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This episode compares past and present, exploring state sponsored intolerance and persecution from English protestant Reformation of the 1530s to The Toleration Act of 1688–89,  and from the start of the the global COVID-19 pandemic to May 2022. It explores parallels between intolerance towards non-Anglicans in Early Modern England and intolerance towards ‘the unvaccinated’ during the COVID-19 pandemic. Music, in order of first play, is as follows: Katy Kirby, All of Everything Kai Engle, Somnolence Lex Villena, Dissonance Clot II, Rozkol Axletree, The silent Grove Serat, Dark Decision Howie Mitchell, Old Molly Hare PC-One, A Dark Blue Arc Schemawound, Sleep is the oldest form of Time-travel Monplaisir, Waves (All music is available from and copyright CC BY 4.0) A key source used in preparing this podcast has been John Coffey, Persecution and Toleration in Protestant England, 1558–1689  (Longman, 2000).  This podcast is written, produced and copyright of Matthew Frank Stevens.
This episode tells the story of the city of Toruń, Poland, through the lense of its spicy gingerbread, or pierniki, from 1233 to 2021. Toruń gingerbread were at-first made with a top-secret recipe, and once prised by kings for their taste and by ordinary folk for their perceived medicinal powers. As time went on, they became a contested cultural treasure fought over by German and Polish governments through two world wars and beyond.  This is the story of a border town, through centuries of peace and conflict, and its identity as the home of Toruńskie pierniki.The main publication used in preparing this podcast has been Małgorzata Mikulski-Wernerowic and Krzystof Lewandowski’s excellent volume, Formy Piernikarskie (Toruń, 2020). Research presented here has been supported by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (Narodowa Agencja Wymiany Akademickiej), fellowship no. PPN/ULM/2019/1/00033 . The music, in order of play, has been: Bartok-The Waistband Dance by the Advent Chamber Orchestra; Peace landscape by Almusic34; Horses Trot by Samuel Corwin; Ode To by Kelly Latimore; Chopin, Etude Op. 10, No. 9, performed by Leo Sirota; The War Diary by Funked Up Beyond all Recognition; Birthday Cake by Jahzzar  All are Attribution 4.0 International  (CC BY 4.0) and available from  
This episode uses a 1327 petition to the English king from Welshman Adda ap Einion and his English wife Agnes as a jumping-off point to tell the story of the system of anti-Welsh race law that was created when England colonized Wales.  This system of legal discrimination would last 469 years, from 1067 until its abolition by Henry VIII in 1536. For more on this topic, see the recent article by Teresa Phipps and Matthew Stevens, ‘ Towards a characterization of Race law in Medieval Wales’, The Journal of Legal History, number 41 (2020). Research presented here has been supported by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (Narodowa Agencja Wymiany Akademickiej), fellowship no. PPN/ULM/2019/1/00033 .The music used in this episode is, in order of appearance:I know his blood, by Vienna Ditto; Global Warming, by Kai Engel; Abiding, by Kelly Latimore; Harbor, by Kai Engel; Miss very much, by Kosta T; and, Funeral Battle, by Damiano Baldoni. All are Attribution 4.0 International  (CC BY 4.0) and available from 
History: Darkness and Light shares interesting stories from our past that tell us something about the best, and the worst, of the human condition. This episode reads and discusses the remarkable testimony given by mole catcher Robert Goodgroom in 1440, as he attempted to avoid hanging for theft by offering state's evidence against a group of men he accused of witchcraft, poisoning and treason against king Henry VI of England.  It is a personal account full of fascinating detail connecting one individual to local, national and international history of the day, with a creative dash of conspiracy.  This podcast samples the track 'side affects' by Fog Lake from (, licensed under Attribution 4.0 International  (CC BY 4.0).This podcast's artwork is based on a photo by Syed Hasan Mehdi from Pexels.
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