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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
Illustrations: 20
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.

Cromwells's Convicts gives us a thorough look in a terrible time in history. History always seems to repeat itself in some form, because man never seems to learn from its past. This book is researched well and written well.

NetGalley, Heather Bennett

This is a dark period of British history about which I knew little. It’s easy, almost 400 hundred years later and half a world away, to focus on actions, events, facts and consequences, on the politics and rulers. This book takes us into the details of one particular part of the Third English Civil War and reminds us of the human cost.

Recommended reading for anyone interested in 17th century British history.

NetGalley, Jennifer Cameron-Smith

An interesting look at a specific moment in English history. Good for those who have an interest in Scottish history or Cromwell himself. If wanting to know more of the civil war that brought Cromwell and these men together, this is a great start.

NetGalley, Alexandra Roth

This took you through a terrible time when war,religion was a battle! This gives you the story of what these people had to endure as prisoners,how they were treated. The history was well researched and I learned so many new things about this man! It is well written where you dont lose interest in the book and the story. Different places different battles I had never heard of and I wanted to read about his life. If you want to know more about this man and his life read this book!The maps helped so much! What these men had to go through just to even survive! Very good read and was easy to follow the story.

NetGalley, Trick Wiley

This can be easily read over the course of 1 or 2 days but its brevity should not detract from the amount of information that is contained here. To give the book some added relevance to the general reader there are accounts of more recent events from history. If you are interested in discovering about a dark episode in British history then this book is for you.

NetGalley, G Heard

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Informative, fascinating, realistic, historical.

This was such a fascinating read about bones found recently during construction of a cafe. These bones are of prisoners of war sold off as a piece of property and disregard.

The book is detailed about the sacrifices of war along with other people and decisions during that time in 1650.

The photographs add an important detail making this historical novel a gem to own.

NetGalley, Sharon Schultheis

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What an incredible read. This is the fascinating true story of a forced march of 5,000 prisoners from the battlefield to Durham. These prisoners took a march, which lasted 7 days, without food, very little water and absolutely no medical treatment. Needless to say, most died along the way.

The author does a wonderful job of researching and retelling their story that you will be disappointed again in humanity and celebrate that only recently were they given the honor and attention they deserved. The maps and the photos add to the wonderfulness of this book.

A must read!

NetGalley, Christine Cazeneuve

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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