionally the status was given to towns with diocesan
cathedrals, so there are smaller cities like Wells, Ely, Ripon, Truro
and Chichester. According to the Office for National Statistics,
the ten largest, continuous built-up urban areas are:
London Urban Area
Greater London, divided into the City of
London and 32
including Croydon, Barnet, Ealing, Bromley
Manchester Urban Area
Manchester, Salford, Bolton, Stockport, Oldham, Sale, Rochdale, Bury
West Midlands Urban Area
Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Walsall, Solihull, Aldridge
Yorkshire Urban Area
Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Halifax
Liverpool Urban Area
Liverpool, St. Helens, Bootle, Huyton-with-Roby
Southampton, Portsmouth, Eastleigh, Gosport, Fareham, Havant, Horndean
Newcastle, North Shields, South Shields, Gateshead, Jarrow
Nottingham Urban Area
Nottingham, Beeston and Stapleford, Carlton, Long Eaton
Sheffield Urban Area
Sheffield, Rotherham, Rawmarsh, Killamarsh
Bristol Urban Area
Bristol, Kingswood, Mangotsfield, Stoke Gifford
Main article: Economy of England
The City of
London is the financial capital of United
England's economy is one of the largest in the world, with an average
GDP per capita
GDP per capita of £22,907. Usually regarded as a mixed market
economy, it has adopted many free market principles, yet maintains an
advanced social welfare infrastructure. The official currency in
England is the pound sterling, whose
ISO 4217 code is GBP. Taxation in
England is quite competitive when compared to much of the rest of
Europe – as of 2014[update] the basic rate of personal tax is 20% on
taxable income up to £31,865 above the personal tax-free allowance
(normally £10,000), and 40% on any additional earnings above that
The economy of
England is the largest part of the UK's economy,
which has the 18th highest GDP PPP per capita in the world.
a leader in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors and in key
technical industries, particularly aerospace, the arms industry, and
the manufacturing side of the software industry. London, home to the
London Stock Exchange, the United Kingdom's main stock exchange and
the largest in Europe, is England's financial centre—100 of Europe's
500 largest corporations are based in London.
London is the
largest financial centre in Europe, and as of 2014[update] is the
second largest in the world.
Bentley is a well-known English car company
The Bank of England, founded in 1694 by Scottish banker William
Paterson, is the United Kingdom's central bank. Originally established
as private banker to the government of England, since 1946 it has been
a state-owned institution. The bank has a monopoly on the issue
of banknotes in
England and Wales, although not in other parts of the
United Kingdom. The government has devolved responsibility to the
Monetary Policy Committee
Monetary Policy Committee for managing the monetary policy of
the country and setting interest rates.
England is highly industrialised, but since the 1970s there has been a
decline in traditional heavy and manufacturing industries, and an
increasing emphasis on a more service industry oriented economy.
Tourism has become a significant industry, attracting millions of
England each year. The export part of the economy is
dominated by pharmaceuticals, cars (although many English marques are
now foreign-owned, such as Land Rover, Lotus, Jaguar and Bentley),
crude oil and petroleum from the English parts of
North Sea oil along
with Wytch Farm, aircraft engines and alcoholic beverages.
Most of the UK's £30 billion aerospace industry is primarily
based in England. The global market opportunity for UK aerospace
manufacturers over the next two decades is estimated at £3.5
Aerospace – an expert in metallic and composite
aerostructures is involved in almost every civil and military fixed
and rotary wing aircraft in production is based in Redditch.
BAE Systems makes large sections of the
Typhoon Eurofighter at its
sub-assembly plant in
Salmesbury and assembles the aircraft for the
RAF at its Warton plant, near Preston. It is also a principal
subcontractor on the F35 Joint Strike Fighter – the world's largest
single defence project – for which it designs and manufactures a
range of components including the aft fuselage, vertical and
horizontal tail and wing tips and fuel system. It also manufactures
the Hawk, the world's most successful jet training aircraft.
Rolls-Royce PLC is the world's second-largest aero-engine
manufacturer. Its engines power more than 30 types of commercial
aircraft, and it has more 30,000 engines currently in service across
both the civil and defence sectors. With a workforce of over 12,000
Derby has the largest concentration of Rolls-Royce employees
in the UK. Rolls-Royce also produces low-emission power systems for
ships; makes critical equipment and safety systems for the nuclear
industry and powers offshore platforms and major pipelines for the oil
and gas industry.
Much of the UK's space industry is centred on EADS Astrium, based in
Stevenage and Portsmouth. The company builds the buses – the
underlying structure onto which the payload and propulsion systems are
built – for most of the European Space Agency's spacecraft, as well
as commercial satellites. The world leader in compact satellite
Surrey Satellites, is also part of Astrium. Reaction
Engines Limited, the company planning to build Skylon, a
single-stage-to-orbit spaceplane using their SABRE rocket engine, a
combined-cycle, air-breathing rocket propulsion system is based
Agriculture is intensive and highly mechanised, producing 60% of food
needs with only 2% of the labour force. Two-thirds of production
is devoted to livestock, the other to arable crops.
Science and technology
List of English inventions and discoveries
List of English inventions and discoveries and Royal
Isaac Newton is one of the most influential figures in the history
Prominent English figures from the field of science and mathematics
include Sir Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Charles Darwin, Robert
Hooke, James Prescott Joule, John Dalton, Lord Rayleigh, J. J.
Thomson, James Chadwick, Charles Babbage, George Boole, Alan Turing,
Tim Berners-Lee, Paul Dirac, Stephen Hawking, Peter Higgs, Roger
Penrose, John Horton Conway, Thomas Bayes, Arthur Cayley, G. H. Hardy,
Oliver Heaviside, Andrew Wiles, Francis Crick, Joseph Lister, Joseph
Priestley, Thomas Young,
Christopher Wren and Richard Dawkins. Some
experts claim that the earliest concept of a metric system was
invented by John Wilkins, the first secretary of the Royal Society, in
As the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution,
England was home to
many significant inventors during the late 18th and early 19th
centuries. Famous English engineers include Isambard Kingdom Brunel,
best known for the creation of the Great Western Railway, a series of
famous steamships, and numerous important bridges, hence
revolutionising public transport and modern-day engineering.
Thomas Newcomen's steam engine helped spawn the Industrial
Revolution. The Father of Railways, George Stephenson, built the
first public inter-city railway line in the world, the
Manchester Railway, which opened in 1830. With his role in the
marketing and manufacturing of the steam engine, and invention of
Matthew Boulton (business partner of James Watt) is
regarded as one of the most influential entrepreneurs in history.
The physician Edward Jenner's smallpox vaccine is said to have "saved
more lives ... than were lost in all the wars of mankind since
the beginning of recorded history."
Inventions and discoveries of the English include: the jet engine, the
first industrial spinning machine, the first computer and the first
modern computer, the
World Wide Web
World Wide Web along with HTML, the first
successful human blood transfusion, the motorised vacuum cleaner,
the lawn mower, the seat belt, the hovercraft, the electric motor,
steam engines, and theories such as the Darwinian theory of evolution
and atomic theory. Newton developed the ideas of universal
gravitation, Newtonian mechanics, and calculus, and
Robert Hooke his
eponymously named law of elasticity. Other inventions include the iron
plate railway, the thermosiphon, tarmac, the rubber band, the
mousetrap, "cat's eye" road marker, joint development of the light
bulb, steam locomotives, the modern seed drill and many modern
techniques and technologies used in precision engineering.
Main article: Transport in England
Heathrow Airport has more international passenger traffic than any
other airport in the world.
Department for Transport
Department for Transport is the government body responsible for
overseeing transport in England. There are many motorways in England,
and many other trunk roads, such as the A1 Great North Road, which
runs through eastern
London to Newcastle (much of
this section is motorway) and onward to the Scottish border. The
longest motorway in
England is the M6, from Rugby through the North
West up to the Anglo-Scottish border, a distance of 232 miles
(373 km). Other major routes include: the M1 from
Leeds, the M25 which encircles London, the M60 which encircles
Manchester, the M4 from
London to South Wales, the M62 from Liverpool
Manchester to East Yorkshire, and the M5 from
Bristol and the South West.
Bus transport across the country is widespread; major companies
include National Express,
Arriva and Go-Ahead Group. The red
double-decker buses in
London have become a symbol of England. There
is a rapid transit network in two English cities: the London
Underground; and the
Tyne and Wear
Tyne and Wear Metro in Newcastle,
Sunderland. There are several tram networks, such as the
Sheffield Supertram and
Midland Metro, and the
Tramlink system centred on Croydon in South
The Metropolitan Railway, now part of the
London Underground was the
first underground railway in the world
Rail transport in England
Rail transport in England is the oldest in the world: passenger
railways originated in
England in 1825. Much of Britain's 10,000
miles (16,000 km) of rail network lies in England, covering the
country fairly extensively, although a high proportion of railway
lines were closed in the second half of the 20th century. There are
plans to reopen lines such as the
Varsity Line between Oxford and
Cambridge. These lines are mostly standard gauge (single, double or
quadruple track) though there are also a few narrow gauge lines. There
is rail transport access to France and Belgium through an undersea
rail link, the Channel Tunnel, which was completed in 1994.
England has extensive domestic and international aviation links. The
largest airport is Heathrow, which is the world's busiest airport
measured by number of international passengers. Other large
Manchester Airport, Stansted Airport, Luton Airport
Birmingham Airport. By sea there is ferry transport, both
local and international, including to Ireland, the Netherlands and
Belgium. There are around 4,400 miles (7,100 km) of
navigable waterways in England, half of which is owned by the Canal
and River Trust, however, water transport is very limited. The
Thames is the major waterway in England, with imports and exports
focused at the
Port of Tilbury
Port of Tilbury in the Thames Estuary, one of the
United Kingdom's three major ports.
Main article: Healthcare in England
Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, an NHS hospital, has the largest
single floor critical care unit in the world
The National Health Service (NHS) is the publicly funded healthcare
England responsible for providing the majority of healthcare
in the country. The NHS began on 5 July 1948, putting into effect the
provisions of the National Health Service Act 1946. It was based on
the findings of the Beveridge Report, prepared by economist and social
reformer William Beveridge. The NHS is largely funded from
general taxation including
National Insurance payments, and it
provides most of its services free at the point of use, although there
are charges for some people for eye tests, dental care, prescriptions
and aspects of personal care.
The government department responsible for the NHS is the Department of
Health, headed by the Secretary of State for Health, who sits in the
British Cabinet. Most of the expenditure of the Department of Health
is spent on the NHS—£98.6 billion was spent in
2008–2009. In recent years the private sector has been
increasingly used to provide more NHS services despite opposition by
doctors and trade unions. The average life expectancy of people
England is 77.5 years for males and 81.7 years for females, the
highest of the four countries of the United Kingdom.
Main article: Demography of England
Main article: English people
See also: English diaspora, Cornish people, and List of urban areas in
the United Kingdom
The metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties, colour-coded to show
England and Wales
England and Wales by administrative areas. Their size is
approximately in proportion to their population. Colours by quints
(1/5th) of number of districts classified by population density with
division of extreme quints
With over 53 million inhabitants,
England is by far the most
populous country of the United Kingdom, accounting for 84% of the
England taken as a unit and measured against
international states has the fourth largest population in the European
Union and would be the 25th largest country by population in the
world. With a density of 424 people per square kilometre, it
would be the second most densely populated country in the European
Union after Malta.
English people are a British people. Some genetic evidence
suggests that 75–95% descend in the paternal line from prehistoric
settlers who originally came from the Iberian Peninsula, as well as a
5% contribution from
Angles and Saxons, and a significant Scandinavian
(Viking) element. However, other geneticists place the
Germanic estimate up to half. Over time, various cultures
have been influential: Prehistoric, Brythonic, Roman,
Viking (North Germanic), Gaelic cultures, as
well as a large influence from Normans. There is an English diaspora
in former parts of the British Empire; especially the United States,
South Africa and New Zealand.[nb 4] Since the late
English people have migrated to Spain.
2009 estimates of ethnic groups in England
In 1086, when the
Domesday Book was compiled,
England had a population
of two million. About 10% lived in urban areas. By 1801, the
population was 8.3 million, and by 1901 30.5 million.
Due in particular to the economic prosperity of South East England, it
has received many economic migrants from the other parts of the United
Kingdom. There has been significant Irish migration. The
proportion of ethnically European residents totals at 87.50%,
including Germans and Poles.
Other people from much further afield in the former British colonies
have arrived since the 1950s: in particular, 6% of people living in
England have family origins in the Indian subcontinent, mostly India,
Pakistan and Bangladesh. 2.90% of the population are black,
from Africa and the Caribbean, especially former British
colonies. There is a significant number of Chinese and
British Chinese. In 2007, 22% of primary school children in
England were from ethnic minority families, and in 2011 that
figure was 26.5%. About half of the population increase between
1991 and 2001 was due to immigration. Debate over immigration is
politically prominent; 80% of respondents in a 2009 Home Office
poll wanted to cap it. The ONS has projected that the population
will grow by nine million between 2014 and 2039.
England contains one indigenous national minority, the Cornish people,
recognised by the UK government under the Framework Convention for the
Protection of National Minorities in 2014.
English language in England
See also: English language, History of the English language, and
Majority native language
Official, but not majority language
Note: English is also an official language of the EU
As its name suggests, the English language, today spoken by hundreds
of millions of people around the world, originated as the language of
England, where it remains the principal tongue spoken by 98% of the
population. It is an Indo-European language in the Anglo-Frisian
branch of the Germanic family. After the Norman conquest, the Old
English language was displaced and confined to the lower social
classes as Norman French and
Latin were used by the aristocracy.
By the 15th century, English was back in fashion among all classes,
though much changed; the
Middle English form showed many signs of
French influence, both in vocabulary and spelling. During the English
Renaissance, many words were coined from
Latin and Greek origins.
Modern English has extended this custom of flexibility when it comes
to incorporating words from different languages. Thanks in large part
to the British Empire, the
English language is the world's unofficial
English language learning and teaching is an important economic
activity, and includes language schooling, tourism spending, and
publishing. There is no legislation mandating an official language for
England, but English is the only language used for official
business. Despite the country's relatively small size, there are many
distinct regional accents, and individuals with particularly strong
accents may not be easily understood everywhere in the country.
As well as English,
England has two other indigenous languages,
Cornish and Welsh. Cornish died out as a community language in the
18th century but is being revived, and is now protected
under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. It
is spoken by 0.1% of people in Cornwall, and is taught to some
degree in several primary and secondary schools.
When the modern border between
England was established by
the Laws in
Wales Acts 1535 and 1542, many Welsh-speaking communities
found themselves on the English side of the border. Welsh was spoken
Herefordshire into the nineteenth century, and
by natives of parts of western
Shropshire until the middle of the
twentieth century if not later.
State schools teach students a second language, usually French, German
or Spanish. Due to immigration, it was reported in 2007 that
around 800,000 school students spoke a foreign language at home,
the most common being Punjabi and Urdu. However, following the 2011
census data released by the Office for National Statistics, figures
now show that Polish is the main language spoken in
Canterbury Cathedral, seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury
Main article: Religion in England
Further information: History of Christianity in England
In the 2011 census, 59.4% of the population of
England specified their
religion as Christian, 24.7% answered that they had no religion, 5%
specified that they were Muslim, while 3.7% of the population belongs
to other religions and 7.2% did not give an answer. Christianity
is the most widely practised religion in England, as it has been since
the Early Middle Ages, although it was first introduced much earlier
in Gaelic and Roman times. This
Celtic Church was gradually joined to
the Catholic hierarchy following the 6th-century
Gregorian mission to
Kent led by St Augustine. The established church of
the Church of England, which left communion with Rome in the
1530s when Henry VIII was unable to annul his divorce to the aunt
of the king of Spain. The church regards itself as both Catholic and
Saint George is the patron saint of England
High Church and
Low Church traditions and some Anglicans
regard themselves as Anglo-Catholics, following the Tractarian
movement. The monarch of the
United Kingdom is the Supreme Governor of
the church, which has around 26 million baptised members (of whom
the vast majority are not regular churchgoers). It forms part of the
Anglican Communion with the
Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury acting as its
symbolic worldwide head. Many cathedrals and parish churches are
historic buildings of significant architectural importance, such as
York Minster, Durham Cathedral, and Salisbury
The 2nd-largest Christian practice is the
Latin Rite of the Catholic
Church. Since its reintroduction after the Catholic Emancipation, the
Church has organised ecclesiastically on an
England and Wales
England and Wales basis
where there are 4.5 million members (most of whom are
English). There has been one Pope from
England to date, Adrian
IV; while saints
Bede and Anselm are regarded as Doctors of the
Westminster Abbey is a notable example of English Gothic architecture.
The coronation of the
British monarch traditionally takes place at the
A form of
Protestantism known as Methodism is the third largest
Christian practice and grew out of
Anglicanism through John
Wesley. It gained popularity in the mill towns of
Yorkshire, and amongst tin miners in Cornwall. There are other
non-conformist minorities, such as Baptists, Quakers,
Congregationalists, Unitarians and The Salvation Army.
The patron saint of
England is Saint George; his symbolic cross is
included in the flag of England, as well as in the
Union Flag as part
of a combination. There are many other English and associated
saints; some of the best-known are: Cuthbert, Edmund, Alban, Wilfrid,
Aidan, Edward the Confessor, John Fisher, Thomas More, Petroc, Piran,
Margaret Clitherow and Thomas Becket. There are non-Christian
religions practised. Jews have a history of a small minority on the
island since 1070. They were expelled from
England in 1290
following the Edict of Expulsion, only to be allowed back in
Especially since the 1950s, religions from the former British colonies
have grown in numbers, due to immigration. Islam is the most common of
these, now accounting for around 5% of the population in England.
Buddhism are next in number, adding up to 2.8%
combined, introduced from
India and South East Asia.
A small minority of the population practise ancient Pagan religions.
Neopaganism in the
United Kingdom is primarily represented by Wicca
and Witchcraft religions, Druidry, and Heathenry. According to the
2011 UK Census, there are roughly 53,172 people who identify as Pagan
in England,[nb 5] and 3,448 in Wales,[nb 5] including 11,026 Wiccans
England and 740 in Wales.[nb 6]
Main article: Education in England
See also: List of universities in England
The frontage of Warwick School, one of the oldest independent schools
Department for Education
Department for Education is the government department responsible
for issues affecting people in
England up to the age of 19, including
education. State-run and state-funded schools are attended by
approximately 93% of English schoolchildren. Of these, a minority
are faith schools (primarily
Church of England
Church of England or Roman Catholic
schools). Children who are between the ages of 3 and 5 attend nursery
Early Years Foundation Stage reception unit within a primary
school. Children between the ages of 5 and 11 attend primary school,
and secondary school is attended by those aged between 11 and 16.
After finishing compulsory education, students take GCSE examinations.
Students may then opt to continue into further education for two
Further education colleges (particularly sixth form colleges)
often form part of a secondary school site.
A-level examinations are
sat by a large number of further education students, and often form
the basis of an application to university.
Although most English secondary schools are comprehensive, in some
areas there are selective intake grammar schools, to which entrance is
subject to passing the eleven-plus exam. Around 7.2% of English
schoolchildren attend private schools, which are funded by private
sources. Standards in state schools are monitored by the Office
for Standards in Education, and in private schools by the Independent
King's College, University of Cambridge
Higher education students normally attend university from age 18
onwards, where they study for an academic degree. There are over
90 universities in England, all but one of which are public
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is
the government department responsible for higher education in
England. Students are generally entitled to student loans to
cover the cost of tuition fees and living costs.[nb 7] The first
degree offered to undergraduates is the Bachelor's degree, which
usually takes three years to complete. Students are then able to work
towards a postgraduate degree, which usually takes one year, or
towards a doctorate, which takes three or more years.
King's College London's Maughan Library, the biggest university
library in the UK
England's universities include some of the highest-ranked universities
in the world; University of Cambridge, Imperial College London,
University of Oxford, University College
London and King's College
London are all ranked in the global top 30 in the 2018 QS World
University Rankings. The
London School of
Economics has been
described as the world's leading social science institution for both
teaching and research. The
London Business School is considered
one of the world's leading business schools and in 2010 its MBA
programme was ranked best in the world by the Financial Times.
Academic degrees in
England are usually split into classes: first
class (1st), upper second class (2:1), lower second class (2:2), third
(3rd), and unclassified.
The King's School, Canterbury
The King's School, Canterbury and
King's School, Rochester are the
oldest schools in the English-speaking world. Many of England's
most well-known schools, such as Winchester College, Eton, St Paul's
Harrow School and
Rugby School are fee-paying
Main article: Culture of England
Further information: English Renaissance
A red telephone box in front of St Paul's Cathedral, one of the most
important buildings of the
English Baroque period
Many ancient standing stone monuments were erected during the
prehistoric period, amongst the best-known are Stonehenge, Devil's
Rudston Monolith and Castlerigg. With the introduction of
Roman architecture there was a development of basilicas,
baths, amphitheaters, triumphal arches, villas, Roman temples, Roman
roads, Roman forts, stockades and aqueducts. It was the Romans
who founded the first cities and towns such as London, Bath, York,
Chester and St Albans. Perhaps the best-known example is Hadrian's
Wall stretching right across northern England. Another
well-preserved example is the Roman Baths at Bath, Somerset.
Early Medieval architecture's secular buildings were simple
constructions mainly using timber with thatch for roofing.
Ecclesiastical architecture ranged from a synthesis of Hiberno—Saxon
monasticism, to Early Christian basilica and architecture
characterised by pilaster-strips, blank arcading, baluster shafts and
triangular headed openings. After the Norman conquest in 1066 various
Castles in England
Castles in England were created so law lords could uphold their
authority and in the north to protect from invasion. Some of the
best-known medieval castles are the Tower of London, Warwick Castle,
Durham Castle and Windsor Castle.
Bodiam Castle is a 14th-century moated castle near
Throughout the Plantagenet era, an English Gothic architecture
flourished—the medieval cathedrals such as Canterbury Cathedral,
Westminster Abbey and
York Minster are prime examples. Expanding
on the Norman base there was also castles, palaces, great houses,
universities and parish churches. Medieval architecture was completed
with the 16th-century Tudor style; the four-centred arch, now known as
the Tudor arch, was a defining feature as were wattle and daub houses
domestically. In the aftermath of the
Renaissance a form of
architecture echoing classical antiquity, synthesised with
English Baroque style, architect
Christopher Wren was particularly championed.
Georgian architecture followed in a more refined style, evoking a
simple Palladian form; the
Royal Crescent at Bath is one of the best
examples of this. With the emergence of romanticism during Victorian
Gothic Revival was launched—in addition to this around the
same time the
Industrial Revolution paved the way for buildings such
as The Crystal Palace. Since the 1930s various modernist forms have
appeared whose reception is often controversial, though traditionalist
resistance movements continue with support in influential places.[nb
Main article: English folklore
Robin Hood illustrated in 1912 wearing Lincoln green
English folklore developed over many centuries. Some of the characters
and stories are present across England, but most belong to specific
regions. Common folkloric beings include pixies, giants, elves,
bogeymen, trolls, goblins and dwarves. While many legends and
folk-customs are thought to be ancient, for instance the tales
Offa of Angel
Offa of Angel and Wayland the Smith, others date from
after the Norman invasion;
Robin Hood and his
Merry Men of Sherwood
and their battles with the Sheriff of
Nottingham being, perhaps, the
During the High
Middle Ages tales originating from Brythonic
traditions entered English folklore—the Arthurian
myth. These were derived from Anglo-Norman, Welsh and
French sources, featuring King Arthur, Camelot, Excalibur, Merlin
Knights of the Round Table
Knights of the Round Table such as Lancelot. These stories are
most centrally brought together within Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia
Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain).[nb 9] Another
early figure from British tradition, King Cole, may have been based on
a real figure from Sub-Roman Britain. Many of the tales and
pseudo-histories make up part of the wider Matter of Britain, a
collection of shared British folklore.
Some folk figures are based on semi or actual historical people whose
story has been passed down centuries;
Lady Godiva for instance was
said to have ridden naked on horseback through Coventry, Hereward the
Wake was a heroic English figure resisting the Norman invasion, Herne
the Hunter is an equestrian ghost associated with Windsor Forest and
Great Park and
Mother Shipton is the archetypal witch. On 5
November people make bonfires, set off fireworks and eat toffee apples
in commemoration of the foiling of the
Gunpowder Plot centred on Guy
Fawkes. The chivalrous bandit, such as Dick Turpin, is a recurring
Blackbeard is the archetypal pirate. There are
various national and regional folk activities, participated in to this
day, such as Morris dancing, Maypole dancing,
Rapper sword in the
Long Sword dance
Long Sword dance in Yorkshire, Mummers Plays,
bottle-kicking in Leicestershire, and cheese-rolling at Cooper's
Hill. There is no official national costume, but a few are well
established such as the
Pearly Kings and Queens
Pearly Kings and Queens associated with
cockneys, the Royal Guard, the Morris costume and Beefeaters.
Main article: English cuisine
Fish and chips
Fish and chips is a very popular dish in England
Since the early modern period the food of
England has historically
been characterised by its simplicity of approach and a reliance on the
high quality of natural produce. During the
Middle Ages and
English cuisine enjoyed an excellent
reputation, though a decline began during the Industrial Revolution
with the move away from the land and increasing urbanisation of the
populace. The cuisine of
England has, however, recently undergone a
revival, which has been recognised by the food critics with some good
ratings in Restaurant's best restaurant in the world charts. An
early book of English recipes is the
Forme of Cury
Forme of Cury from the royal
court of Richard II.
Apple pie has been consumed in
England since the Middle Ages
Traditional examples of English food include the Sunday roast,
featuring a roasted joint (usually beef, lamb, chicken or pork) served
with assorted vegetables,
Yorkshire pudding, and gravy. Other
prominent meals include fish and chips and the full English breakfast
(generally consisting of bacon, sausages, grilled tomatoes, fried
bread, black pudding, baked beans, mushrooms, and eggs). Various
meat pies are consumed such as steak and kidney pie, steak and ale
pie, cottage pie, pork pie (the latter usually eaten cold) and
the Cornish Pasty.
Sausages are commonly eaten, either as bangers and mash or toad in the
Lancashire hotpot is a well-known stew in the northwest. Some of
the more popular cheeses are Cheddar,
Red Leicester and Wensleydale
together with Blue Stilton. Many
Anglo-Indian hybrid dishes, curries,
have been created such as chicken tikka masala and balti. Traditional
English dessert dishes include apple pie or other fruit pies; spotted
dick – all generally served with custard; and, more recently, sticky
toffee pudding. Sweet pastries include scones (either plain or
containing dried fruit) served with jam and/or cream, dried fruit
loaves, Eccles cakes and mince pies as well as a wide range of sweet
or spiced biscuits. Common drinks include tea, whose popularity was
increased by Catherine of Braganza, whilst frequently consumed
alcoholic drinks include wines, ciders and English beers, such as
bitter, mild, stout, and brown ale.
Main article: English art
See also: Arts Council England
The Lady of Shalott by
John William Waterhouse
John William Waterhouse in the Pre-Raphaelite
The earliest known examples are the prehistoric rock and cave art
pieces, most prominent in North Yorkshire,
Northumberland and Cumbria,
but also feature further south, for example at Creswell Crags.
With the arrival of
Roman culture in the 1st century, various forms of
art such as statues, busts, glasswork and mosaics were the norm. There
are numerous surviving artefacts, such as those at Lullingstone and
Aldborough. During the
Early Middle Ages
Early Middle Ages the style favoured
sculpted crosses and ivories, manuscript painting, gold and enamel
jewellery, demonstrating a love of intricate, interwoven designs such
as in the
Staffordshire Hoard discovered in 2009. Some of these
blended Gaelic and Anglian styles, such as the
Lindisfarne Gospels and
Vespasian Psalter. Later
Gothic art was popular at Winchester and
Canterbury, examples survive such as Benedictional of St. Æthelwold
and Luttrell Psalter.
The Tudor era saw prominent artists as part of their court, portrait
painting which would remain an enduring part of English art, was
boosted by German Hans Holbein, natives such as Nicholas Hilliard
built on this. Under the Stuarts, Continental artists were
influential especially the Flemish, examples from the period
include—Anthony van Dyck, Peter Lely,
Godfrey Kneller and William
Dobson. The 18th century was a time of significance with the
founding of the Royal Academy, a classicism based on the High
Thomas Gainsborough and
Joshua Reynolds became
two of England's most treasured artists.
The Norwich School continued the landscape tradition, while the
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with their vivid and detailed style revived
Renaissance style—Holman Hunt,
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti and
John Everett Millais
John Everett Millais were leaders. Prominent amongst 20th-century
artists was Henry Moore, regarded as the voice of British sculpture,
and of British modernism in general. Contemporary painters
include Lucian Freud, whose work
Benefits Supervisor Sleeping in 2008
set a world record for sale value of a painting by a living
Literature, poetry, and philosophy
Main article: English literature
Geoffrey Chaucer was an English author, poet and philosopher, best
remembered for his unfinished frame narrative The Canterbury Tales
Early authors such as
Alcuin wrote in Latin. The period
Old English literature provided the epic poem
Beowulf and the
secular prose of the
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, along with Christian
writings such as Judith, Cædmon's Hymn and hagiographies.
Following the Norman conquest
Latin continued amongst the educated
classes, as well as an Anglo-Norman literature.
Middle English literature emerged with Geoffrey Chaucer, author of The
Canterbury Tales, along with Gower, the
Pearl Poet and Langland.
William of Ockham
William of Ockham and Roger Bacon, who were Franciscans, were major
philosophers of the Middle Ages. Julian of Norwich, who wrote
Revelations of Divine Love, was a prominent Christian mystic. With the
Renaissance literature in the Early
Modern English style
appeared. William Shakespeare, whose works include Hamlet, Romeo and
Juliet, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, remains one of the
most championed authors in English literature.
Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Philip Sydney, Thomas Kyd, John
Ben Jonson are other established authors of the Elizabethan
Thomas Hobbes wrote on empiricism and
materialism, including scientific method and social contract.
Filmer wrote on the Divine Right of Kings. Marvell was the best-known
poet of the Commonwealth, while
John Milton authored Paradise
Lost during the Restoration.
This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, this earth of majesty,
this seat of Mars, this other Eden, demi-paradise; this fortress,
built by nature for herself. This blessed plot, this earth, this
realm, this England.
Some of the most prominent philosophers of the Enlightenment were John
Locke, Thomas Paine,
Samuel Johnson and Jeremy Bentham. More radical
elements were later countered by
Edmund Burke who is regarded as the
founder of conservatism. The poet
Alexander Pope with his
satirical verse became well regarded. The English played a significant
role in romanticism: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, John Keats,
Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley,
William Blake and William
Wordsworth were major figures.
In response to the Industrial Revolution, agrarian writers sought a
way between liberty and tradition; William Cobbett, G. K. Chesterton
Hilaire Belloc were main exponents, while the founder of guild
socialism, Arthur Penty, and cooperative movement advocate G. D. H.
Cole are somewhat related.
Empiricism continued through John
Stuart Mill and Bertrand Russell, while
Bernard Williams was involved
in analytics. Authors from around the
Victorian era include Charles
Dickens, the Brontë sisters, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Rudyard
Kipling, Thomas Hardy,
H. G. Wells
H. G. Wells and Lewis Carroll. Since then
England has continued to produce novelists such as George Orwell, D.
Virginia Woolf, C. S. Lewis, Enid Blyton, Aldous Huxley,
Agatha Christie, Terry Pratchett, J. R. R. Tolkien, and J. K.
Further information: Folk music of England
See also: Music of the United Kingdom
Thomas Tallis' "Lamentations I"
Henry Purcell's "The Queen's Dolour (A Farewell)"
Elgar's "Pomp & Circumstance March No. 1"
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The traditional folk music of
England is centuries old and has
contributed to several genres prominently; mostly sea shanties, jigs,
hornpipes and dance music. It has its own distinct variations and
Wynkyn de Worde
Wynkyn de Worde printed ballads of Robin Hood
from the 16th century are an important artefact, as are John
The Dancing Master
The Dancing Master and Robert Harley's Roxburghe Ballads
collections. Some of the best-known songs are Greensleeves,
Pastime with Good Company, Maggie May and
Spanish Ladies amongst
others. Many nursery rhymes are of English origin such as Twinkle
Twinkle Little Star, Roses are red, Jack and Jill,
London Bridge Is
Falling Down, The Grand Old Duke of York,
Hey Diddle Diddle
Hey Diddle Diddle and Humpty
Dumpty. Traditional English Christmas carols include "We Wish You
a Merry Christmas", "The First Noel" and "God Rest You Merry,
The Beatles are the most commercially successful and critically
acclaimed band in popular music.
Early English composers in classical music include
Thomas Tallis and William Byrd, followed up by
Henry Purcell from the
Baroque period. German-born
George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel became a British
subject and spent most of his composing life in London, creating
some of the most well-known works of classical music, The Messiah,
Water Music, and Music for the Royal Fireworks. One of his four
Coronation Anthems, Zadok the Priest, composed for the coronation of
George II, has been performed at every subsequent British coronation,
traditionally during the sovereign's anointing. There was a revival in
the profile of composers from
England in the 20th century led by
Edward Elgar, Benjamin Britten, Frederick Delius, Gustav Holst, Ralph
Vaughan Williams and others. Present-day composers from England
include Michael Nyman, best known for The Piano, and Andrew Lloyd
Webber, whose musicals have achieved enormous success in the West End
In the field of popular music, many English bands and solo artists
have been cited as the most influential and best-selling musicians of
all time. Acts such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Elton
Rod Stewart and
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are among the highest
selling recording artists in the world. Many musical genres have
origins in (or strong associations with) England, such as British
invasion, progressive rock, hard rock, Mod, glam rock, heavy metal,
Britpop, indie rock, gothic rock, shoegazing, acid house, garage, trip
hop, drum and bass and dubstep.
Large outdoor music festivals in the summer and autumn are popular,
such as Glastonbury, V Festival, and the Reading and
The most prominent opera house in
England is the
Royal Opera House
Royal Opera House at
The Proms – a season of orchestral classical
concerts held at the
Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall in
London – is a major
cultural event in the English calendar, and takes place yearly.
The Royal Ballet
The Royal Ballet is one of the world's foremost classical ballet
companies, its reputation built on two prominent figures of
20th-century dance, prima ballerina
Margot Fonteyn and choreographer
See also: Cinema of the United Kingdom
Ridley Scott was among a group of English filmmakers, including Tony
Scott, Alan Parker,
Hugh Hudson and Adrian Lyne, who emerged from
making 1970s UK television commercials.
England (and the UK as a whole) has had a considerable influence on
the history of the cinema, producing some of the greatest actors,
directors and motion pictures of all time, including Alfred Hitchcock,
Charlie Chaplin, David Lean, Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, John
Gielgud, Peter Sellers, Julie Andrews, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman,
Kate Winslet and Daniel Day-Lewis. Hitchcock and Lean
are among the most critically acclaimed filmmakers. Hitchcock's
first thriller, The Lodger: A Story of the
London Fog (1926), helped
shape the thriller genre in film, while his 1929 film, Blackmail, is
often regarded as the first British sound feature film.
Major film studios in
England include Pinewood, Elstree and
Shepperton. Some of the most commercially successful films of all time
have been produced in England, including two of the highest-grossing
film franchises (Harry Potter and James Bond).
Ealing Studios in
London has a claim to being the oldest continuously working film
studio in the world. Famous for recording many motion picture
film scores, the
London Symphony Orchestra first performed film music
BFI Top 100 British films includes Monty Python's Life of Brian
(1979), a film regularly voted the funniest of all time by the UK
public. English producers are also active in international
co-productions and English actors, directors and crew feature
regularly in American films. The UK film council ranked David Yates,
Christopher Nolan, Mike Newell,
Ridley Scott and
Paul Greengrass the
five most commercially successful English directors since 2001.
Other contemporary English directors include Sam Mendes, Guy Ritchie
and Steve McQueen. Current actors include Tom Hardy, Daniel Craig,
Benedict Cumberbatch and Emma Watson. Acclaimed for his motion capture
Andy Serkis opened
The Imaginarium Studios
The Imaginarium Studios in
2011. The visual effects company
produced some of the most critically acclaimed special effects in
modern film. Many successful Hollywood films have been based on
English people, stories or events. The 'English Cycle' of Disney
animated films include Alice in Wonderland,
The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book and Winnie
Museums, libraries, and galleries
Further information: List of museums in England
The Natural History Museum in London
English Heritage is a governmental body with a broad remit of managing
the historic sites, artefacts and environments of England. It is
currently sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
The charity National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural
Beauty holds a contrasting role. 17 of the 25
United Kingdom UNESCO
World Heritage Sites fall within England. Some of the best-known
of these are: Hadrian's Wall, Stonehenge,
Avebury and Associated
Sites, Tower of London, Jurassic Coast, Saltaire, Ironbridge Gorge,
Studley Royal Park
Studley Royal Park and various others.
There are many museums in England, but perhaps the most notable is
London's British Museum. Its collection of more than seven million
objects is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the
world, sourced from every continent, illustrating and documenting
the story of human culture from its beginning to the present. The
British Library in
London is the national library and is one of the
world's largest research libraries, holding over 150 million
items in all known languages and formats; including around
25 million books. The most senior art gallery is the
National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, which houses a collection of
over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900.
Tate galleries house the national collections of British and
international modern art; they also host the famously controversial
Main article: Sport in England
Elizabeth II presenting the World Cup trophy to 1966 World Cup
England captain Bobby Moore
England has a strong sporting heritage, and during the 19th century
codified many sports that are now played around the world. Sports
England include association football, cricket,
rugby union, rugby league, tennis, boxing, badminton, squash,
rounders, hockey, snooker, billiards, darts, table tennis, bowls,
netball, thoroughbred horseracing, greyhound racing and fox hunting.
It has helped the development of golf, sailing and Formula One.
Football is the most popular of these sports. The
football team, whose home venue is Wembley Stadium, played
the first ever international football match in 1872. Referred to
as the "home of football" by FIFA,
England hosted the 1966
Cup, and won the tournament by defeating West Germany 4–2 in the
Geoff Hurst scoring a hat-trick. With a British
television audience peak of 32.30 million viewers, the final is
the most watched television event ever in the UK.
Wembley Stadium, home of the
England football team, has a 90,000
capacity. It is the biggest stadium in the UK
At club level,
England is recognised by
FIFA as the birthplace of club
football, due to
Sheffield F.C. founded in 1857 being the world's
The Football Association
The Football Association is the oldest governing
body in the sport, with the rules of football first drafted in 1863 by
Ebenezer Cobb Morley. The
FA Cup and
The Football League
The Football League were the
first cup and league competitions respectively. In the modern day, the
Premier League is the world's most-watched football league, most
lucrative, and amongst the elite.
As is the case throughout the UK, football in
England is notable for
the rivalries between clubs and the passion of the supporters, which
includes a tradition of football chants. The European Cup
(now UEFA Champions League) has been won by several English
Australia at Lord's
Cricket Ground in the 2009 Ashes
Cricket is generally thought to have been developed in the early
medieval period among the farming and metalworking communities of the
England cricket team
England cricket team is a composite
England and Wales,
team. One of the game's top rivalries is
The Ashes series between
England and Australia, contested since 1882. The climax of the 2005
Ashes was viewed by 7.4 million as it was available on
England has hosted four
Cups (1975, 1979, 1983, 1999) and will host the 2019 edition, but
never won the tournament, reaching the final 3 times. However they
have hosted the
ICC World Twenty20
ICC World Twenty20 in 2009, winning this format in
2010 beating rivals
Australia in the final. In the domestic
competition, the County Championship,
Yorkshire are by far the most
successful club having won the competition 31 times. Lord's
Cricket Ground situated in
London is sometimes referred to as the
"Mecca of Cricket".
William Penny Brookes
William Penny Brookes was prominent in organising the format for the
modern Olympic Games. In 1994, then President of the IOC, Juan Antonio
Samaranch, laid a wreath on Brooke's grave, and said, "I came to pay
homage and tribute to Dr Brookes, who really was the founder of the
modern Olympic Games".
London has hosted the Summer Olympic Games
three times, in 1908, 1948, and 2012.
England competes in the
Commonwealth Games, held every four years.
Sport England is the
governing body responsible for distributing funds and providing
strategic guidance for sporting activity in England.
England rugby union team during their victory parade after winning
the 2003 Rugby World Cup
Rugby union originated in Rugby School,
Warwickshire in the early 19th
England rugby union team won the 2003 Rugby World
Jonny Wilkinson scoring the winning drop goal in the last
minute of extra time against Australia.
England was one of the host
nations of the competition in the
1991 Rugby World Cup
1991 Rugby World Cup and also hosted
the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The top level of club participation is
the English Premiership. Leicester Tigers,
London Wasps, Bath Rugby
Northampton Saints have had success in the Europe-wide Heineken
Rugby league was born in
Huddersfield in 1895. Since 2008, the England
national rugby league team has been a full test nation in lieu of the
Great Britain national rugby league team, which won three World Cups
but is now retired. Club sides play in Super League, the present-day
embodiment of the
Rugby Football League
Rugby Football League Championship. Rugby League is
most popular among towns in the northern English counties of
Yorkshire and Cumbria. All eleven English clubs in
Super League are based in the north of England. Some of the most
successful clubs include Wigan Warriors,
Hull F.C. St. Helens, Leeds
Huddersfield Giants; the former three have all won the
World Club Challenge
World Club Challenge previously.
Golf has been prominent in England; due in part to its cultural and
geographical ties to Scotland, the home of Golf. There are both
professional tours for men and women, in two main tours: the PGA and
the European Tour.
England has produced grand slam winners: Cyril
Walker, Tony Jacklin, Nick Faldo, and
Justin Rose in the men's and
Laura Davies, Alison Nicholas, and
Karen Stupples in the women's. The
world's oldest golf tournament, and golf's first major is The Open
Championship, played both in
England and Scotland. The biennial golf
competition, the Ryder Cup, is named after English businessman Samuel
Ryder who sponsored the event and donated the trophy. Nick Faldo
is the most successful
Ryder Cup player ever, having won the most
points (25) of any player on either the European or US teams.
Centre Court at Wimbledon. First played in 1877, the Wimbledon
Championships is the oldest tennis tournament in the world.
Tennis was created in Birmingham,
England in the late 19th century,
and the Wimbledon Championships is the oldest tennis tournament in the
world, and widely considered the most prestigious. Wimbledon
is a tournament that has a major place in the British cultural
Fred Perry was the last Englishman to win Wimbledon in 1936.
He was the first player to win all four Grand Slam singles titles
and helped lead the
Great Britain team to four
Davis Cup wins. English
women who have won Wimbledon include:
Ann Haydon Jones
Ann Haydon Jones in 1969 and
Virginia Wade in 1977.
In boxing, under the Marquess of Queensberry Rules,
produced many world champions across the weight divisions
internationally recognised by the governing bodies. World champions
include Bob Fitzsimmons, Ted "Kid" Lewis, Randolph Turpin, Nigel Benn,
Chris Eubank, Frank Bruno, Lennox Lewis, Ricky Hatton, Naseem Hamed,
Amir Khan, Carl Froch, and David Haye. In women's boxing, Nicola
Adams became the world's first woman to win an Olympic boxing Gold
medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Originating in 17th and 18th-century England, the thoroughbred is a
horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. The National Hunt
horse race the Grand National, is held annually at Aintree Racecourse
in early April. It is the most watched horse race in the UK,
attracting casual observers, and three-time winner
Red Rum is the most
successful racehorse in the event's history.
Red Rum is also the
best-known racehorse in the country.
Formula One world champion
Nigel Mansell driving at Silverstone
in 1990. The circuit hosted the first ever
Formula One race in 1950
1950 British Grand Prix
1950 British Grand Prix at Silverstone was the first race in the
Formula One World Championship. Since then, England
has produced some of the greatest drivers in the sport, including;
John Surtees, Stirling Moss,
Graham Hill (only driver to have won the
Nigel Mansell (only man to hold F1 and IndyCar titles
at the same time), Damon Hill,
Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
It has manufactured some of the most technically advanced racing cars,
and many of today's racing companies choose
England as their base of
operations for its engineering knowledge and organisation. McLaren
Automotive, Williams F1, Team Lotus, Honda, Brawn GP, Benetton,
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing are all, or have been, located in the
south of England.
England also has a rich heritage in Grand Prix
motorcycle racing, the premier championship of motorcycle road racing,
and produced several World Champions across all the various class of
motorcycle: Mike Hailwood, John Surtees, Phil Read, Geoff Duke, and
Mo Farah is the most successful British track athlete in modern
Olympic Games history, winning the 5000 m and 10,000 m
events at two Olympic Games
Darts is a widely popular sport in England; a professional competitive
sport, darts is a traditional pub game. The sport is governed by the
Darts Federation, one of its member organisations is the BDO,
which annually stages the Lakeside World Professional Championship,
the other being the Professional
Darts Corporation (PDC), which runs
its own world championship at Alexandra
Palace in London. Phil Taylor
is widely regarded as the best darts player of all time, having won
187 professional tournaments, and a record 16 World
Trina Gulliver is the ten-time Women's World
Darts Champion of the British
Darts Organisation. Another
popular sport commonly associated with pub games is Snooker, and
England has produced several world champions, including Steve Davis
and Ronnie O'Sullivan.
The English are keen sailors and enjoy competitive sailing; founding
and winning some of the worlds most famous and respected international
competitive tournaments across the various race formats, including the
match race, a regatta, and the America's Cup.
England has produced
some of the world's greatest sailors, including, Francis Chichester,
Herbert Hasler, John Ridgway, Robin Knox-Johnston, Ellen MacArthur,
Mike Golding, Paul Goodison, and the most successful Olympic sailor
ever Ben Ainslie.
Main article: National symbols of England
The Royal Arms of England
The St George's Cross has been the national flag of
England since the
13th century. Originally the flag was used by the maritime Republic of
Genoa. The English monarch paid a tribute to the
Doge of Genoa
Doge of Genoa from
1190 onwards so that English ships could fly the flag as a means of
protection when entering the Mediterranean. A red cross was a symbol
for many Crusaders in the 12th and 13th centuries. It became
associated with Saint George, along with countries and cities, which
claimed him as their patron saint and used his cross as a banner.
Since 1606 the St George's Cross has formed part of the design of the
Union Flag, a Pan-British flag designed by King James I.
The Tudor rose, England's national floral emblem
There are numerous other symbols and symbolic artefacts, both official
and unofficial, including the Tudor rose, the nation's floral emblem,
and the Three Lions featured on the Royal Arms of England. The Tudor
rose was adopted as a national emblem of
England around the time of
Wars of the Roses
Wars of the Roses as a symbol of peace. It is a syncretic
symbol in that it merged the white rose of the Yorkists and the red
rose of the Lancastrians—cadet branches of the Plantagenets who went
to war over control of the nation. It is also known as the Rose of
England. The oak tree is a symbol of England, representing
strength and endurance. The Royal
Oak symbol and
Oak Apple Day
commemorate the escape of King Charles II from the grasp of the
parliamentarians after his father's execution: he hid in an oak tree
to avoid detection before safely reaching exile.
The Royal Arms of England, a national coat of arms featuring three
lions, originated with its adoption by
Richard the Lionheart
Richard the Lionheart in 1198.
It is blazoned as gules, three lions passant guardant or and it
provides one of the most prominent symbols of England; it is similar
to the traditional arms of Normandy.
England does not have an official
designated national anthem, as the
United Kingdom as a whole has God
Save the Queen. However, the following are often considered unofficial
English national anthems: Jerusalem,
Land of Hope and Glory
Land of Hope and Glory (used for
England during the 2002 Commonwealth Games), and I Vow to Thee,
My Country. England's
National Day is 23 April which is St George's
Day: St George is the patron saint of England.
United Kingdom portal
Outline of England
Outline of the United Kingdom
^ According to the European Statistical Agency,
London is the largest
Larger Urban Zone in the EU, a measure of metropolitan area which
comprises a city's urban core as well as its surrounding commuting
zone. London's municipal population is also the largest in the EU.
Roger Scruton explains, "The Reformation must not be confused
with the changes introduced into the
Church of England
Church of England during the
'Reformation Parliament' of 1529–36, which were of a political
rather than a religious nature, designed to unite the secular and
religious sources of authority within a single sovereign power: the
Anglican Church did not make substantial change in doctrine until
^ Figure of 550,000 military deaths is for
England and Wales
^ For instance, in 1980 around 50 million Americans claimed
English ancestry. In
Canada there are around 6.5 million
Canadians who claim English ancestry. Around 70% of Australians
in 1999 denoted their origins as Anglo-Celtic, a category which
includes all peoples from
Great Britain and Ireland. Chileans of
English descent are somewhat of an anomaly in that
Chile itself was
never part of the British Empire, but today there are around 420,000
people of English origins living there.
^ a b People who strictly identified as "Pagan". Other Pagan paths,
Wicca or Druidism, have not been included in this number.
^ People who strictly identified as "Wiccan". Other Pagan paths, such
as Druidism, and general "Pagan" have not been included in this
^ Students attending English universities now have to pay tuition fees
towards the cost of their education, as do English students who choose
to attend university in Scotland. Scottish students attending Scottish
universities have their fees paid by the devolved Scottish
^ While people such as Norman Foster and
Richard Rogers represent the
Prince Charles since the 1980s has voiced strong
views against it in favour of traditional architecture and put his
ideas into practice at his
Poundbury development in Dorset.
Architects like Raymond Erith, Francis Johnson and Quinlan Terry
continued to practise in the classical style.
^ These tales may have come to prominence, at least in part, as an
attempt by the Norman ruling elite to legitimise their rule of the
British Isles, finding
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