What was it like to be a Royalist lady during the English Revolution? The image of Cavalier women, lavishly clad in silks with plunging necklines, their ringlets pulled tightly back from their foreheads, still has a romantic attraction, even if the popular view of women in English history is shaped by endless accounts of Henry VIII’s six wives. We have forgotten our Civil Wars, our republic and the ferment of ideas that eventually found fertile ground in the American colonies. In a world turned upside down, it was women who kept families going, providing a semblance of security and continuity where there were only uncertainty and hardship, defending homes and reputations, trying to safeguard dwindling financial resources in the increasingly desperate hope that there would, one day, be a return to order and a society in which they were not the defeated. Their stories deserve wider attention. Now Lucy Moore has brought one such Civil War heroine, Lady Ann Fanshawe, out of the shadows, using her recipes as a basis for exploring her life.
Born Ann Harrison, she came from a wealthy gentry family in Hertfordshire. Her father held office under Charles I and was one of seven members of a syndicate that lent the cash-strapped king the enormous sum of £250,000 at the start of the war. It was never recovered. Ann was