The eighteenth century John Lilburne.

You can listen to a podcast of my talk on the above here. Thanks to the organisers for pulling together such an excellent conference.


Journal of British Studies – Special Section on Loyalties and Allegiances in Early Modern England

I am very pleased to say that the latest issue of JBS features the special section I co-edited with Angela McShane on the above.


Andy Wood, “A lyttull worde ys tresson”: Loyalty, Denunciation, and Popular Politics in Tudor England”

Ted Vallance, ‘The Captivity of James II: Gestures of Loyalty and Disloyalty in Seventeenth-Century England’

Howard Nenner, ‘Loyalty and the Law: The Meaning of Trust and the Right of Resistance in Seventeenth-Century England’

Angela McShane, ‘Subjects and Objects: Material Expressions of Love and Loyalty in Seventeenth-Century England’

John Lilburne Conference

London Renaissance Seminar
Birkbeck College, University of London
24 October 2009

On 25 October 1649, the charismatic Leveller leader John Lilburne was dramatically acquitted of treason following a high profile trial at London’s Guildhall. The decision was greeted by jubilant crowds and celebratory bonfires, and was quickly commemorated by a medal which explained that Lilburne had been ‘saved by the power of the Lord and the integrity of the jury’. In the 360 years since that trial, Lilburne has become one of the seventeenth century’s most well-known characters, and one of few contemporaries who have been capable of taking centre stage in both academic and popular histories of the civil wars. However, Lilburne was a flagrant self-publicist, who did much to mythologize his own story, while since his death ‘Freeborn John’ has been made into a hero for a range of more or less incompatible political causes. For Lilburne, more than for most of his contemporaries, it is vital to try and separate myth from reality, and to explore how his reputation has been made and moulded since the 1640s. This event will contribute to this process by reconsidering Lilburne’s 1649 trial, and by thinking about its importance for enhancing our understanding the life and times of this most controversial character.


Ted Vallance, Phil Baker, Rachel Foxley, Jason Peacey, Jerome de Groot

Details: Jerome de Groot

More Cromwell on Film

I think Mark Steel’s lecture on Cromwell offers a nice antidote to ‘God’s Executioner’ (see below).

On the subject of early modern history and video, this new textbook from Routledge comes with its very own promotional video.

And finally, this has to be the funniest book review I have read in a long time.

‘”the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he” : What did Thomas Rainborough mean? Re-thinking democracy in the English Revolution.

…is the name of the talk that I am giving to the Lancaster University History Society next Thurs (19th) at 6.30pm.  A preview of pt. 2 of the book. Podcast – technology permitting – to follow.

Royalist and Radical Religion, 1640-1660

This new research network has a blog over here detailing upcoming events.

First up, a talk by Professor Nigel Smith on 22 January on ‘Radicalism, Royalism and the Literary Canon’, video-conferencing suite, Kilburn Building, University of Manchester.

There will be a postgraduate masterclass led by Professor Smith immediately after the lecture. All welcome.

Published in: on January 19, 2009 at 11:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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John Adamson on the Devil’s Whore

Over here. He didn’t like it either.

Published in: on December 13, 2008 at 3:50 pm  Comments (1)  
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CFP: Representing the British Civil Wars

Call for Papers

Representing the British Civil Wars 1660-2009: Adaptation, Reflection, Transmission, Debate

University of Manchester, 4-6 December, 2009

This conference considers the ways in which the conflict period of the 1640s and 1650s have been manifest in culture, political thought, historiography and popular imagination, from Southey’s Life of Oliver Cromwell to Clarendon, from To Kill a King to the imminent film of Paradise Lost. The conference looks at cultural appropriation and the ways in which particular representational tropes have been developed and perpetuated.

Sessions and panels might consider immediate post-Restoration versions of the conflict, or consider how radical theories of liberty and rights influenced political philosophy during the eighteenth century. Why is the notion of civil dispute still so potent in British culture, and why is the Cavalier/ Roundhead binary so difficult to get rid of? How have the complexities of the conflict been represented? What of the complex and continuing historiography? Which cultural clichés have become associated with the wars of this period? How have writers, dramatists, novelists, poets and filmmakers adapted texts from the time and how have they imagined the period?

Papers might consider the versions of the war found in popular novels, in drama, in film and in poetry, portraiture and song. Of particular interest might be the following: Iain Pears, David Kinloch, Cromwell, Witchfinder General, Great Britons, Tristram Hunt, popular historical writing, The Devil’s Whore, Scott’s Woodstock, Antonia Fraser, documentary series, docudrama, By the Sword Divided, historiographical paradigms (conflict/ contention, civil war/ revolution/ war of three kingdoms), wargames, boardgames, adaptation, bespoke computer game hacks, museums and exhibits.

Please send abstracts (300 words) or panel proposals by April 30 to

The Devil’s Whore review

I’ve done a little review of the above for the New Statesman over here. I found the first episode a bit of a disappointment. Not really fun enough to warrant 1hr 20mins of my time and not really done with enough attention to detail to make it worthwhile as ‘edutainment’.

Over at this blog, there’s an interesting review of Ronan Bennett’s Guardian article inspired by the series. The author also correctly guesses that the perspective of the series will be unrelentingly Anglo-centric.

The Battle of Preston, 1648, in Lego

Higher production values in this number…if anyone knows of any more lego masterpieces out there, send me a link.

Published in: on November 1, 2008 at 12:42 pm  Comments (3)  
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