I’m not tweeting very much at the moment, as I’m largely keeping my head down and working on my new Tudor project, but the other day, I had a bit of a brainwave, and tweeted a ‘top ten’ of the most popular posts ever (in terms of visitor numbers) on this blog. This seemed to go down very well among the Twitterati, with lots of positive reaction. I realise, though, that a lot of you aren’t on Twitter, and besides, giving the ‘countdown’ here means that I can say a bit more about each of the posts than I could with 140 characters. So, in the spirit of Top of the Pops (unless it was presented by him, obviously, or featured songs by him…), here we go, pop pickers!
I decided to split my top ten into two fives, one for guest bloggers, one for my own posts. So starting with the guest blogger chart –
- In at number 5, it’s a fascinating post by Victoria Yee of the University of St Andrews on the contribution of the Welsh in the Thirty Years War – an absolute must for those interested in Welsh military and/or seventeenth century history.
- At number 4…Frank Fox, author of The Four Days Battle and Great Ships, with the most authoritative reconstruction to date of the composition of the French fleet at the Battle of Beachy Head, 1690. (Part 2 of Frank’s study, dealing with the Anglo-Dutch fleet, can be found here.)
- And at number 3, Professor Adam Nicholls with a synopsis of his superb book about the little known Barbary Corsair raid on Iceland in 1627.
- Number 2 – Frank Fox again, this time with major contributions from Peter Le Fevre and Richard Endsor, on the likely identity of the ‘Normans Bay wreck’ – a blog post which has had such an impact that elements of it are going to be referenced in the next issue of the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology.
- And at number 1 in the guest blogger chart…Dutch naval historian Gijs Rommelse’s terrific, insightful review of the movie Michiel de Ruyter, released in the English-speaking world as Admiral: Command and Conquer. (My own review can be found here.)
So moving on to the chart of my own posts:
- At number 5, and with a major ‘assist’ from Richard Endsor, it’s a pretty astonishing historical find – quite possibly the fingerprint of Samuel Pepys!
- In at number 4, a post from back in 2012, looking forward to the temporary return of the Royal Charles sternpiece from the Rijksmuseum for the National Maritime Museum’s Royal River exhibition.
- Number 3 is probably my personal favourite among all the blog posts I’ve written over the years – my lament for the death of the ‘naval pub‘, broadly defined. Since I originally posted it, another nail’s been hammered into the coffin of the species with the closure of the Lord Nelson at Burnham Thorpe. Hopefully this will be temporary, but could there be a more potent metaphor for the decline of…well, pretty much everything, really?
- At number 2, the first post in my long series about the sorry saga of Carmarthenshire Archives – if you’re feeling particularly masochistic, read the three subsequent posts entitled ‘J’Accuse’ too, but for the rather more optimistic current situation, have a look here.
- And at number 1…cue drumroll…my post from four years ago, ‘A Journalist’s Guide to Writing About the Royal Navy‘, inspired by the consistently dreadful coverage of naval matters in the national media, and which went about as viral as niche naval blogs get. As some of the below-the-line comments proved, though, one should always be careful before sticking one’s head above the parapet in such instances, and I was rightly taken to task for some of my own inexactitudes of terminology!
As I said on Twitter at the weekend, a big thank you to everybody who’s followed this blog since it started back in August 2011. It’s good to know that so many people seem to find things to interest them among my rants and ramblings, so I hope to keep calm and carry on shedding light on some of the more remote corners of naval history and seventeenth century history, and on the process of writing about them, for the foreseeable future!