Interview with Mark Vine, author of 'The Crabchurch Conspiracy'

The Crabchurch Conspiracy 1645- The

True Story of Dorset’s Bloodiest Secret.

 I  first met Mark Vine- author of ‘The Crabchurch Conspiracy’ - in the late 1970s  Delighted to got hold of the kindle version,  complete with an introduction by Professor Ronald Hutton.
In 1645, several royalist plotters within the twin towns of Weymouth and Melcombe on the Dorset coast conspired to deliver the ports back into the control of King Charles 1. It has been suggested that he needed a safe south coast port at which to land a huge French army which he hoped would deliver a decisive blow and end the resistance of the Parliamentarians whom he had been fighting for almost three years.
The conspirator’s plans were almost successful, but their intended victim, Colonel William Sydenham, commander of the Parliamentary garrison and MP for Melcombe, managed to get most of his force into that town, though he lost a much loved and respected brother and fellow soldier, Franci…

Raid on Chatham 1667 Andrew Marvell v. Rudyard Kipling


It is interesting to compare the similarities between two poets dealing with the 1667 Dutch raid on the The Medway centuries apart.

The three Anglo-Dutch wars from 1653 -1673 saw fourteen battles or major raids in Western European waters. Clashes between the English and the Dutch in West Africa and the American colonies also occurred.

The Battle of Lowestoft 3rd June 1665, is generally regarded as an English victory, with the loss of at least 30 Dutch ships and James Duke of York excelling himself as an admiral .

The Four Day battle from 1st June 1666- 4th June 1666, was one of the longest ever sea battles. The English and the Dutch fleets managed to exhaust each other, though English losses were far higher.

Pieter Cornelisz van Soest [Public domain], via Wikimedia Common
On 10th -12th August 1666, an English fleet under Robert Holmes had raided the Dutch town of West Terschelling, which was set on fire …

John Dryden and Restoration War Poetry -Introduction

John Dryden's War Poetry- 'Annus Mirabilis' part one

                                             Courtesy of  Wikimedia Commons
                                             Portrait of John Dryden painted by James Maubert 1695

 John Dryden (1631- 1700) was a renowned  poet, satirist, dramatist, translator ,classical scholar,  and his contribution to war poetry needs to be highlighted.  Poet Laureate  from 1668-1688, Dryden was dismissed from the supposedly life time post for refusing to swear an oath of allegiance to William and Mary.  Studying his influence  is a mammoth task indeed due to sheer volume of work produced. 

The great Dryden scholar James Anderson Winn maintains that Dryden 'painted history' and cites his epic poem 'Annus Mirabilis' to this effect about the events of 1665-1666.. Indeed, if one reads 'Annus Mirabilis' as a historical record, then problems emerge. It's almost like trying to learn  about the French Revolution and Napol…