The Butcher of Drogheda and a long-running war of attrition

I recently came across an article from the Irish News (available here), and it gave me my laugh for the day. Apparently there have been some shenanigans at Westminster involving one particular statue–a bust of Oliver Cromwell. Someone had turned it to face the wall, very like a naughty schoolboy. When the bust was righted, it was later found to be turned again to the wall. “I feel we may have stumbled into some underground, long-running war of attrition,” staff in the Labour Whips’ office tweeted. It’s curious that Cromwell’s bust would be tucked away in a stairwell by a…

Battle of Worcester Society

I had the pleasure and honour of speaking before the Battle of Worcester Society for their Civil War Night series. The talk happened on September 1st, two days before the 365th anniversary of the Battle of Worcester, the final engagement of the English Civil War. As well, BBC Radio Hereford Worcester interviewed me on the subject of my talk and aired the interview in the evening before the event. The subject of my talk was Captain James Hind, a Royalist Highwayman who fought for King Charles II. Captain Hind managed to escape the battlefield and elude Parliamentary soldiers who were beating the…

The Fifth Monarchists

Given the talk about government policies and reform that is currently gripping the U.S, I thought it timely to repost an article about England’s Parliamentary struggles following the English Civil War. The following article was originally written for the English Historical Fiction Authors blog and published January 2015. If you enjoy English history and haven’t visited the blog, check out the EHFA site here. It was not all daffodils and roses for the new Commonwealth following the English Civil War. The tide that had carried Parliament to victory, surging them forward with the promise of a new society, became stagnant. Though…

When Puritans made sex illegal

On 10 May 1651, Parliament passed “An Act for suppressing the detestable sins of Incest, Adultery and Fornication” which made such acts (forgive the pun) a felony. They made sex outside marriage illegal. “For the suppressing of the abominable and crying sins of Incest, Adultery and Fornication, wherewith this Land is much defiled, and Almighty God highly displeased” * But the government did show a little mercy. While the Act was enacted on 10 May, it was to be in effect on 20 June 1651. That was at least thoughtful of the lawmakers to give people fair warning. I can only imagine what was happening…

Happy Anniversary, Dear Blog

A year ago, I launched this site. Happy Anniversary Blog! We’ve had a lovely year together, exploring 17th Century history while musing about history and storytelling in general. I was a little nervous about how we would get on. Was I taking on too much of a commitment? Would I be shackled to the computer, checking stats and worrying if I could keep up the stream of postings my blog might expect? I didn’t have to worry after all. It’s a been a rewarding year. I want to thank all the visitors to my blog this past year–all 2,000 of you!…