British Civil Wars

(1.1.ii) British Civil Wars - Volume 1 Bonus 2 - Mince Pies And Misrule

Just in time for Christmas, Fiona sets a few myths about festivities during the British Civil Wars straight.


Writer and Presenter: Fiona Barnett @stitchthisfiona

Producer: Emily Benita @BenitaEmily

Technical Producer and Sound Engineer: Ali Alnajjar @Alithelampie

Historical Consultant: Mary Jacobs @msmaryjacobs

Music Composer and Performer: Harry Harris @CmonHarris

A huge, highly-caffeinated thank you to our Patreons, ScaryBiscuits, Tom Vickers and Tom Wein.



This year I am the bah-humbuggiest of seasonal pedants: Cromwell didn’t ban Christmas, or mince pies, even though he often gets the credit for both of those things. Christmas was banned in the mid-1640s, but at that point Cromwell was still a lieutenant-general in the army. His star started to rise properly in the second half of 1645, after which he could start throwing his political weight around. But when Christmas was banned, Oliver Cromwell had nothing to do with it. Yet.

Since I discovered this, I have become That Person You Don’t Want To Sit Next To at Christmas parties.

One more thing from this episode - the book I mention at the end is The English Civil War: A People’s History by Diane Purkiss. It’s extremely entertaining, wide-reaching, and also (crucially) pretty easy to get hold of in high street bookshops. You know, if you’re so inclined.

We’ll be back in the new year, but in the meantime, thank you so much for listening to Past Tense. Really. I can’t tell you how delighted I am to be a pedant like this week after week, around other people who are interested in it. Have a lovely holiday, and in the new year, let’s have more of this sort of thing.



Charles I - 1600-1649; King of England, Scotland and Ireland, 1625-1649. Leader of the Royalist (Cavalier) faction; ultimately beheaded for treason.

James VI/I - 1566-1625; King of Scotland 1567-1625; King of England 1603-1625. Father of Charles I.

Oliver Cromwell - 1599-1658. Member of Parliament and military leader for the English Parliament. Lord Protector of England from 1653 until his death in 1658.



(1.1.6) British Civil Wars - Volume 1 Episode 6 - Three Weeks In Westminster

(1.1.5) British Civil Wars - Volume 1 Episode 5 - Plantations and Confederates