What The Papers Say......
Evesham Historical Society
Stirring Tales of Nautical Derring-do
There was a humorous start to Max Keen’s talk to the Vale of Evesham Historical Society at their March meeting. Max turned up dressed as Napoleon, for a talk about the life of Lord Nelson!
He soon stripped off his outer layers, however, and proceeded with his talk in the garb of an ordinary seaman of the time.
In a lavishly illustrated presentation, he followed Nelson’s glittering career from his birth in a Norfolk vicarage, via his first great naval triumph at the Battle of Cape St Vincent, to his death on the deck of the Victory in October 1805.
Max’s infectious enthusiasm for his subject held the audience spellbound, his description of the fighting at Trafalgar being particularly thrilling. (For more information about Max and his talks, visit his website www.keenhistorytalks.com)
Historical Society Chairman, John Kyte, speaking earlier in the evening, said that in addition to current and future WWI displays, the Society would shortly be mounting exhibitions commemorating the Battle of Evesham.
Bewdley Festival 2017: Express and Star
Bewdley Festival 2016: King John
Romsley and Hunnington History Society, Clent.
25th April 2017
There were 54 members and visitors present at the meeting of the Romsley and Hunnington History Society on Tuesday, 25th April. Our speaker’s reputation had gone before him and we were delighted to welcome, once again, Max Keen, who gave a talk on “Richard III”.
Max made his dramatic entrance dressed in armour, with threatening weapons, and declared himself a supporter of Richard III. Richard, who has always been a bit of an enigma, was in the news recently when his body was found, buried beneath a car park, in Leicester. We could see from Max’s photograph of his skeleton, that he did have a deformity as depicted by Shakespeare, but Max put forward the idea that not all that has been written about his life was necessarily true and many assumptions were certainly false! Perhaps he was one of the first victims of “Fake News”!
As Max explained, England in the 15th Century was in a state of unrest. The War of the Roses was in full force and there was brotherly rivalry within the Royal Family, with hints of illegitimacy. There was also the unexplained mystery of the “Princes in the Tower” and consequently the ultimate prize, the Crown of England, was at stake! However, Max has a knack of making all the characters and intrigues of history come alive and his tales are full of the unexpected. Only he could demonstrate the tactics of a battle by using his arms and elbows!
Richard’s reign, which lasted only two years, ended in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth, which Henry Tudor won, together with the Crown. Two years is not long, but Richard set in motion several policies such as the granting of bail and preventing the intimidation of juries, which are still in place today. Max gave a dramatic and fascinating talk and we all look forward to his next visit to the History Society.
Chairman Geoff Longmore welcomed many visitors and members and introduced our speaker for the evening, recently retired local History teacher Max Keen who talked about The Civil War and it’s local connections, it was a night of information and entertainment. Max enters the theatre in his costume of a civil war soldier; giving the audience the opportunity to guess which side he was on. Explaining that both sides wore virtually the same except the officers who wore a red or orange sash to distinguish whether they were Royalist led by King Charles I or Parliamentarian led by landowner Oliver Cromwell, who became a great military leader.
Max illustrated and described local places that were connected with the war, the visit to Stourbridge by Prince Rupert who stayed at The Talbot, other local places involved, was Wollescote Hall, Enville and Stourton Castle. Max showed his disgruntlement of no commemorative Heritage Blue Plaques in these prominent places, including buildings in the towns of Kidderminster, Ledbury and Bewdley.
After the battle of Worcester in September 1651 King Charles II fled via Stourbridge and Wordsley on his way to Boscobel, Max explained that they were approached by a group of parliamentarians, Charles and his group dismounted their horses and walked through Stourbridge, speaking in French, during that time the town was full of French speaking Huguenot glassmakers, the Royal group blended in well to aid their escape.
Along with members of the society, the audience contained many visitors and members. Max’s talk was accompanied by many slides and references to the actions taken by King and Roundheads around the district. Again a very entertaining evening, thank you Max.