Jemahl Evans- author of 'The Last Roundhead'

Jemahl Evans interview part one 

Jemahl Evans -pic supplied by the author

I was delighted to interview author  Jemahl Evans via Email recently. His lead character -Sir Blandford Candy- " an irascible old drunk with a hatred of poets and a love of hats" , was ninety five years old in 1719, and  the sole surviving Roundhead.

 One enthusiast summed up Jemahl's 2015 novel, 'The Last Roundhead', as '"Flashman meets the Three Muskateers in a picaresque romp through Stuart England" and the sequel, 'This Deceitful Light' , is certainly of a similar nature. A collection of five short stories 'Davenants Egg and Other Tales' (2017) , all connected to the 1643 Siege of Gloucester, has also appeared, demonstrating the bitter humour and the bizarre, as well as the heartbreak to be found in a civil war.

People looking for stories about dashing cavaliers or Puritan idealists building a new Jerusalem will probably not immediate…

Royalist Poet Robert Herrick

The Works both Humane & Divine of Robert Herrick Esq

On this blog, there have been posts about the use of panegyrics in honour of luminaries such as Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell. But probably not enough has been written about Royalist poets- besides Richard Lovelace.However I  recently found a work titled 'Ben Johnson and the Cavalier Poets. Selected and Edited by Hugh Maclean ( with Authorative Texts Criticism)  and published in 1974 in a local charity bookshop.  So this post will be one of series of features to help redresses the balance. And I will start with  Royalist clergyman Robert Herrick ( 1591- 1674) .                                           

                         Robert Herrick 1591-1674  

                Robert Herrick was a goldsmith apprentice from a 'Trade' family  who were wealthy enough to send him to Cambridge University in 1613. He graduated in 1617, obtained an MA in 1620, and was ordained as a minister in 1623. It's not clear how …

Edmund Waller's Panegyric to Cromwell

Edmund  Waller (1606- 1687) Poet and Plotter
Recently finished reading 'The Last Roundhead' , a superb novel by Jemahl Evans and was reminded that poet Edmund Waller was a leading figure in a doomed Royalist rebellion that hardly got off the ground in London in 1643. The capital was firmly in the hands of the Parliamentarian forces. Waller was MP for  Agmondesham, Buckinghamshire, and related to both Oliver Cromwell and John Hampden, but had sent money to King Charles in Oxford in 1642.

Waller and leading co-conspirator Nathaniel Tomkins were arrested on 31st May 1643. They were betrayed, most likely due to being naive and indiscreet, and totally underestimating the rudimentary intelligence service that Parliament was starting to assemble.

In the aforementioned novel, Waller is portrayed as breaking down completely, offering bribes and betraying as many of his cronies  A typical view . As one biographer declared " Poets are in general poor politicians a…

Interview with Cryssa Bazos

Interview with Cryssa Bazos- Author of 'Traitor's Knot' 

I am delighted to be able to publish an interview with Cryssa Bazos, author of the novel 'Traitor Knot'  and also edits ''The Seventeenth Century Enthusiast'  email newsletter. This interview was conducted via email correspondence .

Has to be asked 'Why the English Civil War as a background to your novel'?

I have always felt a strong connection to the 17th century. The era was a time characerized by
exploding literacy, scientific discovery and exploration. Civil War accelerated the social and political
change. People started to question their loyalties, their place in society and relationship to God. Historically the most challenging of times, like worlds wars, result in the greatest leaps for mankind, and the English Civil War marked the dawn of the modern period.

The war had a devastating effect on families and communities. Ideological divisions pit family against family and left …

Crabchurch Talks- John Milton poem on Sir Henry Vane , Sidney Keyes on 'Dunbar 1650'

Crabchurch Conspiracy  History  Talk 12th May 2018 

 Crabchurch Flyer courtesy of Semi Vine  

                           The 'Crabchurch Conspiracy' history talk, re-scheduled from the main Crabchurch weekend of 2nd-4th March 2018 due to the inclement weather, took place in Weymouth  on Saturday 12th May 2018. It was an excellent evening indeed.

An interview appeared on this blog last year with Dorset historian Mark Vine about The Crabchurch Conspiracy . It's encouraging to see how Mark Vine's original book about the failed Royalist  attack on Weymouth in 1645 has inspired an annual event that involves historians, re-enactors, the Celtic Rock group 'The Dolmen', and more.

Dorset novelist Kit Berry, Professor Ronald Hutton, and comedian Bishop Bray gave informative and enjoyable talks. Now feel  inspired to start reading Kit Berry's  'Stonewylde' series and look forward to her novel set in Portland during 1645. Ronald Hutton offered a fascinating insi…

Black Friday 1745 - New Play

Interview with Matthew C. Widdowson of Jacobite Productions 

It was a pleasure indeed to hear the live streaming on 'Soundcloud' of Matthew Widdowson's new play 'Black Friday 1745' :  On 6th December 1745, at Exeter House, Derby, the Jacobite rebels held a Council of War which was to have major consequences to the history of Britain and beyond. Bonnie Prince Charlie had landed in Scotland to claim the throne in the name of his father James. His army,  with a high proportion of  Highlanders amongst the 6,000 or so soldiers, had been  extremely successful.

The rebels had  even reached Derby, and were deciding whether or not to head for Northampton, then London, to take the throne. Two Hanoverian armies were trying to catch up with them, of around 10,000 men each. New recruits to the Jacobites were in short supply, reflecting English and Welsh indifference ( in fact only three men joined at Derby). They could head south and aim for London, but risk being cut off by th…

Poltava -Lord Byron -'Mezappa'

Poetry relating to the Battle of Poltava 1709

Charles XII of Sweden and Ivan Mazepa after The Battle of Poltav- Gustav Cederstrom Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons 

This is the first post about poetry connected to the Battle of Poltava 1709, starting with Byron’s 1819 poem ‘Mazeppa’ (sic)  , named after the Ukrainian Cossack leader Ivan Mazepa ( 1639- 1709 ).
               “Twas after dread Poltova’s day                 When fortune left the Royal Swede,                 Around a slaughter’d army lay                 No more to combat and to bleed                 The power and the glory of the war                  Faithless as their vain votaries men                  Had pass’d to the triumphant Czar                  And Moscow’s walls were safe again. “

In 1700 Peter the Great declared war on Sweden. Czar Peter was rather keen to get his 'window on The Baltic, to build a
European styled city, commission a navy, to have ports that
weren't going to be ice bound for large parts of…