The End

It’s good to be back after a two week break, although ‘break’ is probably the wrong word – most of that time having been spent frantically finishing off Britannia’s Dragon, which has now gone off to the publisher! This is my fourth non-fiction historical book, so I think I’m now probably qualified to pass on some of […]

A Hope and A Sandwich: The Naming of Stuart Warships, c1660-c1714, Part 2

Back to post-Olympics reality! As promised, today’s post is the second part of my study of post-1660 warship names, originally intended for publication in an academic journal. I originally thought that this would be the concluding part, but I think the remaining material is too long for just one post, so I’ll postpone the conclusion […]

Fubbs Yes, Mum No: The Naming of British Warships, c.1660-c.1714, Part 1

The material in this week’s post (to be continued in a fortnight – I’ll be at the Olympic Stadium in a week’s time!) was originally intended as the basis for an article in an academic journal. Two things changed my mind, and made me decide to publish it here instead: firstly, I didn’t really have […]

The Comfort Zone

One of the challenges and delights of working on my new non-fiction book, Britannia’s Dragon: A Naval History of Wales, is that it’s taking me into all sorts of uncharted territory and, in some cases, territory I’m revisiting after many years. The book is meant to cover the entire time period from the Romans (AD 60, to […]

Coast of Ages

I spent the whole of last week on a Britannia’s Dragon research trip in north-west Wales. Coming originally from the south-west of the country, where it’s far easier and quicker to get to London than to the north, I knew Anglesey and Snowdonia quite well but didn’t really know the Llyn Peninsula, and this proved […]

Navy and Nation

Last week I attended the ‘Navy is the Nation’ conference at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth naval base. Despite being held against a backdrop of intermittent storms sweeping in from the Solent, this proved to be a very enjoyable affair, superbly organised by Simon Williams and Matt Chorley. I was one […]

1665: The Second Blast

In the summer of 1665, while plague was beginning to spread in London, one of the greatest battles of the sailing era took place. The Battle of Lowestoft ‘was one of the most blue-blooded battles of the age of sail. The British fleet was commanded in person by James, Duke of York, Lord High Admiral, heir […]

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 […]

The Princes, the Removal Men and the Big Hole in the Ground

It’s been a busy week! On Saturday I chaired the Naval Dockyards Society AGM at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, before joining a party of society members on a walking tour of the site of the old Deptford royal dockyard. This is currently the location of a huge and ongoing archaeological dig preparatory to redevelopment […]

Captains and Kings

First, apologies for not posting last week. As I mentioned on Twitter, I paid the price for getting too carried away on ‘Quinton 4’, The Lion of Midnight, and typing over 8,000 words in two days with little regard for ‘elf ‘n’ safety’. The result was that I woke up the next morning with a hand […]