17th Century

The early seventeenth century, the early Stuarts, the civil wars and beyond: a select bibliography of biographies, monographs and collections

General studies of early seventeenth-century England

The best overview of the whole century and beyond is Barry Coward and Peter Gaunt, The Stuart Age: England, 1603-1714 (5th edn, 2017). A rather more detailed account of the first half of the century is provided by Derek Hirst, England in Conflict 1603-1660 (1999). Austin Woolrych’s blockbuster Britain in Revolution, 1625-1660 (2002) is a splendid and detailed account of the period from the accession of Charles I to the restoration of his son, though covering the reign of James I, too, as an introduction.

Roger Lockyer, The Early Stuarts: A Political History of England 1603-42 (2nd edn, 1999) is a clear and detailed thematic assessment of the opening decades of the century. Another good study of the early Stuarts, again closing with the outbreak of civil war, is Tim Harris, Rebellion: Britain’s First Stuart Kings, 1567-1642 (2014), which provides a detailed narrative account of Scotland and Ireland as well as England and Wales.

Also particularly good at providing a three kingdoms account and showing how England, Scotland and Ireland interacted during (part or all of) the seventeenth century are David L. Smith, A History of the Modern British Isles, 1603-1707 (1998) and Derek Hirst, Dominion: England and its Island Neighbours, 1500-1707 (2012), which stresses England’s growing domination of Britain and Ireland through the early modern period.

John Wroughton, The Longman Companion to the Stuart Age (1997) is a sound ‘historical dictionary’ of the seventeenth century, while Barry Coward, A Companion to Stuart Britain (2003) is similar but offers more detailed analysis of many topics.

Socio-economic studies

Although they have much wider chronological spans, the social and economic history of early Stuart England is explored in Barry Coward, Social Change and Continuity: Early, Modern England 1550-1750 (revised edn, 1997), James Sharpe, Early Modern England. A Social History 1550-1760 (revised edn, 1997) and Keith Wrightson, English Society 1580-1680 (revised edn, 2003), as well as by Keith Wrightson in his study of the impact of economic affairs on individuals, Earthly Necessities: Economic Lives in Early Modern Britain (2002) and by the contributors to Keith Wrightson, A Social History of England, 1500-1750 (2017).

There has been many excellent recent books on aspects of society (broadly defined). Amongst the richest studies of recent years are Bernard Capp, When Gossips Meet: Women, Family and Neighbourhood in Early Modern England (2004), John Walter, Crowds and Popular Politics in Early Modern England (2006), Ken Fincham and Nick Tyacke, Altars Restored: The Changing Face of English Religioius Worship, 1547-c.1700 (2007), Alexandra Walsham, The Reformation of the Landscape: Religion, Identify and Memory in Early Modern Britain and Ireland (2011), Keith Wrightson, Ralph Tailor’s Summer: A Scrivener, his City and the Plague (2011), David Cressy, Dangerous Talk: Scandalous, Seditious and Treasonable Speech in Pre-Modern England (2012), Andy Wood, The Memory of the People: Custom and Popular Senses of the Past in Early Modern England (2013), Jonathan Healey, The First Century of Welfare: Poverty and Poor Relief in Lancashire, 1620-1730 (2013), Mark Hailwood, Alehouses and Good Fellowship in Early Modern England (2014), Mark Brayshay, Land Travel and Communications in Tudor and Stuart England: achieving a joined-up realm (2014), Alexandra Shepard, Accounting for One’s Self: Worth, Status and the Social Order in Early Modern England (2015), Peter Lake and Isaac Stephens, Scandal and Religious Identity in Early Stuart England: A Northamptonshire Maid’s Tragedy (2015) and Paul Slack, The Invention of Improvement: Information and Material Progress in Seventeenth-Century England (2015), all of which are packed with ideas and explore broader connections.

Primary sources

Key documents covering this period can be found in J. R. Tanner, Constitutional Documents of the Reign of James I (1930), S. R. Gardiner, Constitutional Documents of the Puritan Revolution (1906), Ann Hughes, Seventeenth-Century England: A Changing Culture, Volume I (1980) and, by far the fullest and widest-ranging collection, Barry Coward and Peter Gaunt, English Historical Documents, 1603-60 (2010).

Increasingly, primary source material can now be accessed online. The British History Online site gives access either free of charge or (in a small number of cases) for a modest subscription to a wide range of printed primary and also some secondary material covering the early and mid seventeenth century. The Early English Books Online site provides access to the full text of just about everything printed and published in England/in the English language down to 1700, and thus to all the printed proclamations and declarations, newspapers and other books and pamphlets, of the period, including the huge collection of Thomason Tracts of the 1640s and 1650s; however, this is a subscription-only resource and access is generally available only at or via academic libraries.

Biographical information

For those with access either to the multi-volume printed edition of 2004 or to the online version, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography contains good, up-to-date biographical accounts of all the key players in this period, from the heads of state – James VI and I, Charles I, Oliver Cromwell and Richard Cromwell all receive full and strong biographies – through churchmen, statesmen and politicians, to all the military leaders of the royalist and parliamentarian war efforts. It is generally now the best starting point for biographies and biographical information.

Politics in theory and in action

Political thought and ideology in this period are best approached via John Burns and Mark. Goldie, The Cambridge History of Political Thought, 1450-1700 (1990), J. P. Sommerville, Royalists and Patriots: Politics and Ideology in England, 1603-40 (1999), Glenn Burgess, British Political Thought, 1500-1640 (2009) and a trio of chapters in Barry Coward, A Companion to Stuart Britain (2003).

For politics and government in action, Gerald Aylmer’s trilogy is an important source of reference for officials of the state and crown, but also outlines the nuts and bolts of the structure of central government and administration: The King’s Servants: The Civil Service of Charles I, 1625-1642 (1961), The State’s Servants: The Civil Service of the English Republic, 1649-1660 (1973) and The Crown’s Servants: Government and Civil Service under Charles II, 1660-1685 (2002).

Michael Braddick, Parliamentary Taxation in Seventeenth-Century England: Local Administration and Response (1994) and The Nerves of State: Taxation and the Financing of the English State, 1558-1714 (1996) explore public finance.

David L. Smith’s The Stuart Parliaments, 1603-89 (1999) is an excellent and balanced survey. Chris Kyle has written or edited a trio of works which throw important light on aspects of the work and operation of early Stuart parliaments: Politics, Parliaments and Elections, 1604-48 (2001), Theater of State: Parliament and Political Culture in Early Stuart England (2012) and Managing Tudor and Stuart Parliaments (2015). For differing views on early Stuart elections and the electorate, compare Derek Hirst, The Representation of the People (1975) and Mark Kishlansky, Parliamentary Selection (1986).

James I

There are no particularly good full-length biographies of James I. D. H. Willson, King James VI and I (1956) is not only rather old but also very (overly?) critical of the king, as it was written at a time when his reputation was at a low ebb. The most recent full-length biographies, Alan Stewart, The Cradle King: A Life of James VI and I (2003) and John Matusiak, James I: Scotland’s King of England (2015) are both interesting accounts and quite full on his Scottish background.

The best general starting point on James I is the perceptive article by Jenny Wormald, ‘James VI and I: Two Kings or One?’, in the journal History, 68 (1983); she also wrote the very detailed and balanced biography of James in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Good, brief but scholarly assessment of James are to be found in Christopher Durston, James I (1993), S. J. Houston, James I (2nd edn, 1995), Roger Lockyer, James VI and I (1998) and Pauline Croft, King James (2003). Most of these cover James as James VI of Scotland as a prelude to his reign as James I of England, but for a more Scottish focus see also John Goodare and Michael Lynch, The Reign of James VI (2000).

Good studies of specific aspects of James I’s reign include Diana Newton, The Making of the Jacobean Regime: James VI and I and the Government of England, 16035 (2005); on the king’s unsuccessful proposal for a full Anglo-Scottish union, Bruce Galloway, The Union of England and Scotland, 1603-8 (1986); Conrad Russell’s posthumous volume King James VI and I and his English Parliaments (2011); Thomas Cogswell, The Blessed Revolution: English Politics and the Coming of War 1621-4 (1989); on religion and the church, Ken Fincham, Prelate as Pastor: The Episcopate of James I (1990), Ken Fincham, The Early Stuart Church, 1603-42 (1993) and, in a different context, W. B. Patterson, King James VI and I and the Reunion of Christendom (2000); David Coast, News and Rumour in Jacobean England (2014); and, on the repercussions of an almost certainly unfounded contemporary suggestion that James’s death was unnatural and that he was murdered by the Duke of Buckingham, Alastair Bellany and Thomas Cogswell, The Murder of King James I (2015).

Charles I to 1640

Three good studies of the man and his reign appeared during the 1990s: Brian Quintrell, Charles I, 1625-40 (1993), Michael Young, Charles I (1997) exploring the whole reign and strong on the historiography, and the slightly briefer account by Christopher Durston, Charles I (1998). Another fairly concise life of Charles, written jointly by Mark Kishlansky and John Morrill, is in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

In 2005 an excellent, new, full-length biography of Charles appeared: Richard Cust, Charles I: A Political Life (Harlow: Longman, 2005), a detailed but very readable and balanced study, and now far and away the best long study of Charles.

In what turned out to be his last book, Mark Kishlansky published a short biography of the king, Charles I: An Abbreviated Life (2014) in the ‘Penguin Monarchs’ series, but, like much of his work, it is (overly?) favourable to Charles I and not as balanced as Cust’s fuller account. The king emerges in a more mixed light in David Cressy’s study of his engagement with his subjects throughout his reign, Charles I and the People of England (2015). Also wide-ranging and exploring the king’s reign down to the outbreak of the civil war, Richard Cust assesses the relationship between Charles I and the peerage in Charles I and the Aristocracy, 1625-42 (2013).

Key aspects or phases during the opening years of Charles’s reign are assessed by Richard Cust, The Forced Loan and English Politics 1626-28 (1987), L. J. Reeve, Charles I and the Road to Personal Rule (1989), both of which have a political focus, and, chronologically and thematically wider, Paul Salzman, Literature and Politics in the 1620s (2014). Nick Tyacke, Anti-Calvinists: The Rise of English Arminianism (1987) sets out his key thesis that the imposition of Arminianism, especially during the 1620s and under Charles I, destroyed a Calvinist consensus in church and state.

Much recent work on Charles’s government during the Personal Rule of the 1630s is found in journal articles. By far the weightiest book on the topic is Kevin Sharpe’s blockbuster The Personal Rule of Charles I (1992), but it is unusually favourable to the king and is to be used with caution. Ian Atherton and Julie Sanders, The 1630s (2006) is a collection on the 1630s, stronger on the arts and culture than on politics, but still with important assessments of Charles I’s government during that decade. Michael Questier has edited an important batch of newsletters, complete with a detailed introduction, in Newsletters from the Caroline Court, 1631-38: Catholicism and the Politics of the Personal Rule (2005) and John Fielding has edited an equally important provincial diary of the period, The Diary of Robert Woodford (2012).

The localities and ‘Britain’ in the early Stuart age

The best study of local and county government in this period remains Anthony Fletcher, Reform in the Provinces: The Government of Stuart England (1986).

Good studies of rural communities include David Hey, An English Rural Community: Myddle Under the Tudors and Stuarts (1974), Margaret Spufford, Contrasting Communities: English Villagers in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (2nd edn, 1979), David Levine and Keith Wrightson, Poverty and Piety in an English Village: Terling, 1525-1700 (1979) and their The Making of an Industrial Society: Whickham, 1560-1765 (1991), Pamela Sharpe, Population and Society in an East Devon Parish: Reproducing Colyton, 1540-1840 (2002), John Broad, Transforming English Rural Society: the Verneys and the Claydons, 1600-1800 (2004), H. R. French and R. W. Hoyle, The Character of English Rural Society: Earls Colne, 1550-1750 (2007) and Dolly MacKinnon, Earls Colne’s Early Modern Landscapes (2014).

Good studies of counties or regions include John Morrill, Cheshire 1630-60 (1974), Anthony Fletcher, A County Community in Peace and War. Sussex, 1600-60 (1975), Clive Holmes, Seventeenth Century Lincolnshire (1980), Ann Hughes, Politics, Society and Civil War in Warwickshire, 1620-60 (1987), Andy Wood, The Politics of Social Conflict: The Peak Country, 1520-1770 (1999) and, exploring Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire, David Underdown, Revel, Riot and Rebellion: Popular Politics and Culture in England, 1603-60 (1987). Many of the older works on county history are underpinned by theories about the ‘county community’, which have now fallen out of fashion and are reassessed by Jackie Eales and Andy Hopper, The County Community in Seventeenth-Century England and Wales (2012).

A good introduction to the urban sector is found in Peter Clark, The Cambridge Urban History of Britain, II: 1540-1840 (2000). David Underdown, Fire From Heaven: Life in an English Town in the Seventeenth Century (1992) assesses tensions in early Stuart Dorchester, while Mark Stoyle looks at Exeter before as well as during the civil war in From Deliverance to Destruction: Rebellion and Civil War in an English City (1996). Fiona Williamson, Social Relations and Urban Space: Norwich, 1600–1700 (2014) is excellent. For recent work on the capital, see Robert Bucholz and Joseph Ward, London: A Social and Cultural History, 1550-1750 (2012) and J. F. Merritt, The Social World of Early Modern Westminster: Abbey, Court and Community, 1525-1640 (2012).

The outstanding study of early Stuart Wales is Lloyd Bowen, The Politics of the Principality: Wales, c.1603-1642 (2007). There has been a lot of new work on early modern (including early seventeenth-century) Ireland, including Nicholas Canny, Making Ireland British, 1580-1650 (2001), C. J. Connolly, Contested Island: Ireland, 1460-1630 (2007) and Divided Kingdom: Ireland, 1630-1800 (2008) and Patrick Lenihan, Consolidating Conquest: Ireland, 1603-1727 (2008), as well as Brian Mac Cuarta’s edited collection, Reshaping Ireland, 1550-1700: Colonization and its Consequences (2011). Scotland has not attracted so many new overviews and the best study of seventeenth-century Scotland as a whole remains Keith Brown, Kingdom or Province? Scotland and the Regal Union, 1603-1715 (1992); see also his excellent study of Noble Power in Scotland from the Reformation to the Revolution (2011).

The crisis of 1640-2

The (largely English) political history of the immediate pre-war years is surveyed in great detail by Conrad Russell, The Fall of the British Monarchies, 1637-42 (1991) and John Adamson, The Noble Revolt: The Overthrow of Charles I (2007). A very different perspective on this period and these events, focusing on relations between the centre and the provinces, is provided by Anthony Fletcher, The Outbreak of the English Civil War (1981). The fear, tension and distrust of the period are explored in detail by David Cressy, England on Edge: Crisis and Revolution, 1640-42 (2006). Caroline Hibbard, Charles I and the Popish Plot (1983) is a full-length study of that theme. John Walter, Covenanting Citizens: The Protestation Oath and Popular Political Culture in the English Revolution (2016) is the major reappraisal of that development and its repercussions. Questions about why Charles called the Long Parliament, how he gained support in parliament in the course of 1641-2 and how he attracted armed support in 1642 enabling him to launch a civil war are explored in the first three chapters of Clive Holmes’s Why Was Charles I Executed? (2006).

The causes of the English civil war

The causes of the civil war and the debate it has engendered are explored in different ways by Howard Tomlinson in the collection he edited Before the English Civil War (1983) and in greater detail by R. C. Richardson, The Debate on the English Revolution Revisited (3rd edn, 1998).

Probably the best, most up to date accounts of the fairly recent state of play – if now just beginning to show their age – are Ann Hughes, The Causes of the English Civil War (2nd end, 1998) and Norah Carlin, The Causes of the English Civil War (1998). However, neither work completely supersedes earlier books and collections in this field, including Lawrence Stone, The Causes of the English Revolution (revised edn, 1986), Conrad Russell’s edited collection, Origins of the English Civil War (1973) and Conrad Russell’s own interpretation in his The Causes of the English Civil War (1990).

Older attempts to locate the (causes of) the civil war in socio-economic problems and class struggle are reflected in works such as Christopher Hill, The English Revolution, 1640 (new edn, 1976) and Lawrence Stone, The Crisis of the Aristocracy (1965). The so-called ‘revisionist’ attempts during the 1970s and 1980s to explain the outbreak of civil war in terms of short-term political blunders, which like the socio-economic interpretations they replaced have also now fallen out of fashion, are coolly assessed by the various contributors to Richard Cust and Ann Hughes, Conflict in Early Stuart England (1989) and more recently by Ronald Hutton in a chapter on revisionism in his Debates in Stuart History (2004). During the 1990s there was a fashion for seeing the English war as just one part of a broader ‘British problem’, with the English conflict following on from and perhaps caused by trouble in Scotland and Ireland. This approach is pursued by Conrad Russell in several chapters of his The Causes of the English Civil War (1990) and is explored more broadly in Brendan Bradshaw and John Morrill, The British Problem (1996). Peter Gaunt, The British Wars (1997) takes a more sceptical line and indeed this ‘British’ approach to explaining the outbreak of civil war in England in 1642 has also tended to fade of late.

Broad studies of the 1640s (and 1650s)

Gerald Aylmer, Rebellion or Revolution? (1986) is a solid if now rather dated survey of the mid seventeenth century, Blair Worden, The English Civil Wars, 1640-60 (2009) is a thoughtful if brief overview, as, on the 1640s alone, is John Miller’s A Brief History of the English Civil Wars (2009). Michael Braddick’s The Oxford Handbook of the English Revolution (2015) provides a good and up-to-date collection of crisp overviews of different aspects of England and Britain during the 1640s and 1650s, some of them thematic, others chronologically structured. D. E. Kennedy, The English Revolution, 1642-49 (2000) provides a straightforward military and political account of most of the 1640s, while David Scott, Politics and War in the Three Stuart Kingdoms (2004) shows how the politics of England, Scotland and Ireland intertwined and impacted upon each other during that decade. John Morrill’s edited collection, The Impact of the English Civil War (1991) provides a broad thematic introduction to key issues of the 1640s, while his The Nature of the English Revolution (1993) gathers together and reprints key pieces on issues such as allegiance and the importance of religion; this theme is taken further in the collection edited by C. W. A. Prior and Glenn Burgess, England’s Wars of Religion Revisited (2011). John Morrill also edited an older though still useful collection, Reactions to the English Civil War (1982).

The civil war of 1642-6

There are many, mainly military histories of the civil war. The best include Richard Ollard, This War Without an Enemy (1976), Maurice Ashley, The English Civil War (1990), Austin Woolrych, Battles of the English Civil War (1992), John Adair, By the Sword Divided (1997), Martyn Bennett, The Civil Wars in Britain and Ireland (1997), A. H. Burne and Peter Young, The Great Civil War (1998), John Kenyon and Jane Ohlmeyer, The Civil Wars (1998), Stuart Reid, All the King’s Armies (1998), John Barratt, Cavaliers (2000), J. S. Wheeler, The Irish and British Wars (2002), Peter Gaunt, The English Civil Wars (2003), Malcolm Wanklyn and Frank Jones, The Military History of the English Civil War (2004) – see also Malcolm Wanklyn, Decisive Battles of the English Civil War (2006) and The Warrior Generals (2010) – Ian Gentles, The English Revolution and the Wars in the Three Kingdoms, 1638-52 (2007), Barbara Donagan, War in England, 1642-49 (2008), Michael Braddick, God’s Fury, England’s Fire (2008) and Peter Gaunt, The English Civil War: A Military History (2014). Most of these military accounts seek to explain how and why parliament won the civil war by 1646, as does Clive Holmes, Why Was Charles I Executed? (2006), chapter 4.

Studies of particular battles (and campaigns) are legion, too numerous to list anything more than a small selection here, but among the most interesting are Peter Young, Edgehill, 1642: The Campaign and the Battle (1967), Christopher Scott, Alan Turton and Eric Gruber Von Arni, Edgehill, the Battle Reinterpreted (2005), Keith Roberts, First Newbury, 1643: The Turning Point (2003), John Barratt, The First Battle of Newbury (2005), Jon Day, Gloucester and Newbury, 1643: The Turning Point of the Civil War (2007), John Adair, Cheriton: The Campaign and the Battle (1973), Peter Wenham, The Siege of York and the Battle of Marston Moor (1969), Peter Young, Marston Moor, 1644: the Campaign and the Battle (1970), John Barratt, The Battle for York: Marston Moor, 1644 (2002), Jonathan Worton, The Battle of Montgomery, 1644 (2016), Peter Young, Naseby, 1645: the Campaign and the Battle (1985), Glenn Foard, Naseby, the Decisive Campaign (1995), M. M. Evans, Naseby, 1645: the Triumph of the New Model Army (2007), J.S. Wardman, The Forgotten Battle: Torrington, 1646 (1996).

There have been more studies of individual generals and senior officers on the parliamentarian side than on the royalst, and among the most interesting are: John Adair, Roundhead General: The Campaigns of Sir William Waller (1997), Barry Denton, Only in Heaven: The Life and Campaigns of Sir Arthur Hesilrige (1997), David Farr, John Lambert (2003), Andy Hopper, ‘Black Tom’: Sir Thomas Fairfax and the English Revolution (2007) and Andy Hopper and Philip Major, England’s Fortress: New Perspectives on Thomas, Third Lord Fairfax (2013).

On the more technical or specialised aspects of the war, see David Blackmore, Arms and Armour of the English Civil War (1990), Keith Roberts, Soldiers of the English Civil War I: Infantry (1989) and John Tincey, Soldiers of the English Civil War II: Cavalry(1990). For the physical context of the civil war, see Peter Gaunt, The Cromwellian Gazetteer (1987) and a trio of studies by Peter Harrington: The Archaeology of the English Civil War (1992), English Civil War Fortifications (2003) and English Civil War Archaeology (2004). Glenn Foard has been at the forefront of applying landscape archaeology techniques in general and metal detector surveys in particular to the sites of civil war battles and sieges – see his Battlefield Archaeology of the English Civil War (2012) and, with Richard Morris, The Archaeology of English Battlefields: Conflict in the Pre-Industrial Landscape (2012). Stephen Porter’s Destruction in the English Civil War (1994) is the best study of that topic.

The experiences of combatants and civilians during the war are explored by Martyn Bennett, The Civil Wars Experienced (2000) and by Charles Carlton, Going to the Wars (1992). Peter Edwards examines the war-time arms trade in Dealing in Death (2000), while Gavin Robinson focuses on the supply of horses to the parliamentarian armies but (as his title implies) ranges rather more widely in his Horses, People and Parliament in the English Civil War: Extracting Resources and Constructing Allegiance (2012). Mark Stoyle looks at the role of various ‘outsiders’, including the Cornish and Welsh, as well as soldiers from Scotland, Ireland and the Continent, in the English civil war in Soldiers and Strangers (2005) and the position of those who changed sides in the course of the conflict is assessed in Andy Hopper, Turncoats and Renegadoes: Changing Sides during the English Civil Wars (2012). A fascinating study, linking military history, the standing of a particular royalist leader and the occult, see Mark Stoyle, The Black Legend of Prince Rupert’s Dog: Witchcraft and Propaganda during the English Civil War (2011). On a less overtly military theme and with a broader outlook, Ann Hughes, Gender and the English Revolution (2012) explores the impact of civil war on women (and on men, too).

Volumes of collected articles and work on the civil war

Richard Cust and Ann Hughes, The English Civil War (1997) is an important and very useful collection of journal articles on the background to and nature of the civil war, grouped under the headings of politics, religion and society and culture, while Peter Gaunt, The English Civil War (2000) is a collection of journal articles, with substantial editorial commentary, focusing on the 1640s and exploring the nature, causes, course and consequences of the civil war. While more work has been undertaken on the parliamentarian than the royalist side, the collection edited by Jason McElligott and David L. Smith, Royalists and Royalism during the English Civil War (2010) focuses on the latter and, although it covers both sides, the collection edited by John Adamson, The English Civil War (2009) is at its strongest in casting new light on the royalist war effort and the internal politics of the war-time royalist court. David L. Smith, Constitutional Royalism and the Search for Settlement (2002) is an important study of royalist thought in the 1640s.

Towns, counties and regions in war-time (and beyond)

John Morrill’s Revolt in the Provinces (1998), shows how the provinces of England and Wales related and reacted to events at the centre over the period 1630-50.

Among the best town studies, Underdown and Stoyle on Dorchester and Exeter respectively have already been mentioned, but see also Malcolm Atkin and Wayne Laughlin, Gloucester and the Civil War (1992), Stephen Porter’s edited collection, London and the Civil War (1996), J. F. Merritt, Westminster, 1640-60: A Royal City in a Time of Revolution (2013), John Lynch, For King and Parliament. Bristol and the Civil War (1998), Philip Tennant, The Civil War in Stratford upon Avon (1996), John Barratt, Cavalier Stronghold: Ludlow in the English Civil Wars (2013) and his Cavalier Capital: Oxford in the English Civil War (2015).

Among the best county studies, Morrill on Cheshire, Fletcher on Sussex, Holmes on Lincolnshire and Hughes on Warwickshire have already been mentioned. See also Alan Everitt, The Community of Kent and the Great Rebellion (1966), Stephen Roberts, Recovery and Restoration in an English County: Devon Local Administration, 1646-60 (1985), Andrew Coleby, Central Government and the Localities: Hampshire (1987), Mark Stoyle, Loyalty and Locality: Popular Allegiances in Devon during the English Civil War (1994), Malcolm Atkin, The Civil War in Worcestershire (1995) – see also his Worcestershire Under Arms (2004) – David Eddershaw, The Civil War in Oxfordshire (1995), Tim Goodwin, Dorset in the Civil War (1996), Philip Scaysbrook, The Civil War in Leicestershire and Rutland (1996), Tony Maclachlan, The Civil War in Wiltshire (1997), Stephen Bull, ‘A General Plague of Madness’: The Civil Wars in Lancashire (2009), J. M. Gratton, The Parliamentarian and Royalist War Effort in Lancashire (2010), David Ross, Royalist But…Herefordshire in the English Civil War, 1640-1651 (2012), Ian Beckett, Wanton Troopers: Buckinghamshire in the Civil Wars (2015), Jonathan Worton, To Settle the Crown: Waging Civil War in Shropshire (2016) and Andrew Warmington, Civil War, Interregnum and Restoration in Gloucestershire (1997).

Among the best regional studies, Underdown on Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire has already been mentioned. See also Clive Holmes, The Eastern Association in the English Civil War (1974), Roy Sherwood, Civil War in the Midlands (1992), Philip Tennant, Edgehill and Beyond: The People’s War in the South Midlands (1992), John Wroughton, Unhappy Civil War: The Experiences of Ordinary People in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire (1999) and Ronald Hutton, The Royalist War Effort (new edn, 1999), which explores the royalists at war in Wales, the Marches and the West Midlands.

R. C. Richardson has edited two important collections on local affairs: Town and Countryside in the English Revolution (1992) is a collection of newly-written pieces, while Local Dimensions of the English Civil War (1997) usefully gathers together and reprints a selection of journal articles.

The war in Wales is assessed in Peter Gaunt, A Nation Under Siege (1991), as well as, at a county level, by Kenneth Parker, Radnorshire from Civil War to Restoration (2000), Jeremy Knight, Civil War and Restoration in Monmouthshire (2005) and Terry John, The Civil War in Pembrokeshire (2008).

War and fighting in Scotland and Ireland in the 1640s

For the Irish and Scottish dimensions to the fighting of the 1640s, see Barry Robertson, Royalists at War in Scotland and Ireland, 1638-50 (2014).

On Ireland, the rebellion of 1641 has attracted a lot of attention, including Brian Mac Cuarta, Ulster, 1641: Aspects of the Rising (2nd edn., 1997), Eamon. Darcy, The Irish Rebellion of 1641 and the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (2013), Eamon Darcy and others, The 1641 Depositions and the Irish Rebellion (2014) and Micheál Ó Siochrú and Jane Ohlmeyer, Ireland, 1641: Contexts and Reactions (2015). The story of the rest of the 1640s is told by Patrick Lenihan, Confederate Catholics at War, 1641-49 (2001), Micheál Ó Siochrú, Confederate Ireland, 1642-49 (2008) and Elaine Murphy, Ireland and the War at Sea, 1641-53 (2012). An excellent biography of one of the key Irish figures of the 1640s is Jane Ohlmeyer, A Seventeenth-Century Survivor: The Political Career of Randal Mac Donnell, First Marquis and Second Earl of Antrim (1991).

On Scotland, Mark Fissel, The Bishops’ Wars: Charles I’s Campaigns against Scotland, 1638-40 (1994) is the outstanding study of the two wars which Charles fought against the Scots in 1639 and 1640. David Stevenson, The Scottish Revolution 1637-44: The Triumph of the Covenanters (1973), David Stevenson, Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Scotland, 1644-51 (1977), Sharon Adams and Julian Goodare, Scotland in the Age of Two Revolutions (2014) – the two revolutions in question being those of 1638 and 1689 – and Laura Stewart, Rethinking the Scottish Revolution: Covenanted Scotland, 1637-1651 (2016) take the story on through the 1640s and a little beyond. Excellent biographies of the two outstanding Scottish figures of the 1640s are Edward Cowan, Montrose: For Covenant and King (1977) and Allan Macinnes, The British Confederate: Archibald Campbell, Marquess of Argyll, 1607-1661 (2011).

The New Model Army

On the parliamentarian army and its role during the closing years of the first civil war and beyond see Mark Kishlansky, The Rise of the New Model Army (1979) and the somewhat different views of Ian Gentles, The New Model Army in England, Ireland and Scotland, 1645-53 (1991).

The failure of peace and resumption of civil war, 1646-8

Robert Ashton, Counter Revolution: The Second Civil War and its Origins (1994) is a very detailed study of the years 1646-8, while Austin Woolrych, Soldiers and Statesmen (1987) offers an equally detailed and masterly account of the role of the army within the political events of 1647-8. See also the collection focusing on the military and civilian debates of autumn 1647 edited by Michael Mendle, The Putney Debates of 1647 (2001).

The renewed fighting of 1648 in South Wales is reassessed by Robert Matthews, ‘A Storme Out of Wales’ (2012), while the events at Colchester are related in some detail by Phil Jones, The Siege of Colchester (2003), though see also the closing part of Barbara Donagan, War in England, 1642-49 (2008) on that siege.

The army also looms large in David Underdown, Pride’s Purge (1971), the outstanding analysis of post-second civil war politics and the events of early December 1648 which paved the way for the regicide.

In recent years there has been a lot of new work on the causes and course of the trial and execution of the king and of whether his execution was inevitable or avoidable. Much of this is to be found in specialised journal articles, but for a flavour of the debate see the collection edition by Jason Peacey, The Regicides and the Execution of Charles I (2001) and Clive Holmes, Why Was Charles I Executed? (2006), chapter five.

Radicalism and radical groups

There is a mass of material on the political and religious radicalism unleashed during the 1640s. Despite its age and some criticisms of it, Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down (1972) is still the classic account. Less elegant but somewhat more recent are F. D. Dow, Radicalism in the English Revolution (1985) and J. F. McGregor and Barry Reay, Radical Religion in the English Revolution (1984). More recent introductions to religious radicalism are Christopher Durston and Judith Maltby, Religion in Revolutionary England (2006) and the crisp account in Andrew Bradstock, Radical Religion in Cromwell’s England (2011).

Each particular radical group has attracted books and articles. Andrew Sharpe, The English Levellers (1998) reprints and briefly examines some key documents, while aspects of Levellerism are analysed by Rachel Foxley, The Levellers (2013). The Levellers and Levellerism also loom large in some of the papers in Mendle’s The Putney Debates and in the collection edited by Philip Baker and Elliott Vernon, The Agreements of the People, the Levellers and the Constitutional Crisis of the English Revolution (2012). John Rees, The Leveller Revolution: Radical Political Organisation in England, 1640-50 (2016) is a broader study. As for the Diggers, Andrew Bradstock, Winstanley and the Diggers (2001) is a good collection of articles on different aspects and John Gurney, Brave Community: the Digger Movement in the English Revolution (2007) reassesses both Winstanley and the wider Digger movement.

The standard work on the Fifth Monarchists remains Bernard Capp, The Fifth Monarchy Men (1972) and on the Quakers Barry Reay, The Quakers and the English Revolution (1985). The Muggletonians have been assessed by Christopher Hill, Barry Reay and William Lamont, The World of the Muggletonians (1983). A radical reappraisal of the Ranters was advanced by J. C. Davis, Fear, Myth and History (1986).

The republic, 1649-60

Works specifically on the period 1649-60 include brief outlines by Austin Woolrych, England Without A King (1983) and Toby Barnard, The English Republic (revised edn, 1997) and, offering more detail, Ronald Hutton, The British Republic, reissued with an important new introductory chapter (2nd edn, 2000), which has sections analysing central government, local government, and relations with Scotland, Ireland and the wider world. John Morrill, Revolution and Restoration (1992) is a collection of essays on a variety of themes focusing on the 1650s.

Studies of that decade with somewhat narrower themes include Jason McElligott and David L. Smith, Royalists and Royalism during the Interregnum (2010) and Bernard Capp, England’s Cultural Wars: Puritan Reformation and its Enemies in the Interregnum (2012).

The Rump and the Nominated Assembly, 1649-53

The best account of central government 1649-53 under the purged ‘rump’ of the Long Parliament is provided by Blair Worden, The Rump Parliament (1974), though see also the important perspective provided by Sean Kelsey, Inventing a Republic: The Political Culture of the English Commonwealth (1997). Austin Woolrych, Commonwealth to Protectorate (1982) continues the account, looking at the various changes of 1653; this now provides the best study not only of the expulsion of the Rump in spring 1653 – though Chapter 6 of Clive Holmes, Why Was Charles I Executed? (2006) revisits that thorny question – but also of the body variously known as the Nominated Assembly, Barebone’s Parliament, the Parliament of Saints or the Little Parliament of July to December 1653 and of the establishment of the Protectorate at the end of the year.

The Protectorate of Oliver and Richard Cromwell, 1653-59

By far the best introduction to, and study of, the period of the Protectorate, from December 1653 to spring 1659, is Barry Coward, The Cromwellian Protectorate (2002), which provides a very balanced and quite detailed account.

For works on Oliver Cromwell as Protector and on aspects of his Protectoral government, please see the other bibliography available here.

There are no particularly good biographies of Richard Cromwell, though see Peter Gaunt in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and Jason Peacey’s chapters in Patrick Little, The Cromwellian Protectorate (2007) and Patrick Little, Oliver Cromwell: New Perspectives (2009).

The collapse of the republic and the Restoration

The collapse of the republic in 1659-60 and the ensuing Restoration of monarchy are explored in different ways by John Miller, The Restoration and the England of Charles II (1997), Ronald Hutton, The Restoration (1985), Paul Seaward, The Restoration (1991), N. H. Keeble, The Restoration (2002) and Tim Harris, Restoration: Charles II and his Kingdoms (2005).

The closing part of Henry Reece, The Army in Cromwellian England, 1649-60 (2013) is important on the army’s political role (and failings) in 1659-60. Ruth Mayers, 1659: The Crisis of the Commonwealth (2004) reviews the same period in a different way and reaching different conclusions.

John Miller, After the Civil Wars (2001) places the post-war period and legacy in short-term and longer-term contexts. Christopher Hill, The Experience of Defeat (1983) charts what happened when God apparently deserted the parliamentarians, when – as one army officer put it – ‘the Lord spat in our face’. The remembrance of the civil wars after the Restoration is explored in different ways by Matthew Neufeld, The Civil Wars After 1660: Public Remembering in Late Stuart England (2013) and by Blair Worden, Roundhead Reputations: The English Civil Wars and the Passions of Posterity (2001).