English Civil War talks and walks with Charles Cordell – author of the Divided Kingdom series of British Civil Wars fiction.
As an author of English Civil War fiction, I like nothing better than giving talks and battlefield walks. I am also keen to give more formal lectures on the causes of conflict in the 17th Century and their echoes today. Finally, I am a fan of Living History and of Historical Re-enactment. I believe both play an important role in making history accessible. I hope my writing can complement these forms of Historical Interpretation.
If you would like me to support you with a talk, lecture or battlefield walk, please do get in touch. You can do this via the Contact Page. Alternatively, you can email me directly as a member of the Divided Kingdom Readers’ Club.
If you want to see a little of what I have been doing, please visit the News & Events page on this website. Alternatively, if you want to see more photos, videos and comments from previous walks and talks, as well as upcoming events, do check out the Facebook Page at: CharlesCordellBooks.
Talks – Book Talks, English Civil War and Local History Talks
I really enjoy talking to fellow enthusiasts. I can talk on a range of topics, about the 17th Century, the British Civil Wars and/or about writing and my experience as an author. A combination of these topics can often work well.
Authors tend to give book talks. Typically, these include a bit about the author and how they came to write, an explanation of their book, a reading from it, questions and answers, and a book signing. I am very happy to give book talks. However, I aim to tailor each talk to local interests and be steered by your questions.
I am equally happy to give informal talks on specific topics. These can focus more on the history, rather than the book or writing. Topics might include a particular battle or local history within the English Civil War.
If you would like me to talk to a group of friends or colleagues, please do get in touch. If it fits, I will try to programme your talk into my schedule.
Lectures – Causes of Conflict in the 17th Century and Today
If you are looking for something a little more formal, I can give lectures. I am particularly keen to lecture on The General Crisis of the 17th Century as well as the English Revolution and Great Rebellion of 1642.
The focus of these lectures is very much on the causes of conflict and what drove people to fight in the 17th Century. They draw on my experience as a soldier and diplomat in areas of modern conflict. The aim is to highlight fundamental lessons applicable to tribalism, ‘culture war’ and resurgent extremism today.
These lectures may not be part of a syllabus. However, I hope they might offer inspiration and provoke debate amongst students of Early Modern history. If it helps, I am an alumnus of the King’s College London War Studies department. Please do get in contact if a lecture would be of interest.
I believe that one of the keys to understanding a battle is to walk the battlefield. It is important to see the ground from a soldier’s perspective. A map study alone will not achieve this. I take time to walk every battle I write about.
I try to look at battlefields from both sides, from first to last moments, ideally at the same time of year as the battle was fought. When I walk a battle, I draw on my experiences as a soldier and as an archaeologist. If you would like me to join or lead a battlefield tour, please do get in touch.
I am particularly familiar with Edgehill, Aylesbury and Brentford from my research for God’s Vindictive Wrath. However, I also now have a good understanding of Lansdown Hill, Devizes, Roundway Down and the Storm of Bristol in 1643. These are key to the second book of the Divided Kingdom series.
Although I have not written about them, I am reasonably familiar with the sieges of Denbigh and Chester. I can also lead a good walk along much of the Civil War defences around London, the Lines of Communication. Given a bit of time to prepare, I can probably lead a walk to understand other Civil War battlefields.
Finally, I would add that I believe we need to do as much as we can to protect our battlefields. This includes promoting better understanding of their importance. I am a member of The Battlefields Trust which protects battlefields on behalf of Historic England. Please do take a look at their website and their UK Battlefields Resource Centre. It is a really useful site.
Living History and Historical Re-enactment
My writing is as historically accurate as I can make it. I find it very difficult to bend from known events or conditions. The British Civil Wars are filled with extraordinary moments, characters and stories. There is no need for invention.
However, I am a fan of Living History and of Historical Re-enactment. I believe that both can play a role in helping us understand historical events, conditions and perceptions. They are also a great way of making history accessible, tangible.
I believe that Living History and Historical Re-enactment can be particularly powerful if paired with other forms of Historical Interpretation. I hope that the historical fiction I write has a role to play in this. My books aim to combine historical narrative with the emotions of ordinary people present on each side of the conflict.
If you are planning a Living History or Historical Re-enactment event and feel that I can help inspire participants and/or visitors, please do get in contact. If you are interested in visiting a British Civil War re-enactment, do check the Sealed Knot and English Civil War Society websites for events. You may also find Living History events at local historic venues as well as at the 17th Century Living History village of Little Woodham.