The Oxford Companion to British History

By John Cannon | Go to book overview


Tacitus. Roman historian born c. AD 55. He is the principal surviving historian of Roman Britain, dealing with the first forty years of the province. Unfortunately the portion of the Annals dealing with the Claudian invasion has not survived. Other passages of the Annals tell us of the governorships of *Ostorius Scapula and Didius Gallus, and there are further snippets in the Annals and the Histories. In 77 he married the daughter of *Agricola, soon to be governor of Britain, and his biography of his father-in-law survives. After a geographical introduction, he builds up to Agricola by belittling previous governors. The exceptionally long governorship of Agricola is structured by his seven seasons of campaigns, ending with the victory at Mons Graupius. In civil affairs Agricola does what a virtuous governor should. Though a very useful source, the Agricola should not be taken at face value.


Taff Vale judgment, 1902. Over 1,000 employees of the Taff Vale railway went on strike in 1901, and Beasley, the general manager, sought an injunction against their union, the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants; this was first granted and then dismissed on appeal. However, the company's appeal to the House of Lords was successful, the union was sued for damages, and in December 1902 the Taff Vale Railway Company was paid £23,000. With costs, the union paid a total of £42,000. A crippling blow to trade unionism, this judgment was one reason why unions supported the infant Labour Representation Committee.


Táin Bó Cuailnge is the central story of the 8th-cent. Ulster cycle of heroic tales. The earliest versions are recorded in the 12th-cent. Lebor na hUidre (Book of the Dun Cow), the 12th-cent. Book of Leinster, and the 14th-cent. Yellow Book of Lecan. Set in pre-Christian Ireland, the Táin is the tale of a cattle-raid and invasion of Ulster by King Ailill and Queen Medb of Connacht, initiated as a result of their desire to capture the Brown Bull of Cuailnge. Cúchulainn singlehandedly defends Ulster until the war-band can come to his aid. When they arrive the Connacht forces are decimated and in the end the Brown Bull is found dead.


Tait, Archibald ( 1811-82). Archbishop of Canterbury. A Scottish presbyterian by upbringing, Tait was educated at Glasgow University and Balliol College, Oxford. He was successively headmaster of * Rugby ( 1842), dean of Carlisle ( 1849), bishop of London ( 1856), and archbishop ( 1869). Ecclesiastically he had to cope with the advance of both liberalism and ritualism. Though a low churchman, he was no evangelical -- 'a big man, intelligent and able and rock-like and not in the least narrow'. Having protested against Newman's Tract 90 ( 1841), he viewed the Anglican church not in *tractarian terms as the catholic body in England, but as the national church, whose hallmark was comprehension. To preserve this, despite his own inclinations, he courageously and consistently vetoed prosecutions for ritualism under the Public Worship Act ( 1874). A conscientious bishop, he impressed Londoners by preaching in the open air in working-class areas and visiting them during a cholera epidemic.


Talavera, battle of, 1809. On 28 July Wellesley's British army of 20,000 men, co-operating with Cuesta's Spanish army of 34,000 men (who saw little action), were attacked by 46,000 French commanded by King Joseph Bonaparte and Marshal Jourdan. A night attack achieved surprise but was thrown back. Then the French mounted a series of assaults against the British centre, followed by a turning movement in the north. All were unsuccessful. Although Talavera was a clear British victory, Wellesley, who had been abandoned by Cuesta, retreated to Portugal. As a reward for his victory, Wellesley was created Viscount *Wellington.


Talbot, William Henry Fox ( 1800-77). Pioneer of photography. A prosperous country gentleman from Lacock abbey (Wilts.), Talbot went to Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge. An amateur scientist, in 1833 he began experiments to see if permanent images could be recorded on sensitized paper. In January 1839 his progress was reported to the Royal Institution and the Royal Society, explaining how 'natural objects may be made to delineate themselves without the aid of the artist's pencil'. His work was rivalled by Daguerre in France and other inventors. Daguerre's images were clearer, but Talbot's use of the negative made for easy reproduction. In 1867 he was awarded the gold medal at the Paris Exhibition. Talbot book The Pencil of Nature appeared 1844-6, including 24 photographs, one of them a famous view of the boulevards in Paris, and a magnificently evocative 'The Open Door'.


Talents, Ministry of All the, 1806-7. A coalition government formed in February 1806, following *Pitt's death. Supposedly embracing 'All the Talents', it was composed of the followers of Lord *Grenville and Charles *Fox, bolstered by


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The Oxford Companion to British History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Ppreace vii
  • Contributors ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Note to the Reader xii
  • A 1
  • B 71
  • C 149
  • D 273
  • E 318
  • F 363
  • G 399
  • H 445
  • I 503
  • J 523
  • K 541
  • L 553
  • M 602
  • N 666
  • O 701
  • P 717
  • Q 782
  • R 785
  • S 831
  • T 907
  • U 941
  • V 951
  • W 960
  • Y 1008
  • Z 1015
  • Subject Index 1034


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