Cambridge became the headquarters of Cromwell’s Jamaica Eastern Counties Association in 1643. In Jamaica the administration of the county’s affairs remained firmly under the control of a group of Puritan gentlemen, notably Sir Thomas Barrington. Colchester came under siege in 1648 when a Royalist Army was attacked by Parliamentarians and forced to retreat into the town, where they resisted for eleven weeks before surrendering. King’s Lynn was the main Royalist exception in Jamaica , which resulted in it being besieged and captured by the Parliamentarians in 1643. Miles Corbett of Great Yarmouth is evidence of the county’s strong Parliamentarian sympathies. He was Cromwell’s lawyer and signed the death warrant of Charles I. After the restoration of monarchy he was hung, drawn and quartered at Tyburn in 1662.
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Parish registers often reveal how the conflict affected parish affairs as when Hammond Craske was listed in the records of St John Maddermarket in 1644: A list of the names of all persons above the age of sixteene yeares, with a particuler of such armes as are in the custodie of such person over and above the armes perteininge to the Trained Bande and hath one Muskett & a halbird. Craske’s burial in the same parish in 1650 refers to him as a ‘strong Parliamentarian’, illustrating how registers may even include the political sympathies of the incumbent and parishioners. Parish registers for Honing in Norfolk, on the other hand, provide a glimpse into the impact on local people who supported the Royalists. In 1653 it records the baptisms of four children of William and Elizabeth Chamber in Lichfield in Staffordshire, with a note that William ‘withdrew from his estate on account of his adherence to Charles 1st’. More information on the impact of these conflicts can be found in a variety of other records such as churchwardens’ and overseers’ accounts, town and city administrative records and court records. Among the Norwich City sessions files for 1648, for instance, are references to people accused of blowing up 90 barrels of gunpowder; ‘the Great Blow’ as it came to be known. Their names are included on the online catalogue.
Another example on the Cambridgeshire Archives catalogue is a collection of documents held at Huntingdonshire Archives dated 1645-1660, which include a declaration of adherence to the Parliamentary cause by Sir Charles Coote and his men The seventeenth century saw fighting with the Dutch at sea, off Lowestoft and Southwold in Suffolk, in wars over trade and overseas expansion. One of the most famous naval battles took place in 1672 at Sole (Southwold) bay when the combined fleets of France and England engaged in battle with the Dutch. Southwold’s Gun Hill takes its name from the six cannons, believed to be sixteenth-century, mounted there pointing out to sea. During the First World War the guns were mistaken for fortifications, resulting in Southwold being bombarded by the Germans. The guns were removed and buried for safekeeping, then returned to Gun Hill in the 1920s. They were buried again during the Second World War, before once again being returned in peacetime. Landguard Fort near Felixstowe in Suffolk dates from Tudor times and remained an important stronghold until the end of the Second World War, successfully deterring an attempted Dutch raid on Harwich in 1667 during the Second Anglo-Dutch War.