Monday, March 28, 2005

16:Hercules Hunks and his friend Charlie



couldn't find a picture of this book anywhere. And yes, I know I could scan a picture of the copy I have, but I can't be arsed, see?
CV Wedgwood, as we all know, tramped across all of England and undertook Herculean research into the causes, course, and consequences of the English Civil War. Because everyone else was reading them, I too tried to read her Civil War books, but was not that interested in real history books at the time. However, having read a brief account of Charles I's trial in Virgin Earth (see below), I was interested enough to pick this book up (The Trial of Charles I) from the shop.

It's very interesting. The hilariously named Hercules Hunks was, in fact, a Republican guard tasked with watching Charles during one of his many imprisonments. Charles gave his gold toothpick case away to one of his servants just before he died. It took five days for the news of his death to reach Charles II in Holland, and even then he could only believe what he read in the actual newspapers, because there was so much rumour flying around up until then. This book is chock full of interesting little facts like these, as well as giving an excellent and clear account of how the trial went, and why it went the way it did. I am hooked on Wedgwood's writing style now, and am only sorry (because I am not that interested in reading about Mighty Wars) that she never got around to finishing her book about the English Republic.

1 comment:

shipwrights said...

Hercules (Herculis)Hunks was one of a number of brothers, professional soldiers described as from the "Low Countries" Hercules was at one time Governor of Derry in Ireland, both he and his brother Fulk, a one time Governor of Shrewsbury were on opposite sides during the Cromwellian wars. Hercules was a Cromwellian Fulk, a Royalist their children had decidedly Dutch names There was intermarriage with Conway who describes them as cousins. Hercules lived for a time in Monkstown Castle County Cork.which he conveniently sold to one of the Boyles. He and his friend Col. Phayre were arrested the day the King was declared in Cork, both Phayer and Hunks spent some time in the Tower of London were released Hunks on condition he returned to give evidence at the trial of one of the other regicides. The interesting thing is both Phayre and Hunks were associated with the emerging Quaker community in Ireland, both families prospered both sides of the Atlantic. Hunks "Englished" his name. His children and there were many, remarried into other Cromwellian families, One of the descendants wrote down the family history in 1930 from family papers etc. Hercules is described as a "Discreet" soldier which we would nowadays call a spy. Both Col.Phayer and Col.Hunks refused point blank to sign the warrant for execution of Charles 1. Hunks whose brother was a Royalist and friend of the king purchased an estate in the Irish Midlands. His descendants lived interesting lives by keeping their heads down and firmly on their shoulders