392 The Neighbourhood Wars

The Civil Wars used to be thought of as a rather neighbourly affair, not like those brutal foreign wars. But it’s become clear that there was far more death and destruction than just the major battles, and the disruption of the war probably touched every family.

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In a famous article in 1957, England turned Germany, Ian Roy, challenged idea that this war without an enemy was far less violent than those foreign wars. But the more work that has been done has emphasises just how many lives this conflict touched. And in part this is because 50% of soldiers were stuck into Garrisons, local and they didn’t just sit around playing scrabble. There was a struggle to control and dominate local territory. That’s what we are going to talk about in this episode, and end up with a stab at the final counting of death .

Most soldiers were recruited locally, and expected to fight locally to defend their country. Charles did recruit some mercenaries, maybe 5,000 men-ish, and his reputation suffered hugely at the hands of Newsheets – What do you do with a man prepared to use foreign paid soldiers to make war on his own people? I understand this is something which has a resonance with the American Revolution, when Britain employs foreign mercenaries against her own people.

Local men fought for the ideological reasons we discussed, but Hobbesy had a point that some fought for pay, and increasingly so as the war goes on. It becomes quite common that when a garrison or regiment surrenders they get offered the chance to change sides – and many say, yeah, why the devil not, those bills won’t pay themselves. The rates of pay were on the face of it generous – if you ever actually got paid, which will be an increasingly big ‘if’ as the tax bill grows and people groan beneath it.

But also for some the soldiers life was attractive, away from the stultifying restrictions of parish life and social ties. Or  or as one pamphlet put it

I will sell my chest and eke my plough

And get a sword if I know how

And each man means to be right

I will sewar and drink and roar

And Gallant like I will keep a whore

Of course, as Alice says ‘A soldiers life is terrible hard’, but sometimes it might look easier than life at home. I feel like sharing a Terry Pratchet quote here, because as Martin of this parish has said a few times, Terry is under-represented in these pages. Here’s a conversation between The Wizard Rincewind and the surprisingly eloquent Cohen the Barbarian who he finds out used to be a teacher before he decided to pick up the Barbarian’s sword.

“After being a teacher all your life?” asked Rincewind

“It did mean a change of perspective, yes.”

“But…well…surely, the privation, the terrible hazards, the daily risk of death…”

“Oh, you’ve been a teacher, have you?”

Boom, tish. Thank you for that Martin and Terry.

But as the war progresses, an increasing number of soldiers also were not volunteers at all but were pushed into it, especially on the parliamentarian side where forced conscription and impressment were rife. In August 1643 foreign diplomats reported virtual kidnappings on the streets of London with ‘barbarous violence’.  These men regularly deserted. So the carriages, barges and carts of impressed men on their way to training behaved like a colander; they leaked. Often just one third of the recruits reached camp.

Such is one of the sources of Ian Gentles’ delicious expression that Civil War armies were like mushrooms – they suddenly appeared overnight after a recruiting campaign, and then disappeared just as quickly. There were plenty of other reasons for this though. One was that the best source of recruitment, the local militia or Trained Bands, saw their job as defending the community of their patch or county – not wandering all over the country to bash heads elsewhere. They contsantly whined to go home

Joseph Jane’s Cornish troops actually mutinied when he tried to take them over the border to Devon – possibly something to do with the order of scone, jam and cream. Jane was livid, and declared in the Commons

Nothing is more repugnant to the opinion and sense of this house and dangerous to the kingdom, than the unwillingness of their forces to march out of their several counties

So soldiers went home at the drop of a hat. If they thought they’d done their duty, after a major battle or siege they often gave themselves a pat on the back and walked – silly not to, I’ve done my bit what more do you want I have a job to do back home.

Army fortresses were common, often plonked on a town whether they were willing or not. Because this was the nature of the civil wars. The aim was to have, to hold, to tax. To do that meant sweeping clean opponents from the territory acquired by the passage of a major army, or within communities that remained deeply split. So sieges were very common; as remarked one military writer

We make war more like foxes than Lions; and you will have 20 sieges for one battle

Towns therefore realised that they needed walls again, and all over the country there is building. The scale of all this rather unwanted Great Rebuilding varied a lot, it is Liquorice out there. At one end there are substantial regional fortresses with national importance. London of course, York, Bristol, Carlisle, Chester, Hull. Newark in the midlands become a vital hub in the royalist wheel connecting royalist forces in the North with their centre at Oxford, and parliament tries and fails three times to take it. Frin these mighty fortresses to town walls of various sizes, down to refortification or a bit of ditch digging in fortified country homes, some of which though would became substantial local strongpoints with some level of national strategic or symbolic importance.

So all this foxy warfare, from chicken coop to chicken coop – someone has added all this up. Seriously, this is what your dedicated historian does and I have some stats for you from Charles Carlton’s redoubtable book, Going to the Wars, the bible on this sort of stuff. So if you are able to put the ironing aside for just one moment and find yourself a pencil and paper, here we go. Ready? Of 645 military actions during the civil wars – 645 OK, military action; of those, 198 were sieges – lets call it 200 I’m sure a couple could be re categorised to satisfy the marketing department. So, 31% of all military actions were sieges. You heard it here. In those actions, 21,000 people lost their lives directly.

Now sieges were a bad idea for your quick strategic strike for a marching army, since as we saw at Gloucester they could be horribly cussed. A battle – that’s nice, quick and decisive – unless you lose. But quick. The average siege in the first civil war on the other hand took 54 days. That is a serious hold up.

Sieges have got to be the ultimate nightmare. I know war is hell and battles must be hellish plus one, but in a battle it’s all about the soldiers and they know what they are getting into. For sieges – you have the local population to consider as well. From the defending governor’s point of view the locals are a pain. Warbling on about their property, and that they really want to surrender rather than die. I mean; don’t they know they are in a war? From the attackers point of view they are not there to be pitied but used. As sources of treachery – the very best way of taking a fortress of course; or more brutality as a weapon. Eating the supplies of the fighting men inside and sapping the will to resist. A request by the besieged governor for letting civilians leave for the sake of mercy was usually an occasion for mocking laughter rather than an answer.

There was a form for managing these things once a besieging force rocked up at its next destination, and for the defender a furiously tricky decision – to fight or not, and for how long. The form was that a besieger went and demanded submission. Obviously you wanted to get on with it, so the offer could be generous – march out with all colours, head held high. Though of course for the governor if they said yes too quickly there head would not be held high for very long because they would be melted by the boss. Showing insufficient zeal was trouble – Nathaniel Fiennes was branded a ‘Bloody coward’ and sentenced to hang after giving up Bristol. Charles was livid with Richard Fielding for surrendering Reading too quickly and did a cat and mouse thing with him – marched him out twice in front of the firing squad reprieving him at the last minute.

So too early was bad, but too late – well that could be worse. Because unless you had a good chance of being relieved you were risking a lot; you were risking a sack and destruction of life and property, almost inevitably of innocents as well as fighting men. At Duncannon in 1645, the Parliamentarian governor was warned

If the rebels take the fort undoubtedly they will put you all to the sword

The governor took the advice and surrendered. More than one offer was often made; but if the besieger was forced to storm and therefore see their own men die, all bets were off. Because there was nothing bloodier and more brutal in all military actions than a storm. At Lyme, assault troops were pushed back 3 times, losing 400 hundred men, and the final assault which broke through took 8 hours. By the time they won through, their fury was simply uncontainable – if there was to be mercy it was only from the goodness of the heart or exhaustion. Apparently this was a general trope in the second world war too; Carlton relates that British soldiers had a catch phrase, ‘too late chum’ in shooting enemy trying to surrender after fighting on too long. Just one quote from an assault in 1644

Our soldiers were forced to wrench open the windows with Iron balls, and forcing in faggots of fire, set the whole house in a flaming fire, so that it was not possible to quench it. And then they cried for quarter, but having beat diverse men before it, and considering how many garrisons of the same nature we had to deal with, I gave command that there should be none given.

So if you chose to fight it was a mammoth decision, and long sieges were miserable; snipers sapped morale, food was critical and often defenders were in miserable condition and even if you had food at the start the stress of how long it would last sapped morale.

Sieges often became cause celebres with the newsheets. Especially with a string of exploits by royalist women defending manor houses against the rebels. In Ireland, there was Lady Eliabeth Dowdall, who faced down the Irish rebels in 1641. She raised a company of soldiers in Munster and defended her house at Kilfinny Castle, County Limerick, and was not shy about it. The manor house was surrounded by rebels, and not content to try and stick it out she counter attacked

I skirmished with the enemy twice or thrice a week

When a rebel commander turned up with 3,000 men and demanded surrender

I sent him a shot in the head that made him bid the world good-night, and routed the whole army, we shot so hot

There was a similar story at Lathom house in Lancashire with Charlotte de la Tremoüille the Countess of Derby in 1644, and 1645. We’ve already heard about Brilliana Harley of course and there are others. The point is though, sieges they went on for a while and so made a good focus for propaganda, and newsheets tended to present them according to their idiom. For royalist papers like Mercurius Aulicus, the defence of a mansion by an aristocratic owner was an absolute favourite and they rushed to them like flies to an open jar of blueberry jam. They sang a song of traditional values – of chivalry, of the gallant high born champion defying and overwhelming evil opponents. When the defenders were women like Lady Banks at Corfe they could barely contain themselves, and ramped the chivalric stuff up to 11. It was a theme of a monarchy, upheld by its natural supporters, with all other ranks under it’s command protecting the existing, natural order.

On the other side, for parliamentary newsheets it was all about a town defended by its brave citizens, stories of digging , repairing, shooting, running up  with supplies, tending to the poor soldiers blah blah – the image of a corporate integrated society working together, a microcosm of the Commonwealth of the realm.

I mean, it’s frequently fiction, but hey this was about building morale who wants truth? It sucks army commanders in because they realised that the fall of a celebrated town would be a PR disaster and so diverted to relieve sieges that didn’t make a lot of strategic sense – the New Model twice had to make the relief of Taunton a priority for this very reason.

So when making that all important decision of fight or flight the stats were finely balanced. Again, some numbers follow. In a sample of 25 major sieges, the defenders won 12, so about half, seven times because a relieving army arrived. The 13 where the attacker won, 11 were by negotiated surrender, only 2 fell by storm.

If you did fight, and the fight was long, the worry was that you would hit that tipping point, where it became all too much, the will to resist broke and turned into a panic fear. At the siege of Nottingham, Lucy Hutchinson saw it happen

The brave turn cowards, fear unnerves the most mighty, makes the generous base and great men do those things that they blush to think on

It was the same incidentally on the battlefield. We talked last time about the fact that a well formed infantry company was pretty safe, but sometimes when a vast number of cavalry was coming straight at you the heart took some convincing by the head, and sometimes the head gave up and said ‘oh go on then, leg it mate. You don’t have to run faster than the horses, just faster than your mates’.

The charge was as desperate as any I was ever I was in. The enemy seeing our resolution, never fired at us, but ran away and we…after them, doing execution

On the battlefield, in a crowded and tightly packed formation, flight did not, could not start from the front; it always came from the back in the last ranks, where men could see what was happening to their mates at the front, and had room to run. Once started, panic had a rippling effect and discipline disintegrated

The frightened soldier, as well as the hungry belly, has no ears.

Then it was the killing time, and after all that stress and terror, the elation of release, it was very often a hideous sight, with all restraint stripped away, a sort of madness; the winners chased

Until their swords were blunted with the slaughter

The normal rules of surrender and quarter could be forgotten. There’s a famous incident after Naseby, when a fleeing troop of the king’s horse rode into Marston Trussel churchyard, missing the road. They’d ridden into a cul de sac. They were cornered by Roundheads, slaughtered to a man, and tipped into a clay pit. It is still called Slaughterfield to this day.

The additional factor in a siege was the sack. I think the basis of the rules were still informed back to the old testament, which was not a forgiving time to be fair, and Deuteronomy 20. It’s quite blood thirsty, unless you are a fruit tree as it happens, so you might be lucky if someone mistakes you for a damson or something. Personally I wouldn’t bank on it. Victorious soldiers who had gone through hell to win believed they were entitled to the plunder.

three day plundering is the shortest rule of war

The thing is that the rules were elastic and also you were not in a controllable situation; a lot of brutalised armed men who have gone through every form of psychological torture you can imagine have just been released and they could do anything and frequently did. The historiography has been famously that only the slaughter under Cromwell of 2,000 at Drogheda and 1,500 at Wexford reached near the levels of the continental wars. That is true, sadly; but although the war in England was less brutal than in Ireland, atrocity was not as rare as the tradition held it.

To leaven the bread of what follows, it needs to be said that when a surrender was agreed, commanders were carefully explicit about the terms and they were observed. There are legions of examples of defenders marching out, though plunder is pretty ubiquitous. Honour was a very important consideration; word once given was seen as sacrosanct. If a man gave parole not to fight and broke it, even the mildest commander would be outraged – as was Thomas Fairfax when he executed Charles Lucas in Colchester for that very crime.

People recognise occasions as exceeding rules – they identify some events as atrocities, it’s not anything goes. There’s a danger of forgetting that since we of course focus on the worst stuff, that’s podcasting for you. The point to hold onto is Carlton’s conclusion that fighting was remarkably free from atrocities in England, maybe, he suggests, because of the absence of ethnic differences; the violence in Ireland is higher, probably because it does have that ethnic element.

Commanders did indeed try to control violence and plunder, with blood curdling rules of engagement and summary execution for cases of murder and rape; I remind you of Ralph Hopton’s management ethos – ‘pay well, command well, hang well’. Still there is atrocity and crime and I won’t go on but give a couple of examples so show why things went wrong.

In May 1644, Rupert attacked a disorganised fleeing Parliamentary army in Bolton, retreating from Lathom house as it happens. In the resulting chaos, about 1,500 were killed. Estimates of the number of civilians in that figure vary from a low of 78 to a high of 700. It is the only English equivalent of Dogheda. Part of the reason was, well, Rupert’s attitudes, but also the disorganised nature of the very sudden assault – it had given no time to come to an agreement. Now I am told by Clive of this parish, that the massacre of Bolton led to an early view in English law for the need for the crime of command responsibility. Albeit distant. It was James Stanley Earl of Derby who was in command at the time. He would be captured years later after the Battle of Worcester in 1651, convicted of treason, and deliberately taken to the place of his crimes in Bolton to be executed. I believe there’s a plaque there.

Just one more; when Cirencester fell to royalists by storm in 1643 there is a horribly weird phenomenon; that the very helplessness of the defeated could be an encouragement toward brutality rather than mercy. When the town was stormed, the defenders

Were at their wits end, and stood like men amazed, fear bereft them of understanding and memory

As a result the attackers

Without quarter killed all they overtook

Rape is one of those areas where the incidence seems much rarer than might have been expected; even in the Irish revolt where people accused each other of the most horrendous stuff, the charge of rape was rarely levelled. It could be that it is the sort of thing that goes unreported of course, but given attitudes towards women at the time, you would have thought it the kind of accusation the sides would level at the other for propaganda purposes at the drop of a hat, it being viewed as a particularly horrific crime. But they rarely do.

Plunder though was commonplace, and commanders struggled largely in vain to contain it. Just one example, when Basing House was taken in 1645, there was carnage and plunder; including the theft of the very clothes from the back of the 72 year old master of art and architecture, Inigo Jones, who was forced to leave the place wrapped in a sheet.

It is a rather axiomatic rule of the civil wars that royalist armies were the worst offenders, and that the armies of Fairfax, Manchester and Cromwell were severely punished not just for plundering, mutiny and so on but also swearing, drunkenness and whoring. When one roundhead boasted of conduct of his army the royalist Philip Warwick responded

Faith, though sayest true; for in our army we have the sins of men, drinking and wenching, but in your you have those of the devils – spiritual pride and rebellion.

The point for both sides was that this was not enemy land, and they needed to win hearts and minds. The New Model Army was particularly determined that they should protect the communities through which they passed and their 1645 Western Campaign became a sort of exemplar. They won friends by promptly paying for quartering troops, which was as rare as hen’s teeth.  When they took Malmesbury, the soldiers were refused right of plunder because the commander told his men that

He could not judge any part of England to be an enemy’s country, nor an English town capable of devastation by English soldiers’

Though to be fair, there was a sticky moment when they were marching past Stonehenge, and the army chaplain Hugh Peters was desperate to destroy it as a ‘monument of heathenness’ and given today’s entry price he had a point. ‘Leave it alone Hugh’ was however the general response.

If you had a garrison near to you, it was probably a misfortune and plunder became more likely, or legalised plunder in the form of taxation; afterall they were designed to gather the financial manure to enrich the crop of war. Garrison commanders knew they were in this for the long term, and tried to be responsible, and win, as Charles wrote,

Hearts to his majesty and affections to his service

But garrisons were a bit inclined though to disintegrate into a rather unruly mass, such as the garrison at Lichfield

There is a great rabble of all sorts of people convened there being neither disciplined nor armed

The garrison at Henley was designed to control traffic on the Thames; it seemed quite separate to the town really which went on its own sweet way though, might I say that when one woman objected to all the taxes, the record states that she had her tongue nailed to a post. Now I am not sure you should really think about this too much, but the logistics of this do my head in. I mean how do you hammer a tongue onto a post without going through the head? Or was the tongue no longer attached to the poor person? I don’t know, practical suggestions for completing the DIY Revolutions manual, crowd control section on a postcard.

Often a sort of social and dare I say village life developed; though it could all be disrupted at the start of the campaigning season, when garrisons were drained of troops to create new marching armies because when the Generals opened the gates and looked for the shiny, battle-hardened 10,000 strong army they’d installed in winter quarters in November, they generally found 3 old guys, a dog and yesterday’s pigeon pie. Everyone else had gone home.

Still, a village developed around the soldiers, and it rather mirrored another aspect of marching armies too – camp followers. Neither were just a sausage party, though there were without doubt a lot of sausages. But hordes of camp followers followed armies around in the baggage train, an entire community on the march, and the same in the garrisons. Often attitudes towards these folk are very sniffy, if that’s the word especially on the part of the Godly New Model Army. One looked at Prince Rupert’s army and sneered

They carried along with them many strumpets, which they termed Leaguer Ladies. These they made use of in places where they lay in a very uncivil and unbecoming way

As ever the truth was a good deal more wholesome; I mean there’s no doubt prostitutes were part of the mix, but the majority were wives or those in long-term relationships, or even servants. Or trading women – seamstresses, laundresses, traders in drink, meats and those little things to make a tired soldier feel special, little bon choses, luxuries you know – things you couldn’t get from the normal army procurement office. They did all the domestic chores ready for hub after a hard day soldiering, collecting food, foraging, collecting wood, mending clothes, the works and of course patching up said soldiers after a fire fight.

But inevitably they brought hardship to the locals. Large groups of tightly squished people brought camp fever and plague. So people died. Villagers often objected to all the depredations and taxes, and took club law into their hand; but this generally fell into the Bad Idea capital B capital I category. At Woburn for example, the local clubmen drove off some royalist raiders, hurray, power to the people. Unfortunately they also killed the contingent’s major. Ooops. Before you could say vengeance saith the Lord, a regiment arrived from Oxford set fire to 18 houses, did £3,500 worth of damage. It’s not fair. Surely a major can’t be worth all that much?

Garrisons created frontier land where opponents came into contact by chance or design, and quiet villages became scenes of violence. In Richard Gough’s lovely book about the history and community of the Shropshire village Myddle, he tells a story he remembers from when he was a schoolboy. Settle back, might take a minute – Richard did go on a bit. As can I.

The set up is this; Myddle was regarded by the royalists as their territory. A trooper called Cornet Collins and his fellows were based at the nearby Shrawadine Castle and one day they needed to get Collins’ horse shod so they rode into Myddle to Allan Challoner’s smithy.

They chose a bad time – seven roundheads happened to be in the village searching for a deserter. So in front of the villagers horrified eyes, Allan’s smithy became the scene of a shootout. Collins jumped on his horse and made a run for it – but just when it seemed he’d escaped, he was hit by a shot and toppled into the village pond. The Roundheads scarpered.

Collins’ blood was spreading in the pond, so the villagers pulled him out and carried him to Allan’s house and laid him on the floor. He begged for a feather mattress because he was in horrible pain from the musket ball. Mrs Chaloner was in charge now, and she rather bitterly replied that there was no feather mattress. Because Collins himself had come by the previous day on a plundering mission, – and out of pure spite, just because he could, he’d thrown the feather mattress into the pond. Now there’s something – providential? Divine Justice? Irony? Still they dragged it out of the pond, wet and dripping and moved Collins on to it and summoned the local minister. The young Richard Gough was with the minister so went along to stare

I went with him and saw the Cornet lying on the bed, and much blood running along the floor

Cornet Collins spent a night no doubt of pain and agony. The next day the villagers made up a party and took him to the garrison, where he died the next day.

Such was the fabric of life in frontier lands. Obviously it varied a lot as to where you were, but it would be a lucky family that wasn’t touched in some way by the presence of a kind of brutish, casual violence of a type from which they’d been free for so long.

Now then, shall we have a final reckoning? It was Carlton who made us realise that the civil wars may have been a country mile from the brutality of the Thirty Years’ War, but they weren’t pretty. It is the constant background violence, which costs most lives rather than the big set pieces.  In a sample of 126 Catholic families 37% died in big ticket battles, 18% in tiddler battles. But 45% died in random skirmishs and violence along the way.

Putting everything together, Carlton came up with these figures for the Three Kingdoms. Ready to receive incoming Stats? In England he calculates that 190,000 people died. That is 3.7% of the population of 5 million, so the headline is that a higher percentage of the population died than in the First World War. Which puts it in perspective.

In Scotland it’s even higher, mainly affected by Montrose’s rebellion in 1645 and his sack of Aberdeen, and the war of 1650. So the headline figure is 60,000 which seems much less but Scotland was the smallest of the three kingdoms, and that is 6% of her population.

Which brings us to Ireland, where Carlton starts doubling his apologies for the estimate, because the records are so much harder. But from the 1641 Revolt to the Restoration though constant fighting and scorched earth policies from rebels and government, Carlton goes for 618,000 which is a massive 41% of Ireland’s 1 1/2m population. By contrast, the Irish historian Padraig Lenihan comes in at the lowest with a still hideous 300,000, 20% of the population. That’s probably your range, 300-620,000.

Overall then, sticking with Carlton’s numbers, over 11% of the population of the Three kingdoms died in the Civil Wars. Maybe it was a different order of magnitude to the Thirty Years’ War with it’s 5 millions, but bowl of cherries or gentlemanly engagement before tiffin it was neither.

Charles Carlton has been our guide on the soldiers life and the impact of the civil wars on ordinary folk over the last two episodes, a book written in 1992 which remains definitive. He has a letter from Elizabeth Moore to her sister in June 1644, and it tells the story of a lady in Hertfordshire talking about the ins and outs of holding her family together in hard times. It’s a good letter, nothing pyrotechnic, nothing to change the world or announce the new constitution or reject tyranny or whatever. But if you keep listening after I wish you good luck and all that, you will hear it – it’s nubbut an extra minute.

But that is it for me for Christmas; I’ll be back in 2024. It’s been an interesting year I have done 39 episodes, including 7 At A Gallops, 26 hours worth of podcasts, and the most episodes I’ve done since 2016 – and back then I wasn’t shedcasting so look, I am back finally, back in the black.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your families and I have enjoyed your company this year. Next year in the current run we’ll still be at best in the Protectorate, but maybe I’ll make time go faster. But you know we have such lot of good stuff coming up. We’ll have some real radicalism as England tries to grapple with republicanism, there are radicals all over the place in the Levellers and the Diggers, the ideas and the struggle to find paradise once more. Such a great story so maybe I’ll extro with the diggers song just as a change of air and a change of scenery. Anyway, all I am saying is thank you for your company, have a tremendous hooley over Christmas, let the ends of your pineapples be of the smoothest possible patina, and I will see you on the other side.

Here’s that letter then. Elizabeth Moore was meeting that most difficult of challenges, bringing up a family in the 17th century and in the hot spot of the 17th century to boot. Like so many at the time she was an avid letter writer, if somewhat unstructured, and she writes here to her sister, about ordinary things in extraordinary times


2nd June 1644

Good Sister

I had written to you before this time, but that I have an extreme sore eye, and is not very perfect. Little Will hath been much set back with the breeching of his teeth…he grows very much in length though not in breadth. We ask for your company here many times.

Here are great fears at this time for it is reported that the enemy is at Bedford, and that they have plundered Hatch in Hertfordshire. The country are all in arms. Beside eight horse which are sent in, we hear that they are drive back, but we cannot know for any certainty…

There is no place free from distraction and trouble, I pray God fit us all for what he please to impose on us, for these are bad times. I shall go to my sister Needham’s next week, but I cannot resolve by reason of this ill news.

My uncle in Lincolnshire is ill done by cavaliers, they have taken all his writing and books. Heavencote hath been very sick. He is in Norfolk at my cousins. Thus we see how uncertain the world is. I pray God set an end to all these troubles that we may have a happy putting upon again, for which I pray and remain your loving sister,

Elizabeth Moore





4 thoughts on “392 The Neighbourhood Wars

  1. You can never go wrong with a Terry Pratchett quote! Also, I cannot for the life of me figure out what “it’s liquorice out there” means.

    1. Hi Amy, and although you are quite right, I have offended the purists by doctoring the quote to work better on radio…a mistake in retrospect!
      um, maybe the liquprice thing is a cultural step too far! We used tohave a popular sweet called Bassetts Liquorice All sorts. they were lots of brightly coloured combinations of liquorice shapes in a box. Used to be very popular, not sweet enough for the modern palatte these days.

  2. Hello from Canada!!

    I have just finished my second trip through the HOE podcast and (lame Python reference) what has the podcast meant to me? A lot!

    I want to ask about the theme music and apologize if you have discussed and somehow I missed it. The tune reminds me of a Led Zeppelin (greatest band in history) recording called Black Mountain Side and, knowing Zeppelin, potentially something they “borrowed” from another source. I came across a recording by a fellow named Bert Jansch called Black Water Side.
    Perhaps you could take a moment to speak to the song, the artist and why you chose it for your theme.
    I may go back and listen to the civil war stories again, yikes, and I look forward to whatever may befall…..
    Bob from Canada

    1. Hi Bob…and yes it’s orginally a folk song, Black Water Mountainside; Bert Jansch made a version that Jimmy Page adapted for Black Mountainside on their eponymous album.

      My mate Davie did the recording for me; ages ago when UI started I never though anyone would listen so just down;oaded some music…and then realised it was probably copyrighted. So had to retro fit. Davie chose this one, because he knows I am potty about Zep.

      People do ask every so often – I’m seeing him in a few weeks time, maybe we’ll do a quick interview and I’ll post it!

      Thanks for the kind words! I am very pleased you are enjoymg it, wouldn’t make much sense if no one listened!

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