History KS3: The British Civil Wars

Dr Sam Caslin from Liverpool University looks at the power of historical sources to show how ordinary men and women were affected by the British Civil Wars.

The Civil Wars of the 1640s were perhaps the most violent and destructive episodes in British history.

They were a fierce struggle between King Charles I and Parliament over how, and in whose interests, the country should be governed.

But, as usual in wars, it was ordinary men and women who experienced the brunt of the suffering.

Dr Caslin investigates a number of sources at Kew National Archives to discover the full impact of the conflict.

These include letters from Parliamentary soldiers about Royalist plunder, and evidence of the punitive measures by the Parliamentarians to extract funds from their own supporters to finance the wars.

This clip is from the series Hunting for History.

Teacher Notes

Students could be asked to consider why, in 1648, most people in England no longer cared whether Parliament or the King ruled the country and just wanted an end to the fighting.

They could then watch Dr Caslin analyse each of the sources, and after each one they could be asked to explain how the source was useful evidence in trying to answer this question.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching KS3 History in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 4th level People, past events and societies in Scotland.