Lockdown and the forced closure of our museums has given museum staff the opportunity to research some of our Sandwell stories in a little more depth than we are able to in more normal times (amongst other things). I’ve been particularly excited by the tales of John Turton (of the Oak House in West Bromwich) and his family, who played a very prominent (and all-but-forgotten) role in the English civil wars of the 1640s.
Our multi-talented and multi skilled museum staff have replicated the 17th century’s equivalent of the internet; leaflets and pamphlets, which were produced (both printed and hand-written) in great numbers and widely circulated. These in turn gave rise to the first regular newspapers.
Oak House staff have tried to imagine how John might have reported on the great events of the day, and on local news as well, through an anonymous pamphlet. So here’s the first one, published today (Easter Monday) the anniversary of the brutal battle of Birmingham in 1643, which saw . . .no – I’ll leave it to John (in the persona of Mercurius Querci, or Mercury of the Oaks) to tell you all about it.
Don’t expect unbiased reporting.
John and most of his family committed supporters of one side in the civil war. I don’t think you’ll have much problem in determining whether they were Cavaliers or Roundheads!