The theme of the 2016 Conference was 'Professionalism'.
War quickens the pace of military and technological change, and the increasing pace and scope of European warfare during the 16th and 17th centuries prepared the ground for the professional military forces we are familiar with today. The speakers at Helion& Company's second annual English Civil War Conference examined a broad range of subjects relating to the increasing professionalisation of military bodies and their personnel throughout the 17th century.
Using the Royalist colonel Sir George Lisle as a case study, Serena Jones addresses the concept of a 'professional officer' - exploring whether such a figure existed in the mid-17th century and whether the term itself can be legitimately applied to Lisle and his contemporaries. Stephen Ede-Borrett uses soldiers' personal information found in late-17th century 'Deserters' Notices' in The London Gazette to offer insights into the composition of England's early standing army. Professor Malcolm Wanklyn looks towards the Restoration and examines how the internal dynamics of the New Model Army during the Commonwealth period may have contributed to its failure to prevent the return of the monarchy in 1660. John Barratt focuses on the Royalist 'Northern Horse' during the first English Civil War and assesses how the personal qualities and characteristics of its officers and men contributed to its effectiveness in the field. Andrew Robertshaw examines how the pre-Civil War military experience of the officers of Marmaduke Rawdon's 'London Regiment' contributed to its performance at Basing House and Faringdon Garrison. Dr Jonathan Worton uses the Battle of Montgomery in 1644 to consider the structures and effectiveness of contemporary High Command on both sides. Peter Leadbetter looks back to the early part of the century to examine the men who comprised the pre-Civil War county-trained bands and if (or how) they later participated in the Civil Wars. Finally, Simon Marsh examines the career of James Wemyss and demonstrates how his experiments in artillery technology extended far further than creating the leather guns for which he is best known.
S.F. Jones spent many years as an English Civil War re-enactor before earning a BA Honours in History as a mature student and starting her own publishing company to make primary 17th century texts available for modern researchers. She is currently transcribing and annotating the civil war newsbooks, and researching the lesser-known officers of Charles I's 'Oxford Army'. No Armour But Courage is the first of her works to be published outside her own company.