The British and Irish Civil Wars (1638–1652) are sometimes called by historians the 'Wars of the Three Kingdoms' because they were the foundational moment in forging relationships between the English, Scots, Irish, Welsh and Cornish peoples. These wars have cast a long shadow over British and Irish history since, shaping the development of our national, regional and local identities in these islands.
Taking ‘a bottom-up’ approach, this lecture series will discuss key themes in the experiences of everyday soldiers. We will focus on questions such as how did the historic landscape influence campaigning and shape the strategies available to commanders? How novel and distinctive was Fairfax’s New Model Army? How much side-changing occurred during the wars, for what reasons, and with what consequences? How much social mobility did soldiers experience and how did the wars transform their relationships with the state?
We will draw from examples on the recently completed Civil War Petitions website www.civilwarpetitions.ac.uk to uncover how wounded soldiers were transformed by their military experiences, including how they negotiated for pensions, and in what ways they looked back on their civil-war experiences.