Guest blog by novelist Cindy Jefferies
Novelist Cindy Jefferies was born and brought up in Cirencester. Writing as Cynthia Jefferies she already has one book out, The Outrageous Fortune of Abel Morgan and her follow up to that will be another novel set in the C17th. On the 6th December she came to research the storming of Cirencester in 1643.
I was hoping to be able to read and handle the two printed pamphlets in the museum and was grateful to James Harris, the Collections Officer who was able to let me do so. There’s something very special about reading from original sources and the account of the battle from the loser’s side, a Parliamentarian eyewitness is fascinating to read.
I spent a lot of time looking at the exhibits, not just from the C17th but also the C15th and C16th, being particularly interested in the wool trade and its decline causing much poverty in the town at the time of the Civil Wars. The Weston sub Edge hoard was of great interest, fascinating to see not just coins from the Stuart Kings James I, Charles I and the Commonwealth but also many Elizabethan coins. It seems there were huge numbers of silver coins minted in Elizabeth’s reign, much of the silver being pirated in the Americas, and it looks as if they were still in circulation in the 1640’s. In the UK, younger people aren’t used to seeing a different monarch’s head on the coins in their pockets. Decimalisation and the long reign of our present Queen has seen to that. In the past it was very different, with a handful of pennies yielding several monarch’s profiles.
I remember the museum when it was a single room with a few glass cases. These days history is brought to life by the exhibits displayed imaginatively, with the excellent explanations and illustrations bringing history to life. And it’s a welcoming place to do research!
You can find out more about Cindy Jefferies on her website cynthiajefferies.co.uk