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Cromwell's Convicts (Hardback)

The Death March from Dunbar 1650

British History Military 17th Century

By John Sadler, Rosie Serdiville
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9781526738202
Published: 30th January 2020

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On 3 September 1650 Oliver Cromwell won a decisive victory over the Scottish Covenanters at the Battle of Dunbar – a victory that is often regarded as his finest hour – but the aftermath, the forced march of 5,000 prisoners from the battlefield to Durham, was one of the cruellest episodes in his career.

The march took them seven days, without food and with little water, no medical care, the property of a ruthless regime determined to eradicate any possibility of further threat. Those who survived long enough to reach Durham found no refuge, only pestilence and despair. Exhausted, starving and dreadfully weakened, perhaps as many as 1,700 died from typhus and dysentery. Those who survived were condemned to hard labour and enforced exile in conditions of virtual slavery in a harsh new world across the Atlantic.

Cromwell's Convicts describes their ordeal in detail and, by using archaeological evidence, brings the story right up to date. John Sadler and Rosie Serdiville describe the battle at Dunbar, but their main focus is on the lethal week-long march of the captives that followed. They make extensive use of archive material, retrace the route taken by the prisoners and describe the recent archaeological excavations in Durham which have identified some of the victims and given us a graphic reminder of their fate.

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About John Sadler

John Sadler was born and bred in Northumberland and he has worked for most of his career in the law. He is an expert on medieval warfare and a prolific writer on the subject. He has made a particular study of the history of conflict between England and Scotland. His many books include Battle for Northumbria, Scottish Battles, War in the North 1461-1464, Border Fury: The Three Hundred Years War, Clan Donald's Greatest Defeat: The Battle of Harlaw 1411, Flodden 1513, The Battle for Crete 1941, Culloden 1746, Bannockburn: Battle for Liberty and The Second Barons' War: Simon de Montfort and the Battles of Lewes and Evesham.


About Rosie Serdiville

Rosie Serdiville is a historian who specializes in bringing history alive through a combination of drama, interpretation and education. Among the many books she has written with John Sadler are The Great Siege of Newcastle 1644, Flodden 1513 and Tommy at War 1914–1918.

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