Sunday, December 1, 2013

The English Civil Wars - Part 1 - A Very Uncivil War.

The English Civil Wars 1640- 1660

When I decided that I wanted to build a collection of toy soldiers for this period,  initially I was put off. This was back in 2007 and as usual when I begin to build up a knowledge base about a period im interested in I bought a bunch of books about the war.

And as is the case I got some heavy text to get into the social and political environment.

Starting with "Civil War" the Wars of the three Kingdoms: 1638 -1660" by Trvor Royale, I then read "The Great Civil War" by Alfred H. Burne and Peter Young and quickly added to the list "Old Ironsides: The military Biography of Oliver Cromwell" by Franl Kitson.

So Far I had waded through the politics of the period,  got an insight into how the long drawn out and destructive wars in Europe (Thirty Years Wars) had up to that point not impacted on the three kingdoms and reaslised that the Cromwell did not look as good as Richard Harris and that Charles was not the spitting image of Alec Guinness and that as usual Hollywood made some dramatic changes - well in fact aside from the names of the characters it was pretty much off on allot of things.

So what was this series of wars really about and more so how on earth was I going to go about this.

In a nut shell and presented here as a very high level summary is an overview of the civil conflicts.

In principle this conflict was underpinned by the disagreement of how the King and the Parliament interacted, the rights of the King as well as the religious tensions that had been boiling over on continental Europe for most of the 1st half of the 17th century.  

One of the key issues was money (isn't always???) or the availability of supply for the King to rule the country and the parliaments desire to have a greater say in the expenditure and use of those funds that where raised with tax's.   The religious angel was driven by the issues arising from Charles the Firsts wife and the influence through her of the catholic church on the king and the fear that the foundation of the protestant faith was being undermined well as pope-ism being re-introduced by Bishop Laud.

So at the point of the "Great Remonstrance" a political document that parliament had created that severely criticized Charles the 1st reign and his actions, there where as usual with civil wars a series of issues: the rights of the King, the rights of the people through parliament and also religious ideological divisions not just between Catholics and Protestants but also Protestants v Protestants.

So the scene was set for very destructive and drawn out conflicts 3 wars in all that saw the demise of a king and the rise of the commonwealth.

Resources for the period:

The period is well written about and I have begun to work through a good number of books as mentioned earlier as well as listen a serialized pod cast.

For General Histories I would recommend the following books:

Civil War : The Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1638- 1660 by Trevor Royle
The Great Civil War By Alfred H. Burne and Peter Young
The English Civil Wars 1640-1660 by Blair Worden
Old Ironsides: The Military Biography of Oliver Cromwell by Frank Kitson
Why Was Charles 1 Executed? By Clive Holmes
Decisive Battles of the English Civil War by Malcolm Wanklyn
The English Civil War: At First Hand by Tristram Hunt

Apart from the above books that I have now read on the topic I also strongly recommend the Podcast produced by Mike Duncan called "Revolutions"  Series 1 Is covering the English Civil war and he does an brilliant job. 

And of course I've been painting and here is the 1st completed Regiment photographed by my brother in-law Micheal Priestly.  

Henry Tilliers Regiment of Foot.

 These bases are made to track the hit marks for the rules black powder - I got these from a company called mini bits really great stuff and I plan to do this for all regiments in this project as well as Napoleonic project starting soon.