Down House in Kent

20 Questions Quiz

Test your knowledge of English history with our 20 questions quiz

  • 2 Scarborough was attacked by German warships in December 1914. This was the first occasion of what?

    Answer: It was the first time that civilians had been targeted on English soil during the First World War.

    Three ships surprised the undefended town on the morning of 16 December 1914 and began shelling it. During the attack, the tower and walls of Scarborough Castle were damaged and a barracks destroyed beyond repair. 19 people died during the bombardment, with over 80 seriously injured. There were also attacks on the same day on Hartlepool and Whitby.


  • 5 Which medieval queen of England was imprisoned at Pevensey Castle in 1416 by her stepson?

    Answer: Joan of Navarre

    Born in Brittany, Joan became queen after marrying Henry IV in 1402, becoming stepmother to his six children. It was an affectionate partnership, and he gave her a huge annual dowry of 10,000 marks. After his death in 1413, Joan chose to stay in England rather than returning to Brittany. But England and France were in the middle of the Hundred Years War, and Henry V decided Joan’s dowry could be better spent on martial purposes.

    So when Joan was accused by a priest of in 1419 plotting to kill the king through witchcraft, it gave him a convenient excuse to imprison her, confiscate her property and cut her dowry. She was imprisoned for three months at Pevensey before being moved to Leeds Castle, where she spent nearly three years. Henry V died in 1422 and before his death he ordered Joan to be released and for her property to be restored.

    Give yourself half a point if you answered Eleanor, duchess of Gloucester. She was likewise accused of witchcraft, and was imprisoned in three sheds next to the Jewel Tower in the 1440s.


  • 10 Which plant from Osborne has been used in royal wedding bouquets for more than 150 years?

    Answer: Myrtle

    Myrtle has been grown at Osborne since the 1830s. It’s a German tradition to put myrtle in a wedding bouquet, to symbolise the innocence of the bride, so a sprig from the Osborne plant was put in the bouquet of Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Victoria, for her wedding in 1858. This continued with Victoria’s other children, and Osborne myrtle featured in the bridal bouquets of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex.

  • 13 The Duke of Wellington popularised a new form of boot. At which two properties can you see examples of original Wellington boots?

    Answer: Walmer Castle and Gardens, and Apsley House

    Wellington asked his shoemaker George Hoby to create a boot that could be worn with newly fashionable tight breeches. Hoby modified the calfskin ‘Hessian’ style boot worn by British Army officers by removing the tassel and cutting them lower – and the Wellington boot was born. Due to the Duke’s victory at Waterloo, his style was quickly copied. The first pair of rubber Wellington boots was actually made four years after the Duke’s death, in 1856, but was still named after him due to his enduring popularity.

  • 15 Answers

    Answers: Pendennis Castle, Yarmouth Castle and Deal Castle

    Henry VIII built 30 of these coastal forts between 1539 and 1547 to protect the southern and eastern coasts of England from French and Spanish attack. We care for nearly all of the surviving forts, which also include St Mawes Castle, Portland Castle and Walmer Castle and Gardens.

  • 16 Which English literary heroine falls asleep at Stonehenge?

    Answer: Tess Durbeyfield from Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

    After Tess and Angel Clare go on the run after she murders Alec D’Urberville, they spend the night at Stonehenge. It’s here that Tess is arrested and accepts her fate.

  • 17 Netflix series The Crown charts the reign of Elizabeth II. Which two properties have been used as locations for filming?

    Answer: Audley End House and Gardens, and Eltham Palace.

    The interiors of Audley End appeared in series one and three – the young princesses are tutored in the Great Hall, and Philip and Elizabeth also stroll around it in a scene discussing Princess Margaret. The library also stood in for Eton College, and the old nursery was the set for Elizabeth and Margaret’s childhood bedrooms. Eltham Palace has been used for several scenes, doubling up as the Queen’s quarters of the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Bermuda Government House and the HMSS Queen Mary.