Category Archives: History

Epidemic: Were the Powers that Be Powerless to Prevent the Plague?: A Guest Post by Claire Canary

One of the many things to really slow me down in writing historical fiction is the level of interest I’ve taken in my research. Nevertheless, it’s been the best learning experience of my life! Thanks to works such as Rebecca Rideal’s 1666: Plague, War and Hellfire, I’ve built the confidence to take Andrea up on her kind offer… Read on

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Seven little known facts about Nell Gwyn: A Guest Post by Deborah Swift

1. Nell experimented with cross-dressing.  Between 1663 and 1667 she posed under the name “William Nell” and adopted a false beard. The disguise stood her in good stead when she needed to act as a man on the stage in March 1667, and we know from Pepys’ diary that he found her performance the best he’d ever seen. 2.… Read on

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Book Review: Royalist Rebel by Anita Seymour

Royalist Rebel, written by Anita Seymour and published in 2013 by Claymore Press (a former fiction imprint of Pen & Sword), is a biographical novel of Elizabeth Murray, the fascinating Countess Dysart and later Duchess of Lauderdale. The eldest of four daughters of William Murray – a loyal courtier of King Charles I – the real Elizabeth lived… Read on

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Cover reveal: Sex and Sexuality in Stuart Britain!

Hear ye! Hear ye! Earlier today on my social media sites, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, I posted the cover for my book, Sex and Sexuality in Stuart Britain, which will be published by Pen & Sword History at a date to be determined. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! It’s possibly my best cover to date. I’ll certainly post more… Read on

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Hear ye! A Tale of Two Contracts

Hear ye! A week after submitting my completed (pre-edited) manuscript of Sex and Sexuality in Stuart Britain, I am very pleased, and also a little anxious, to tell you that I have just signed two contracts with Pen & Sword History to write two biographies of two very, very different Stuart-era ladies. Whilst both ladies have been written… Read on

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Elizabeth Stuart: A Tragic Princess – A Guest Post by Sarah-Beth Watkins

Elizabeth was the second daughter of Charles I, the ill-fated king who would unprecedentedly lose his life after years of civil war. Born in 1635 to a London covered in snow, this daughter was named after her godmother and aunt, Elizabeth of Bohemia, the Winter Queen and would earn the nickname ‘the winter princess’. Elizabeth would grow up… Read on

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Book Review: An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears

An Instance of the Fingerpost, published in 1998, is a rather large work of historical fiction – 704 pages long! As I had this read aloud to me by my husband whenever we had some free time – which was not often – it took over a year to get through it – but it was totally worth… Read on

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“Weekend Warriors: Bringing History to Life”: A Guest Post by Margaret Cooper Evans

It’s eight thirty am, the drummers in full uniform march through the soldier’s camps drumming ‘call to arms’. A rapid brrrr…umph, brrrr…umph on their drums. This is closely followed by our Sargent shouting “Kings Guard, form up in fifteen minutes.” There follows a rapid dressing session. My husband is always late for parade sometimes even running to join the… Read on

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Mothers and Midwives in the 17th Century: A Guest Post by Kate Braithwaite

Mothers and Midwives in the 17th Century by Kate Braithwaite Alice Wandesford was born in Yorkshire in 1627 and in 1651, aged twenty-four, she married William Thornton of East Newton. Alice was soon pregnant and carried the child to term, but it died within half an hour of birth. Her second child, Betty, survived almost being ‘overlaid’ –… Read on

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“A Glorious Poison: The Deadly Toxins of Palace Life”: A Guest Post by Eleanor Herman

A Glorious Poison: The Deadly Toxins of Palace Life by Eleanor Herman, exclusively on The Seventeenth Century Lady. The royal lifestyle of yesteryear used to make me swoon. I imagined myself living in a gilded palace, wearing gorgeous gowns, and dancing with Baroque studs at candlelight balls. I thought of the past as a time of romance, grandeur,… Read on

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Charles II’s Scottish Coronation: A Guest Post by Cryssa Bazos

The Scottish Coronation of King Charles II by Cryssa Bazos There is an iconic painting of Charles II, commemorating his coronation in 1661 at Westminster, following the Restoration of the monarchy. An ermine robe is draped over his shoulders, he holds the orb and sceptre in each hand, and the English crown rests firmly on his head. But… Read on

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Londoners and the Great Fire: A Guest Post by Jacob F. Field

Londoners and the Great Fire by Jacob F. Field Pepys and his buried parmesan, Charles II and the Duke of York directing the fire-fighting efforts, Lord Mayor Bludworth saying (allegedly) saying ‘Pish! A woman might piss it out!’, Wren’s grand plans for a rebuilt metropolis, and Thomas Farriner’s bakery in Pudding Lane: the main stories of the Great… Read on

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Spirits, Spectres & Souls: Ghosts in the Seventeenth Century – A Guest Post by Katherine Clements

In writing The Coffin Path, a ghost story set on the Yorkshire Moors sometime after the English Civil War, I read accounts of as many 17th-century hauntings as I could find. The most striking thing I noticed is how the elements of a good ghost story have remained relatively unchanged over the centuries. Belief in ghosts, or in… Read on

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Book Review: “The Wilding” by Maria McCann

The Wilding by Maria McCann is a novel (originally published in 2010) set during the early 1670s (with some events having previously occurred during the English Civil Wars). Jonathan Dymond, the twenty-six-year-old protagonist of the novel, is a cider maker who makes his living by travelling from place to place turning people’s apple harvests into cider (the popular alcoholic drink). … Read on

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Galileo Galilei and the Medici: A Guest Post by Samantha Morris

One of the greatest names associated with the Enlightenment of the Seventeenth Century is that of Galileo Galilei, the infamous polymath who ended up getting on the wrong side of the Inquisition. Born on 15 February 1564 not far from Pisa, Galileo was the son of a humble musician however it soon became clear that the young man… Read on

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Fake History & the Story of the Whipping Boy: A Guest Post by Leanda de Lisle

Fiction and other works of imagination have an insidious way of working their way into history. Stories that ring true, that look true, that appeal to our prejudices, become ‘fact’. It is a form of historical truthiness in which plays, pictures, and propaganda create a past that is accepted as the genuine record. I unearthed one example, which… Read on

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The Mystery of the Dobson Triple Portrait – A Guest Post by Nicola Cornick

The Mystery of the Dobson Triple Portrait Recently there has been some excitement at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford generated by the arrival of a splendid 17th century portrait by William Dobson, court painter to King Charles I. A dramatic work, it features three leading Royalist commanders including Prince Rupert of the Rhine and Colonel John Russell, commander… Read on

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Book Review: “To Catch A King: Charles II’s Great Escape” by Charles Spencer

With To Catch a King: Charles II’s Great Escape, out on the 5th October 2017, Charles Spencer has done it again. As the author of some fantastic books about seventeenth-century Britain, such as my personal favourite, Prince Rupert: The Last Cavalier, Blenheim: The Battle for Europe, and his most recent work, Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared… Read on

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Book Review: The White King – Charles I by Leanda de Lisle

The White King, Charles I, Traitor, Murderer, Martyr by Leanda de Lisle certainly has quite a provocative title. Charles I remains a very polarising figure, in much the same manner as his contemporary, Oliver Cromwell, and the labels of “traitor” and “murderer” will undoubtedly ruffle feathers of the more staunch monarchists out there. By the same token, “martyr” can… Read on

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