The WEA runs Spring and Autumn term adult education courses in the Village Hall.wea logo

The Maplesteads' WEA Autumn 2018 course started on the 17th September 2018, when potential participants were invited to attended a course overview of the English Civil Wars and meet the tutor Simon Doney. 

The first free introductory session commenced at 6.30pm, with complimentary wine and refreshments. The subsequent six 2-hour sessions (with mid-session coffee breaks) start at an earlier time than previous courses: 7.00pm. The cost of the full course is £51.10. Poster here.

The Civil Wars of 1642-49 were the result of serious conflict between Parliament and the Crown, with terrible battles between the Roundheads and Cavaliers, which saw this country suffering political division and profound religious change that fundamentally altered the course of its history.

This course, entitled The World Turned Upside Down, examines the reasons behind, and the consequences of, the Civil Wars, which affected the three Stuart kingdoms of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

The course will also investigate the common people’s experiences of the wars, explore the reasons why Parliament won and identify why the King was brought to trial and executed.

Charles I  Naseby  Cromwell 
 Charles I The Battle of Naseby   Oliver Cromwell


The sessions will:

  • give an account of the main developments of the wars, including the military successes and failures, the religious reforms and the people’s experience of war
  • evaluate the reasons why Parliament won the first and second civil wars
  • identify the key reasons why King was brought to trial and executed in 1649

The content of each week's sessions are as follows:

Week 1: Choosing sides: the Causes of the English Civil War

Week 2: Going to the Wars: The Course of War, 1642-46

Week 3: The Experience of War, Part One

Week 4: The Experience of War, Part Two

Week 5: The Army and the Levellers

Week 6: The Second Civil War, 1648

Week 7: Death of a King: Trial and Execution


Suggested reading, which will also be available to borrow from the Village Hall during this course, is listed below:

Author    Title Publisher/Date
Adair, J. By the Sword Divided: Eyewitness Accounts of the English Civil War   Gloucester: Sutton, 1998
Bennett, M. The Civil Wars, 1637-1653 Gloucester: Sutton, 1998
Bennett, M. The English Civil War, 1640-49
Harlow: Longman, 1995
Braddick, M. God’s Fury, England Fire: A New History of the English Civil Wars London: Allen Lane, 2008
Cust, R. Charles I: A Political Life Harlow: Longman, 2005
Hibbert, C. Cavaliers and Roundheads: The English at war 1942-1649 London: HarperCollins, 1993
Kenyon, J.P. The Civil Wars of England: A Military History of England, Scotland
and Ireland 1638-1660
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998
Miller, J. A Brief History of the English Civil Wars: Roundheads, Cavaliers and the Execution of the King London: Constable and Robinson, 2009
Morrill, J. (Ed.) The Impact of the English Civil War London: Collins and Brown, 1991
Purkiss, D. The English Civil War: A People’s History London: Harper Perenniel, 2006
Wedgewood, C.V.   The King’s War 1641-1647
London: Penguin, 2001
Wedgewood, C.V. The Trial of King Charles I London: Penguin, 1964
Woolrych, A. Britain in Revolution Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002


For further information please contact the Maplesteads' WEA Secretary, Jean Bowers