Historyzine 013: History Podcast – The Aftermath of Blenheim

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The history of Europe was altered forever by the Battle of Blenheim. In this episode I talk about the aftermath of the battle and look at the celebrations in England. The country is delirious with delight and Marlborough is granted the estate of Woodstock and given funds toward the building of a palace to commemorate the victory. That palace was built and named after the battle as Blenheim PalaceBlenheim Palace It is a truly overwhelming place to behold. I’ve visited several times and have always been quite breathless at the sheer scale and extravagance of the building.
In the podcast I speculate on the direction events may have taken if the Franco Bavarian forces had been sucessful in the 1704 Battle of Blenheim and we wander off down several avenues of what if speculation.
In the history podcasts review section I review the All Things Medieval podcast.
I also review the new film, the Duchess which stars Ralph Fiennes and Keira Knightley. This film is based upon the wonderful book ‘Georgiana’ by Amanda Foreman. I highly recommend the book as an intriguing insight into the lives of the rich and famous in 18th century England. As you’ll hear in the podcast, I’m not sure I can recommend the film quite as highly.
I did, however discover a couple of BBC mini series DVDs that I can recommend.
There’s a biopic of Charles II
. This is a lively account of the life of this merry monarch but it makes a case for him also being more politically savvy than he’s usually given credit for.
I also encountered a low budget, but still very watchable BBC docudrama called ‘The Early Churchill’s’ which covers the lives of John and Sarah Churchill, the first Duke and Duchess of Marlborough.
. This is a very long docudrama which contains lots of fascinating detail about this couple although can be a little skimpy as regards the War of the Spanish Succession and the history of europe at the time.

The linguistic history trivia bit in this episode is a look at the word Macaroni and what it meant when bandied around in the coffee houses of 18th century London. It’s a fun word describing quite a bizarre fashion set. You’ll find out more by listening to the podcast either by clicking on the play link at the end of this post or downloading and playing it in Itunes.

As promised in the podcast, here is the link to the program, levelator.

Some of the sources I use for this podcast can be found at Amazon.co.uk in the UK
or at Amazon.com in the United States. There are lots of very useful books there if you want to know more about the War of the Spanish Succession and if you decide to buy any of them then using the links from the pages of Historyzine will send a tiny fraction of money my way which will help offset some of the costs of the podcast.

If you wish to comment on the podcasts then please visit the website, historyzine.com or visit the contact page and leave me an email using the contact form there.

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13 Responses to Historyzine 013: History Podcast – The Aftermath of Blenheim

  1. Anne the Man says:

    Yay, new episode! Tomorrow morning I will be listening

  2. anna says:

    Great podcast, I’m listening now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

  3. Richard says:


    Another excellent production. Thank you.

    And especially for locating the BBC series. I had thought it had disappeared. But not. I’ve already ordered my copies.

    Perhaps we could have more quotes from the Duke’s letters?

  4. Benny says:

    Congratulations for another show. Keep them coming!

    Listening to the latest episode, I found myself wondering if the French, on their turn, tried to demeanor their defeat, using some type of counter propaganda.

    I somewhat also believe that this blow against French military prestige will only have its full effect nearer the end of the War – or even in the decades after the end of the war itself.


    Lisbon, Portugal

  5. jimmowatt says:

    Benny you have a fine point about counter propaganda. I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that one. It does seem most likely that they would do so. The only information I can recall on that topic at the moment is that it took quite some time before Louis knew the information about this battle as no-one was willing to tell him what had happened. It seems shock was the prevalent emotion after the battle so I doubt there would be any immediate counter propaganda. It seems likely there would be once they’d got over this shock.

    French military prestige I think was dented straight away. There were a lot of people on that battlefield and many would face the French troops again time after time.

    Even though the French troops would always carry a fearsome reputation I think this battle took the reputation down from invincible to merely very stiff opposition. There’s a bi difference. Marlboroughg made the point that they could be beaten several times over in this war.
    Maybe the blow against French military prestige became more pronounced over the next few years but Blenheim was where it began.

    Can you tell – I get excited about fulcrum points – the moment where something changes.

    Richard I’m glad you got the dvd’s – thanks again for letting me know of their existence.

    Anna and Anne the diabolical Dutch duo – good to see you on here.



  6. Richard says:

    Dear Jim,

    I have watched the first two episodes of the DVDs. I find them charming. The production is laughable at the early points, but later on there seems to be a real effort to reproduce the sensibility and sense of the historical age, although you might quibble and squirm at some points.

    As I recall, after Blenheim, the Sun King was most gracious with all his defeated generals, and that was much remarked.

    The “spin” was that it was a war he was compelled to fight because of honour.

    The Spanish embraced at once Louis’s claimant as their rightful ruler. Louis could never accede to the allied demand to oust his family from the Spanish throne accept the Austrian claimant, his avowed enemy, and for whom there was no popular support, at least in Castille, and after Peterborough’s non sensical conduct.

    The tragedy, and open sore of the war, even in Marlborough’s eyes, was the futile land war in Spain. The allied, and then the English war claims in this regard were preposterous, and boxed them in until the Torys in 1715 cut the gordian knot.

    If you have time and inclination, an explanation of the delicate diplomatic and dynastic forces at the various stages of the conflict would be fascinating. In my view, these elements distinguish this war from later wars in the century, up until Napoleon. On one hand it is still a war about religion, on the other it is a war about the ambitions of families (Bourbon, Hapsburg, Orange). It bridges the 17th and 18th centuries in curious and instructive ways.

    Sorry to babble so much. As you might guess, I am intrigued by this time in history.


  7. mpowell says:


    What song is used at the beginning of your podcast? Thanks.

  8. jimmowatt says:

    I’ve used different music for each of the episodes.
    Most of the music I’ve used up until now is public domain and can be downloaded from the splendid http://musopen.org
    In this last episode, 13 The Aftermath of Blenheim I used a track from the album Rameau/Leclaire, Orchestral Suites played by the orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque, This was used under a special license issued by Magnatunes (the label) which allows podcasters to use their music for free. I strongly urge anyone reading this to have a look at the site http://magnatunes.com . They have some fine music at low prices which can be played from the website so you can hear what you’re buying. They also have a fine policy for paying their artists. Their slogan is ‘we are not evil’ to signify they are not as other music labels.

  9. Richard says:


    Are you able to say when the next podcast might appear?

    Thanks to your podcast I’ve bought Holmes book on Marlborough and reread Churchill and Trevellian. Its such a fascinating era. I’d love to hear your next account and your other interesting information. I wonder if you have come across the popular book “Hubbub” that describes the noise and filth that people in this age lived with?

    In any case, Happy New Year.



  10. jimmowatt says:

    The book ‘Hubbub’ looks absolutely fascinating ‘Filth Noise and Stench in England, 1600 to 1770’. I saw one of the reviews refer to it as a Hogarthian print come to life such as this one – Gin Lane

    I find the Holmes book is quite useful for a balanced account and wonder if you’ve encountered Falkner’s books yet for a closer look at the battles.

    As for the next podcast: soon, soon soon. I hope, I promise, I declare. Before you all, I promise here, that the next podcast will be complete before the end of February and may I be brutally chastised by you all if I fail to deliver.

  11. Richard says:


    The Holmes book is very good, and I agree with your review. The only fragile thing about Marlborough’s genius was his health, but after ten years of complaining about it to his wife and Godolphin, it hardly seemed to be fragile, in fact, he was resilient.

    I have read a Falkner book which I thought was good about the battles and the military technology of the time. But the most frustrating aspect of these books is the lack of good schematic maps that can describe more than three hundred words of text. The Churchill book is good because he had the cash to hire good map makers. I have seen one web site trying to sell copies of the maps from Coxe’s biography, but at 6 euros a pop, its too much.

    I wonder also if you have searched out Google Books that seems to have wealth of 19th century and earlier resources about the era. I’ve just started searching it and it is an astounding resource. If so, what have you come across there?

    What will your podcast cover viz Marlborough and the war? Will you be covering Ramillies this time? Which is the very height of his achievements, and what comes next is mostly downhill. Its a bit of a tragedy, in the greek sense, i think. There is also a famous french folk song from this time about Marlborough and I hope you will mention that at some point, or maybe broadcast the song sung?

    But if you fail to deliver by February, can we suggest the type of brutal chastisement you should suffer? LIke, pretending to be a dog for a day?

  12. jimmowatt says:

    I won’t be covering Ramilies this time. I’ll be covering 1705 and the breaching of the Lines of Brabant. This is one of the scenes depicted on the famous tapestries hanging at Blenheim Palace which celebrate Marlborough’s successes.
    I’m hoping I’ll be able to get to Ramilies in the following episode.
    I have encountered that folk song you mention and even tried singing it myself for the podcast but it was such a terrible noise I decided not to inflict it upon the listeners.

    As for the chastisement – yes, of course you can suggest horribly embarrassing punishments but I’m pretty sure I shall escape them. The episode is 80 per cent recorded and I just have one more recording session to do and then editing, adding music and writing the blog post for it. I reckon I shall bring it in just under the wire.
    If nothing goes wrong then there should be substantial movement today. I’ve allocated about 4 hours to the project this afternoon and that should bring it very close to completion.

  13. purplepilot says:

    After Blenheim Marshall Tallard was brought to England and kept prisoner in Newdigate house in Nottingham

    The house still stands but is not open to the public. However you can see more about it here http://www.nottshistory.org.uk/articles/tts/tts1929/itinerary1929p9.htm

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