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 […]

The Warship Anne

This week, I’m delighted to welcome Richard Endsor as my guest blogger! Richard will be known to many of you as the leading authority on the design and construction of seventeenth century British warships. His book The Restoration Warship, focusing on the Third Rate Lenox of 1677, has justly become a classic, and has, indeed, inspired an […]

The Real Gentlemen Captains, Redux, Part I

In the lead-up to my appearance on 13 March at Weymouth Leviathan, Britain’s first maritime literary festival, I thought I’d reblog some of my very earliest posts on this site, from November 2011, about some of the characters who will be making appearances during my talk. Here’s the first of them! People often ask me […]

Highways and Byways of the Seventeenth Century: the Prince of Transylvania

Time for another in my (very) occasional series of oddities and little-known tales that I’ve stumbled across during the course of my research. Actually, though, this was one that I came across during my teaching career, my ‘day job’ for thirty or so years. Back in 1987, I took up a new post at Bedford […]

The Return of That Other Guy

Conference season again. Last week – ‘Statesmen and Seapower’ at the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth. This week – Naval Dockyards Society conference at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Next week – hitting my head slowly and repetitively against a wall in yet another attempt to remind myself that agreeing to give papers […]

Richard III, Game of Thrones, and Invading France

Pretty much everybody else on the interweb-thingy has had their fourpenn’orth about last week’s reburial of King Richard III, and I suppose it was only fitting that the events divided opinion just as sharply as the Marmite Monarch himself – depending on your point of view and which bloggers and tweeters you read, either a […]

Highways and Byways of the 17th Century: the ‘Royal Escape’

There was quite a big response to last week’s post on King Charles I’s possible illegitimate daughter, Joanna Bridges, so I thought I’d follow it up by instituting a new occasional series, ‘Highways and Byways of the 17th Century’, covering some of the odd or lesser known stories that I’ve come across during over thirty […]

Disorderly Houses

…Or, The Very Long History of British Parliamentarians throwing their toys out of the pram over foreign policy.  The government’s defeat over its proposed intervention in Syria had political journalists scratching their heads to think of past precedents. Those with GCSE History managed to crawl back as far as Suez, 1956, and Norway, 1940, while those […]

The Dai is Cast

All novelists have a secret fantasy. Actually, it’s not terribly secret. It’s the cast list. Yes, admit it, my fellow authors, you know what I’m talking about. That cast list. The one for the film of your book – the lavish Hollywood spectacular or BBC mini-series based on our purple prose, the prize that we all dream about. […]

The Return of the Thirty Ships, Part 3

To finish off this ‘mini-series’ about the ‘thirty ships’ of Charles II’s reign, I thought I’d post a brief history of the Third Rate Hope that I wrote about twelve years ago as part of a leaving present for some friends (called, yes, Hope). This was based on manuscript sources at the National Archives, Kew, notably the […]