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Showing posts from October, 2019

Houses of Interest: Shropshire

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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 hid in an oak tree. The original tree was felled by seventeenth and eighteenth century souvenir hunters; 'Son of Royal Oak' can be visited via a path from the House.


Son of Royal Oak, and great grandson* of Ro…

Houses of Interest: Staffordshire

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The continuing ECW Travelogue miniseries looking at houses/churches and places that have a Civil-War-connection-but-not-tied-to-a-bigger-event continues, this time focusing on Staffordshire. For some reason, rather than looking at the bit of Staffs that is a hop skip and a jump from Ch√Ęteau KeepYourPowderDry I've started with the corner of Staffs that is furthest away.

The first entries look at the escape of Charles II after the Battle of Worcester.

First up is Moseley Old Hall on the outskirts of Wolverhampton, and is cared for by the National Trust. Moseley bills itself as "the home that saved a king" - considering the number of close calls that Charles had during his escape, this isn't really the unique selling point that you might expect it to be. I do wonder how many other houses, along the Monarch's Way could also make that claim?


Built about 1600, the National Trust have recreated a seventeenth century garden on the estate. A rather splendid knot garden be…

Sir William Brereton's Company of Firelocks

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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 that th…

Winstanley

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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 more sense if you r…