Thursday, 14 June 2018

Cavaliers and Roundheads

The UK education system spends a great deal of time teaching children about the Tudors but, in my experience, very little time teaching them about the English Civil War. I find this surprising as I have a suspicion that that conflict still influences the stance different Britons take when forming their opinions about contemporary issues. Just lately, in fact, following the Brexit vote, it has felt more and more as if a second civil war might be on the point of breaking out, The level of hostility felt by supporters of each side towards their opponents seems almost as intense as I imagine that felt by each side in the days of Cromwell.

It is very dismaying.

What I’d love to know though, if there is anyone out there who has access to this kind of information, is whether any kind of correlation can be discerned between parts of the country that once supported the Cavaliers or the Roundheads and parts of the country that voted to leave the European Union in the recent referendum - or to stay. Does anyone know? Is there any kind of discernible pattern that shows views on Brexit mirroring former Civil War allegiances?


  1. Lewes supported Parliament in the Civil War, while the surrounding countryside was resolutely Cavalier. That ideological schism has persisted until today and the bien pensants of the Lewes liberal left are at odds with their rural, foxhunting, pro-Brexit bretheren. I have to keep quiet about my royalist sympathies.

  2. That would be an interesting idea to explore.
    As an American, of course our Civil War was much more recent than yours, & was also geographically much more clearly defined. There is no doubt in my mind that we are still fighting it, and particularly since Trump was elected.
    Back to your Civil War -- one of my all-time favorite novels is Daphne Du Maurier's "The King's General".