In the current climate – political, not wet and windy – thoughts of religious extremism and godly whackjobs are much in my mind (and not, for once, in the shapely form of Thankful Russell), and so I’m presently working on the fourth book, the as-yet-untitled Naseby campaign.
– As an aside, this book will be dedicated to Charlie Hebdo. I may be the clanky side of Ironside, but there were certain actions by the New Model that even I find hard to defend. The massacre of over a hundred Welsh and Irish Royalist camp followers for their perceived godless “otherness” has, for me, rather frightening parallels with our present situation. Oh, Fairfax, Fairfax, what were you thinking?
I have just requested a copy of Mark Stoyle’s academic article “The Road to Farndon Field: explaining the massacre of the Royalist camp followers”, and likewise an article called “Mark’d for Whores – Violence against female camp followers in the English Civil War” by S. O’Brien.
The abstract of O’Brien’s paper is fascinating:
“… This paper will contend that this process of demonisation was part of what Diane Purkiss has described as the gendered discourse of the English Civil Wars. The particular targets of this gendered rhetoric: whores, Celtic women, men whose masculinity was questioned, and witches, became an important dimension to Civil War propaganda; they exemplified fears that natural order had been corrupted. In particular female camp followers, in spite of the wide variety of women who followed early modern armies, were often stereotyped as immoral, and they were assaulted and murdered for their immorality or dangerous femininity. This paper will examine the way in which these accounts were both influenced by and described in newsbooks and pamphlets, and how the gendered language of witchcraft accusations was used to denigrate or demonise both men and women. This rhetoric itself reinforced particular stereotypes of femininity and masculinity in an attempt to restore order in the disorder of the civil war. Violence against women, and men, who were perceived to directly challenge these ‘purified’ gender norms, in and around Civil War battlefields can be seen as a physical attempt to enforce order upon their bodies through mutilation, murder and desecration.”
Gender. Religion. Witchcraft. Sex. Violence. Murder.
Dear God, and they say the 17th century just isn’t interesting enough to a modern audience.