Dr. Sam Caslin from Liverpool University looks at the power of historical sources to show how ordinary men and women were affected by the British Civil Wars. The Civil Wars of the 1640s were perhaps the most violent and destructive episodes in British history. They were a fierce struggle between King Charles I and Parliament over how and in whose interests the country should be governed. But as usual in wars, it was ordinary men and women who experienced the brunt of the suffering. Caslin investigates a number of sources at Kew National Archives to discover the full impact of the conflict. These include letters from Parliamentary soldiers about Royalist plunder, and evidence of the punitive measures by the Parliamentarians to extract funds from their own supporters to finance the wars.
Pupils could be asked to consider why, in 1648 most people in England no longer cared whether Parliament or the King ruled the country they just wanted an end to the fighting. They could then watch Sam analyse each of the sources and after each one they could be asked to explain how the source was useful evidence in trying to answer this question.