Petitions and Certificates

Petitions

Thousands of maimed soldiers, war widows and orphans across England and Wales had petitions drafted to claim welfare payments in response to their losses in the Civil Wars. Very often, their stories were written for them by literate acquaintances and shaped to make them appear as deserving as possible. Civil War Petitions contains these war stories. The petitions often give clues as to how war victims looked back on their wartime experiences. Claimants still had to defend these accounts in person as true in open court.

See how the needy addressed those in authority over them. See what language and vocabulary they used and what requests they made. Examine how strategies of humility were mixed with assertions of entitlement to prick the consciences of the authorities.

Certificates

Claimants to military welfare often required certificates to show that they were genuine cases. Sometimes these were provided by the medical practitioners who had tended their wounds. Sometimes they were drafted by military officers, confirming that the claimant had served under their command. In other instances, they were drawn up by a claimant’s neighbours who were eager to reduce their parish’s poor rate by securing a county pension for the claimant.

Civil War Petitions contains these supporting statements. The certificates often give clues about the character and standing of a claimant, either in the army or in their home community.

See how the stories in petitions were supported by these certificates. See what language and vocabulary they used to support the claimant’s deserving nature. Examine the social status of those who signed in support.

Find out more

Allegiance and the Art of Survival: Colonel Henry Farr

In the late summer of 1642, as civil war in England became ever more likely, people at all social levels…

Face to Face with a Maimed Soldier: Captain Richard Vaughan

As with so many historical figures who were not of the social elite, the maimed soldiers and widows whose petitions…

Katherine de Luke: Widow, Petitioner, and Royalist Agent

When we encounter women petitioners from the Civil Wars, they all-too often appear simply as victims of conflict. Narrations of…

Echoes of a Massacre: The Petition of Bridget Rumney

The massacre of the royalist camp-followers in Farndon Field following the battle of Naseby was one of the most notorious…

Prisoners of war: the lowest priority

The plight and place in diplomatic relations of prisoners of war during the Civil Wars was discussed in a previous…

What can I find on Civil War Petitions?

Since the official launch of Civil War Petitions in July, we have been working hard to gather new material. The…

The War Hero, the Eccentric and the Turncoat: the Men Behind Three Signatures

Several of the signatories to the documents in our Civil War Petitions database will be familiar names to anyone interested…

War Widows Past and Present: The Civil War Petitions and War Widows' Stories Projects

As we approach Remembrance Day, our blog considers the plight of all war widows, both past and present. How do…

Charity in the City: Funding the Relief of Maimed Soldiers in Post-Restoration Bristol

Bristol was one of the largest cities in seventeenth-century England and was hotly contested over during the Civil Wars. Unfortunately,…

A Female Combatant: Jane Merricke of Hereford

In the materials at the heart of the ‘War, Conflict and Memory’ project, women appear almost exclusively as widows petitioning…