Conferences, Lectures, and Podcasts
Despite having a career that dabbles in and out of the shallows of academia, I was put off from attending 'Civil War' lectures because I don't own a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches or a beard that has bits of last night's dinner lurking in it.
But enough of this inappropriate, and frankly mean caricaturing. I was invited to attend Helion's Century of the Soldier Conference held in Worcester in April 2023, thank you Charles for the invite. Must confess that I didn't really know what I was letting myself in for. This year's theme was 'Novelty and Change' and included a number of influential researchers and writers. I was particularly interested in hearing Dr Padraig Lenihan's "Countermarches, Caracoles and Charges: Firearms Against Shock in Ireland 1641-3", most probably because I have an Irish Confederate army in the planning stage.
I was very wrong in the slight apprehension I felt about attending. Wow. What a brilliant day.
I decided to set off for Worcester at stupid o'clock in the morning thinking I could tick off a few more points on my ECWtravelogue map before arriving at Worcester Uni in plenty of time to refuel on coffee and biscuits. Unfortunately, a run in with a very territorial peacock and someone driving at 20mph on a 50mph narrow road (with no chance of safely overtaking) meant I missed the start of Professor Wilson's keynote address.
Next up was David Flintham looking at ECW fortifications and the work at King's Lynn, and a redrawing of London's defensive lines.
A tea break, and there was soya milk (massive win for me), then back to Andrew Robertshaw's talk on Marmaduke Rawdon. Yes, the very man who built a WW1 trench in his back garden, according to the tabloids. That's Andrew who dug a trench, not Marmaduke Rawdon.
Then onto Andrew Abram talking about dragoons and his new book; the background cover image of his book is excellent and must be the real reason why it sold out the initial print run so quickly.
I'd like to point out that the above comment is very much tongue in cheek, and Dr Abram's book is quite good (classic British understatement), see my review here.
Lunch followed, then onto a reappraisal of the site of the Battle of Stow on the Wold by Simon March and Sam Wilson. The pair convincingly debunked the marked battlefield site, offering up a more likely site of the area around Greenfield Farm, much closer to the town. I will of course be adding their locations to the forthcoming #ECWtravelogue guide to the battlefield.
Next up Padraig Lenihan gave us all a taster of his forthcoming book on the Irish Confederacy. Finishing off the day was Professor Ed Furgol, who is co-authoring a book on the Scots Royalist Army of Montrose, arguing that Montrose was doomed to failure.
A brilliant day, that has completely turned my preconceived ideas of such events around. The downside of such a day, is that many of the speakers have books about to be published, all of which have made it onto my 'to buy' list.
I was lucky to be an invited guest, but I will in future, be happy to being a paying attendee (although I call dibs on a seat on the back row).
Helion are not alone in organising Civil War themed conferences and lectures. One good thing to come from the Covid pandemic is that lectures and talks are now often accessible remotely.
Helion advertise their conferences here.
The Cromwell Museum events page is here
The Battlefields Trust opens their events to non-members, see here and often hold Civil War conferences at the National Civil War Centre in Newark.
The Military History Society of Ireland run an annual series of lectures, many available to view online. You can find their lecture list here. (Thanks to regular reader Dex for the heads-up about them.)
The World Turned Upside Down describes itself as 'People, events and ideas of the British Civil Wars explored and explained by leading historians', which pretty much nails it really. A new website with online lectures, podcasts, and a number of downloadable resources.
Allegiance of Blood is the name of Mark Turnbull's website (you might know him as @1642Author on Twitter). Mark writes fiction about the Wars of The Three Kingdoms (and is currently writing non-fiction 'The Private Life of Charles I'). He also hosts the Cavalier Cast podcast which can be found where you normally download podcasts from, but also directly here.
There are a number of other societies that are slightly more narrow in their subject material, that hold events for their members.
Also of possible interest is the Gloucester Project, an ambitious project that is excavating the wreck of the English warship the Gloucester. They run a series of talks and conferences throughout the year.