Voices and Voicing in the Scottish Revolution, 1637-51

the many-headed monster

Our next post in ‘The Voices of the People’ symposium (full programme here) is by Laura A.M. Stewart, Senior Lecturer in Early Modern British History at Birkbeck, University of London. As they have done in our previous three posts, issues of power and the authority to speak continue to loom large, but our next two posts show a different aspect of that relationship – highlighting contexts in which the voices of ordinary people in the early modern period could, in albeit heavily circumscribed contexts, be accorded a degree of value and legitimacy.

Laura A.M. Stewart 

In the spring of 1639, Scotland was facing an invading foreign army for the first time in eight decades. During the previous year, thousands of Scottish people had covenanted with one another and with God in defence of religion, kingdom, and king. This event had persuaded the government in London…

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Women’s Work in Rural England, 1500-1700

the many-headed monster

Mark Hailwood

bruegel hay makersMany ‘monster readers will have already deduced that I recently started a new job. So I thought it would be a nice idea to write a very short post introducing the project that I’m now working on. It is based at the University of Exeter, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and will run until the summer of 2018. The leader of the project is Professor Jane Whittle and I will be the main researcher. Our aim is to gather an unprecedented level of information about the everyday working lives of early modern English women by extracting incidental information about work activities from witness statements given in court cases (and a few other types of record too). We hope that this innovative methodology will help us to capture aspects of women’s work – for instance domestic and other types of unpaid work – that more conventional history of work…

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Bat survey at Carsington water

On Thursday night Cory and I helped out on the Nathusius project which is attempting to study the range of the Nathusius Pipistrelle. It was our first ever survey and it involved the trapping of bats to measure, weight and sex them by species. We helped before dark, around 8:30pm to put up the harp traps we would use for the capturing of the bats. The harp traps we used were 2 string traps with a lure attached mid trap. The lure was an acoustic lure which emitted an ultrasonic tone designed to entice the bats in for a closer look which then, hopefully leads to them getting caught in the trap. This does not hurt the bats, the strings guide the bats to a trough at the base of the trap which is made of canvass and plastic. When the bats fall down the line they fall onto the plastic and slide into the trough. When they try to climb out on the canvass they get stuck between that and the plastic as can be seen in picture 1. As I say the bats are not harmed by this and we checked the traps every 20 minutes or so. 

Once it went dusk we checked the traps and our first visit produced no bats but they could be seen and heard on the detectors nearby. So off we went to await at the station we would use to process any bats we found. This was a handily place picnic table set in a small clearing. With bat detectors on the table we sat and eating another 20 minutes. We heard both common Pipistrelle and Soprano Pipistrelle as well as a couple of Noctule bats near the water. Later we would hear a whispered bat which is the newest of the British bats I have learned to hear on the detector. We had a good talk with the other attendees which were Bill Cove who is running the project and Shirley. We heard about the other animals and birds they liked and the activities of birds in the evenings.

On our next visit to the traps we split into two groups, Cory and Shirley attending one trap near the boat club whilst Bill and I checked the trap near the bird hide. SUCCESS! Bill and I had 3 bats in the trap and we place each in a cotton bag to transport to the processing area. On the way back we met up with Cory and Shirley and they too had bats, 4! 

Picture 1

Processing starts with weighting the bag with the bat inside then once recorded we get or first look at the bat and find it is a Pipistrelle. Next we weight the empty bag so we can get to the weight of the bag. Next it is to measure the forearm of the bat as seen in picture 2 and the results are meticulously noted down in picture 3. The final things we do on this is to check the wing membrane to find the type of Pipistrelle we have. We check both wings becaus it has been know that the split that we look at sometimes has been notice only on one wing. Bill has a theory on this and the elusive 50Hz bat. Then a quick hair cut from around its bum and the bat is ready for release. The reason for the hair cut is that Bill sends off the fur for DNA testing to see where the bats have been or come from.

Picture 2


Picture 3

Picture 4

And finally this female Soprano Pipistrelle is ready to fly off. Cory turns his hand thumb up as the bat crawls up his hand then it climbs over the finger head down quick stretch them off it drops and flys away.


Picture 5
All in all we caught 8 bats before we had to go, but the others stayed longer and caught another pip and a whiskered bat. A very enjoyable night and great to see these bats up close. 

Please note that bats are a protected species and must not be interfered with in any way. They must only be caugh with a licence, which was obtained for this study.  Their roosts must not be disturbed and any injured bat found must not be handled and you should contact the Bat care Helpline 0345 1300 228 who will advise and provide a contact to help with the bat.


Check out these great photos of this weekends event at Basing House. For those who don’t know I am a sergeant of pike, the pike blocks are the ones with the long sticks and my Regiment is in the blues jackets with the yellow hoops on the arms. We are Sir William Godolphin Hys Regiment of Foote. Oh and in answers to Graeme the best place in the world is at the front of a pike block, crunchy but fun and thank you for allowing the reblog


Storming of Basing House Re-enactment


Kate Stone’s Civil War: Kindly bestow them

stillness of heart


From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

Stone begins the new year with a diary entry — one of her longest — filled with details, cautious hope, and determination to hold out for ultimate Confederate victory.

Jan. 29, 1865

Tyler, Texas

Uncle Johnny and Kate have just gone to their room after a lengthy discussion of the comparative merits of modern poets and novelists. Johnny has kissed me goodnight, Sister is wandering in dreamland, I am alone with a cheerful fire and a wakeful spirit, and so I may as…

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Creamy mustard chicken with winter veg, £1.06

Proper winter fuel now the snow has arrived

Jack Monroe

by Susan Bell for A Girl Called Jack by Susan Bell for A Girl Called Jack

This hearty, saucy dish is delicious in the winter, served with root vegetables and rice or mashed potatoes, or in the summer, with green vegetables and tossed over pasta. Any mustard will do for this – I keep English in the fridge, but wholegrain or any other sort will work fine. Use this recipe as a base, and adapt as you wish.

Serves 2-4 depending on appetite (eg serves 2 adults and 2 toddlers in my house, with rice on the side)

4 tablespoons oil (vegetable or sunflower will do), 8p
4 chicken thigh fillets, £3.60 for free range (personal choice, I know not everyone can afford it so there are cheaper options available, but I’m honest about what I use)
1 large onion (approx 150g), 9p
1 large carrot (approx 100g), 8p
1 teaspoon English mustard, 2p
500ml chicken or vegetable…

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Imagining early modern working women, or, economic history’s image problem

the many-headed monster

Brodie Waddell

In 1658, the Czech scholar John Amos Comenius published what’s been called ‘the first children’s picture book’. It proved extremely popular and was republished many times, in many different languages. What brought it to my attention was the fact that it included 150 pictures of ‘the visible world’, a rare treat in an early modern publication.

It was designed to teach Latin and, in the 1705 edition, English to young people, so most of its illustrations depicted the sorts of things a child might be expected to know from life. They would find, for example, pictures of youth at study and at play, stilt-walking or bowling.

At school and at playHowever, the ones that caught my eye were the many illustrations of working life. If you, like me, teach or write about early modern economic history, you’ll know that this particular subfield has an ‘image problem’. Perhaps thanks to a strong seam…

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