Book Review-‘The British Civil Wars at Sea 1638–1653’by R. J. Blakemore and E. Murphy

By Thomas Malcomson, published December 2020


This book examines Parliamentarian and Royalist use of their respective naval forces, during the English Civil Wars. Blakemore and Murphy explore the shifting allegiances, parliament’s overhaul of the navy’s organization, the naval support to their respective armies, and the role of privateers within the overall military story of the Civil Wars. The authors add to our knowledge of this formative conflict, and the development of what would become the British navy.

Previous work on the Civil Wars has dealt summarily with the naval component, over-looking the blockade and siege aspects, focusing on the navy that sided with Parliament in 1642, ignoring other elements that made up the naval forces, and not dealing with the broader theatre of war at sea around the British Isles and in the colonies. To rectify these short comings, Blakemore and Murphy tackle three objectives: providing a more thorough overview of the naval element within the English Civil Wars; appraising the role played by the naval forces in shaping the wars’ course and outcome; and determining the impact of the wars on ‘British naval and imperial history’ (pp. 11 and 174)…

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Filed under: English Civil War
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics

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