Lights, Camera, Fireship Attack

There’s going to be a film about 17th century naval history. Don’t get too excited: it’s not Gentleman Captain: the Movie, more’s the pity. Instead, the Dutch are making a film about their great national hero, Michiel De Ruyter, apparently set during the years 1672-3. From what I’ve seen so far, it looks very promising indeed. […]

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 […]

Pepys Into the Past

Last Friday, I was round at the Pepyses’ place. You know the Pepyses? Husband’s a civil servant, bit of a lad, eye for the women, always blogging? Wife’s half-French and a bit scatty? That’s right, those Pepyses. And I’m talking about their bijou pad in the country, not their place in town. Cute little place, bit of […]

Pepys Show

I was going to have a week off blogging. After doing five posts in a week for the Orkney and Shetland road trip, then another extra one to mark the rediscovery of King Richard III, I thought I deserved to put my feet up, or at most to do a nice short light-hearted post about […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Flash Pepys, Saviour of the Universe

Last week saw the anniversary of Samuel Pepys’s birth in 1633, and Twitter was abuzz with the inevitable superlatives – the greatest English diarist! the founder of the modern Royal Navy! One only needed Queen to belt out ‘Pepys, Saviour of the Universe’, with Brian Blessed bellowing ‘Sam’s alive?!’, and the hyperbolic overdose would have […]