Office—University of Southampton, School of Humanities, History Department, University Rd., Southampton SO17 1BJ, England. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer, historian, and educator. University of Southampton, Southampton, England, professor of history.
Loyalty and Locality: Popular Allegiance in Devon during the English Civil War, University of Exeter Press (Exeter, Devon, England), 1994.
From Deliverance to Destruction: Rebellion and Civil War in an English City, University of Exeter Press (Exeter, Devon, England), 1996.
West Britons: Cornish Identities and the Early Modern British State, University of Exeter Press (Exeter, Devon, England), 2002.
Circled with Stone: Exeter's City Walls, 1485-1660, University of Exeter Press (Exeter, Devon, England), 2003.
Contributor to books, including War and Society in Medieval and Early Modern Britain, edited by D. Dunn, Liverpool University Press (Liverpool, England), 2000. Contributor to periodicals, including History, Cornish Studies, Albion, Historical Journal, and the Journal of British Studies.
A historian, educator, and writer, Mark Stoyle serves as professor of history at the University of Southampton in England. In a profile on the University of Southampton Web site, Stoyle noted that he is a specialist in early modern British history. He is particularly interested in topics such as the British Crisis of the 1640s; Welsh and Cornish cultural, religious, and ethnic identity as it existed in the years from 1450 to 1700; and popular memories of the British Civil War from 1600 to the present.
Stoyle is largely a military historian, particularly of British civil wars, and most of his books center on issues related to warfare, military operations, and defenses. Loyalty and Locality: Popular Allegiance in Devon during the English Civil War is a "clear, persuasive and often trenchantly written discussion, which builds on certain assertions perceived as broadly acceptable: that in the Civil War commoners were not acquiescent pawns but had political preferences based on their own convictions; that these preferences worked on a regional as well as a personal basis," which created distinctly defined Royalist and Parliamentarian areas; and that events that occurred prior to 1642 had a strong influence on the form and conduct of the British Civil War, observed English Historical Review critic G.C.F. Forster. Stoyle concentrates his study on the Devon area, focusing on the region in the period before the English Civil War occurred. Stoyle seeks to discover if it is "possible to identify discrete geographical areas which can be labeled Royalist or Parliamentarian," and if it is possible to do so, then to discover "what determined the allegiance of these localities," noted Christopher Durston in History Today. Stoyle asserts that it was patterns of prewar religious observance that were most influential in determining in a particular section of Devon was likely to support Royalist or Parliamentarian causes, Durston reported. In large measure, Stoyle's "impressive first book provides further compelling evidence to support the view that the English Civil War was a war of religion," Durston stated.
Robert Ashton, writing in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History, called the book a "welcome addition to civil war studies at the county level" as well as a "stimulating first book which is full of promise." Stoyle's "study of the roots of popular allegiance in pre-Civil War Devon is an important contribution to the long-running debate on the origins and nature of the English Civil War," Durston remarked.
West Britons: Cornish Identities and the Early Modern British State contains a collection of eight articles, three new and five previously published, in which Stoyle "sets out to advance three often startling but always stimulating claims: that the Cornish had a separate sense of identity in the early modern period; that such a sense endured into the late seventeenth century; and that it was the key determinant of Cornish religio-political behavior in the period," noted Albion reviewer Ian Atherton. Stoyle seeks to correct a tendency to ignore Cornwall in current academic writing on the British problem, and directs attention to the area's cultural, social, linguistic, and institutional differences. These differences, Stoyle believes, account for the distinctly Cornish identity that is the subject of this book.
Circled with Stone: Exeter's City Walls, 1485-1660, contains a detailed examination of the history, purpose, and alternate uses for the stone walls, city defenses, and associated areas and that surround Exeter. "But the everyday functions of Exeter's walls and gates were manifold, and often contradictory. Thus, the defenses were barriers, but provided with gates that were the venues for elaborate and theatrical entrance ceremonies for dignitaries, as well prisons, dwellings and toll-collection points. The walls were maintained as symbols of pride and prestige, but their ditches were used as dumps and clogged with filth"; they also served as quarries, places of employment, recreational areas, and playgrounds, reported Oliver Creighton, writing in Post-Medieval Archaeology. Stoyle's work helps to establish that city defenses deserve academic attention beyond that accorded to the more popular subject of castles and similar medieval structures.
In Soldiers and Strangers: An Ethnic History of the English Civil War, Stoyle finds that the British Civil War was greatly influenced by English nationalistic and distinct ethnic dimension. He points out that the British considered Irish, Scottish, and Welsh troops as foreigners, and were uncomfortable with, and sometimes resentful of, their presence in the English military. This reaction was caused by a severe fear of foreign invasion, no matter its source. The creation of the British New Model Army was a response to the presence of foreign soldiers. The English "managed to remove virtually all foreign troops, be they Scots or continental soldiers, from English soil. By the middle of 1647, then, the English could feel confident that they had protected England from all foreign invaders," commented Amos Tubb in the Journal of British Studies. Stoyle suggests that the British Civil War "was not only a struggle about religious principles but also one for the identity of England. This is a convincing and important argument, and this book will be of use to anyone interested in the development of English nationalism," Tubb concluded.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Albion, summer, 2003, Ian Atherton, review of West Britons: Cornish Identities and the Early Modern British State, p. 277.
American Historical Review, February, 1997, Ann Hughes, review of Loyalty and Locality: Popular Allegiance in Devon during the English Civil War, p. 102; December, 2006, Phil Withington, review of Soldiers and Strangers: An Ethnic History of the English Civil War, p. 1589.
Canadian Journal of History, autumn, 2006, Ted Greer McCormick, review of Soldiers and Strangers, p. 363.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October, 2006, D.R. Bisson, review of Soldiers and Strangers, p. 364.
English Historical Review, April, 1997, G.C.F. Forster, review of Loyalty and Locality, p. 472; November, 2004, John R. Kenyon, review of Circled with Stone: Exeter's City Walls, 1485-1660, p. 1410.
Historical Journal, March, 1997, Paul Seaward, review of Loyalty and Locality, p. 227.
History: The Journal of the Historical Association, January, 1998, Ronald Hutton, review of Loyalty and Locality, p. 166; July, 1998, John Spurr, review of From Deliverance to Destruction: Rebellion and Civil War in an English City, p. 544.
History Today, September, 1996, Christopher Durston, review of Loyalty and Locality, p. 55; November, 2002, review of West Britons, p. 68.
Journal of British Studies, July, 2006, Amos Tubb, review of Soldiers and Strangers, p. 638.
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, October, 1995, Robert Ashton, review of Loyalty and Locality, p. 734.
Post-Medieval Archaeology, 2000, Volume 38, issue 2, Oliver Creighton, review of Circled with Stone, p. 424.
Reference & Research Book News, May, 2002, review of West Britons, p. 29; November, 2003, review of Circled with Stone, p. 34.
Sixteenth Century Journal, fall, 1995, Esther S. Cope, review of Loyalty and Locality, p. 670; summer, 2003, Ian Mortimer, review of West Britons, p. 599; winter, 2004, Oliver Creighton, review of Circled with Stone, p. 1240; winter, 2006, David Underdown, review of Soldiers and Strangers, p. 1238.
Times Educational Supplement, January 6, 1995, Julia Thorogood, review of Loyalty and Locality, p. 15.
Times Higher Education Supplement, September 8, 2006, R.C. Richardson, "Lousy Scots and Faithful Cavaliers," review of Soldiers and Strangers, p. 26.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online,http://www.h-net.org/ (April 1, 2006), Jasmin L. Johnson, review of Soldiers and Strangers.
University of Southampton Web site,http://www.soton.ac.uk/ (May 28, 2008), author profile.