• 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London
National Army Museum
  • 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London

Trauma and the British Civil Wars

Detail from ‘Cromwell leading his Cavalry into Battle’, c1860

Detail from ‘Cromwell leading his Cavalry into Battle’, c1860

Join Dr Ismini Pells as she evaluates the evidence of trauma in the British Civil Wars and considers what this can tell us about the psychological impact of conflict today.

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The mental health of soldiers throughout history has been a topic of growing interest in recent years. However, identifying and analysing historical trauma is a process that is filled with challenges, making it much more difficult to understand the nature of that trauma. 

The British Civil Wars of the 17th century provide ample evidence that some individuals suffered from severe disorders that are potentially indicative of psychological trauma resulting from their wartime experiences. Although challenging, analysis of this data offers us a fascinating insight into the warfare of the period and the consequences of battle. 

In this revealing talk, Dr Ismini Pells will uncover the circumstances that seem to have triggered these severe reactions. She will examine how trauma was described, treated and perceived at the time to see how this evidence might inform debates surrounding the psychological impact of conflict in the present.

About Ismini Pells

Dr Ismini Pells is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Oxford. Previously, she worked as a research associate at the Universities of Leicester and Exeter, after obtaining her PhD from the University of Cambridge. 

She has published a biography of Philip Skippon, commander of the infantry in the New Model Army, as well as several articles and chapters in edited collections on military and medical topics relating to the Civil Wars. 

Ismini is a trustee of the Cromwell Association and sits on the Council of the Army Records Society, the Battlefields Panel of The Battlefields Trust, and the Research and Collections Advisory Panel of the National Army Museum.

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