The Oxford Companion to British History

By John Cannon | Go to book overview


Yalta conference, 4-11 February 1945. * Churchill was increasingly fearful of the rising power of the USSR, but agreed that she was entitled to a buffer zone in eastern Europe. He agitated for some western influence in the reorganization of the Polish government and strove to promote free elections in the east. He also ensured that France was given an occupation zone in Germany, but was less successful in resisting Stalin's demands for huge reparations. Britain had little say over plans for the Far East, though a proposal to return * Hong Kong to China was dropped. Nevertheless, after Yalta Churchill briefly seemed hopeful concerning the future.


Yeats, Jack B. ( 1871-1957). Painter. Brother of W. B. *Yeats the poet, Jack Yeats became the best-known Irish painter of his day. He was born in London, son of a good portrait painter, and attended (sometimes) the Westminster School of Art. He began as a water-colourist and illustrator before turning to oils. Most of his life was spent in Ireland, his family originating from Sligo, about which he published in 1930. He collaborated with J. M. *Synge. Yeats's work is characterized by the boldness of its drawing and the vigour of its colours. Perhaps his most immediately attractive paintings are his sketches of Irish characters, painted with gentle irony -- the Race Card Seller ( 1909), the Lesser Official ( 1913), and the Steam-boat Captain ( 1925).


Yeats, W. B. ( 1865-1939). Dublin-born poet, dramatist, and essayist. His early years were spent in England where his painter father introduced him to William *Morris and his circle. The Wanderings of Oisin ( 1889) reveals a late Romantic fired with enthusiasm for things Irish though his relationship with the nationalists remained equivocal, too much so for his more committed first love, Maud Gonne. He preferred to associate himself with the Anglo-Irish, 'bound neither to Cause nor to State . . . the people of *Burke and *Grattan'. Though in England at the time of the *Easter Rising, in poetry he recorded its 'terrible beauty'. An inveterate myth-maker, his lifelong addiction to the occult was tempered by involvement in public affairs, the resulting tensions evident in his best volume The Tower ( 1928). By now honoured with the Nobel prize and a seat in the Senate, he had little liking for *de Valera's Ireland. As the 1930s drew on, he contemplated the coming cataclysm with savage satisfaction.


Yeavering. Residence of early Northumbrian kings. *Bede records the existence of the villa regalis of Ad Gefrin on the river Glen where *Paulinus baptized newly converted Northumbrians in 627 in the presence of King *Edwin. Following the identification of cropmarks suggesting large halls in the vicinity of the British hilltop site of Yeavering Bell, the site was dug by Brian Hope-Taylor and the results published in 1977. His excavations uncovered not only a series of massive wooden halls, which can be paralleled on other early high-status Anglo-Saxon sites, but a number of other structures not so easily matched elsewhere. These include a palisaded enclosure, a possible pagan temple, and what appears to be part of a Roman amphitheatre. Hope-Taylor stressed the evidence the site provided for collaboration between the Northumbrian kings and their predominantly British subjects. There have been many criticisms of aspects of HopeTaylor's report including his methods of dating, his reconstruction of the buildings, and their cultural interpretation, but these do not detract from the basic interest of the site or its importance in the debate about the nature of Anglo-Saxon conquest and the relations between AngloSaxons and British.


Yellow Ford, battle of the, 1598. Sometimes known as the battle of the Blackwater, this was one of the last great victories of the Irish over their English antagonists. The great Hugh O'Neill (*Tyrone) was in rebellion and even his opponents conceded that he had brought together, not a scratch army capable only of guerrilla warfare, but a trained and equipped body of troops who could engage the enemy in pitched battle. The encounter was precipitated by an English attempt to relieve an advanced fort on the Blackwater. Sir Henry Bagenal's advance was fiercely resisted on 14 August 1598 and when he was killed, his army of 5,000 fled. One result of the disaster is that Elizabeth's favourite *Essex was sent to retrieve the situation.


yeomanry. A force of volunteer cavalrymen, formed on a county basis, and first embodied in 1794 to meet the challenge of the French Revolution. They were not under any obligation to serve outside the kingdom and during the * Boer War a special force of Imperial Yeomanry was raised. Despite regular training, discipline was not always good. The Irish Yeomanry, raised in 1796, was almost exclusively protestant and put down the 1798 rising with great severity. The Lancashire and Cheshire Yeomanry got into difficulties


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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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