Previous posts in this series have covered sequestration (Parliament confiscating the estates of its enemies during the civil wars) and compounding (getting sequestered estates back by paying a fine). Sequestration led to lots of court cases, because although it was authorized by ordinances of Parliament, it was still technically illegal according to the Common Law. Parliament suppressed the law courts during the First Civil War, but they began to sit again when the war was over, creating opportunities to contest property rights, allegiance, and the legitimacy of the Long Parliament’s governing without the King. Many soldiers and officials were prosecuted for things they had done with the authority of Parliament. This led to the Indemnity Ordinance, which was implemented by the Indemnity Committee (I’ve written a brief guide to the committee and its records, now held by the UK National Archives). Ordinary civilians could also benefit from this if they were prosecuted for obeying Parliament. The majority of the petitions received by the committee were from tenants and debtors of sequestered delinquents who had paid the money they owed to the state and were sued for it by the original owner. This month’s document is one of these petitions. It adds an extra twist because it also involves the law of coverture. This denied married women the right to own property: with a few exceptions, any property a woman brought into a marriage was owned and controlled by her husband for the duration of the marriage. Mary Robinson from last month’s post owned an estate in her own right because she was a widow.
Last month’s post was about sequestration (Parliament confiscating the estates of its enemies). Later in the First Civil War, Parliament developed a new system called compounding, which allowed sequestered delinquents to get their estates back if they paid a fine and swore an oath that they wouldn’t help the King. This process was managed by the Committee for Compounding. I’ve written a brief guide to the committee and its records which is available under CC-BY just like the other content on this blog.
This month’s documents are from the compounding case of Mary Robinson, a widow from Branston in Lincolnshire (no relation as far as I know – my Robinson ancestors were coal miners in Yorkshire, and didn’t move to Lincolnshire until the early 20th century). As usual, the quoted text is all in Crown Copyright and released under Open Government Licence. Click the thumbnails to see page images on Flickr (non-commercial use only).
This post is part of a series of letters from parliamentary soldier Nehemiah Wharton during the English Civil War, which will be posted on the anniversary of the day they were written. For more information see the introduction. To find the rest of the series, use the “wharton letters” tag. The original of this letter is held by the UK National Archives, reference SP 16/491/138, ff. 345-6. The text of the letter is out of copyright. Images are available for non-commercial use only at Flickr (click on folio numbers for individual page images).
This time, more pillaging and deer poaching, now with added misogyny. Wharton also meets a former servant of the Willingham family.
My first (and possibly last) peer-reviewed academic monograph, Horses, People and Parliament in the English Civil War: Extracting Resources and Constructing Allegiance, has now been published by Ashgate. More details of what it’s about below the cut, and there’s also an interesting response at Mercurius Politicus. You can find it at these places, and probably others:
- Ashgate (hardback only; preview available)
- Amazon.com (Kindle and hardback; preview available; hardback is unusually expensive here)
- Amazon.co.uk (Kindle and hardback; preview available)
- Amazon.ca (hardback only, but cheaper than UK and US prices)
[Edited 5/8/12: previews of the Kindle edition are now available at Amazon in the UK and US and are slightly longer than the PDF preview at Ashgate; also Erik Lund pointed out that the hardback is cheaper in Canada]
I understand that at those prices many people won’t be able to afford it, but if you’re a lecturer, please consider recommending it to your library and using it in your teaching. It has lots of cool ideas and useful facts that would fit into a wide variety of courses:
- English Civil War: obviously it would complement any course about the civil wars. Highlights include a critical review of the historiography of allegiance, an important contribution to the debate on why Parliament won, and gender and animal perspectives on the war. It’s broken down into fairly short sections, some of which tell a self-contained story that a session could be structured around (the bits about the Watford petition, the Earl of Carlisle and Henry Marten would be particularly good for this).
- Military history: has a lot to say about the resources versus battles debate. The section of the introduction that deals with this is available in the free preview at the Ashgate website.
- Women’s and gender history: I’ve tried to integrate women and gender into political and military history. There’s some good stuff about false universals, unequal distribution of property, women’s agency and puritan masculinity.
- War and gender: one of the few books that considers the intersections of these two important topics.
- Animal studies: it’s all about horses. I’ve argued that horses should be seen as agents in the civil wars, and criticized anthropocentric approaches to allegiance.
Below is a more detailed summary of what it’s all about:
Just a few ebay acquisitions:
Stereoview of British cavalry armed with lances crossing a bridge. The caption says they’re 1st Dragoon Guards but I can’t see the cap badge clearly enough to confirm that (the lances don’t help because they could be used by non-lancer regiments in this period). A lot of these official stereoview cards claim to be battle scenes but are blatantly staged, so I don’t trust the captions very far.
A Lance Corporal of the Army Cyclist Corps surrounded by women and girls. Look at the girl standing behind him. See the expression on her face. Imagine the horrors she must have seen. Alright, I’m being sarcastic, but this is only a slight exaggeration of how a kind of pathetic fallacy is sometimes applied to Great War photos. You could crop her out of context and use her to illustrate how the war made children sad. In The Great War: Myth and Memory, Dan Todman showed how a miserable looking soldier had been taken from a photo of a group with a variety of expressions and used on his own as a metonym for the horror of the trenches.
More Army Cyclist Corps men. They’re Territorials as some of them are wearing the Imperial Service Obligation badge to show that they’ve volunteered for overseas service (Territorials weren’t required to serve overseas until 1916 unless they volunteered for it). Lanyards can often provide a clue to the date of a photo. Before and during the First World War, most regiments were supposed to wear them on the left shoulder, except the Royal Horse Artillery, who wore them on the right to signify their traditional position on the right of the line. In the early 1920s it changed to the right shoulder for everyone. But this photo shows that we can’t always rely on that because some men have lanyards on the left and some have them on the right. The poster at the front makes it fairly certain that this was taken in 1915, and the ISO badges and economy pattern service dress are also consistent with that date.
A tiny soldier of the North Staffordshire Regiment and his giant bride. This photo could easily seem counter-intuitive because of the stereotype that men are taller than women. This is true on average, but there’s plenty of room for individual exceptions because male and female height are distributed along bell curves that overlap.