A complete military history of the war as fought in Shropshire

Principal investigator: Jonathan Worton
Level: PhD level research

I am now entering the 2nd year of my full-time Mphil/PhD project at the University of Chester, researching the means - in terms of leadership, finance, recruitment, arms supplies and logistics, fortification and the nature and type of combat - used by both sides to prosecute the First English Civil War, 1642-46, in, and around, my home county of Shropshire. Through this I intend (for the first time) to establish a complete military history of the war as fought in Shropshire, and, by extension, further national understanding of how the war was conducted and resourced by both Royalists and Parliamentarians at the local/regional level. A working (if not, as yet, particularly snappy) title for the project at this stage would be 'The Parliamentarian and Royalist War Effort in Shropshire and environs, 1642-46').

Whilst, as I outlined above, my research is focused more on the 'means' of the war, nevertheless as a military historian I am inevitably drawn to the battlefields themselves. Whilst none of the war's most well-known battles were fought on Shropshire soil, nevertheless the county witnessed much small-scale skirmishing and several small-scale battles involving in excess of 1000 combatants, and a larger number of assaults and sieges against strongholds. There is a reasonable amount of documentary evidence for these actions (although with minimal detail in many cases), but very little work has been done - and even less published - on Civil War military operations within Shropshire. These 'battlefields' (using that word here as a generic to encompass all sites of armed conflict) remain little known and understood; indeed, for many actions the precise location remains unidentified.

By attaining researcher status with the PAS, and therefore gaining access to details of potential Civil War-period chance archaeological finds, I hope to be able to create a fuller picture of the 'battlefield landscape' of Shropshire by comparing finds and find spots against the documentary record (of which by now I have a very full understanding). To this end I have contacted Peter Reavil, the local PAS officer, who appears most interested in my research and feels it may be a mutually beneficial exercise to link my knowledge of the documentary sources to the archaeological record.

In terms of geographical remit, my work is centred on Shropshire, but I have allowed for an 'environ' of 12 or so miles extending into adjacent counties, to incorporate military events which had an influence, directly or indirectly, on the war as fought in Shropshire.

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  • Created: 8 years ago
  • Created by: Daniel Pett

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