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The University of Southampton

Inaugural Lecture - Professor Mark Stoyle Event

6 March 2014
Lecture Theatre A Avenue Campus University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this event, please email Tracy Storey at .

Event details

Part of the Humanities 2013-2014 Inaugural Lecture series.

'The Cannibal Cavalier: Sir Thomas Lunsford and the creation of the Royalist archetype'

This lecture explores the life and reputation of the Royalist officer, Colonel Thomas Lunsford. More particularly, it concentrates on how Lunsford was first thrust into the public spotlight in 1641 - when he was appointed as Lieutenant of the Tower of London by King Charles I - and how he was then subjected to a near-hysterical campaign of vilification by the king's critics in Parliament and elsewhere as they sought to discredit the new Lieutenant and, through him, his royal master. The lecture argues that Lunsford - who was presented in the most lurid light in the proto-Parliamentarian news-pamphlets which were then beginning to proliferate in the capital - may be regarded as one of the very first ‘Cavaliers'; as an individual who himself helped to inspire that hostile caricature of the swaggering gentleman Royalist which would shortly go on to establish itself as one of the most enduring party stereotypes in English history. Having demonstrated how Lunsford was initially pressed into service as a proto-Royalist bogeyman, the lecture then goes on to explore how his fearsome reputation was subsequently elaborated upon as England collapsed into Civil War. It concludes by investigating the most famous of all the contemporary rumours which circulated about Lunsford - that he possessed a penchant for eating human flesh - and by suggesting that the origins of this particular piece of seventeenth-century Grand Guignol may have been rather less straightforward than previous scholars have assumed.

This lecture will be chaired by Professor John Walter, University of Essex

Each of the Inaugural Lectures in Humanities will have an end of lecture collection for the speaker's nominated charity.  For this lecture Professor Stoyle has chosen to support the Devon Archaeological Society.

Speaker information

Professor Mark Stoyle,Professor of Early Modern History

Professor John Walter,University of Essex,Professor of History

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