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Royal Armouries Museum

Rebellion and revolt

Friday afternoon lecture
24th January - 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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The desperate weapons of insurrection 1350-1950

Speaker: Dr Edward Impey, Director General & Master of the Armouries

Most museums of arms and armour, and historians (when they mention the subject at all), focus on professionally made equipment ordered by government officials or prominent individuals. Yet alongside the battles and campaigns fought between rival dynasties and powers, in which this material was used, warfare between official forces and rebels – whether their cause was nationalistic, religious, poverty or oppression – has been endemic for centuries in western society and in others; encounters of this sort far outnumber the ones that most of us have heard of, and although official forces almost always won out in the end, they have frequently changed the course of history. This lecture will consider the weapons of rebellion and insurgency – what they were, how they were made and how they were used, and will include reference to the pair of re-hafted agricultural scythe blades picked up with many others after the battle of Sedgemoor – the last popular rebellion on English soil – in 1685, and taken to the Tower of London.

Friday afternoon lectures

14 February Daggers from the deep
Discovering the Thames daggers

13 March When Britain was in turmoil
A remarkable gun made in the Tower during the Glorious Revolution of 1688

27 March Women in war
The story of a Special Operations Executive (SOE)