• CLOSED
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London
National Army Museum
  • CLOSED
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London

Generals, Soldiers and Veterans of the English Civil War (Lecture 1/3)

Detail from 'A Grand Review on Hounslow Heath, 1687'

Detail from 'A Grand Review on Hounslow Heath, 1687'

'The Making of England's First Standing Army: Philip Skippon and the Formation of the New Model Army'

Despite his contemporary prominence, Sergeant-Major-General Philip Skippon is one of the Civil War’s lesser-known characters. He was a veteran of European Protestant armies during the period of the Thirty Years’ War, the long-serving commander of the London militia and had commanded the infantry in the earl of Essex’s parliamentarian army since shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War.

In fact, no other high-ranking parliamentarian enjoyed such a long military career as Skippon. He was also an author of religious books, and went on to become an MP and a senior political figure in the republican regimes that followed the execution of Charles I.
 
In this talk, Dr Ismini Pells will introduce the character of Philip Skippon. Focusing on his role with the New Model Army, the talk will examine how the knowledge and experience that was crucial to his leadership in the field had been gained during his 24 years of military service on the Continent, a time in which he rose from a common soldier to a captain.

It will also highlight how his appointment upon his return to England to command the London Artillery Company and subsequently the London militia, provided an important education in the political wrangling's surrounding the Civil War that came to the fore in the formation of the New Model Army.

Indeed, this talk will reveal that Skippon was an astute political operator with a continued commitment to outright victory over the king. At the same time, Skippon’s plain style, his concern for his men’s spiritual and physical welfare, and his willingness to ‘run the same fortunes and hazards’ as those under his command gave him the reputation of a ‘soldier’s favourite’ that would be crucial to his success militarily and politically.

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"First time @NAM_London today. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thought the presentation & interpretation made the subject accessible..."