The English Civil Wars: The Soldiers' Experience


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 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.

Programme details

Wednesdays, 11am–12.30pm (UK time)

For those attending in person at Rewley House, registration takes place at 10.30am before the first lecture (19 October 2022). Tea and coffee are provided in the Common Room before each lecture, from 10.30am.

For those joining us online, please join in good time before each lecture to ensure that you have no connection problems. We recommend joining 10-15 minutes before the start time. 

Wednesday 19 October
Introduction: New Approaches to the Military History of the Civil Wars
Prof Andrew Hopper

Wednesday 26 October
Civil War Armies and the Emergence of England's First Standing Army
Dr Ismini Pells

Wednesday 2 November
Turncoats: Side-Changing Soldiers during the Civil Wars
Prof Andrew Hopper

Wednesday 9 November
The Reciprocal Obligations of Service: Soldiers and the State
Dr Ismini Pells

Wednesday 16 November
Soldiers and Social Mobility during the English Revolution
Prof Andrew Hopper

Wednesday 23 November
Veteran Identities and Memories of the Civil War
Dr Ismini Pells


Description Costs
Tuition - in-person attendance (includes tea/coffee) £130.00
Tuition - virtual attendance £115.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Prof Andrew Hopper


Andrew Hopper is a historian of religion, politics and society in early modern England with research expertise on the British and Irish Civil Wars. Andrew graduated from the University of York in 1999 with a doctoral thesis examining the nature of parliamentarian allegiance in civil-war Yorkshire. Thereafter he worked as a researcher for the JISC-funded Virtual Norfolk Project at the University of East Anglia (2000-2003) and the AHRC-funded High Court of Chivalry Project at the University of Birmingham (2003-2006). He was appointed Lecturer in the Centre for English Local History at the University of Leicester in 2006, where he was promoted to Professor (2018) and Director of the Centre (2020). Andrew moved to the Department for Continuing Education in September 2021.

Dr Ismini Pells


Ismini Pells was awarded her PhD at the University of Cambridge, where she examined the career of Philip Skippon, commander of the infantry in the New Model Army. She has worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Exeter on a Wellcome Trust-funded project examining early modern medical practitioners, during which she researched the careers of practitioners in Civil War armies.

Ismini has published a monograph on Philip Skippon, Philip Skippon and the British Civil Wars: The "Christian Centurion" (Abingdon, 2020) and an edited collection, New Approaches to the Military History of the English Civil War (Solihull, 2016).

She has also published articles and contributed chapters to collections on various military and medical topics relating to the Civil Wars. She is a trustee of the Cromwell Association and sits on the Council of the Army Records Society, the Battlefields Panel of The Battlefields Trust and the Research and Collections Advisory Panel of the National Army Museum.

Away from work, Ismini enjoys running to keep fit, supporting Ipswich Town and English cricket, and other such hopeless causes.

IT requirements

For those joining us online

We will be using Zoom for the livestreaming of this course. If you’re attending online, you’ll be able to see and hear the speakers, and to submit questions via the Zoom interface. Joining instructions will be sent out prior to the start date. We recommend that you join the session at least 10-15 minutes prior to the start time – just as you might arrive a bit early at our lecture theatre for an in-person event.

Please note that this course will not be recorded.