History Today eBook: The Second World War

Jonathan Hughes

When Richard II succeeded his grandfather, Edward III, he turned to alchemy to create a more pious ideal of kingship. Though his reign ended in failure, it left us one of medieval England’s most enduring and complex images. Jonathan Hughes explores its symbolism.

Jonathan Hughes discovers the humanity of Thomas Charnock, a forgotten Elizabethan alchemist in search of the philosopher’s stone.

Edward IV c.1520, posthumous portrait from original c. 1470–75

Jonathan Hughes looks at the significance, in alchemical terms, of this reign, and what the King himself made of alchemical prophecy.

Jonathan Hughes describes how the new classical-inspired education given to young members of the aristocracy in the fifteenth century laid the foundations for future English ideas of education, empire and public service.