Postgraduate Profile: Mike Barnes

This post comes from MA by Research student Mike Barnes.

         Research is a passion, a calling, almost. There is sheer satisfaction in the chase, which I have been pursuing now for over thirty years. It started when I lived near Winchester and became serious when I did an undergraduate diploma at Oxford, which involved in-depth modules on life in Tudor and Stuart England and Victorian England. I followed this with an Open University module comparing the reigns of Charles II and Louis XIV.

         This experience has given me the confidence to undertake independent research in archives, epitomised by my undergraduate dissertation, completed at this university in 2019. In The Siege of York: 1644 I examined whether the city was defendable, which involved extended research at York City Archives, University of York Library and Archives, York Minster Archives, and the Borthwick Institute. Although my research has been varied, I am continually drawn back to Hampshire Archives and regard myself as an early modernist.

Selby: personal research assistant hard at work

         The world of pre-Civil War (though many current academics use the term British Civil Wars) Hampshire, opened up when I delved into the Jervoise of Herriard collection. It became my alternative reality, as I lived only four miles from the Jervoise family seat at Herriard. Specifically, I found the military papers enthralling and it is these that have become the focus of my MA by Research. Within this I concentrate on the militia, an extremely broad area, even when narrowed down to the period 1625-1642. I have been transcribing, indexing and publishing muster rolls from this collection since 2004, and the work is far from complete.

Transcript of document held at Hampshire Archives

         It is now about focus, which in this instance will be Hampshire’s militia for the period 1625-1642, a comparative and analytical study of defaulters, defaulting and defaults (the 3 d’s). Defaulting is an action by which the individual fails to meet his or her obligation to provide arms and/or equipment for the militia. My main argument at present is that defaulters were few and defaulting a small if notable occurrence. Defaults were also varied, with an individual being classed equally in default if he or she neglected to supply a belt or light horseman with horse and arms.

         Bringing all this research together into a coherent piece of work is some time off at present, as I am firmly in the planning/research phase. Further research may be stalled for several months due to circumstances beyond our control. Consequently, two imminent research weeks are likely to be postponed for up to six months. This will create challenges, but my breadth of research experience, will see the work progressed somehow through this period.

Mike Barnes

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