HISTORY, as local resident Gordon Sumner once sang, will teach us nothing. The song was on Sting’s 1987 solo album … Nothing Like The Sun, released at a time when people were becoming surprisingly blasé about the past.

A few years later, the historian Francis Fukuyama wrote a book called The End of History: one of those academic misjudgements that, ironically, kept him in a job.

Perhaps both of them should have listened to Bob Dylan: ‘Don’t speak too soon, for the wheel’s still in spin.’ The times they are still a-changin’: rather than reducing the importance of history, they reinforce its relevance.

I’ve long been a big fan of Mark Twain’s quote that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. I was reminded of one such rhyme this week when I caught up with local author Simon Parke, whose excellent new historical novel, The Soldier, The Gaoler, The Spy And Her Lover, is out next week. The novel is set around the tumultuous events of the mid-seventeenth century, an era of political mistrust, a divided nation and battles over parliamentary sovereignty that in this case ended in the execution of King Charles I.

The period is one that has fascinated Simon since he first studied it at university: it makes for a great story, he told me, and one he was surprised hadn’t been told more often.

As Simon started working on the novel, he began noticing the number of times that the seventeenth century cropped up as a reference point to current events.

Those parallels have continued right up to publication: in recent weeks, the issues of government accountability and parliamentary sovereignty have been in the headlines again, this time via the Brexit case in the Supreme Court.

These sorts of echoes down the ages are not new. It is down to historical writers like Simon to remind us of them and bring them to life. And it is down to the rest of us, perhaps, to reflect on their resonance.

We’re lucky in Salisbury to have so much history to draw upon – not just world-famous sites such as Stonehenge or Old Sarum, but also in the shape of events like the Salisbury Speakers’ Festival and the Chalke Valley History Festival, bringing the best historians to our doorstep.

It’s always worth hearing what history has to tell us. And if you’d rather listen to Sting, try instead the old Police song, Walking in Your Footsteps.

The Soldier, The Gaoler, The Spy and Her Lover by Simon Parke is published on February 16 by Marylebone Press, with a free book launch at Sarum College on February 20.

Follow Tom on Twitter @bromleyesq