The Man Who Invented The News: Burford’s Marchamont Nedham Memoirs

Just 380 years after the outbreak of the English Civil War on August 22, 1642, the memoirs of the era’s most notorious, controversial and successful journalist are finally published.

Burford-born Oxford University graduate Marchamont Nedham, who was aged 22 at the outbreak of war, became a newspaper pioneer, and the most successful publisher of the era.

His memoirs have now been written by author Nigel Hastilow, and reveal the truth of his triple-dealing during the bloody and epoch-making English Civil War. The Author says:

‘Marchamont Nedham’s writings helped inspire the American revolution. Yet he has been dismissed by historians as a contemptible “triple-turncoat”.

‘A martyr in the cause of free speech – jailed three times and fleeing for his life once – he was a pioneer whose importance to journalism should not remain as obscure as it has done for centuries.’

Nedham, who died of a heart attack in a London coffee house in 1678 aged 58, was belligerent to the end. His last publication was a robust attack on the French who, he said, were “those monkeys of mankind”.

Hastilow says:

‘I have taken the known facts of Nedham’s career and tried to stitch them together by filling in the gaps.’

You can purchase the book on Amazon Prime

Price: £20.00 (Hardback) £7.99 (Paperback) £2.00 (Kindle)

It’s a well written and thoroughly entertaining read benefitting from Hastilow’s journalistic attention to detail and research.

Who was Marchamont Nedham?

Marchamont Nedham was a teacher, lawyer, spy, doctor and the most notorious journalist in Britain at a time when popular newspapers were first taking off.

Raised in Burfort, Oxfordshire by his mother who was the innkeeper at the George Inn, and was educated at All Souls College of Oxford University.

He worked for Parliament, King Charles I for whom he penned the Royalist periodical, Mercurius Pragmaticus. He also worked for Charles II and was jailed three times for his propaganda for both sides of the English Civil War. He was known as Oliver Cromwell’s press agent which led to his working under Great Milton native and spymaster of Cornwall John Thurloe.

About the Author

Nigel Hastilow is a journalist by trade. He was editor of The Birmingham Post in the 1990s and a columnist for the Wolverhampton Express & Star. He has worked for the Institute of Directors, the Institute of Chartered Accountants and ran his own publishing company. He also had a short political career.

He has published several books, including The Trials of Eldred Pottinger, an historical romance set during the First Afghan War, Close of Play about village cricket and How To Become Prime Minister, a guide for ambitious teenagers.

He lives in Wickhamford, near Evesham, Worcestershire.