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 […]

Pepys Show and Tell

These days, I approach major exhibitions dealing with subjects I know something about with a considerable degree of trepidation. Maybe there’ll be massive omissions, or catastrophic errors of emphasis, that wreck the whole thing. Perhaps right-on organisers will have applied a gut-wrenchingly awful, unhistorical, and anachronistic interpretative slant. Maybe the layout of the exhibition space […]

The Lost Journal of Captain Greenvile Collins, Part 1

This is the first part of an article that I wrote in the early 1990s, and which, for one reason or another, never made it to its intended home in an academic journal. I originally published it on my old website, but re-posting it in the blog seemed to be a better way of bringing […]

Saints and Soldiers: The Naming of Stuart Warships, c.1660-c.1714, Part 3.

Time for the third and final part of my discussion of warship naming under the later Stuarts. This topic has generated some interesting discussion, so I hope to return to it one day, particularly as more and more interesting connections keep coming out of the woodwork. For example, and despite the fact that the information […]

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 […]

Blasts from the Past

I’ve been exploring the loft. To be exact, I’ve been exploring ‘my’ loft, i.e. the one above my workplace, ‘the Lair’. (As regular readers will know, this is a converted garage in the garden; probably the only garage in Britain with a bay window. Don’t ask, the previous owners had some very strange ideas…) The […]

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 […]