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John Poyer, the Civil Wars in Pembrokeshire and the British Revolutions

This is the first book of the ‘turncoat’ John Poyer, the man who initiated the Second Civil War through his rebellion in south Wales in 1648. John Poyer, the Civil Wars in Pembrokeshire and the British Revolutions charts Poyer’s rise from a humble glover in Pembroke to parliament’s most significant supporter in Wales during the First Civil War (1642–6), arguing that Poyer was a more complex and significant individual than most commentators have realized.

 Poyer’s involvement in the poisonous factional politics of the post-war period (1646–8) is examined, and newly discovered material demonstrates how his career offers fresh insights into the relationship between national and local politics in the 1640s, the use of print and publicity by provincial interest groups, and the importance of local factionalism in understanding the course of the civil war in south Wales. John Poyer, the Civil Wars in Pembrokeshire and the British Revolutions also offers a substantial analysis of Poyer’s posthumous reputation after his execution by firing squad in April 1649.

320 pages | 2 maps | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

History: British and Irish History

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‘This is a brilliant book, which not only transforms our view of the ‘turncoat’ John Poyer but also provides one of the most vivid, well-informed and sophisticated accounts ever written of the seventeenth-century civil wars in Wales.”


Mark Stoyle, University of Southampton

“This exhilarating read challenges previous representations of Poyer and offers a first glimpse of the man on his own terms rather than through the eyes of his enemies. In doing so, the author illuminates the factional politics within the parliamentary cause in superb depth and with great sensitivity to the local context.”


Andrew Hopper, University of Leicester

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Setting: John Poyer and Early Stuart Pembrokeshire, c.1606–1640
Chapter 2: The Irish Crisis and the Coming of Civil War, 1640–42
Chapter 3: Allies and Enemies: Poyer and Pembroke during the First Civil War
Chapter 4: The Struggle for Supremacy: Poyer and Post-War Politics, 1646–47
Chapter 5: The Road to Rebellion, August 1647–March 1648
Chapter 6: Poyer, Powell and the Prince, March–April 1648
Chapter 7: The Siege of Pembroke, May–July 1648
Chapter 8: Revenge and Revolution: Poyer, Print and Parliamentary Justice, August 1648–April 1649
Chapter 9: Afterlives
Appendix: Timeline of the Civil Wars in Pembrokeshire

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