Thirty Years’ War Class trip
February 15, 2016 Leave a comment
Blog written by Natalie Jones
During the January break, Professor Steve Murdoch took our Special Subject class to Stockholm to visit archives and museums to help with our study of the Thirty Years’ War (MO4806). The Thirty Years’ War took place between 1618 and 1648 with the Holy Roman Empire facing the Protestant League. Approximately 50,000 Scots travelled to the Continent to fight, most of them in Swedish service. With extended essays coming up in the second semester, the chance to visit archives and find primary sources for our work was both valuable and very exciting .
We are very lucky to have only four people in our class. We are all in our final year at St Andrews; Natalie, Jason and Vicki studying Modern History whilst Laura combines Modern History with Arabic. Our essays cover a variety of topics within the Thirty Years’ War; with Natalie focusing on the role women played, Vicki on the Welsh soldiers, Laura on the evolution of military tactics and Jason on the naval aspects of the war.
Everywhere we went, we were greeted by people who were more than eager to help us understand the subject better, as well as see some incredible artefacts. On the first day we visited the Armemueseum where Anna-Maria Forssberg and Karin Tetteris invited us on a guided tour of the Thirty Years’ War exhibition. Here, we looked at the banners and standards from the era and then we were taken to the depository where we had the unique chance to see some incredible pieces. Amongst the textile artefacts were some Spanish standards, which are very likely to have been captured by a Scottish regiment in 1631 .
The second day took us to the Krigsarkivet where Ingrid Karlsson allowed us to go down into the archives and explore the Muster Rolls. These books contained lists of the soldiers fighting in Swedish service during the war and we found many Scottish regiments amongst the pages. Everyone at the Krigsarkivet was truly accommodating and we were able to see many key battle plans and letters in our own private room!
We were also lucky enough to be hosted by Professor Murdoch’s mother in law, Ardis Grosjean, who took good care of us with breakfast, dinner and interesting discussions every day. As well as Ardis, there were so many people who made us feel so welcome in Stockholm including the extended Grosjean family and some familiar faces from St Andrews. Present in Sweden were Adam Grimshaw, a St Andrews postgraduate conducting archival research for his PhD project “Anglo-Swedish Commercial Contact and Commodity Exchange in the Seventeenth Century”, and Christin Simons who will begin her PhD in September.
The last day was an awe inspiring experience for everyone! Before we enjoyed the musical genius and fun of the ABBA: The Museum in the afternoon, we visited the incredible Vasa museum in the morning. We were left gobsmacked as we walked around the 69 metre long Vasa warship that was launched in 1628, but was sunk on her maiden voyage. It was fully excavated and resurrected in 1967, having been well preserved by the Baltic Sea for almost 350 years. This trip has certainly inspired us for our future research!