This is the first study of the navy during the English Revolution. It argues that the commonwealth navy did not, as is often assumed, stand back from domestic political controversies, but was deeply influenced by the revolutionary circumstances of its origins. The new regime saw a large and politically reliable fleet as essential to its survival, and the years after 1649 witnessed a rapid build-up and a drastic remodelling of the officer
corps, with political and religious radicalism becoming major criteria in the selection of officers. The book charts the navy's central role in the struggle to win foreign recognition for the new regime, and in the wars which followed: the period saw England's first major war at sea, against the Dutch.
The navy's response to political change at home, and its intervention in the Restoration crisis of 1659-60 are also examined. The social history of the navy is also considered in detail. This book provides a richly detailed insight into a neglected subject, and enhances our understanding of the Cromwellian period as a whole.
'Dr Capp has presented an excellent narrative of the major operation of the English fleet ... Dr Capp's social study of the seamen is even more valuable ... a splendid book ... there is no doubt that this is an important addition to 17th-century history.'
Times Higher Educational Supplement
'Bernard Capp brings to the subject his wide knowledge of the political, social and religious history of the Interregnum ... The whole is based on the most meticulous scholarship in a very wide range of printed and manuscript sources.'
Times Literary Supplement
'an excellent, stimulating book which should be read by anyone interested in the Royal Navy, the seventeenth century, and good history ... this is an excellent book, one that should encourage a broader, and better informed approach to Naval History.'
Andrew D. Lambert, International Journal of Maritime History
'without doubt one of the most important published works ever to have been written on the Navy in the 1650s ... Erudite and extensively researched, Bernard Capp has produced a book whose dominant themes are built to last.'
Andrew Thrush, National Maritime Museum, The Mariner's Mirror, Nov '90
'This highly-detailed study of the English navy under Cromwell and the Commonwealth is, in every respect, an admirable contribution to the field of naval history ... a highly sophisticated - and immensely erudite - study in social, political and religious history using the navy as a focus.'
Jonathan I. Israel, Bijdragen en Mededelingen Betreffende de Geschiedenis der Nederlanden
'This book has reclaimed the navy from the specialist naval historians and will do much to integrate it into future discussions about the development of radicalism during the civil war and its continuation during the Commonwealth. Capp demonstrates convincingly that the navy played a crucial part in the events of 1659 and early 1660.'
Anne Laurence, The Open University, History, No. 246, Feb 1991
`Written in a lively style, this scholarly study is one sure to intrigue naval historians and anyone with an interest in Cromwell and the Commonweath.' Alan Cameron, Lloyd's List, Feb 6, 93
`Brigden's writing is so judicious and free from bias that it is difficult to place her in either of the opposing camps of historians who differ about popular attitues toward the Reformation. Sensitivity and moderation are also evident in Brigden's ue of wills as evidence of personal belief:' Stanford E. Lehmberg, Journal of Modern History, Vol 64, No 2, June 92
`This is an important book, possibly the most important study of the English Reformation to appear for a decade. What distinguishes Susan Brigden's work is its marvelous detail, based on unparalleled knowledge of original manuscript sources not fully mined by earlier students. ...a brillant social history of Cromwell's navy. His erudite study deals both with the influence of the tempestuous religous and political events of the period on the seaman of the
fleet and with the social world in which they lived. On all these important questions Capp brings to bear the light of a remarkably wide range of manuscript and printed sources. His book froms a much-needed complement to the more numerous studies of Cromwell's army.' Geoffrey Parker, Journal of Modern
History, Vol 64, No 2, June 92
'a comprehensive study, beginning with a perceptive account - the best yet - of the curious naval revolt during the Second Civil War ... well-structured and elegantly-expressed volume'
Ivan Roots, University of Exeter, EHR, Jan.'93
Introduction; Part 1: The revolt of 1648; The Navy New-Modelled; Gunboat Diplomacy and War, 1652-1660; Politics and the Navy, 1649-1658; Part 2: Naval Officers: A Social Profile; The Floating Commonwealth; Manning the Fleet; Saints Afloat? Religion in the Fleet; Part 3: The Navy and the Restoration; The Legacy of the Commonwealth; Conclusion; Sources; Notes.