Filed under English Civil War

Relics,Witches & Ships in Bottles

Relics,Witches & Ships in Bottles

What happened to objects when Henry VIII closed the monasteries? This is an area of history that is often ignored or the subject of guesswork, especially in England where there was so much destruction of religious artefacts at the long drawn-out Reformation. But here’s some thoughts. Every church that conducted masses had to have a … Continue reading


We tend to think that witchcraft and persecution of people for it is as old as time, but it really only features in Europe in the early modern period, ie between the Reformation and the Enlightenment, a time when education and local government were at their lowest ebbs. Elsewhere in this blog there are a … Continue reading

A Curious Clock

This is from John Evelyn’s Diary, February 1655. I love his spelling: “I was shew’d a table clock whose ballance was onely a chrystall ball sliding on parallel wyers without being at all fixed, but rollng from stage to stage till falling on a spring conceal’d from sight, it was throwne up to the upmost … Continue reading

Evelyn and Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell was a soldier, who famously neglected the navy, but here is an account of him with a newly built ship, by John Evelyn, February 1655: “I went to see the greate ship newly built by the Usurper Oliver, carrying 96 brasse guns, and 1000 tons burthen. In the prow was Oliver on horseback, … Continue reading

Enlightenment and Grand Estates

The start of the 18th century saw an explosion in country house building, fueled by rising prosperity but also a desire to escape the filthy towns and cities. But land management had been disrupted or mishandled since the break up of the huge monastery estates. No longer did farmers co-operate on irrigation schemes, and the … Continue reading

Not Attacking Oak Trees

The draconian criminal code of 18th century Britain was basically caused by breakdown in civil authority following the Civil War & Reformation, and new money bringing landowners to buy up country manors without taking on the responsibilities that entailed, like caring for the poor. It is suggested this is why foxhunting was introduced, to bring … Continue reading

Papers Versus Pamphlets

Early newspapers were largely lists of foreign news with no explanation or comments. They were largely subscription so had an office for payment but this also made them easy targets for rulers to close the down if they caused offence. They also had little space to cover big events. This is from Andrew Pettegree: ‘A … Continue reading

Benefits of Civil War

This is from a BBc website from over a decade ago, Fred Dibnah’s Magnificent Monuments: “Withthe esception of Inigo Jones (1573-1652) whose confident handling of classical detail and proportion set him apart from all other architects of the period, most early 17th century buildings tended to take the innocent exuberance fo late Tudor work one … Continue reading

Women and Wealth

I’ve just started on a wonderful book, The Wealth of Wives Women, Law and Economy in Late Medieval London. The title sounds a bit dry, but it is really fascinating as the author, Barbara A. Hanawalt has spent years trawling through the various London archives to piece together some idea of the role of women … Continue reading