Introducing the Century of the Soldier…

A painting of c1630 sheds light on Shrewsbury at the time of the Stuarts

A painting of c1630 sheds light on Shrewsbury at the time of the Stuarts

The New Year was to see the launch of Helion and Companies latest book series, The Century of the Soldier 1618-1721. The dynamic new range will examine the nature and conduct of warfare that took place between the years 1618 to 1721. This period has often been described as the ‘Golden Age of Pike and Shot’.

This time frame has been seen by many historians as a period of not only great social change, but of fundamental developments within military matters. This is the period of the ‘Military Revolution’ – the development of standing armies, the widespread introduction of black powder weapons and a greater professionalism within the culture of military personnel.

The new Century of the Soldier series will examine the period is a greater degree of detail than has been attempted in similar formats. The series has a very wide brief and intends to cover all aspects of the period from the battles, campaigns, logistics and tactics, to the personalities, armies, uniforms and equipment.

The first book in the series Famous By My Sword. The Army of Montrose and the Military Revolution has already been published. Hot on its heels are Marlborough’s Other Army. The British Army and the Campaigns of the First Peninsular War 1702-1712 and Cavalier Capital. Oxford in the English Civil War 1642-1646.  Further books will be published in the second half of the year and we can expect many more to come.

Charles Singleton, pictured with a matchlock musket; typical of the kind of fire arm used in the mid-17th century, which would have been a common sight on the street of Shrewsbury during the civil war

Charles Singleton, pictured with a matchlock musket; typical of the kind of firearm used in the mid-17th century, which would have been a common sight on the street of Shrewsbury during the civil war

Charles Singleton author of Famous By My Sword. The Army of Montrose and the Military Revolution, was instrumental in developing the series. He says: “The Pike and Shot era of warfare has always been my principal interest. The developments that take place within military circles during the 17th century are the foundations of the modern military today.

‘When I wrote the book on the Montrose Royalist army, I wanted to challenge the antiquated notion that this was an army made up of traditional Clan forces. The reality is somewhat different; it was very much influenced by the ‘Military Revolution’ – a rapid growth of military professionalism that was evolving across the British Isles and across Western Europe.

‘It was officered by men who had seen service with the new modern European armies. I feel by placing the Scots within a new dynamic of military affairs, I am giving real credit to their military achievements.”

The series will be supported by a number of annual events:

Saturday 16 May will see the official launch of the Century of the Soldier series at Rowley’s House in Shrewsbury. This will be a free event and include lunch. The day will see the coming together of likeminded groups such as the English Civil War Society, the Sealed Knot and the Pike and Shot Society, along with a fantastic display by the Shrewsbury Wargames Society. Throughout the day, we shall be running a number of brief talks about the period. These will include topics as diverse as Shrewsbury as a garrison town; the army of James IInd and Cromwell’s cavalry raid into Oxfordshire in April 1645.

Saturday 19 September will see the launch of the Helion Century of the Soldier Conference Series. The theme of this year’s first conference is ‘Sinews of War’, and features papers by leading academic specialists in the field including Professor Peter Gaunt and Professor Malcolm Wanklyn. Tickets will go on sale shortly for this event and are costed at £25 including a lunch.

As this new series expands to cover the battle of the White Mountain to the Great North War, we will be on the lookout for new authors and ideas. We welcome all new original research and will consider all proposals.

Helion are especially keen to publish new titles on subjects that have received little or no coverage in the past, and we welcome new and revisionist research. Please contact the Series Editor Charles Singleton on charlesjsingleton@yahoo.co.uk

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