Ed is currently engaged on a number of research projects, with a view to publishing his
findings in the future.
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Sir Francis Drake’s ‘Commission’ of command, 1577-1580. The
question of whether Drake ought to be considered a privateer or a pirate has proved enduring.
During his voyage of circumnavigation Drake claimed to have received a commission from Queen
Elizabeth I, but no record of such a commission remains, and no contemporary commentator
admitted having seen it. Is it possible or likely that Drake had a Royal commission? What
authority might it have given him? Without such a commission, how should we view
Royalist privateering enterprise in the English Civil Wars. When the civil war broke
out in 1642 most of the established navy sided with Parliament, but within a short time the
Royalists began building a fleet of privateers. Individual privateers came and went, but
ships carrying a commission from the Prince of Wales (later Charles II) were still active
against England in the very month a naval fleet set sail to restore Charles to the throne in
1660. The royalist flag was still being flown at sea long after the war on land had ended.
The Downs mutiny of 1648. In the history of mutiny in the Royal Navy several
individual ships have been carried to the enemy by their disgruntled crews, but only in 1648
did a significant part of the fleet desert. What caused the mutiny against the
Parliamentarian republic? To what extent were Royalist agitators and spies involved in the
mutiny? And how does the naval mutiny of 1648 relate to the army mutiny of the previous year?
Strikes, riots, and unions: labour protest in the maritime workforce, 1765-1825. The
period between the introduction of the Stamp Act and the repeal of the Combination Act saw a
great deal of industrial unrest in the maritime workforce, at sea and on land. Coincidental
with what has been termed the "age of revolution", this unrest manifested itself in
strikes, riots, and mutiny in both the naval and civil workforces. To what extent were these
industrial actions influenced by the American and French revolutions? Was there a correlation
between the nature and cause of these actions, and the government’s response to them?
The micro-history of Brixham, Devon, during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic
Wars. During the wars with France the fishing port of Brixham was a long way from any
major fighting, but at the same time was heavily involved in martial activity. As the major
port in the fleet anchorage of Torbay, Brixham saw ships and men coming and going, and was
even visited (at a distance) by Napoleon himself. Despite the presence of the Berry Head
forts with their garrisons, Brixham was also a favourite port for use by escaping French
prisoners of war, and the Brixham Sea Fencibles were one of the few units of their kind to
see action. With all of these things going on, how did the wars affect the people of the