Saturday, September 06, 2008

Book of the Month

Look in the index of many a book about the English Civil War and you'll be lucky to find more than a couple of passing references to Wales. Perhaps that name, English Civil War, gives the game away a little, ignoring as it does the involvement of the other countries of the British Isles.

Professor Stoyle's book, published in 2005, looks at the period in a new way. The often disregarded English nationalism of the Roundhead cause is contrasted with the underestimated role of the Welsh, Cornish and Irish on the Royalist side. The King relied heavily on non-English troops.

This Welsh support for the King is motivated in large part by a fear of the extreme anti-Welsh attitudes of the Parliamentarians. However, similar prejudices on the Royalist side see the Welsh gradually withdrawing from the fight and the establishment of patriotic third forces such as the quaintly named Peaceable Army.

This is all very interesting stuff and wholly relevant to the current political situation in Britain.

UPDATE: Mr Stoyle has recently published an article, called The Road to Farndon Field, in the latest issue of the English Historical Review. This discusses the atrocity committed against Welsh women camp-followers by the Roundhead cavalry after the Battle of Naseby. Over a hundred were killed and many more mutilated. An atrocity made possible by an unprecedented stream of anti-Welsh Puritan propaganda. As the EHR is not readily available from the shelves of Llandrindod's Dug-Out newspaper emporium, please feel free to send me a copy.

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