You Can Fool Some of the People Some of the Time (Redux)

The current media storm about ‘alternative facts’ put me in mind of a post I first published on 1 November 2011, when this blog was read by two men, a dog, and a vole called Kevin. So I thought I’d re-post it now for a rather wider audience, especially as it chimes neatly with some […]

Solebay 340, Part 3

The Battle of Solebay did little to foster greater unity within the combined fleet. Indeed, in the immediate aftermath of the battle the bitterest recriminations were not those between the British and the French, but those between individual officers in the two fleets. Sir Joseph Jordan and Sir John Kempthorne, Sandwich’s two subordinate flag officers […]

Solebay 340, Part 2

Despite their impressive outward appearance, the French ships simply had no experience of operating in such a large fleet in wartime. Even before d’Estrées arrived at Spithead, King Charles II himself, at a meeting of the Committee for Foreign Affairs, expressed the view that the Duke of York should ‘ripen the Fr[ench] in passage and […]

Solebay 340, Part 1

Today, 28 May, marks the 340th anniversary of the battle of Solebay in 1672. (It is also the anniversary of the first Battle of Schooneveld in the following year.) This was the first naval battle of the third Anglo-Dutch war, and the dramas of the battle itself were matched by its far-reaching consequences. So I […]

1665: The First Blast

The new Quinton novel, The Blast That Tears The Skies, is set against the dramatic events of the year 1665. This is one of the few dates in British history that most schoolchildren allegedly still know, but its prominence is due principally to the dreadful outbreak of plague that swept through London that summer – and from […]