A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

ECW - The Study of Up North

As my ECW armies gain a little momentum, the homework continues. Starting from a position of pretty all-encompassing ignorance, I am getting up to speed a little on the history of the wars in my chosen (backwater?) theatre of Lancashire (spreading a little into Cheshire, North Wales, Yorkshire and Cumberland). I am enjoying the books I have to hand, which have all been interesting and useful.

The pick of the bunch - and this is no criticism of the rest, is Stephen Bull's super A General Plague of Madness - The Civil Wars in Lancashire 1640-1660. This is one of the very best history books of any type I have read for a while - it is informative at all sorts of levels, copiously (and relevantly) illustrated, relatively free of axes grinding (Dr Bull manages to embrace new knowledge without any unseemly point-scoring against earlier writers) and - wonder of wonders - it is beautifully written. For those of us who find the stylistic differences between CV Wedgwood (for example) and some of the Osprey brigade (for example) a bit uncomfortable, here is a welcome ray of sunshine. Wholeheartedly recommended.

While Googling some obscure aspect of the Civil War recently, I stumbled across a wargame blog devoted to the war in exactly the same area as the one I have decided to focus on. In my fumbling excitement, I failed to bookmark it properly, and now I can't find it again. This weekend, one of my projects will be to find it - if anyone has any clues, I'd be delighted to hear from you.


  1. oh I hate it when that happens! and the dredging through not yet purged history of sites visited files in hopes that I can find it that way.

    1. Since I am paranoid by nature, I have IE set to delete my browsing history every time I shut it down - not sure why - maybe the very unlikely combination of someone being interested and my having browsed something worth checking worries me?

      I mostly use Chrome for Blogger, since IE and Google products don't play together nicely on my machine, and I don't have auto-delete set on Chrome, but I couldn't find anything anyway. It was a salutary demonstration of how I have spent my last couple of days on line, though, which is kind of depressing! Once again, I am reminded of the Woody Allen(?) quote about his fear of drowning, since he was terrified that when his life passed before him he would see how boring it had been.

      I've tried to think of really smart-ass Google searches I might have found it with, but no luck thus far.

    2. Found it! It wasn't a blog at all - I was looking at a few ECW blogs, but the comments I meant to bookmark were on TMP, by a fine chap named Royalist Dave.

      I'm glad I found it, though I'm a little vexed that I remembered such a poor version of the facts...

  2. A nice little collection of books!

  3. Try a random line like "advanced on such-and-such town" and then a coma and then "blogspot" and use the 'pages from the uk' feature?

    I was struck recently reading-up in the AWI how the PBV's (poor bloody villagers) get hit from both sides, and the similarities between the two wars a hundred years apart were stark - one lot take all you food for their troops, a few days latter the other lot take all you forage for their horses, they all billet themselves on you, consider your daughters (if not your wives) part of the deal, conscript your sons (if not you) into some awful mud-puddle of a scrap three towns away, both sides then spend the next week or so roaming the countryside hanging people for treachery or treason and then sod off, leaving you to starve through the winter...if they haven't burnt your village to the ground for 'feeding' the other lot!


    1. Very true - maybe something to do with lack of a "front line" - especially in Lancashire in 1643-44, individual towns had different affiliations, and they changed over if the garrison bailed out, so troops were not clearly on friendly or unfriendly ground.

      The war is not without it's humorous aspects - I was reading recently of a small ECW siege in which the attacking force gave up after a couple of days because the townspeople hadn't really noticed that they were being bombarded. I suspect that the besiegers didn't really have their heart in the job.

    2. Supply-chain problems probably led to a 'bombardment rate of a shot or two an hour, recruiting problems probably meant no spotter, ergo, they weren't to know their two shots an hour were hitting the duckpond and watering the orchard!!!!


    3. There's another fine tale about the Leaguer of Lathom House. The Parliamentarian besiegers (Rigby) borrowed a very fine siege mortar from someone (Brereton?), but it came without ammo. Further requests eventually obtained a supply of 7 (seven) grenadoes to go with it. Because these were so precious, Rigby got his troops to search for big round stones which could be fired instead. After a few range-finding stones had finally landed near the house, one of the grenadoes was dusted off and fired. Because of the difference in weight, it flew right over the house, and grounds, and exploded in a small wood half a mile beyond. GCSE Applied Maths hadn't been introduced at that date.

  4. It is the old adages writ large...

    'You can't make it up'

    and - in its own way...

    'Truth IS stranger than fiction'!

    Have read the follow-up post with a detached but appalled amusement!!