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Tony Grist

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Cavalier: Lucy Worsley [Aug. 2nd, 2013|08:43 am]
Tony Grist
William Cavendish was a Civil War General (gallant but incompetent), a poet and playwright (not very good), an amateur architect (partly responsible for the delectable Bolsover Castle in Nottinghamshire), a playboy ( a great pouncer on housemaids), an ur-feminist (married and devoted to the extraordinarily eccentric Margaret- author of the first SF novel in the English language) and a horseman (the world authority on what we now call dressage, who, had he been around today, would have been weighed down with Olympic gold). It was a big life- and Worsley uses it as the peg- or series of pegs- on which to hang an entertaining social history- which tells you all you could possibly want to know about what 17th century people of all classes ate, wore, smelled like and all that kind of thing.
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Comments:
From: cmcmck
2013-08-02 07:46 am (UTC)
Read it a while back. Worsley is an entertaining writer. It's lightweight academically, but a lot of fun.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-08-02 07:53 am (UTC)
I've always enjoyed her TV work.

Lightweight? It struck me as being exhaustively researched. The bibliography is enough to turn one faint.
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From: cmcmck
2013-08-02 10:33 am (UTC)
I have to read heavyweight academic stuff where the biblios run almost to a seperate volume! I tend to read Lucy Worsley for fun because she's not a grinding, tedious writer like some academics I could name.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-08-02 03:04 pm (UTC)
Exactly. She informs and she entertains and she brings her subjects to life.
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[User Picture]From: idahoswede
2013-08-02 01:10 pm (UTC)
Funnily enough, I just bought a book entitled "Reprobates, The Cavaliers of the English Civil War" so I am sure I will run across Cavendish in due course (page 163 apparently).
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-08-02 03:06 pm (UTC)
He's admirable and infuriating by turns. Part Errol Flynn, part Benny Hill,

Have you ever been to Bolsover Castle?
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[User Picture]From: idahoswede
2013-08-02 03:08 pm (UTC)
To Bamburgh Castle and Bodiam Castle, yes, but not Bolsover. Will go on my wish list.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-08-02 04:19 pm (UTC)
Bolsover beats Bodiam in my book because it has intact rooms with wonderfully peculiar 17th century murals.
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From: cmcmck
2013-08-02 03:07 pm (UTC)
This one is also a lot of fun. Dubious lot, Charles's army!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-08-02 04:28 pm (UTC)
I get the impression that the uselessness of Charles's generals had a lot to do with him losing the war. Putting a chap in charge of your army just because he's a Marquis is really poor strategy.

William Cavendish's soldiers mutinied on the eve of the battle of Marston Moor because he hadn't paid them.
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From: cmcmck
2013-08-02 04:47 pm (UTC)
Troops not getting paid is an issue throughout early modern warfare.

That said, Thomas Fairfax was an aristo and Fairfax was good (even if Essex wasn't).Charles had Rupert and Rupert was a surprisingly good cavalry general, especially as, contrary to popular belief, he'd had very little military experience before fetching up to help his Uncle.

When Charles fell out with Rupert after the Second Siege of Bristol, he was doomed- even if Marston Moor and Naseby were terminal, in truth.

Edited at 2013-08-02 04:48 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-08-03 07:41 am (UTC)
I'm guessing Fairfax got his generalship because he was good and not because of his position in the hierarchy.

And then there's Cromwell. Someone like him- an untitled country gentleman- would never have been given a top job under Charles.
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From: cmcmck
2013-08-03 08:34 am (UTC)
Good and experienced with Swedish troops in the Thirty Years' war.

Cromwell what that rare thing- a natural general.

My own fave is the parliamentarian siegemaster, Thomas Rainborowe (who some people will insist is spelled Rainsborough).

Edited at 2013-08-03 08:36 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-08-03 09:44 am (UTC)
Rainborowe is a far superior spelling.
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From: cmcmck
2013-08-05 01:30 pm (UTC)
It's also how he signed his name and that's good enough for me! :o)

Edited at 2013-08-05 01:30 pm (UTC)
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From: athenais
2013-08-03 12:18 am (UTC)
Oh, I am very fond of that book! It made me want to go to time travel so I could meet Margaret.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-08-03 07:38 am (UTC)
I read her SF book- the name of which escapes me at the moment- and it's very, very strange.
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