In this blog, Dr Fiona McCall, senior lecturer in early modern history at the University of Portsmouth, reports on a field trip undertaken as part of her Special Subject Module ‘Britain Divided: The impact of the Civil War 1637-1662’. Fiona teaches units on the British Civil Wars, and Crime, Sin and Punishment in early modern Britain, amongst others. Her current research project investigates religion in the English parish during the period of Godly rule of the 1640s and 1650s.
On the 18th October, as part of their special subject on the British Civil Wars, third year history students went on a walking tour of Old Portsmouth, taking in the house where the Duke of Buckingham was assassinated in the high street (shown here), St Thomas’s Cathedral, which had its tower flattened by Parliamentary cannon fired from Gosport, and the seventeenth-century bedroom in the Portsmouth Museum. The cathedral contains an elaborate funeral monument to the Duke, and behind the cathedral are some seventeenth-century houses. Two of the students here are writing dissertations related to seventeenth-century history, Tom Austin (centre) is working on the role of the navy at Portsmouth in the first Civil War, a topic which has been surprisingly under-researched. Although Charles I was interested in developing the navy, as seen by his controversial attempts to raise more ship money, most of the development of the dockyard had to wait until after the Restoration. This is the period Ian Atkins (fourth from the left) is studying, for a dissertation on Samuel Pepys’s naval innovations. If you are interested in reading more about Portsmouth’s role in the Civil Wars, see my previous post.