Showing posts from October, 2019

Houses of Interest: Shropshire

The latest chapter in Houses of Interest looks at Shropshire. The first entry continues the theme of Charles II running away after the Battle of Worcester. Boscobel House is located on the Monarch's Way a  615 mile walking route that is based upon the somewhat circuitous route Charles took when he fled to France after Worcester. It would be quite achievable to walk the 10 mile section from Boscobel to Northycote Farm, finishing at Moseley Old Hall in a day. Boscobel's role in Charles's flight is responsible for inundating British High Streets with pubs called The Royal Oak. It is, somewhat saddening to note that the Royal Oak pub closest to the actual Royal Oak has such an underwhelming pub sign (a stylised oak leaf). It was here in Boscobel Wood that Charles allegedly hid in an oak tree. Samuel Pepys publicised the story of the tree, and claimed that he was told the tale personally by Charles. The original oak had been pollarded; it takes quite a stretch of

Sir William Brereton's Company of Firelocks

Sir William Brereton (the same William Brereton whose coffin got washed away in a flood when his body was being returned home for burial) was commander of Parliament's forces in Cheshire. He fielded a regiment of foot, a regiment of horse and a regiment of dragoons. From 1644 the dragoons were often referred to as firelocks - whether this just refers to their weapons, or to them doing their soldiering on foot (with firelocks) we do not definitively know, although the general use of the term at the time meant foot soldiers (with firelocks). From 1645 the regiment appears to have had many in it's ranks who had swapped sides after the battle of Nantwich - including men from Thomas Sandford's and Francis Langley's companies of Firelocks. Again this supports the notion that some of the dragoons at least became foot soldiers. We actually know quite a bit about his regiments - their battle honours, officer lists and so on, but like so many Civil War units we only know


Recently picked up a copy of this on fleabay. Widely available from internet behemoths for a lot of money, this can be picked up for less than a tenner if you have patience from a certain on-line auction house. An eagle-eyed reader reports it is available from the BFI web shop for £9.99.  Winstanley was released in 1975, and "no" younglings your screen isn't broken, films and telly box were often black and white in those days. We had it hard back in the day... Armour used in the film was borrowed from the Royal Armouries collection; the V&A and the Museum of English Rural Life helped with the rest of the costumes, and advised on locations. Whilst the costumes and locations were top notch, the cast were mostly amateurs. The film tells the story of Gerrard Winstanley  and the Diggers attempting to create a community on St George's Hill, Cobham, Surrey. Slightly slow placed*, this film is well worth the effort of watching it; although it does make m