Category Archives: History

Interview with Justine Brown, author of ‘The Private Life of James II’

An Interview with Justine Brown, author of The Private Life of James II, which was published by Pen & Sword History at the end of May 2024. Hello Justine, welcome to The Seventeenth Century Lady! Congratulations on the release of your book, The Private Life of James II (published May 2024 by Pen & Sword History). James II… Read on

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The Seventeenth Century Lady Interview with Richard Ballard, the author of Louis XIV’s Architect: Louis Le Vau

The architecture created during the seventeenth century in France, in particular, during the reign of the ‘Sun King’ Louis XIV, is some of the most awe-inspiring and beautiful ever made. Today, I am joined by the historian Richard Ballard, who has written a biography of Louis XIV’s Architect: Louis Le Vau, which was published in December 2023 by… Read on

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Guest Post: ‘Library of Dreams’ by Dominic Pearce

Library of Dreams When I wrote about Queen Henrietta Maria I found surprises such as the attempt by parliament to kill her, then to impeach her. Yes the killing came first, as it were. Happily it failed. I should not mislead anyone by implying parliament sent an executive order to do away with the turbulent lady. What happened… Read on

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Wentworth Woodhouse, Yorkshire

Wentworth Woodhouse, located near Rotherham, Yorkshire, England, is yet another huge stately home that is only a short drive from my home. Yay! Although it is massive, only a small number of its 300 rooms are open to the public. Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, who was beheaded on Tower Hill in 1641, lived here. Although only… Read on

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A Visit to Chastleton House and Gardens, Oxfordshire

Located near Moreton-in-Marsh, Oxfordshire, Chastleton House was built in the early years of the seventeenth century. It is an amazing (and slightly spooky) Jacobean building, and a perfect place for a Stuart fan to visit. My family and I are members of The National Trust, which looks after this property, and we’ve certainly made good use of our… Read on

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Book Review: ‘The White Ship’ by Charles Spencer

I do not usually review books that are not about the 17th-century or the Stuart period, but given that this author has written several important works about the Stuart period, I thought I might make an exception this time (and that you’ll forgive me for doing so). I know I’m not the only historian who was surprised when… Read on

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Restoration 360

Hi there! Last year, my friend Claire Hobson had planned for a day of history talks to coincide with the 360th anniversary of the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660 with King Charles II. This event was also going to be a fundraiser for the charity, Mind, for mental health. Unfortunately, shortly before we were going to… Read on

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The Lost Case for Murder: A Guest Post by Stephen M. Carter

The Lost Case for Murder, 6 February 1685 by Stephen M. Carter In today’s social media-filled world, conspiracy theories and fake news spread like a wildfire that burns truth in its path. Therefore, when we look back at history we do so with envy. Surely, the facts are the facts? Especially when later writers repeat the same accounts,… Read on

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Cromwell Museum’s Winter Lecture Series

Hear ye! Earlier this evening, historian Paul Lay was the first speaker in the Cromwell Museum’s Winter Lecture Series and gave a really fascinating talk about the West Indies during the time of the Cromwellian Protectorate, with figures such as Admiral William Penn and Robert Venables. I’m honoured to have been asked to be the second speaker in… Read on

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TSCL Interview with Charles Spencer

On 25th November 1120, the White Ship sank in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy, France—an event which led to the drowning of the heir to the English throne, William Adelin—triggering a time of brutal civil war which came to be known as the Anarchy. Today I’m speaking with Charles Spencer, historian and author of the… Read on

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Coffee House Culture: A Guest Post by Toni Mount

In England, under Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan regime, drunkenness was considered an ungodly sin but, at the time, as for centuries before, ale or beer were the safest drinks. Water might be a more godly drink but the danger of swallowing disease-causing agents with every mouthful was understood, even if microbes wouldn’t be discovered for another two centuries. Therefore,… Read on

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Book Review: ‘How to Use Your Enemies’ by Baltasar Graciàn

I bought this book a few years ago when Penguin started publishing these small, and very affordable, black books. I bought several, including this book by a Spanish priest and author, Baltasar Graciàn, who lived from 1601 to 1658. Honestly, I’d never heard of him before. Other reviews I read were somewhat disparaging, opining that it was Machiavellian.… Read on

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Sex and Sexuality in Stuart Britain is OUT NOW!

Hear ye! Gentle Readers, my sixth book, Sex and Sexuality in Stuart Britain ?, is AVAILABLE NOW on Amazon UK and throughout Europe, Australia, Japan, and Canada! Folks in the United States can preorder now! Some readers have told me they’ve purchased through their local indie booksellers, or from High Street chains such as Waterstones, but also directly… Read on

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‘Naked and Barefoot’—Colonial Quaker Women Finding Courage: A Guest Post by Jae Hodges

‘In his journals, George Fox wrote of an occasion when he joined a gathering of men and women of all faiths in a steeple house near his home in Leicester. The discussion of the Book of Peter inspired a woman to speak out and ask a question, what was birth. The priest bade her sit down for he would not permit her . . . or perhaps any woman . . . to speak in his church, though before Fox understood that the priest had given liberty to all who wished to speak. A debate of what constituted a church followed.’

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‘The Perils of Being an Early Modern Bottle-Blonde’ – A Guest Post by Pete Langman

It’s quite usual to compliment the author of a work of historical fiction on their research, even though this doesn’t mean much more than ‘we’ve read the same history books’, but there is something to be said for appropriating knowledge that you happen to have, even if it didn’t start out as a considered part of the book.… Read on

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Hear ye! News, Audiobooks, & More!

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope your 2020 has started well. Our house has been plagued with one bad cold after another (and I’ve been coughing like mad for over a month!). Well, lots of things are going on at the moment. I’ve been scheduling several new posts: guest writers, book reviews, and new history articles. Also, I… Read on

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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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