Dissertation by Tom Pert – ‘Colonel John Hutchinson and the Committee of Nottingham: Civil-Military discord amongst Parliamentarians in the First English Civil War, 1642-46’

We have a new dissertation piece today from Tom Pert. Some useful notes on sources for any one interested in the English Civil War, so have a read.

As any student of a history-related topic knows, absolutes are non-existent and whereas theories of earlier scholars differentiate quite clearly into black and white, the reality is a mass spectrum of grey. Such is the case with the English Civil War as although the generalisations made by earlier scholars such as Christopher Hill, Alfred Wood and Lawrence Stone have been reviewed in more recent years by subsequent generations of historians, they still hold considerable sway in the study of the topic.

This dissertation, therefore, intends to examine the divisions that emerged within the Parliamentarian ranks during the First English Civil War and, using the example of the internal conflict between Colonel John Hutchinson, governor of Nottingham Castle and other members of the parliamentarian Committee of Nottingham, examine the claims made by earlier historians that divisions within the parliamentarian ranks were between ‘Locally-minded moderates’ with civic roles and ‘Nationally-minded radicals’ emerging from the military.

The project also seeks to evaluate the seriousness of such divisions and whether they hindered the ability of the Parliamentarians (in the case of the town of Nottingham) to successfully defend their areas from Royalist attacks. In doing so, the dissertation shall draw on the evidence from contemporary sources, primarily ‘Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson’ by his wife, Lucy, as well as other primary materials such as newsbooks detailing any such military action, entries in the journals of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and also the correspondence of any key figures such as Hutchinson’s arguably staunchest opponent  Dr. Huntington Plumptre (member of the Committee of Nottingham) as well as that of Colonel Hutchinson himself.

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