The British Civil Wars touched every man, woman and child in Britain and its effects were felt for decades after the conflict ended in 1652. During the conflict, thousands of men were left maimed, women widowed and children orphaned. They were desperate for help from successive Republican regimes, the Protectorate that followed and subsequently from the Crown after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660.
For the first time in British history, successive governments accepted this responsibility by providing financial relief to wounded veterans, as well as war widows and bereaved family members. The resulting national program of relief was not repeated until the Boer War of the 1900s and resonates with today’s armed forces covenant.
Uniquely, the stories of these ordinary people are preserved in more than 4000 petitions. These are the voices of survivors of the civil wars, whose stories would have been lost to history.
The principal investigator of the Professor Andrew Hopper introduces this window in to what the conflict meant for ordinary people.