Volume 42 Issue 12 December 1992

Hark the herald angels sing ... but they have also been a great deal more throughout history than just the key participants in the Christmas story. Enid Gauldie takes a seasonal look at the evolution of the winged messengers in art, myth and literature from Babylonian times to the present day.

Did the nature of war change states and societies in Europe between 1500 and 1750 or vice versa? David Parrott looks at the state of play in one of history's most celebrated recent revaluations.

When did a gentleman become a gentleman? Penny Corfield looks at the curious odyssey of the species from Tudor times onwards.

Queen Victoria inherited the 'Buckingham House' from her uncle, William IV, in 1837. She was eighteen years old. Patricia Wright looks at the chequered origins and troubled early years of London's royal landmark.

John Clark looks for lessons from the Victorians' 'beetle-mania'

An entente cordiale transformed into a lasting bond after the war to end all wars - but it was not to be. Antony Lentin looks at who duped whom in the manoeuvrings for an Anglo-French alliance following the 1918 armistice

Ann Hills discusses controversial spending plans for Irish heritage

What was it like for the women and children on the wagon trains on the epic treks across mid-19th-century America? Elliott West draws on diaries and letters in this portrait of their hopes, fears, trials and tragedies.

Nigel Saul looks at the two-way traffic between medieval Britain and the Continent