The British and Irish Civil Wars, 1640-1660

The Civil War Petitions Project

Funded by a standard grant from the AHRC (2017–2022), the Civil War Petitions Project provides a free-access website of petitions to the state from veterans and their families for welfare payments as a result of injuries and bereavement sustained during the English Civil Wars. It aims to share information on the human costs of this devastating conflict, which continued to affect communities long after the fighting was over. Four of the project team are based in OUDCE: Professor Andrew Hopper, the Principal Investigator, Dr Ismini Pells, the Project Manager, and Research Assistants Dr Trixie Gadd and Dr Charlotte Young.

There is a short film about the project, dramatized by actors of the Royal Shakespeare Company:

There is also a podcast series introducing the project:

Research Highlights (Publications)

The proceedings of the conference of the Civil War Petitions Project in which Hopper and Pells both have chapters is Lloyd Bowen and Mark Stoyle (eds), Remembering the English Civil Wars (Routledge, 2022):

The English Civil Wars were perhaps the most calamitous series of conflicts in the country’s recorded history. Over the past twenty years there has been a surge of interest in the way that the Civil Wars were remembered by the men, women and children who were unfortunate enough to live through them. The essays brought together in this book not only provide a clear and accessible introduction to this fast-developing field of study but also bring together the voices of a diverse group of scholars who are working at its cutting edge. Through the investigation of a broad, but closely interrelated, range of topics – including elite, popular, urban and local memories of the wars, as well as the relationships between civil war memory and ceremony, material culture and concepts of space and place – the essays contained in this volume demonstrate, with exceptional vividness and clarity, how the people of England and Wales continued to be haunted by the ghosts of the mid-century conflict throughout the decades which followed.

Ismini Pells, Philip Skippon and the British Civil Wars: The Christian Centurion (Routledge, 2021): 

Philip Skippon was the third-most senior general in parliament’s New Model Army during the British Civil Wars. A veteran of European Protestant armies during the period of the Thirty Years’ War and long-serving commander of the London Trained Bands, no other high-ranking parliamentarian enjoyed such a long military career as Skippon. He was an author of religious books, an MP and a senior political figure in the republican and Cromwellian regimes. This is the first book to examine Skippon’s career, which is used to shed new light on historical debates surrounding the Civil Wars and understand how military events of this period impacted upon broader political, social and cultural themes.

Ismini Pells, ‘Reassessing frontline medical practitioners of the British civil wars in the context of the seventeenth-century medical world‘, Historical Journal, 62:2 (2019), pp. 399-425:

David J. Appleby and Andrew Hopper (eds), Battle-Scarred: Mortality, Medical Care and Military Welfare in the British Civil Wars (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018):

Battle-Scarred investigates the human costs of the British Civil Wars and contains the proceedings of the inaugural conference of the National Civil War Centre. Through a series of varied case-studies, it examines the wartime experience of disease, burial, surgery and wounds, medicine, hospitals, trauma, military welfare, widowhood, desertion, imprisonment and charity. The percentage population loss in these conflicts was far higher than that of the two World Wars, which renders the Civil Wars arguably the most unsettling experience the British people have ever undergone. The volume explores its themes from new angles, demonstrating how military history can broaden its perspective and reach out to new audiences.