Charles II Hides In Oak Tree To Escape Oliver Cromwell’s Army

Charles II was forced to hide in an oak tree at Boscobel on 6 September 1651, following his disastrous defeat at the Battle of Worcester three days earlier. He was crowned in Scotland and had led a small army across the border to reclaim the English throne which had been lost two years earlier, when…

Eleanor Hibbert: Best Known as Jean Plaidy, Victoria Holt and Philippa Carr

Eleanor Hibbert wrote 183 books, including three children’s novels, under several pseudonyms during her fifty-year career. Over 14 million copies were sold worldwide. Hibbert was born Eleanor Alice Burford on 1 September 1906 in Kensington, London. Her father Joseph was an “odd jobs” man with no steady profession but he passed on his avid love…

The Birth of James Francis Edward Stuart

The Old Pretender was born amidst controversy as the Warming-pan Baby, and survived against all odds. James II had produced two daughters, Mary and Anne, from his first marriage to Anne Hyde. They became increasingly important when their uncle Charles II failed to produce a legitimate heir. Anne died in 1671 but she had supported…

The Restoration: Charles II and His Kingdoms

Charles II made his triumphant royal entry into London to reclaim his three kingdoms on 29 May 1660. Many who welcomed the Restoration were soon disappointed.The Protectorate under Oliver Cromwell enjoyed stability since Charles I’s beheading in January 1649. However, Cromwell died on 3 September 1658 after a short period of illness.AnarchyRichard succeeded his father…

Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland (1660-1685)

Charles II was best known as the Merry Monarch but his reign also saw the rise of colonisation and trade in India, the East Indies and America. He was born at St James’s Palace on 29 May 1630—the first surviving child of Charles I and Henrietta Maria. He was a robust and an exceptionally large…

The Great Plague of London

The Great Plague was the biggest epidemic since the Black Death, as one-sixth of London’s population perished as the wealthy fled to their country estates. The Bubonic Plague was first reported in Great Yarmouth in November 1663 – allegedly imported from Holland in bales of merchandise. The disease was carried by flea-ridden rats. People were…

Rebuilding London After The Great Fire

A massive rebuilding programme took place after London’s Great Fire in 1666 and took about fifty years to complete. The Great Fire destroyed three-quarters of the medieval city within one week, creating a damage bill estimated at nearly £10 million. The ground was too hot to walk on until the rains began on 11 September.…

The Great Fire of London: The Dreadful Judgement

The Great Fire of London destroyed most of the medieval city within days. Some believed it was God’s judgement upon a sinful city, including Charles II’s debauched court. London was gripped by drought lasting from November 1665 to September 1666 – a cold dry winter followed by a prolonged hot summer. The water cisterns’ levels…