The English Civil Wars 1642-1649

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Ultimately, the war was a struggle over how much power parliament should have over the monarchy and would challenge forever the idea that an English monarch had the right to rule without the consent of their people. The war spanned nearly a decade, beginning on 22 August and ending on 3 September Historians often divide the war into three conflicts, with the First English Civil War lasting between and ; the Second between and ; and the Third between and The walls of the new Postal Museum house five centuries of stories and secrets — not just about post, not just about stamps, but about the remarkable people who made the Royal Mail what it is today.

Watch Now. Charles Junior was luckier than his father and the third war ended with his exile, rather than his execution.

English Civil War: Crash Course European History #14

Before the outbreak of the war, England was governed by an uneasy alliance between the monarchy and parliament. Although the English parliament did not have a large permanent role in the system of governance at this time, it had been around in some form since the middle of the 13th century and so its place was fairly well established. What is more, during this time it had acquired de facto powers which meant it could not easily be ignored by monarchs.

First Civil War in England : 1642-1646

Dan takes a tour of the impressive Althorp house and discovers more about the illustrious history of the Spencers, a family never far away from the beating heart of British life. Tensions between Charles and MPs came to a head in when the king shut down parliament altogether and ruled alone. Politically, these months were the turning-point of the war.

In Ireland, the King's lieutenant, by order of his master, made a truce with the Irish rebels on 15 September Charles's chief object was to set free his army to fight in England, but it was universally believed that Irish regiments in plain words, papists in arms, would shortly follow. Under these circumstances, his act united against him nearly every class in Protestant England, and brought into the English quarrel the armed strength of Presbyterian Scotland. Yet Charles, still trusting to intrigue and diplomacy to keep Scotland in check, deliberately rejected the advice of Earl of Montrose , his greatest and most faithful Scottish lieutenant, who wished to give the Scots employment for their army at home.

It is true that even a semblance of Presbyterian theocracy put the "Independents" on their guard, and definitely raised the question of freedom of conscience. Secret negotiations were opened between the Independents and Charles on that basis. However, they soon discovered that the King was merely using them as instruments to bring about the betrayal of Aylesbury and other small rebel posts. All parties found it convenient to interpret the Covenant liberally for the present.

At the beginning of , the Parliamentary party showed so united a front that even John Pym's death, on 8 December , hardly affected its resolution to continue the struggle. The troops from Ireland, thus obtained at the cost of an enormous political blunder, proved to be untrustworthy after all. Those serving in Hopton's army were "mutinous and shrewdly infected with the rebellious humour of England". When Waller's Londoners surprised and routed a Royalist detachment at Alton on 13 December , half the prisoners took the Covenant.

Hopton had to retire from the area around Arundel , and on 6 January , Waller recaptured the town. Byron's Cheshire army was in no better case. Newcastle's retreat from Hull and the loss of Gainsborough had completely changed the situation in the Midlands. Brereton was joined by the younger Fairfax from Lincolnshire, and the Royalists were severely defeated for a second time at Nantwich on 25 January. As at Alton, the majority of the prisoners amongst them, Colonel George Monck took the Covenant and entered the Parliamentary army.

In Lancashire, as in Cheshire , Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire, and Lincolnshire, the cause of Parliament was in the ascendant. More important news came in from the north.

The advanced guard of the Scottish army had passed the Tweed on 19 January, and Newcastle, with the remnant of his army, would soon be attacked in front and rear at once. As in , Rupert was soon on his way to the north to retrieve the fortunes of his side. Moving by the Welsh border, and gathering up garrisons and recruits snowball-wise as he marched, he went first to Cheshire to give a hand to Byron , and then, with the utmost speed, he made for Newark. On 20 March , he bivouacked at Bingham , and on the 21st, he not only relieved Newark but routed the besiegers' cavalry.

On the 22nd, Meldrum's position was so hopeless that he capitulated on terms. But, brilliant soldier as he was, the prince was unable to do more than raid a few Parliamentary posts around Lincoln. After that, he had to return his borrowed forces to their various garrisons, and go back to Walesladen, indeed with captured pikes and muskets, to raise a permanent field army. But Rupert could not be in all places at once. Newcastle was clamorous for aid. Her husband pressed Rupert to go to her relief. Once, too, the prince was ordered back to Oxford to furnish a travelling escort for the queen, who shortly after this, gave birth to her youngest child and returned to France.

The order was countermanded within a few hours, it is true, but Charles had good reason for avoiding detachments from his own army.

"The English Civil War ( questions)" -

In the preliminary manoeuvres, and in the opening stages of the battle, the advantage lay with the Royalists. The Patrick, Earl of Forth , who was present, was satisfied with what had been achieved, and tried to break off the action. But Royalist indiscipline ruined everything. A young cavalry colonel, charged in defiance of orders. A fresh engagement opened, and at the last moment, Waller snatched a victory out of defeat.

Worse than this was the news from Yorkshire and Scotland. Charles had at last assented to Montrose's plan and promised him a marquessate. The first attempt to raise the Royalist standard in Scotland, however, gave no omen of its later triumphs.

English Civil Wars 1642-1649

Selby was stormed on 11 April and thereupon, Newcastle, who had been manoeuvring against the Scots in Durham , hastily drew back. He sent his cavalry away, and shut himself up with his foot in York. Two days later, the Scottish general, Alexander Leslie, Lord Leven , joined the Fairfaxes and prepared to invest that city. The original plan of the Parliamentary " Committee of Both Kingdoms ," which directed the military and civil policy of the allies after the fashion of a modern cabinet, was to combine Essex's and Manchester's armies in an attack upon the King's army.

Aylesbury was appointed as the place of concentration. Waller's troops were to continue to drive back Hopton and to reconquer the west, Fairfax and the Scots, to invest Newcastle's army. In the Midlands, Brereton and the Lincolnshire rebels could be counted upon to neutralise the one Byron, and the others, the Newark Royalists.


But Waller, once more deserted by his trained bands, was unable to profit by his victory of Cheriton, and retired to Farnham. Manchester, too, was delayed because the Eastern Association was still suffering from the effects of Rupert's Newark exploit. Lincoln , abandoned by the rebels on that occasion, was not reoccupied till 6 May. Moreover, Essex found himself compelled to defend his conduct and motives to the "Committee of Both Kingdoms," and as usual, was straitened for men and money.

But though there were grave elements of weakness on the other side, the Royalists considered their own position to be hopeless. Prince Maurice was engaged in the fruitless siege of Lyme Regis. Gloucester was again a centre of activity and counterbalanced Newark, and the situation in the north was practically desperate. Rupert himself came to Oxford on 25 April to urge that his new army should be kept free to march to aid Newcastle. This was because Newcastle's army was now threatened, owing to the abandonment of the enemy's original plan by Manchester, as well as Fairfax and Leven. There was no further talk of the concentric advance of three armies on London.

The fiery prince and the methodical Earl of Forth now honoured with the Earldom of Brentford were at one, at least, in recommending that the Oxford area, with its own garrison and a mobile force, should be the pivot of the field armies' operations. Rupert, needing above all, adequate time for the development of the northern offensive, was not in favour of abandoning any of the barriers to Essex's advance. Brentford, on the other hand, thought it advisable to contract the lines of defence, and Charles, as usual undecided, agreed to Rupert's scheme and executed Brentford's.

Reading, therefore, was dismantled early in May, and Abingdon given up shortly afterwards. It was now possible for the Roundheads to approach Oxford. Abingdon was no sooner evacuated than on 26 May , Waller's and Essex's armies united there — still, unfortunately for their cause, under separate commanders. Edmund Ludlow joined Waller at Abingdon to place Oxford under siege.

Waller moved towards Wantage , where he could give a hand to Edward Massey , the energetic governor of Gloucester. Affairs seemed so bad in the west Maurice, with a whole army was still vainly besieging the single line of low breastworks that constituted the fortress of Lyme Regis that the King dispatched Hopton to take charge of Bristol. Nor were things much better at Oxford. The barriers of time and space, and the supply area had been deliberately given up to the enemy. Charles was practically forced to undertake extensive field operations, with no hope of success, save in consequence of the enemy's mistakes.

The English Civil Wars 1642-1649 The English Civil Wars 1642-1649
The English Civil Wars 1642-1649 The English Civil Wars 1642-1649
The English Civil Wars 1642-1649 The English Civil Wars 1642-1649
The English Civil Wars 1642-1649 The English Civil Wars 1642-1649
The English Civil Wars 1642-1649 The English Civil Wars 1642-1649
The English Civil Wars 1642-1649 The English Civil Wars 1642-1649
The English Civil Wars 1642-1649 The English Civil Wars 1642-1649

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