This end-of-year feature is a brief summary of my favourite posts of 2021. It continues the tradition of previous years, including 2018, 2019, and 2020.

On the whole, there were 73 posts during 2021, amounting to 54,500 words. Despite the higher number of posts than last year (2018: 76 posts; 2019: 84 posts; 2020: 60 posts), the word count is down by a few thousand words (2018: 72,000; 2019: 76,000; 2020: 64,000).

The aim of this post is simple enough: I’ve picked out five of my most favourite posts from 2021.

A Walk in King’s Tamerton Woods [Feb 2021]

The first few weeks of the year were spent in lockdown, and although there were clear constraints and issues with online teaching, I did enjoy the chance to take my dogs out every day for longer walks in the area. I kept returning to a nearby wooded area – King’s Tamerton woods – which sparked curiosity in the neighbourhood and its history. This eventually led to a series of posts on the local area.

The Third Birthday Challenge [April 2021]

To “celebrate” the blog reaching three years, I decided on a challenge of posting once a day throughout the entirety of April. During the month I posted about a variety of things, including a series of chapters from my book on Henry VII’s ‘Forgotten Pretender’ Ralph Wilford, family history, Avengers: Endgame, the Cornish national football team, as well as local historical sites such as Comptom Castle and Plympton Castle in Devon.

As I note in a post at the end of the challenge, I was mostly successful, but missed out on a couple of days. The whole experience was a positive one:

As a form of “celebration”, the challenge was a great way for me to re-connect with the blog. It has provided me with a more firm grip of my “mission statement” from three years ago: to ‘delve into different interesting debates’ in the hope of creating a blog that was a ‘collection of ideas and discussions’. Hopefully I can continue doing this in the years ahead.

The History of King’s Tamerton, Plymouth [July 2021]

This year I started a new series of posts about the area in which I live that has not been studied or researched before. It was once a hamlet, but is has now become submerged with the wider urban spread from the city of Plymouth. I’ve enjoyed researching and speculating about this tiny piece of land, and in many ways it reminds me of the inspiring ‘one square mile’ approach of John Hanson Mitchell’s Ceremonial Time. I hope to continue the series during 2022 to build what will become known as ‘An Entire History of One English Hamlet’.

How Bloodless was the Glorious Revolution? [Sept 2021]

This post was a simple one, but it reminded me how history surrounds us wherever we go. I visited my cousin in Wincanton, Somerset, for a weekend, and whilst being shown around the town I came across a plaque which outlined the small role that this location played during the events of 1688. This year is of massive interest to me, as shown in previous posts about William of Orange (and the William of Orange History Walks that take place each year).

An Anglo-Cornish War? [Dec 2021]

The final selected post is a recent one, stemming from a session I taught on the History foundation degree about the uses of local history. I picked the 1549 Prayer Book Rebellion as a way to highlight how some local historians have reappraised it, with some going as far to call it an ‘Anglo-Cornish War’. The whole debate reminds me of how important and engaging local history can be.

And so that was 2021. As with millions of others, I look forward to the possibility of a more positive year ahead in 2022. And of course, the blog will aim to continue onwards and upwards. My own personal targets are to complete the research and writing of a book on the “Tudor Empire”, as well as to publish local historical research (including the pub history). And also, perhaps I will finally upload some episodes to the Dave Does History podcast!