The First Civil War 16423

The King's standard was raised on 22 August 1642, but Charles I had lost his first battle three and four months before, when Sir John Hotham with Parliamentary' and naval support had denied him aceess to the munitions at Hull, withstanding a Royal attempt to take them by force. Loss of armaments, there and at London, and of the navy's support, cost the King and the Royalist faction dearly. Nevertheless, the embryo Royal army received a significant reinforcement in early August when Princes Rupert and Maurice and other European military experts slipped past the Parliamentary navy and landed a cargo of munitions from Holland. Prince Rupert of the Rhine, son of Charles' sister and the deposed King of Bohemia, was aged only 22 when given command in the Royalist army, but possessed some seven years' military experience and far greater skill than he has sometimes been credited with. Shortly after his arrival the Royal standard rose above Nottingham and the war had begun officially.

'I"he army raised by Parliament was commanded by Robert Devereux, third Earl of Essex, previously the King's lieutenant-general against the Scots, a man said to be devoid of ambition, only wishing 'to be kindly looked upon and kindly spoken to, and quietly to enjoy his own fortune'1, and to whom rebellion against the anointed King was distasteful. His opinions echoed those of many Parliamentary supporters at this time; their fight was not against the King but against those 'malignants' and Papists who sought to separate him from his Parliament. As the Parliamentary despatch of Bdgehill read, they fought against 'the Cavaliers, and,.. those evi 11 persons, who... tngaged His Majestic in a ... bloody fight against His faithfull Subjects, in the Army raised bv Authority of Parliament, for the preservation of His Crowne and Kingdome''; that the King was with the 'Cavaliers' in this fight was somehow overlooked.

Leaving London for Northampton on 9 September, Essex (accompanied by his coffin and winding sheet ; gathered a sizeable force, 20 regiments of foot, six of horse (regimented from semi-independent troops) and one of dragoons, plus Essex's own cuirassier Lifeguard. Against this largely amateur army was arrayed an even poorer Royalist force; at the beginning of hostilities Sir Jacob Astley told the King 'that he could not give any assurance against his majesty's being taken out of his bed if the rebels should make a brisk attempt to that purpose'J. Nor were Royalist fortunes prospering else where; the vital port and fortress of Portsmouth surrendered to Parliament on 7 September with a suspicion of treachery on the part of the Parliamentary-appointed Royalist governor, George Goring, and the withdraw! of the supposed relief force,

Charles rallied support from Cheshire and the Welsh Marches and a sizeable Royal army came into being, encouraged by their first success at Powick Bridge on 23 September, when Rupert, the King's General of Horse, beat up and routed a small Parliamentary force under Nathaniel Fiennes whilst covering the evacuation

Eastern Association

Earl of Essex Note use of single gauntlet, with helmet prob ably shown simply to emphasize the quality of subject (engraving by Wenceslaos Hollar. 1644)

Edgehill Battle Formation

EDGEHILL Parliamentary Army

I dragoons or musketeers 2 Lord Fielding's Horse 3 Sir Wittiam Fairfax's Regt 4 Sir Philip Stapleton's Horse 5 Sir William Balfour's Horse 6 Sir John Meldrum's brigade

7 Thomas Ballard's brigade 8 Charles Essex's brigade 9 Denzil Holies Regt 10 Sir James Ramsey's Horse

II dragoons or musketeers

EDGEHILL Parliamentary Army

I dragoons or musketeers 2 Lord Fielding's Horse 3 Sir Wittiam Fairfax's Regt 4 Sir Philip Stapleton's Horse 5 Sir William Balfour's Horse 6 Sir John Meldrum's brigade

7 Thomas Ballard's brigade 8 Charles Essex's brigade 9 Denzil Holies Regt 10 Sir James Ramsey's Horse

II dragoons or musketeers

Royalist Army

12 dragoons or musketeers 13 Lord Wifmot's Horse 14 Lord Grandison's Horse 15 Earl of Carnarvon's Horse 16 Lord Digby's Horse 17 Sir Thomas Aston's Horse 18 Henry Wentwonh 19 Sir Nicholas Byron 20 Richard Feilding 21 John Betasyse 22 Charles Gerard 23 Prince Maurice's Horse 24 Prince Rupert's Horse 25 Prince of Wales'Horse 26 King's Lifeguard 27 Sir John Byron's Ftegt (part) 28 Sir John Byron's Regt (pari) 29 Gentleman Pensioners 30 William Legge's Firelocks R Radway village

The scale represents one mile (1.6 kilometres)

of Worcester. Leaving Shrewsbury on 12 October, the King marched towards London, causing Parliament to begin the formation of a new army for the defence of the capital, based upon their excellent trained bands. Meanwhile, Essex's army attempted to find the King, but such was the inexperience of both sides that neither knew where the other was. On 22 October the King was at Edgecote. 40 miles (64 kilometres) west of Bedford, when he learned that Essex was only seven miles (II kilometres) distant, and on the following day Charles drew up his army on Fdgehill, dominating the Warwickshire plain. Awaiting the Parliamentarians, the

Royal army was split hy internal dissent; Rupert, though only General of Horse> insisted that he receive his orders only from the King, not the General-in-Chief, the Earl of I .indsey; and when Charles ordered the battle line to be arrayed by Patrick Ruthven, Earl of Forth, a Scottish veteran who 'dozed in his understanding', an immoderate drinker, almost illiterate and deaf4, Lindsey resigned alt command save that of his own regiment, with which he fell in the coming battle. The Royal army numbered almost 3,000 horse, about 10,000 fool and 1,000 dragoons; Essex's strength was about 2.000 horse, 12.000 foot and 700 dragoons.

Charles doubtless hoped that Essex would attack him uphill, but Essex, probably not wishing to initiate the first battle of an unprecedented war, remained immobile, so on the early afternoon of 23 October 1642 the Royalist army rolled down the hill, three brigades of foot in the centre and horse on the wings, meeting the Parliamentary army similarly arrayed. On the Royalist right, Rupert swept down upon Essex's left-flank horse who, demoralized by the defection of Sir Faith-full Eonescue's troop which changed sides en masse, broke and fled, pursued by the Cavalier horse which set about looting the Parliamentary baggage. A similar rout occurred on the other flank, though at least one Royalist commander. Sir Charles Lucas of Caernarvon's regiment, attempted to check the mad pursuit and gathered some horse around him. In the centre, nearly half the Parliamentary foot ran away before a blow was delivered, but the remainder held on tenaciously and, reinforced by Balfour's and Stapleton's Horse (both having avoided the rout on their flank 1. actually pushed back the Royalist foot. At this juncture the King's sons were in danger, the 13-year-old Prince of Wales (later Charles II) and his brother James being present in the King's entourage; ordered to escort them to safety, the Earl of Dorset roughly told the King that "he would not be thought a Coward for the sake of any King's Sons in Christendom'5. Young Charles wanted to fighi, but they were escorted away by the commander of the Pensioners, but not before a Parliamentary cuirassier had attempted to kill or capture them. By the time Rupert returned with his horse, expecting to find an overwhelming victory, he found a stalemate. The survivors stayed put through the night, but the imminent approach of fresh Parliamentary troops (including the regiment of John Hampden) compelled ihe Royal army to withdraw. Neither side had much to acclaim, for the first battle of the war was both confused and amateurish. The Banner Royal had been captured upon the death of its bearer. Sir Edmund Vernev, but had been recovered for the King; and though both armies were temporarily shattered. Essex had at least forestalled the King's march on London, though the Parliamentary army also retired. On balance, the pendulum of victory edged slightly towards the Royalists.

Charles was urged by Rupert and Lord Forth (.the

Thb First Civil War 1642-3

Civil War Fortifications

Civil War fortifications: defences of London, 1643. showing batteries and sconces' numbered 1 23

new General-in-Chief) to march immediately upon London, but fearing it might alienate too many subjects, he hesitated, occupying Oxford ¡to be the Royal headquarters throughout the First Civil War) and only then moving on London. Rupert surprised and. after a fierce fight, captured Brentford on 12 November. On the following morning he found his route to the city barred at Turnham Green by Essex and 34,000 Parliamentarians, with the London trained bands as the heart of the defence. Though Clarendon claimed that many of these would have defected had the Royalists attacked, the trained hands, arrayed 'in their brightest equipage' saved the war for Parliament by what S R. Gardiner termed "the Valmy of the English Civil War' as the Royal army retired rather than fight,

As the campaigning season of 1642 drew to a close, the King possessed not only the loyal local forces in various pans of the kingdom, but three field armies: his awn tidgchitl army, now in the Oxford area; a force in the north under the Earl of Newcastle; and in Cornwall Sir Ralph I lopton was in the process of forming an army which was to include the best infantry of either side. Hopton. an ex-mercenary with Mansfeldt and a Somerset landowner, had been a reform-minded M P. who had led the delegation which presented the Grand Remonstrance to the King in 1641, but by the beginning of 1642 his traditional loyalty led him to support the attempted arrest of the 'five members' and resulted in a spell of imprisonment in the Tower upon Parliament's order. Appointed Lieutenant-General of Horse in the West. Hopton (with the support of the great Cornish-man Sir lie vile Grenvile. 'the generally most loved man of that county'*) rallied the county trained bands and evicted the Parliamentary forces: but before an invasion of Devon could be undertaken, new 'voluntary* regiments had to be organized, the trained bands being unwilling to leave their own county. In the north, the Earl of Newcastle marched south and occupied York, aided by an able Scottish general. James King (later Lord Eythin . against whose nationality some prejudice was exercised, and as Lieutenant-General of Horse, George Goring, ex-governor of Portsmouth, who according to Clarendon was an uncontrollable drunkard whose appointment with Newcastle was engineered by the Queen.

To finance the war. Parliament imposed a property tax or assessment (generally five per cent) on all counties under their control, and Pym proposed an excise tax; though unpopular, these measures and the sequestration of Royalist property) enabled Parliament to provide most of the needs of its forces. Charles, however, was forced to rely on voluntary loans, levied contributions from Royalist areas, and on money the Queen had borrowed in Holland. Parliament's superior financial resources proved vital in the outcome of the war, which in 1643 was fragmented into a number of 'fronts*. Peace negotiations, which continued until March, broke down due 10 the stringency of the conditions which Parliament attempted to impose upon the King.

Ii is debatable whether Charles had any deliberate grand strategy in 1643; a three-pronged assault on the capital directed from Oxford, from the north and southwest may have been envisaged but the evidence is scant, and there seems to have been little attempt at coordination. If anyone attempted a cohesive strategy il was Parliament, which established a Committee of Safety to coordinate efforts, and during 1643 began to form 'associations' of counties to overcome the raging localism which often prevented the troops of one county from setting a foot beyond its borders. Most successful of these organizations were the lias tern Association, combining the forces of Cambridge. Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk. Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire and Lincolnshire, with an army under the Pari of Manchester; and the South-Eastern Association combining the forces of Hampshire, Kent, Surrey and Sussex under Sir William Waller. Nevertheless, only Essex's national army was ever free oflocal bias, its funds and directions depending entirely upon the central government and not thecommilteesofan association.

Eighting in the south-west continued through the winter of 1642-3, Hopton'% brief excursion into Devon drawing the local Parliamentary forces over the border into Cornwall and to defeat at Hraddock Down, near Liskeard. on 19 January. Parliament's campaigns in this theatre were hampered by the incompetency of their commander, the Earl of Stamford, who left the Welsh Marches to take control of Devon, allowing the Marquis of Hertford's Welsh regiments to pass unhindered to reinforce the King at Oxford A temporary local iruce was arranged between Devon and Cornwall, reflecting again the localized character of the combat in that area.

In the north, Newcastle's progress was slow though he was able lo cut communications between the Parliamentary garrison of Hull and their adherents in the West Riding; despite the efforts of Sir Thomas Fairfax, perhaps Parliament's most able commander of the entire war, Newcastle succeeded in establishing a garrison at Newark, thus securing a crossing over the Trent, vital if the munitions acquired by the Queen on the continent were to reach the King at Oxford. Fairfax's capture of Leeds assured Parliament's hold on the West Riding, but sporadic fighting in Lancashire, Cheshire and Staffordshire only occasionally influenced the main theatres of war. The Queen with her cargo of munitions from Holland evaded Parliament's tfeet and landed at Bridlington, at first joining the Harl of Newcastle at York but later, with her own army and styling herself 'Her she-majesty, general!saima', joined the King in July.

Following a Royalist success at Nantwich . 28 January 1643J, intermittant fighting spread into the Midlands, with local and largely untrained troops skirmishing without decisive result, but with some Royalist gains of towns like Lichfield, Tamworth and Stafford, which if allowed to develop could assist the juncture of Newcastle and the King. Parliament thus despatched Lord Brooke as commander of the forces of the associated counties of Warwick and Stafford to redress the situation. and though he secured Stafford he was killed on the morning of his planned assault on Lichficld. shot through the eye as he sat at his own window. Parliament thus lost a staunch supporter and an able soldier, but only 17 days later {19 March) the Royalists also lost a valued commander. The recapture of Lichfield by Parliament led to the despatch of the Karl of Northampton from Oxford; he defeated a Parliamentary force at Hopton Heath, two miles (3.2 kilometres) from Stafford, but in the course of the action was dismounted and surrounded by enemies. Attired in cuirassier armour, he was impervious to their attack until his helmet was knocked off, whereupon he was offered quarter. Refusing to accept such from 'base rogues'" he was killed by a halberd blow to the head, and Lichfield remained Roundhead.

In the west, an attempt on 7 March by Rupert to capture the vital port of Bristol (with the connivance of Royalists within) was foiled, and some Parliamentary success was enjoyed by Sir William Waller, who was appointed commander of the armies of the Western Association Somerset, Gloucester, Shropshire, Wiltshire, Worcester), Waller, who had seen considerable campaigning in Europe, posed such a threat to Wales that Prince Maurice was sent from Oxford to threaten his rear, at which Waller withdrew to Gloucester, Further Royalist success occurred in the north when Sir 11 ugh C holm ley. Parliament's governor of Scarborough,

Earl Manchester Civil War

Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester (portrait by Sir Peter Lely. e 1661 -5, The Nationaf Portrait Gallery, London)

declared for the King and prompted Sir John I lot ham and his son. holding Hull, to consider the same course. Parliament's commander in east Yorkshire, Lord Fer-dinando Fairfax (Sir Thomas' father , abandoned his headquarters at Selbv and retired on Leeds, his son's covering manoeuvre meeting a reverse at Seacroft Moor at the hands of Goring's horse.

Attempting to open a route for the Queen's munitions from the north to Oxford, Rupert moved northward, capturing the small Puritanical town of Birmingham and the Parliamentary stronghold of Lichfield (21 April), but then returned to Oxford as Essex was on the move. Maurice was also recalled from the west, but not before Waller had attempted to intercept him; the Governor of Gloucester, Sir ['Idward Massey, was able to destroy Maurice's bridge of boats across the Severn, but Waller was routed by Maurice at Ripple Field, three miles (4.8 kilometres north of Tewkesbury, on 13 April. The threat from Essex materialized as Parliament's main

Helmet, bieast- and backplates reputedly worn by Lord Brooke when killed at Lichlield, 1643 (engraving by T Hamilton)

Lichfield Civil WarCupola Cassock
Ferdinando, 2nd Baron Fairfax lllustratns us« of a cassock (portrait by Edward Bower; York City Art Gallerv)

field army u6,ooo fool and 3,000 horse) moved against the Royal stronghold of Reading, a ruinous fortification held by Sir Arthur Aston with 3,000 foot and 300 horse. The King was marching to its succour when, the day after Rupert joined him, he learned that Reading had capitulated, Aston having been incapacitated by being struck upon the head with a roof tile dislodged by a roundshot, and the surrender arranged by his deputy. Colonel Richard Feilding, who narrowly escaped the King's sentence of death for his conduct, and then only by the intercession of the Prince of Wales.

The Royal cause prospered better in the south-west, despite an invasion from Devon under the Pari of Stamford which threatened to swamp llopton's outnumbered Cornishmen. Stamford took up a sirong position atop a hill at Stratton, but though heavily outnumbered I lopton's field army comprised 2,400 foot and 500 horse against Stamford's 6,800) and short of ammunition and food, Hopton attacked before 1,200 horse unwisely detached by Stamford could rejoin. The battle raged from early moming until mid-afternoon, until Hopton s ammunition had all but run out. but his Comish foot took the hill at a charge and routed Stamford. who abandoned his artillery and munitions in the flight. This astonishing victory had an equally unusual result; in an attempt to explain his defeat, Stamford accused his subordinate. Major-Gen era I James Chud-leigh, of treason. Chudleigh, captured whilst attempting a vain counterattack, promptly changed sides and was to die fighting for the King at Dartmouth later in the year.

In the north. Parliament made another attempt to capture Newark, and though inflicting a reverse upon the Royalists, the Parliamentary forces of Lord Wil-loughby of Parham, Sir John llotham and Oliver Cromwell were too mauled to continue their attempt on the city. On 20 May 1643 Sir "ITiomas Fairfax attacked Wakefield, defeating the Royalists after confused fighting in the town; the Royal horse escaped but its leader, Goring, was captured. ITte hard-won town was later abandoned.

As Parliament's lord-general. Essex, began his move upon Oxford, a Royalist raid was launched under Prince Rupert to attack any target which presented itself; it was guided by John Urry. a Scottish deserter from Parliament's army who changed his allegiance probably more than anyone else in the war. Aiming to attack a convoy with £21,000 cn route to pay Essex's army. Rupert's 1,000 horse, 350 dragoons and 500 musketeers instead rode over several disorganized parties of Parliamentary troops and then fought an action against the troops pursuing them at Chalgrove Field on 18 June. Its significance is largely due to the mortal wounding there of John I fampden, hero of the ship-money case, a leading Parliamentarian and friend of Pym. Tradition has it that he died of a bullet wound in the shoulder, but it is possible that his wound was inflicted by the explosion of his own pistol, an ever-present danger: as William Garrard wrote, 'He that loves the safety of hys owne person ,., choose rather to pay double money for a good Peece. then 1 sic to spare hys Purse and endanger hymselfe'10, but in Hampden's case it was perhaps caused by the pistol being overcharged". After Chalgrove, Essex withdrew his attempt upon Oxford and offered to resign his command, but it was not accepted.

Similar Royal success came in the north; as Newcastle advanced upon Bradford, Lord Fairfax (in overall command, now joined with his son) attempted, with a greatly inferior force (3,000 against at least 10,000), to surprise Newcastle at Adwalton Moor, some five miles (eight kilometres) cast of Bradford. The Parliamentary advance was so delayed that Newcastle met them with his entire force in order of battle, but despite the disparity in numbers Fairfax's army held against the Royalist assault. Newcastle was contemplating withdrawal when one Colonel Skirton, *a wild and desperate man', led acharge with his pikes which broke Fairfax's centre

Sir Thomas Fairfax, later 3rd Baron Fairfax, shown in cuirassier armour, wearing medal awarded for Nasebv The Fairfax arms ore borne on horse's breastplate; in the background are horse and foot in battle array (engraving by Englehard aher Bowers; York City Art Gallerv)

Gentleman Horse Engraving
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