Battles in the English Civil War


This battle was not part of the Civil War, but was part of the events that led up to the war.

A Scottish army was advancing into England. The King himself led an army out of York, but too late. The Scottish army had moved across the hills of Northumberland. Lord Conway commanded the local English forces and tried to hold back the advance at the river Tyne, at the ford at Newburn. He had four cannons, 2,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry, but he was not able to complete his defences by the time the Scots forces arrived.

The English foot soldiers held them back for a while, but then gave way. The cavalry then had some success, but by the evening the English had been defeated. The Scots army was able to march on, by-passing Berwick and taking Newcastle, which had been abandoned by its defenders.

An armistice led to the fighting stopping, but the King returned to London and sought to raise the money for an army. This would be one of the factors causing the Civil War.

23rd September
Powick Bridge

At the beginning of of the First Civil War the King had to gather as many men as possible for his forces. Sir John Byron and Prince Rupert had gone to the city of Worcester to recruit soldiers.

The Earl of Essex, in command of the Parliamentary army, marched towards Worcester, his men eager to begin fighting. Prince Rupert did not think that Worcester would be an easy city to defend, so moved out with his men to meet Essex. He met with about 1,000 cavalry from Essex's army led by Nathaniel Fiennes. The Royalists were in open ground, and the Parliamentarians had to advance towards them along a narrow lane. Rupert was able to use his dragoons with their muskets to fire at them as they came up the lane. The confusion caused meant that Rupert was able to force them to retreat, even though he had less men at his command.

It was not a great battle with many men involved, but it was an important victory for the King's men at the beginning of the war.

23rd October

Edgehill was the first major battle of the Civil War. Two armies of about 14,000 men each faced each other. The King had left London to rally his forces, and was now marching back towards London. The Parliamentary army had set out to cut him off. They met at Edgehill.

Prince Rupert had advised the King to form his army up on the ridge of Edgehill. The Earl of Essex was on his way to church when his scouts told him where the King's army was. Although it was a strong position, the ridge was not a good place for the King's cavalry to operate, and Essex was able to move his troops into position. When it became clear that there was to be a battle, Prince Rupert brought his forces down from the top of the ridge.

As the armies faced each other, Essex probably had the advantage of officers who would obey his commands, whilst some of the King's commanders argued as to who would accept whose orders. The battle began with some cannon fire, and then Prince Rupert ordered a cavalry charge.

The part of the Parliamentary army attacked by cavalry broke up and were defeated, but the cavalry charged on, chasing the fleeing soldiers. Some of them went on to plunder the village of Kineton. The Parliamentary foot soldiers in the centre of the battle were more successful, and gradually began to overwhelm the King's men. Eventually, however, Prince Rupert's cavalry came back to the battle and the Parliamentary forces fell back.

By the time night came many men had been killed and both armies were exhausted, and camped where they were. The next day both armies moved away from the field of battle; both claimed that they had been victorious.

Turnham Green

After Prince Rupert had captured Brentford, the King's army continued to advance on London. The Earl of Essex and the London Trained Bands had moved out of London and were prepared to fight the King's army at Turnham Green.

Because the Earl had twice as many men, and a good defensive position, and because his own infantry were tired after much marching, Rupert and the Royalist forces fell back without a battle.

12th November

After the battle of Edgehill, the first major battle of the war, the King moved towards London with his forces.

The town of Brentford was held for Parliament by two regiments. There had been a truce, but Prince Rupert, one of the King's commanders, believed that because forces were moving out of London towards the King's army, the truce had ended. He attacked Brentford and defeated the Parliamentary forces. Many of Rupert's troops went out of control in the town, drinking, breaking into houses and stealing as much as they could. The defenders of the town were cut down or treated badly as prisoners.

The attack was quickly reported in the House of Commons. Parliament complained that it was Rupert who had broken the truce, and there were many complaints about the way the civilian citizens of Brentford had been treated.


Sir Hugh Cholmley, the governor of Scarborough, defeated a Royalist force at Gisborough.

1st December

The Earl of Newcastle, assisted by Sir Marmaduke Langdale, defeated the younger Fairfax at Tadcaster.

5th December

Marlborough, a town held by Parliament, was attacked in the early hours on Monday 5th December, 1942. Lord Digby had suggested the attack, partly to block wool and cloth reaching London, and partly to help with communications from the King's headquarters at Oxford to the south west of England.

Marlborough is built along a wide high street, and was difficult to defend. A troop of dragoons attacked the town, some along the high street, some entering through the backs of the buildings. The Cavaliers took away much food and cloth, and marched their prisoners off to Oxford. The people of the town had to pay to make peace with the Cavaliers.

The writers of pamphlets in London were able to to say how cruelly the people of Marlborough had been treated, to encourage them to support Parliament even more. Even so, it was a serious defeat for Parliament, because the Royalists could stop the wool and cloth of the Wiltshire Downs from reaching London. Many of Parliament's supporters were merchants who traded in these items.


The Royalist forces in Lancashire, led by Lord Derby, had made themselves unpopular by the brutal way they were making men join their forces. This helped the determination of the Parliamentary forces. Across the border in Yorkshire, country folk joined forces with a small Parliamentary force to capture the town of Braford after eight hours of fighting. Control of the area was important because of the wool trade there.


Lord Newcastle, the commander of the King's forces in the north of England, had been successful in a number of attacks on Parliamentary towns. He had succeeded in keeping open communications between the north of England and the King's headquarters at Oxford.

Leeds was, however, one of the towns captured for Parliament by Sir Thomas Fairfax, the son of Lord Fairfax. His troops were strengthened by local volunteers, often armed only with clubs. Most of these volunteers came from Halifax, a town which was jealous of the increasing importance of Leeds, and this may have caused them to fight more fiercely. The capture of Leeds by Fairfax, and the capture of the nearby towns of Bradford and Wakefield, forced Lord Newcastle to move back to the city of York.

The fighting in the West Riding of Yorkshire had a very severe effect on all the people who made their living by washing and weaving wool. This industry depended on different skills, with the wool and the products made from it being moved from place to place for different processes. The roads had become very dangerous, with soldiers from both sides often seizing goods and cloth from traders.

19th January
Braddock Down

The west country, particularly Cornwall, was a strong area for the King. Parliament sent an army under Stamford to try and prevent Hopton recruiting for the King's forces. Some regiments, under the command of Lord Ruthin, came across some Royalists who he thought were stragglers when marching on from Liskeard.

In fact, Hopton had set a trap. The stragglers were only part of his forces; the rest were hidden behind a hill. When the Parliamentary forces were in range, he opened fire with his cannons and charged. Ruthin's forces broke and ran, and Hopton was able to establish firm control of the county of Cornwall.

South Shields

The Marquess of Montrose led a small Scottish force to support the Royalists who were under siege in Newcastle by the Scottish army which was in alliance with Parliament. Montrose made some small-scale attacks on the besieging army, and captured the towns of Morpeth and South Shields.


After successfully dealing with small Royalist uprisings in the ports of Lowestoft and Kings Lynn, Oliver Cromwell went with his men to Cambridge. There he met with officials of the University. He held them prisoner until they voted to help Parliament's forces.


There was an attempt to raise support for the King and take the port of Lowestoft. The local gentry who sort to secure the port were quickly surprised by Cromwell, who took them as prisoners to Cambridge and held them until they agreed to help Parliament.


As both sides in the war tried to control the Midlands, the Royalists captured Lichfield at the end of February. Lord Brooke was sent to the region to recapture it for Parliament.

Early in March Brooke's forces attacked Lichfield and recaptured it. As the Parliamentarians fought their way into the town, the King's forces used the cathedral as their final defence. There was fierce fighting, but finally the Royalists were defeated, although Lord Brooke was killed in the fighting. This was a loss to Parliament, because he was an important leader for them in the region.

Whalley Abbey

The fight at Whalley Abbey and the village of Padiham was between Royalists led by Lord Derby and Parliamentarians led by Ralph Assheton. As well as locally recruited men, Assheton had some well-trained musketeers; he was able to ambush the Royalist cavalry as they advanced. The main Royalist force fled when they saw their advanced forces retreating in disorder.


Parliamentary forces captured and then soon lost the town of Wigan in the spring of 1643.

21st March

Sir William Waller took Malmesbury for Parliament before moving north to Gloucester and Ross-on-Wye.

24th March

Sir William Waller had been appointed Parliamentary commander in the southern counties. He captured a number of mains towns and cities, including Gloucester.

He moved his forces back into Gloucester when Prince Rupert threatened to attack him, and made an attack himself on the bridge of boats that Prince Maurice had built to cross the River Severn at Tewkesbury.

30th March
Seacroft Moor

Sir Thomas Fairfax, the son of Lord Fairfax, was attacked and defeated by Lord George Goring on Seacroft Moor. It was a worrying defeat for Parliament as both sides tried to control the routes to the north of England.


Hereford was occupied for Parliament by soldiers from the army of the Earl of Essex in September 1642. It was also briefly occupied for Parliament by soldiers from Waller's army in the spring of 1643.

Hopton Heath

At a time when the Earl of Newcastle was having some success for the King in the north of England, the King sent other forces north from his base at Oxford under the command of Lord Northampton. Lord Northampton intended to go and help the Royalist forces in the county of Staffordshire.

He met up with Parliamentary forces under the command of Sir William Brereton and Sir John Gell at Hopton Heath, near Stafford. Lord Northampton's cavalry were successful in driving back the Parliamentary soldiers, and captured most of their cannon. However, Lord Northampton was killed in the fighting and the Parliamentarians refused to hand back his body unless they were given back their guns. This they refused to do, and the Royalists remembered for a long while this uncivilised, bad behaviour by the Parliamentary commanders.

After Northampton's death, Prince Rupert was appointed to command the King's armies in the Midlands.


A force led by Sir Ralph Hopton, who supported the King, was taken by surprise on the hills above the town of Okehampton. Hopton's men, about 3,000 foot soldiers and 600 horsemen, were ambushed at night by a much smaller Parliamentary force commanded by James Chudleigh.

In the confusion of the night, Chudleigh captured a thousand muskets and important papers which gave away the names of local landowners who had promised to support the King.


The Earl of Essex, in command of the Parliamentary army, began an attack on Reading on 15th April. The Royalist garrison was not large and could not man all the defences of the town. The loss of the town to Parliament was a blow to the King because it was near his headquarters at Oxford.

Parliament did not hold the town for long, and by October the Earl of Essex was having to plan to march on the town again. This time he could not carry through his attack because he was needed elsewhere.


Sir William Waller, Parliamentary commander in the south, had moved into Gloucester from where he arranged a sally to attack Prince Maurice's bridge of boats at Tewkesbury, destroying it and preventing Maurice from crossing the river.

However, Maurice crossed further north and prevented Waller from cutting him off. The two forces met at Ripple Field, three miles north of Tewkesbury and Waller was defeated.

Wardour Castle

Wardour Castle was taken from its owner by the Parliamentary forces, and a Parliamentary garrison put in place.

3rd April

Birmingham was a small town, solid in its support of Parliament and important because it made swords for the Parliamentary forces, as well as many other iron goods. Prince Rupert was leading a force to recapture Lichfield, and came to Birmingham with his forces.

The town refused him entry, and he forced his way in, setting fire to one of the suburbs and attacking any citizens who resisted.

13th April
Ripple Field

Sir William Waller had been successful in attacks around Winchester and had then moved with his army up past Gloucester and across the river Severn into Wales. This threatened the Royalists and Prince Maurice set off in pursuit. Waller withdrew to Gloucester. He moved out to Tewkesbury and destroyed the bridge of boats which had been built by Prince Maurice.

This left Maurice caught on the wrong side of the river, but he quickly moved upstream and crossed the river at Upton Bridge. Waller intended to cut him off there, but did not realise how quickly Prince Maurice had moved. He had crossed the river with all his men, and defeated Waller when they met at Ripple Field.


In the same week that the Royalists won the battle at Stratton in the West country (16th May), they also suffered a defeat. In Lincolnshire a Parliamentary force commanded by Colonel Cromwell patrolled the Great North Road (today the A1 road). 21 troops of cavalry and three or four of dragoons surprised the 12 troops of cavalry led by Cromwell.

There was some fighting between musketeers, but it seems that the Royalists thought that it was too late in the evening to fight. Cromwell took a different view and led a charge against the unprepared Royalists, who galloped off, with several of their standards captured.


Totnes was raided on market day by Sir Ralph Hopton's Royalist forces - many horses were taken.

16th May

Sir Ralph Hopton helped establish Cornwall as a county supporting the King. The county of Devon was mostly on the side of Parliament. There were a number of battles between Hopton's Royalist forces and those lead by the Earl of Stamford, the Parliamentary commander in the west.

Stamford had decided to prepare for battle at Stratton, the only part of Cornwall which supported Parliament. Hopton only had about half as many men as Stamford's 6,000 when he attacked.

Stamford's army was positioned on a ridge, and Hopton attacked with four columns of infantry. He held his cavalry in reserve. As ammunition began to run low he ordered a final attack with pike and sword. His Cornishmen attacked again up the hill, captured cannon which they turned round and used against Stamford's men, and won the day.

20th May

Sir Thomas Fairfax had recruited men as soldiers from villages in West Yorkshire. He launched an attack on Wakefield on 20th May and forced his way through many of the streets. The defenders, under the command of Sir George Goring, probably thought the situation was worse than it was, and surrendered.

The town was probably taken so that Fairfax and his Parliamentary forces had some prisoners they could exchange with prisoners taken by the Royalists in earlier fighting.

1st June
Chalgrove Field

Having received information about a Parliamentary force carrying pay for the troops, Prince Rupert set out to attack it. He attacked a small Parliamentary garrison, but this gave away his position.

He planned to go back to the King's headquarters at Oxford, but some Parliamentary forces caught up with him. It was only a short fight before the Parliamentary cavalry fled.

It was in this fight that John Hampden was killed. He was the Member of Parliament who had objected to paying the Ship Money tax in 1637, which had been the point at which opposition to the King had really begun to develop.

10th June
Chewton Mendip

Prince Maurice's army of Royalist forces met with forces from Waller's Parliamentary army at the village of Chewton Magna. Lord Carnarvon's horse soldiers began to move forward, but then retreated. A further Royalist cavalry attack was more successful however. Prince Maurice was captured in the first attack but released in the second.

The battle was not decisive and both armies continued to seek advantage, and met again some days later for the major battles of Lansdown Hill and Roundway Down.

13th June

The Earl of Essex, leading the Parliamentary army, was moving towards Oxford in a show of force. He reached Wheatley, just five miles away from Oxford, but a detachment of men moved north to try and cross the river Thames at Islip. The detachment, of about 2500 men, decided that they could not succeed against the Royalist garrison there and retreated to rejoin the main army.

18th June

After a night attack at Stokenchurch, Prince Rupert led a small force to attack Chinnor at dawn. The Parliamentary soldiers were badly defeated, but the noise of the fight warned other Parliamentary forces of danger, particular a convoy with money to pay troops.

18th June

Prince Rupert launched a raid into the heart of Parliamentary territory, whilst the Parliamentary commander the Earl of Essex was trying to move towards the King's headquarters at Oxford.

Rupert left Oxford with nearly 2,000 men and marched overnight to attack Stokenchurch. Sir Samuel Luke was the commander of the Parliamentary forces at Stokenchurch. Rupert went on to attack Chinnor in the early morning.

25th June
West Wycombe

Colonel Hurry led a raid by Royalist forces on West Wycombe. He had moved round behind the Parliamentary army commanded by the Earl of Essex, and caused panic in London with this attack.

30th June
Adwalton Moor

Lord Fairfax and his son, Sir Thomas Fairfax, were leading their forces for Parliament to try and take control of the West Riding of Yorkshire. They gathered their forces from Leeds and Bradford and moved towards Bradford to meet a much larger Royalist army commanded by Newcastle.

The Cavaliers had occupied the lanes and cottages on the edge of Adwalton Moor but a strong attack by the Parliamentarians men drove them out. However, the Royalists still controlled the high parts of the moor and a party of cavalry were able to make their way behind the Parliamentary forces and attack them. The Parliamentary forces thought they were surrounded, panicked and many ran away. Sir Thomas Fairfax escaped with some of the cavalry and he and his father decided they must make for Hull to regroup their forces.

3rd July
Monkton Farleigh

Just before the battle of Lansdown, the Royalist forces were attempting to cut off the line of communication between Sir William Waller's Parliamentary army and London. Waller tried to ambush the advancing Royalist forces at Monkton Farleigh, but his men were driven off.

5th July
Lansdown Hill

The main Parliamentary army commanded by Waller had moved westwards to command the area around Bristol and Gloucester. They controlled the town of Bath, but Sir Ralph Hopton moved up from the west country with his force, on behalf of the King, and cut Waller off from London.

Waller realised the importance of commanding Lansdown Ridge above the town, and moved men into position to hold it as Hopton moved towards the town. He began to move towards Bath on 5th July, to be met by fire from Waller's musketeers and a cavalry charge. The Cornish forces fighting on behalf of the King held their ground and began to advance across the lower slopes of Lansdown, fighting their way from hedge to hedge.

As was often the case in such battles, some Royalists fled, thinking that the repeated attacks made by Parliamentary cavalry meant that they had lost. Others fought on and Sir Bernard Grenville led his Cornish pikemen and musketeers until they reached the top of Lansdown Ridge. Grenville was killed, but his men fought on. Although the Royalist cavalry failed to give them support, the pikemen and musketeers forced Waller to give ground and fall back to another defensive position, and then retreat towards Bath.

Although it was clearly a victory for the King's forces, and his men captured a large number of muskets and pikes left on the battlefield, both armies were too exhausted to continue the fight the next day. The Royalists fell back towards Chippenham and then Devizes. Waller made up the numbers in his army with men and arms from Bristol, and set out once again to attack the Royalists.

13th July

The major battle of Roundway Down took place about three miles from Devizes. On the 9th Prince Maurice had managed to fight off an attack by Waller's Parliamentary force to allow the Royalist infantry to retreat into Devizes itself. Waller was able to move his cannon onto Roundway Down, overlooking the town.

Prince Maurice, the Marquis of Hertford and the Earl of Carnarvon rode to the King's headquarters at Oxford to fetch help. The King's forces in the town held out for two days until the help arrived. The battle which then took place at Roundway Down saved the troops besieged in the town.

13th July
Roundway Down

Sir William Waller had been driven back at the battle of Lansdown, just outside Bath. He collected fresh soldiers and arms from Bristol, and marched out again on 7th July.

The King's army had been successful at Lansdown, but they were tired and short of ammunition. The cavalry had been scattered, and one of their commanders, Sir Ralph Hopton, had been injured the day after the battle when a gunpowder wagon exploded.

Waller's leading forces caught up with the rear of the Royalist army. Prince Maurice managed to rally his cavalry and this gave time for the Royalist infantry to escape into the town of Devizes.

Although he was injured, Hopton said that he could hold the town that night. Prince Maurice, the Marquis of Hertford and the Earl of Carnarvon rode overnight to Oxford to obtain help. Not much help was available, because Prince Rupert had gone north with a cavalry force. About 1800 horsemen could be mustered, commanded by Lord Wilmot and Sir John Byron. Prince Maurice also volunteered to return.

Back in Devizes, the town had held out for two days. Lead from the gutters on the houses was being melted down to make bullets, and burning bed cords were being used as matches to fire cannon. Waller had not pressed his attack home, believing that the Earl of Essex would stop any reinforcements for the town arriving.

When he learned of the approach of the cavalry from Oxford, he had to turn from the attack on Devizes. Waller had moved his men off Roundway Down, a strongpoint outside the town, and Wilmot and Maurice were able to face him from there. A cavalry attack by Sir Arthur Haslerig and his men was beaten off.

The Royalist cavalry then attacked down the hill themselves, and the forces in Devizes attacked Waller from the other side. He was completely defeated, losing many men killed or taken prisoner, together with all his supplies and weapons. Royalist forces were in command of nearly all of the west of England.

18th July

There was a general uprising in Sevenoaks and Tonbridge, when crowds began to raid the houses of rich supporters of Parliament. Before control was restored they stole some weapons from Parliament ships and imprisoned Sir Harry Vane, who had gone to discuss their complaints with them.

18th July

There was a Royalist rising in Kent for a week from July 18th, and the houses of some rich Parliament men were plundered. Crowds took over Tonbridge for a time.

26th July

After success at Lansdown and Roundway Down, the Royalist army moved to capture Bristol. The King did not command many seaports and the capture of the main port in the west would be very important to him.

The attack did not go as planned, with the Cornish foot soldiers launching their attack too early, before other forces were ready. However, one of the four planned attacks on the city was successful, with a breach being made in the wall between Windmill Hill and Brandon Hill. Fighting went on through the day, but eventually the Parliamentary commander Fiennes surrendered.

28th July

At this stage of the war, the King's army in the north moved into the county of Lincolnshire. Gainsborough had been occupied by a Parliamentary force under Lord Willoughby on 20 July. It was an important town to hold, because the King's army would have to pass through it to move towards London.

Fierce fighting began at Gainsborough on 28th July. The Earl of Newcastle bombarded the town with cannon fire. His cavalry, led by Charles Cavendish, clashed with the cavalry of the Eastern Association led by Oliver Cromwell and Sir John Meldrum. The Parliamentary forces then heard that more Royalist forces were coming and prepared to fight them, only to find that it was the main Royalist army. Cromwell and Meldrum's cavalry fought bravely and cleverly as they were forced back into Gainsborough.

The town surrendered on 30th July. In spite of this, it was an important point in the War because it showed that Parliament had efficient and disciplined cavalry forces.


After Bristol had been captured by the King's forces, Parliament lost many other towns in the south-west. The Earl of Carnarvon and Prince Maurice led the King's forces to capture Dorchester, Weymouth and Portland. They did not press on to Poole as fast as they might have, but the town did eventually surrender.


Portland, and a number of other ports in the south-west of England, surrendered to Royalist forces after the principal port of Bristol was captured from Parliament.


After the Parliamentary army lost control of Bristol, it also lost a number of other towns in the south-west. The Earl of Carnarvon and Prince Maurice led Royalist forces to capture Dorchester on 4th August and Weymouth a few days later.

4th August

Dorchester was one of the towns which surrendered to the King's forces led by the Earl of Carnarvon as he marched from Weymouth to Torrington.


Barnstaple, together with other local towns, surrendered to the Royalist forces after the capture of Bristol and Exeter. The King had successfully strengthened his power in the West of the country.


Bideford surrendered to the King's forces after the Royalists had captured Exeter.


Goring was making a series of attacks for the King in the south of England, but an attempt to capture Christchurch was unsuccessful.

Stow on the Wold

The King had moved his Oxford army to Gloucester and was besieging the city. Parliament was eager to relieve the city, and the Earl of Essex set out from London for this purpose.

The Royalist forces attacked him at Bicester and Stow on the Wold. The attack at Stow on the Wold was led by Prince Rupert, but his horsemen were driven off by the firm defence of the pikemen and musketeers.

4th September

Exeter surrendered to the King's forces on 4th September 1643, after a siege commanded by Sir John Berkley. Parliament had sent ships to help the town from the sea, but they had not been able to make their way up the estuary to the city because of cannon fire from the forces besieging the town.

The capture of Exeter was important for the King, because it gave him a 'capital' in the West of England. He was able to set up a mint there to make coins.

Some historians believe that this capture of Exeter marks the high point of the King's success during the war.

8th September

Colonel Edward Massey was only 23 years but as Governor of the city of Gloucester he was in command of the Parliamentary forces there when King Charles decided to move his army there from Oxford. The King reached the city on August 10th, but Massey refused to allow the King to enter and the King's army began a siege.

A bombardment of the city began, with the intention of breaking down gaps in the city walls. Drinking water to the city was cut off, and miners from the Forest of Dean were brought in to tunnel under the city walls and set off explosives. Massey toured the city, encouraging the people.

The King gave Massey a last chance to surrender before the mines under the walls were set off. Signal beacons had been seen by the defending forces to show them that a force from London was on its way to help them, but the journey took a long while. The London Trained Bands met up with the Parliamentary army led by the Earl of Essex, and although they were attacked at Stow on the Wold by Prince Rupert's cavalry, they arrived near Gloucester on 5th September.

The city had held out against the siege. The Earl of Essex and his men marched in on 8th September, to find that the defenders were almost out of food and ammunition. The King's army had marched away, choosing not to fight a major battle on this occasion.

16th September
King's Lynn

There were no major battles in Norfolk and Suffolk, and the Eastern Association provided the cavalry forces that Cromwell led so effectively for Parliament. However, King's Lynn in Norfolk did declare its support for the King in the summer of 1643, and held out for a month until mid-September. The Royalists in the town were led by Sir Hamon Lestrange.

18th September
Aldbourne Chase

The King's army was attempting to move to take London. Prince Rupert led a swift and surprise attack at Aldbourne Chase to try and separate the infantry of the Parliamentary forces from the cavalry which were also moving towards London. The musketeers fought Rupert off, but he was successful in slowing down the Parliamentary army. This then caused the first battle of Newbury.

20th September
Newbury (1st)

The Parliamentary army led by the Earl of Essex had gone from London to Gloucester in order to raise the siege of the city. After he had relieved Gloucester he set off back towards London. King Charles tried to cut him off from returning to London; Prince Rupert attacked the Parliamentary army at Aldbourne Chase and slowed it down. Essex headed for the Parliamentary garrison at Newbury, but the fight at Aldbourne Chase gave the King's force time to get there first.

The King blocked the way to Newbury and Essex was forced to fight. There were about 14,000 soldiers in each of the two armies which faced each other, to the south-west of the town of Newbury. The King's army was slow to move into position, and Philip Skippon, one of the Parliamentary commanders, was able to place some cannon on an important hill-top.

There was fierce fighting, with Essex's foot soldiers advancing through hedged lanes and vegetable gardens. The King's soldiers began to run short of ammunition, but Prince Rupert brought his cavalry to their help. The Earl of Essex had to encourage his men, and eventually the shortage of ammunition caused the Royalist forces to fall back. The battle died down as night fell. Many men had been killed in the day's fighting.

The next day the Earl of Essex carried on his march towards London. Prince Rupert led a cavalry attack on the rear of his army, but the Parliamentary soldiers reached London to the cheers of the people there.

6th October
Newport Pagnell

Newport Pagnell was taken by a force on behalf of the King on 6th October. It was an important point through which supplies from the eastern counties reached London, so its capture by the Royalists was a blow for Parliament.

Sir Lewis Dyve, who had led the capture of the town, now made ready to defend it. Prince Rupert gave orders that he must receive supplies and ammunition as soon as possible, but no carts were available at Oxford to make the journey. Eventually transport was found, but it was to late. It is not clear whether Dyve misunderstood that supplies were on the way, or whether a wrong order was sent, but Dyve and his men left Newport Pagnell on October 27th. They knew that the Earl of Essex was heading for the town; when he entered he immediately fortified it on behalf of Parliament.

10th October

The Royalist garrison at Bolingbroke Castle was under siege by Parliamentary forces. Sir John Henderson led a Royalist force from Newark to help the defenders of the castle.

He met and defeated a small Parliamentary force led by Sir Thomas Fairfax, but Oliver Cromwell led another group to intercept him. Cromwell attacked first and his cavalry soon defeated Henderson, capturing over 800 men, as well as horses and weapons. It was one of the first occasions on which Cromwell's well-trained horse soldiers showed how effective they were.

11th October

The city of Hull was besieged by forces led by the Earl of Newcastle on behalf of the King. Lord Fairfax and his son, Sir Thomas Fairfax, both of them Parliamentary commanders, were in the city. Oliver Cromwell, commander of the forces of the Eastern Association on behalf of Parliament, was able to cross the river Humber into Hull, and left again with Sir Thomas Fairfax and some of his soldiers. This helped the defenders of the city, because they would no longer have to feed the soldiers and their horses.

The Royalists fought with the Earl of Manchester's Parliamentary forces at the battle of Winceby, while Sir John Meldrum led a force to relieve the Hull. He was helped by some of the Royalist siege works around the city being flooded by the sea, and an attack by those in Hull itself. The attack took place on 11 October and the following day the Earl of Newcastle gave up the siege.

19th October

The town of Lincoln surrendered to the Parliamentary forces led by the Earl of Manchester without a fight. Most of the Royalists in Lincolnshire had been discouraged by the relief of the port of Hull by Parliamentary forces.

Basing House

Basing House was being held by Royalist forces in order to control the southern road from the city of Salisbury to London. Wool from the south-west would be taken along this route to the capital. Waller was unable to capture Basing House for Parliament, even though he attacked three times. The weather was particularly bad and the fierce resistance of the defenders caused some of the attackers to desert and head for their homes in London.


Sir William Ogle led a Royalist force in a successful surprise attack on Winchester.

9th November

Sir William Breretom captured Wrexham on behalf of Parliament. Control of this region was important, in case troops came from Ireland to help the King.

Beeston Castle

Beeston Castle was starved out by Parliamentary forces.

9th December

Hopton and the King's forces had advanced around Waller and his Parliamentary forces, into the county of Sussex. This move threatened London but also the supply of iron which the Parliamentary army received from foundries in the Sussex Weald.

Waller defeated a Royalist force at Alton, and then went on to Arundel Castle. An attack on the Castle was at first beaten off, but water and food supplies were cut off and the garrison surrendered after a few days.

13th December

Although he had been defeated at Roundway Down, and his main purpose was to recruit and build up his army again, Waller and his Parliamentary forces were able to mount some attacks as the winter of 1643 approached. He was able to capture Arundel Castle and to defeat the Royalist garrison at Alton.

Lord Crawford was in command of the King's forces at Alton; he seems to have been very unready to defend the town and left with some of his cavalry when the attack had started. A Captain Bowles made a heroic defence with his men in Alton church, with barricades across the nave. He was eventually killed.

Over 500 prisoners were taken, and many were marched through the streets of London as evidence of a much needed victory.


The small seaport of Montrose was plundered by the Marquess of Huntly, George Gordon, and his men. They were supporters of the King.


Lord Byron met a group of infantry sent from Ireland, and with the first party of these, he tried to clear the county of Cheshire of Parliamentary forces. At the village of Barthoomley an atrocity was committed when villagers were killed in the village church.

Newcastle upon Tyne

On January 15th a Scots army invaded England to support Parliament. The supporters of the King in Northumberland retreated into Newcastle. The Scots thought that they would easily capture the city, but they were pushed back. They besieged the city, but this meant that many of their forces had to stay in the region, and it was difficult for them to obtain supplies. By the end of February it was clear that no coal would be transported from Newcastle to London for the rest of the winter, and that the Scots army was not going to advance any further.

6th January

Although he had been defeated at Lansdown and Roundway Down, Waller and his Parliamentary army were able to defeat the garrison at Alton and to capture Arundel Castle in the Winter of 1643-44.

25th January

Sir William Brereton and his Parliamentary force had been defeated at the battle of Middlewich. Some men had fallen back to Nantwich and Brereton himself had gone to Manchester.

Because of the need to control Cheshire and the route from the port of Chester, it was important for Parliament to hold the town of Nantwich. Sir Thomas Fairfax was ordered to move across the country from Lincolnshire to help.

Nantwich was under attack by Royalists led by Sir John Byron. His forces had been joined by the first infantry soldiers that had come from Ireland to help the King.

Fairfax made a difficult winter march to move into Cheshire. At Manchester he had met up with Brereton, and together they moved on towards Nantwich, often through deep snow. There was an initial fight at Barbridge. It may be that Byron intended that the main battle should be there, but the River Weaver had thawed, leaving many of his horse on the wrong side of the river. Byron had to take his force some six miles to a crossing, and Fairfax was able to move into a strong position. The battlefield was closed in, and Byron was not able to use his cavalry effectively. The Parliamentarians in Nantwich then attacked Byron from behind, and the Royalist infantry soon surrendered. Byron's cavalry left for the safety of Chester.

Many of the Irish soldiers, who had been government troops in Ireland, changed sides and joined the Parliamentary forces. Sir William Brereton was now able to control Cheshire for Parliament, and the Royalists were stopped from entering the county of Lancashire.

2nd February

Sir Duncan Campbell of Auchinbreck was in command of the Duke of Argyll's army when it met up with the smaller force led by the Earl of Montrose. Montrose supported the King and the Duke of Argyll was in alliance with Parliament.

The forces led by Campbell were made up of men from the Campbell clan and the Scottish Lowlands, whilst Montrose led a force made up of Highlanders and Irish. Montrose's men prepared in the darkness and attacked at the first sign of dawn. The fierceness of the attack, and the surprise with which it took place, led to total defeat for Argyll's men. Sir Duncan Campbell was mortally wounded, and over half his army were killed, about 1,700 men altogether. Many of these men were from the Campbell clan and it would be years before it would recover.

After the battle Montrose wrote to the King, saying that he hoped that later in the year he would be able to march into England to help the King. Other clans joined Montrose after his victory.

19th February

The Scottish army, which was helping the Parliamentary forces, had its headquarters at Corbridge. The Royalist Sir Marmaduke Langdale led his forces to attack at Corbridge, whilst others held out at Newcastle.


The Marquess of Montrose had brought a small army from Scotland to attack the Covenanting forces besieging Newcastle, and drove them out of Morpeth. The Covenanters were Scots in alliance with Parliament, whilst Montrose fought for the King.


Pembroke was held by Parliament. The King needed to control the coast opposite Ireland in the hope that an Irish army would be coming to support him. Sir Henry Vaughan and Lord Carberry occupied Tenby and Carmarthen for the King. They also threatened Milford Haven and Pembroke.

On land Rowland Laugharne retook Tenby, Haverfordwest and secured Pembroke for Parliament. He was helped from the sea by ships commanded by Captain Swanley.

21st March

Newark was an important Royalist stronghold in the Midlands, and Sir John Meldrum had raised a force for Parliament to try and capture the town. The King sent a message to Prince Rupert, who was at Chester, asking him to try and save the town. Rupert left Chester on 12th March and was just south of Newark by 20th March. Meldrum did not believe that an army could arrive so quickly.

Rupert quickly moved his force to gain every advantage possible. Meldrum moved his forces to a defended site north of Newark. Behind him was a bridge of boats across the river Trent. Rupert's cavalry attacked on the morning of the 21st, and though the fighting was fierce, Meldrum's horse soldiers were driven back across the bridge of boats. Meldrum's main force was surrounded, especially when the defenders of Newark came out to join the attack on him.

Meldrum offered to surrender, and was allowed to march away, leaving behind all of his weapons. Some of his men joined Rupert's army; others headed for the Parliamentary garrison at Hull. The defeat of the Parliamentary forces at Newark led to retreat from Lincoln, Gainsborough and Sleaford. The victory was celebrated by the King at Oxford, whilst Parliament began to wonder if the King would be able to march and attack London itself.

29th March
Alresford (Cheriton)

Having rebuilt his forces over the winter, General Waller and his Parliamentarian forces went onto the attack in March of 1644. The two armies came face to face at Alresford.

Parliamentarian musketeers moved into Cheriton Wood overnight, but the Royalist commander Hopton had them driven out in the morning. The cavalry and foot soldiers of Waller's army advanced, with a counter-attack from the Royalists. The Royalists were not successful in moving onto the common in the centre of the battlefield. Waller's forces were able to make ground by the mid-afternoon, but tiredness meant that they were not able to follow through their success. The Royalist force withdrew in good order, but Waller had ensured that the King's forces would not advance south of the River Thames that Spring.


Prince Rupert had led his army swiftly north when he heard that Sir John Meldrum and his Parliamentary forces were attacking Newark. Meldrum was defeated by Prince Rupert, and the Parliamentary garrison in Gainsborough, together with those at Lincoln and Sleaford, rapidly left the town.


The Pembroke coast in west Wales could be important to the King if a force was to land from Ireland. The sheriff of Carmarthen, Sir Henry Vaughan, supported the King and occupied a number of the ports, including Haverfordwest.

However Rowland Laugharne earned a reputation as a good leader of men when he took over command of the Parliamentary forces in the region. He moved into Tenby and captured Milford Haven; Sir Henry Vaughan left Haverfordwest before he could be trapped there.


Control of Lincoln was gained by the Royalists after Prince Rupert's capture of Newark in March. Gainsborough and Sleaford were retaken at the same time.

Milford Haven

The ports of Pembroke, in the west of Wales, were important to the King in case forces were to come from Ireland to help him. Sir Henry Vaughan took command of the ports in the county for the King, but was attacked by a Parliamentary force led by Rowland Laugharne. He was helped in his capture of Milford Haven by Captain Swanley and a squadron of ships, which bombarded the city.


Sleaford was evacuated by Parliament, together with Lincoln and Gainsborough, when Royalist forces relieved Newark and defeated the besieging army.


The ports of Pembroke in the west of Wales were important to the King, in case an army came from Ireland to help him. Sir John Vaughan had taken command of Milford Haven, Haverfordwest and Tenby for the King. Parliamentary forces, under Rowland Laugharne, moved in on the towns. The houses around Tenby were occupied, and the town was bombarded from both the land and the sea. The commander in the town, John Gwynne, led his garrison in holding out for three days, but eventually Laugharne and his men forced their way into the town.


The Marquis of Newcastle, fighting for the King in the north of England, retreated into York after several Parliamentary victories in Yorkshire. The walls of York made it a good city to defend.

The Scottish army in alliance with Parliament, and the Parliamentary forces led by Lord Fairfax and his son Sir Thomas Fairfax, joined to begin a siege of York. Inside the city the Marquis of Newcastle and Lord Eythin organised the defence of the city and the feeding of the population.

11th April

Sir Thomas Fairfax stormed Selby on behalf of Parliament, defeating the forces of Lord Belasyze.

Sir Thomas's father, Lord Fairfax, had been injured at Selby the previous year when attacked by Royalists. At the time he and his forces were falling back towards Hull.

6th May

Following their success at Newark, the Royalists had gained control of west Lincolnshire. The Earl of Manchester, at the head of an army for Parliament, marched to recapture the region. His forces were mostly men from the Eastern Association, a better organised part of the army.

He recaptured Gainsborough and Lincoln, although Newark stayed a Royalist garrison until the end of the war. The attack on Lincoln took place on 6th May, after two days of very heavy rain. The Parliamentary forces stormed the steep approaches to the town, and there was much looting and plundering in the town after its capture.

The Earl of Manchester was then free to march northwards to join in the siege of York.

18th May

Reading had already been attacked by Parliament, reoccupied by the Royalists, then threatened with attack by Parliament.

Eventually the King decided not to keep his troops in the town so that they could move around more easily. His men left the town and it was quickly reoccupied by the Parliamentarians.

25th May

Discontent and rebellion were giving the King some difficulty, and Abingdon was abandoned as Charles concentrated on defence. It was quickly occupied by Waller's Parliamentary army.

25th May

Prince Rupert led a Royalist force into Lancashire. He took the town of Stockport before going on to by-pass Manchester and attack Bolton.

28th May

Prince Rupert's army stormed Bolton as part of his advance into Lancashire. The town did not have any walls and so was difficult to defend. The Parliamentary forces, the garrison with 1500 extra men who had come in from the country around, were led by Alexander Rigby. The main fighting lasted for about two hours in steady rain, and was followed by the Royalist soldiers plundering the town. Rigby was able to escape by pretending to be a Royalist.

28th May
Lathom House

The Countess of Derby, whose husband had gone to the Isle of Man to try and retain it for the King, held her home of Lathom House for over two months in the spring of 1644. The Parliamentary army of Fairfax left the siege in the hands of a force led by Alexander Rigby, the Member of Parliament for Wigan.

The garrison at Lathom had commanded a wide area of Lancashire through raids and the capture and ransoming of those who they did not trust as supporting the King. In the siege of the house they were able to retreat behind well-prepared fortifications, and the defenders of the house were very loyal to their leader, the Countess.

Prince Rupert, on behalf of the King, led an army into Lancashire to lift the siege of Lathom House before moving on towards York. He took the town of Stockport on 25th May. The force which had been besieging Lathom gave up the siege as Rupert approached, and met up with him at Bolton on 28th May. They were defeated as Rupert stormed the town.


Weymouth was taken by Parliamentary forces as a part of their advance to relieve the long siege of Lyme.

5th June

In the spring of 1644 Prince Rupert was busy making sure that the county of Lancashire was secure for the King. He marched through Stockport, Bolton, Wigan and Liverpool, recruiting new soldiers for his army.

11th June

An army of the King's forces, led by Prince Rupert and Lord George Goring, had marched north through Shrewsbury, Stockport and Bolton. They moved on to attack the port of Liverpool.

The town could not easily be defended, particularly when Prince Rupert's cannon began their bombardment, but the defenders, led by Colonel Moore, held out for five days. By the time the town fell on 11th June, many stores had been shipped out of the town and all the principal officers had left.

Prince Rupert had been forced to use much precious gunpowder during the attack, and had not captured the men or supplies he might have expected. Those Parliamentary soldiers left in the town were killed.

15th June

Lyme in the west country was held by Parliament, though much of the rest of the region was Royalist. Prince Rupert and the King's army besieged the town for 2 months. The town was walled in on three sides by the sea and steep slopes, so could only be approached from one direction.

The heroic defence was led by the mayor who was officially governor, with Colonel Robert Blake organising the defences. When cannon fire started, some Parliamentary ships heard the cannon, and brought supplies into the harbour. Other reinforcements arrived by sea from Portsmouth, and warships commanded by the Earl of Warwick also arrived to assist.

The town withstood a series of assaults and a bombardment of red-hot missiles. Supplies became very low, and most of the Earl of Warwick's ships had to sail off on other business. Prince Maurice probably kept his army involved in the siege for too long, when there were other things to be done, and finally gave up as the Earl of Essex marched with a Parliamentary army to relieve the town.

16th June

The city of York had been under siege by Parliamentary forces since April. The Scottish army, the army of Lord Fairfax and his son Sir Thomas Fairfax, and the army of the Eastern Association led by the Earl of Manchester, made up the Parliamentary force. Prince Rupert was marching with a Royalist army to relieve the city.

The Parliamentary forces attacked the city on 16th June, and exploded a mine under St Mary's Tower in the city walls. The mine exploded before it was supposed to, and the attack by the Parliamentary forces was beaten off.

On June 30th the Parliamentary generals moved some of their forces to stop Prince Rupert reaching the city. They then discovered that he had cleverly and swiftly moved around them, to enter the city by the northern entrance from which they had moved their forces.

The relief of York was followed by the battle of Marston Moor, which was to prove to be a defeat for the Royalists.

21st June

The Parliamentary armies had surrounded and were closing in on the King's headquarters at Oxford, but the King then became aware that the two large forces which made up these armies had moved away. The King's army was not in Oxford but moved to gather at Woodstock. From there it launched a raid into territory normally held by Parliament and attacked Buckingham.

29th June
Cropredy Bridge

The King's army and the Parliamentary army, led by Waller, could see each other as they marched towards Cropredy Bridge, although they were separated by the River Cherwell. An advance force of the Royalists seized the bridge, but the King's army had become very spread out.

Waller saw an opportunity and his Parliamentary forces attacked those holding the bridge. He captured it and moved many of his soldiers across the bridge. The Royalists were successful in building a barricade and holding back Waller's men with musket fire, and reinforcements came up. There was a cavalry charge against the Parliamentary forces holding the bridge.

This left Waller's forces, which had crossed the bridge, cut off from those which had not crossed, although some of his forces still held the bridge itself. Eventually many of his soldiers were able to fight their way back to the bridge, but many were killed or injured and some of his artillery was lost.

The confrontation went on through the next day. The King sent a messenger to try to come to terms with Waller, but the messenger was not received. The Kings forces moved away, and Waller's were too damaged and tired to follow. However, Waller claimed he had prevented this army of the King's from marching northwards to join up with Prince Rupert's army.


Sir Richard Grenville, who fought for the King, had besieged Plymouth since the autumn of the previous year. He tried an attack to capture the town, but was driven back. The Parliamentary garrison of Plymouth had received supplies and men from the sea.


Taunton was captured for Parliament early in July by the forces of the Earl of Essex.

2nd July
Marston Moor

The battle of Marston Moor was one of the major battles of the Civil War. It was typical of many other actions of the war. It involved soldiers from countries other than England, the commanders on each side did not get on with each other and orders were not always obeyed. It was not clear until well after the battle who had 'won' it.

York was regarded as the capital city of the north of England. It had been under siege by forces of Parliament. The city was defended by the Marquess of Newcastle; the besiegers had recently been joined by the Earl of Manchester and about another 6,000 men.

Prince Rupert had led an army for the King through Lancashire. He had been successful in a number of fights and had gained a large number of extra soldiers. Lord George Goring joined Rupert's army, bringing with him many more horsemen. In York itself Newcastle knew that he was running short of supplies and had offered to surrender the city if he was allowed to march out with his men. The Parliamentary forces refused to allow this.

As Rupert approached York, he had about 15,000 men under his command. The combined Parliamentary forces - Scots under Lord Leven, the Eastern Association commanded by the Earl of Manchester and the northern army commanded by Lord Fairfax - totalled about 25,000 men. They knew that Rupert was approaching and withdrew men from the siege of the city and prepared for his arrival.

By clever and swift movement, Rupert was able to outwit the Parliamentary forces. He approached York from an unexpected direction, allowing the defending forces in the city to move out and take what they could from the abandoned Parliamentary camp. They found over 4,000 pairs of boots and a large quantity of ammunition.

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary forces had assembled on Marston Moor and a large element of the infantry had been ordered to march south to Tadcaster because they had heard of the King's success at the battle at Cropredy. When it became clear that Rupert was about to attack, this infantry had to be called back. Rupert delayed his attack, waiting for Newcastle's 3,000 soldiers from York to join him. They were late in coming because Newcastle had expected some rest after the siege, and did not easily accept an order from the Prince to march to join him.

By the time the force from York joined Rupert, the Parliamentary army had reassembled. The Royalists were on open moor, whilst the Parliamentary army was partly in hedged fields and amongst furze and gorse bushes, which made movement difficult. It was four o'clock in the afternoon.

The armies faced each other, infantry in the centre and cavalry on either side. Prince Rupert particularly wanted to know where Cromwell's cavalry was in the line of battle - Cromwell was already well-known as a commander of cavalry.

Time passed, and Rupert was persuaded that it was too late in the day to commence fighting. At half past seven, Cromwell saw that the Royalist lines were breaking to camp for the night. He ordered his men to charge.

Rupert rallied his men with a counter-charge, but before long they were fleeing back towards York. In the centre the Parliamentary infantry advanced, with many of the unwilling recruits from Lancashire in the Royalist army soon giving up. But on the other side of the battle the situation was quite different. The Royalist cavalry had charged successfully, and the Parliamentary cavalry there had not been able to manoeuvre on the difficult ground. Many of them fled, some for Leeds and Hull. The story spread south that there had been a great Royalist victory.

Some of the Parliamentary cavalry from the other side of the battle had now swept right round behind the Royalist army. They attacked the infantry from behind, and also the now tired and outnumbered Royalist cavalry from the position from which they had themselves been victorious.

By midnight it was clear that the Parliamentary army had won a considerable victory. Over 4,000 of the King's army had been killed. The stragglers amongst the officers retreated back into York. The city itself could not be held for long and it surrendered on 16th July.

20th July

General Waller reoccupied Abingdon with a small force of soldiers, not more than 4,000 men.


There was a clash at Ormskirk in which Lord Byron lost many of the 2,000 new soldiers he had just recruited in Lancashire to fight on behalf of the King.


Tickhill in Lincolnshire was captured for Parliament by John Lilburne and Henry Ireton.

1st September

A large Parliamentary army had been trapped in Fowey, commanded by the Earl of Essex. Philip Skippon, one of Parliament's most experienced commanders, was left in command when Essex left by ship.

Skippon wanted to try and fight his way out, but his officers did not support him. He was therefore forced to surrender. He and his soldiers were allowed to march out of the town, leaving behind 10,000 muskets and pistols, 36 cannon and other supplies including gunpowder. The King's forces did not want to be bothered with prisoners, probably because they couldn't feed them. They had agreed to go to Southampton before fighting again.

1st September
Tibbermore (Tippermuir)

The Marquess of Montrose declared his support for the King and gathered an army together in Scotland. His army was made up of men from the Scottish Highlands and from Ireland. There were three other armies in Scotland, all in alliance with Parliament.

Montrose intended to defeat one of the armies before they could join up. He marched towards the city of Perth, where Lord Elcho was based. Elcho marched out of Perth with about 8,000 men and met up with Montrose at Tibbermore.

Montrose had a lot fewer men, and some of them were just armed with stones as they didn't have enough muskets. But when Elcho attacked with his cavalry, musket fire and stones frightened the horse. Elcho's cavalry fled from the battle, getting muddle up with the foot soldiers and causing injuries. Montrose then attacked with all his soldiers. Elcho's men all ran off towards Perth; the city surrendered to Montrose.

His men entered the city and stole from many of the homes. Many of the Highlanders simply took what they could and then deserted the army to make their way back to their homes.

2nd September

The Earl of Essex was leading a Parliamentary army in south-west England, capturing a number of towns even though there was a Royalist army cutting him off from returning towards London.

Essex led his force to Lostwithiel, which gave him the opportunity to keep in touch with his fleet for supplies and a possible way of retreat. He had about 10,000 men; the King approached with an army of about 16,000 soldiers. However, his forces were very spread out and some of the Parliamentary forces were able to escape.

The main Royalist attack on Lostwithiel began on 31st August. They were able to capture the town and move on towards Fowey. The Earl of Essex realised that he was trapped, and together with Lord Robartes he left by sea. The experienced commander Philip Skippon was left in command, but he and the remaining troops, about 6,000 men, were forced to surrender on 2nd September.

Probably because he could not feed them, and didn't have many men to guard them, Charles let most of the Parliamentary soldiers go, after taking away their weapons.

13th September

The Marquess of Montrose, a supporter of the King, and his army were marching up the east coast of Scotland in order to stop two armies which were setting out to defeat him from joining up. His intention was to attack Lord Balfour and his army before Argyll and his army could reach him.

When Montrose reached Aberdeen, he sent a messenger to the city to say that if the town did not surrender to him, he would attack it. He became very angry when a drummer boy with the messenger was shot by one of the soldiers in the city.

Burleigh, the commander of the forces in the city, marched his men out and the two armies met about half a mile outside the city. In spite of having the smaller force, and very few cavalry, Montrose won the victory.

After the battle, his army entered Aberdeen and plundered all the soldiers could lay their hands on. It is probable that more than 100 citizens in the city were killed as the soldiers stole from the houses.

18th September
Montgomery Castle

Montgomery Castle was important because it commanded the northern approaches into Wales, it helped control the Severn valley, and would be particularly important to the Royalists if an Irish army was to be sent from Dublin to the port of Chester.

The owner, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, did not wish to have a garrison there, but it was eventually garrisoned by Parliament. An attempt to retake it for the King on 18th September was defeated.


The Parliamentarian General Waller was driven out of Andover by a small party of about 200 men led by Goring. Waller fell back to Basingstoke, where he met up with Manchester.


At the outset of the War, Belvoir Castle was seized from its owner by Gervais Lucas, a Royalist servant of the owner. Royalist forces were defeated at Denton near Belvoir in October 1644, though Belvoir remained as a Royalist garrison until near the end of the first Civil War.

26th October
Newbury (2nd)

The King had decided that he must take a force to relieve Banbury, which had been besieged for three months. But Sir John Hurry, who had already deserted from the Parliamentary side to the King, now changed sides once again and took information of the King's strength, supplies and plan.

The Parliamentary generals decided to attack the King's forces while they were at Newbury. They decided not to attack the town itself, but to concentrate the attack on Speen Heath. The Parliamentary forces divided, to attack on two fronts. However the plan was not carried out very well - there were mistakes about when the two forces should attack and the cavalry could not operate well in the narrow lanes. The guns of Donnington Castle aided the King. The Earl of Essex's infantry fought well for Parliament but in the gloom of the evening at one stage two of the companies were fighting each other when the Royalists had already withdrawn.

The King and the Prince of Wales left in the night, and the Parliamentary forces did not pursue him, and also did not prevent some of his cavalry returning a few days later to gather some of his cannon from Donnington Castle.

27th October
Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle had been besieged by the Scots army almost since the beginning of the year. The defence of the town had been led by Sir John Marley, but any hope of relief had gone as the King's strength in the north of England became less and less.

The Scots army mined the wall of the city, then launched an attack. There was fierce fighting from house to house, but the town was occupied by October 19th and finally surrendered 3 days later.

The Scots could now be considered a fighting force again, and they would be able to supply coal to London. This would put them in a strong position when negotiating with their Parliamentary allies in the capital.

Fyvie Castle

Montrose led an army in Scotland against the Covenanter armies. The King hoped that Montrose would eventually be able to help him; Parliament were in alliance with the Covenanter's army.

Montrose generally kept his army, which was made up of Scottish and Irish soldiers, on the move. In order to force a battle before winter, he took up a defensive position at Fyvie castle, digging trenches in a steep orchard. Because he was short of ammunition, his men melted down all the metal objects they could find in the house in order to make bullets. By the time the Duke of Argyll came up to attack him he was well prepared, and beat off their attacks. He then moved off into the mountains to prepare for a further campaign.

30th November

After Cromwell had put right the threatened mutiny in his regiment, and had joined forces with Waller to capture Devizes and march west, there was a small battle at Dorchester. Goring, the King's commander, had not been very successful, but did succeed in driving Cromwell's soldiers out of Dorchester. However, the King's forces in the west of England were now generally defeated.

Loch Fyne

In Scotland, the Marquess of Montrose was leading a small army on behalf of the King, and the Marquess of Argyll led the forces which were in alliance with Parliament. Montrose's army included soldiers from Ireland, but the success that he had had led many more clansmen to come and join him.

The war in Scotland was complicated by clan rivalry, and many of the clansmen who joined Montrose were MacDonalds, who for many years had been enemies of the Campbells, led by Argyll. The MacDonalds urged Montrose to make a winter attack on the Campbells, and they set out on a march to attack Argyll at his stronghold at Inverlochy, at the head of Loch Fyne.

The Campbells had thought that it would be impossible for them to be attacked in the winter. Montrose's army did not attack the castle itself, because he had no artillery, but his men burned many villages and farms. He did not leave the territory of Argyll until the end of January 1645, when he and his men marched northwards towards Loch Ness.

The armies of Argyll and Montrose met again at the battle at Inverlochy.


George Goring was leading forces for the King, trying to push through the southern counties of England. He failed in an attack on Christchurch and moved back to Salisbury.

11th January

Prince Rupert and Henry Gage led their forces in an attack on Abingdon, which had been lost by the King the previous summer. The Parliamentary forces, commanded by General Browne, were short on pay and were mutinous, deserting to other nearby Parliamentary garrisons.

Prince Rupert made a surprise attack in the early hours over Culham Bridge, but Browne led his forces through the icy waters and attacked the Royalists from the flank. The Royalists couldn't then support their forces in the town and had to withdraw with heavy losses. Sir Henry Gage was mortally wounded.

22nd February

The town of Shrewsbury was held for the King. The governor, Sir Michael Ernle, was unwell and the defences of the town were slack, when Colonel Mytton led a night attack by 1200 men. A small party rowed across the river Severn, and were guided by two traitors from the town to a weak spot in the defences. Mytton's men were able to seize the bridge into the town and the main force rushed in.

In the morning the only members of the garrison were trapped in the castle, and they soon surrendered. The Welsh and English soldiers were allowed to leave; the Irish soldiers were cruelly treated and 13 of them were hanged the next day.

28th February

Weymouth was captured by Royalist forces led by Sir Lewis Dyve. They held one of the forts, but abandoned the siege of the rest of the town when they heard that Parliamentary forces had been sent to relieve the town.

Forest of Dean

Sir Edward Massey, Parliamentary commander in Gloucester, led a force into the Forest of Dean where he defeated a force led by Sir John Winter.

11th March

Cromwell's regiment had shown signs of mutiny, but he restored order by returning from Parliament in London. His force marched to the west and met up with the army led by Waller.

The joint forces attacked the Royalists at Devizes. The Sheriff of Wiltshire was captured, together with 300 of his soldiers.


The Earl of Montrose, on his fourth march through Scotland in support of the King, kept once again to the hills where the armies allied to Parliament did not dare to chase him. He intended laying siege to the town of Inverness; for the first time he had some cannons available to help.

He was not able to continue to attack the town because of reinforcements for the defenders. He decided instead to follow and try and attack the force led by Sir John Hurry. He met with this force at the battle of Auldearn on 9 May.


The Princes Maurice and Rupert defeated the Parliamentarian Edward Massey at Ledbury, strengthening the position of the Royalist garrison at Hereford and stopping his raiding in the region. This was important because is protected the southern approaches into Wales for the King.

9th May

The Marquess of Montrose, a supporter of the King, had moved away from the town of Inverness and met with an army of the allies of Parliament, led by Sir John Hurry, at Auldearn.

Montrose's part of the army was separated from the thousand or so Irishmen who had come to support him. Hurry attacked the Irishmen led by Alexander McDonald (his actual Irish name was Alaster M'Coll Keitach) and had almost defeated them when Montrose and Lord Gordon and his men attacked. Their smaller forces completely defeated Hurry and his men, with many deaths.

9th May

Taunton had been under siege by the Royalists. The Parliamentary commander, Robert Blake, held out against a series of attacks. On 6th May there was an attack on the east side of the town, but the East Gate did not fall. On the evening of the 8th the East Gate was finally captured by the Royalists, but they could get no further up the steep East Street. They began to burn their way up the street the next day, and they renewed attacking the other side of the town as well.

Meanwhile, the Earl of Essex had been sent from London to relieve the town. He was then ordered to attack Oxford, but sent on a small force to relieve Taunton. When the attackers of Taunton heard that a relieving force was near, they gave up their attack. Robert Blake and the defenders welcomed their friends to the town. Blake was a hero again, just as he had been in the defence of Lyme.

31st May

Leicester had a strong Parliamentary garrison, and thick walls which had survived from earlier times. Prince Rupert led an attack on the city, surprising a party of soldiers outside the gates as they approached on 29th May.

The next day, Rupert began his main attack on the city. He offered to accept the surrender of the city, but the garrison refused and his cannon began to fire at the walls at about three o'clock in the afternoon. By six o'clock, a large hole had been blown in the wall. The defenders positioned cannon the other side of the gap.

At midnight a three-pronged attack began, one force trying to enter through the gap in the wall and two other groups on other sides of the city attacking with scaling ladders. The cannon defending the gap in the wall were captured within an hour and in the morning it was clear that the city had fallen to Prince Rupert.

The attackers ran out of control in the city, killing, stealing and burning. Because the city had defied the King, it appears that neither he nor Prince Rupert attempted to control their troops as they went on the rampage.

14th June

The King and his army, much of which was made up of Welsh recruits, had marched from Market Drayton and captured Leicester. The King's advisers then disagreed what should be done next. Prince Rupert did not think that they were strong enough for a major battle with the Parliamentary army led by Fairfax, but others were very anxious to return south to relieve the siege of Oxford. Oxford had been the King's capital and many of them had left belongings there.

Prince Rupert was overruled and most of the army began to march south. The Northern Horse refused to join them and turned northwards.

However, Fairfax had left Oxford and was heading north to do battle with the King. Cromwell's cavalry, which had gone off to the east in case the King went off in that direction, was on its way back to join up with him again.

The forces of Lord George Goring, which the King was expecting to help him, had not been seen. Some of Fairfax's forces were only five miles away when the King's men discovered that they were marching towards them. They turned the army round and marched north from Daventry to Market Harborough.

It was clear that Fairfax was seeking a battle. Prince Rupert, commander in Chief for the King, still thought it unadvisable to fight, but at a council of War he was again overruled. The King's army march south from Market Harborough in search of battle.

Fairfax had been joined by Cromwell, bringing his forces to about 14,000 men and many experienced officers. The New Model Army had Oliver Cromwell, Henry Ireton and Philip Skippon as its senior commanders, all of whom had shown their abilities throughout the war. Prince Rupert, for the King, commanded between 7,500 and 10,000 men, many newly recruited. Goring had not arrived to help.

The battle took place by the village of Naseby. The Parliamentary forces faced towards the north, with Cromwell's cavalry on the right, Skippon commanding the infantry in the centre, and Ireton and cavalry on the left. By about eleven o'clock in the morning the armies were in position. Rupert, so as not to make the mistake of delaying as at Marston Moor, charged against Ireton's cavalry. Two of Ireton's regiments, those next to the infantry, broke and Rupert's soldiers passed through the Parliamentary army to attack and plunder the baggage train in the rear. The King's infantry in the centre of the battle also pressed forward. Skippon was injured and his men gave ground.

But then the greater numbers of the Parliamentary forces began to tell. Cromwell ordered half of his cavalry to charge on the right. On the left, the part of Ireton's cavalry which had not been attacked was able to turn and attack the side of Rupert's cavalry. Cromwell's men, with fresh cavalry attacking in waves, drove the rest of the King's cavalry from the battlefield. The King's infantry refused to obey their officers, and began to surrender. The officers join the cavalry in fleeing back to Leicester.

The King lost all his artillery, all his infantry and most of his baggage train. Many of the women following his army were murdered, probably because they were crying out in Welsh and trying to defend themselves with cooking cutlery.

The battle was a complete defeat for the King - and he had lost many of his officers. Even if he could find fresh soldiers, he did not have the men to command them. Amongst the equipment lost to the Parliamentary forces were all the King's letters.

5th July

Fairfax and his Parliamentary forces met up with forces of the King at Crewkerne and defeated a cavalry force.

10th July

After the battle of Naseby, a clear victory for Parliament, some of the Parliamentary forces were sent south and west to deal with the supporters of the King in the west country. Fairfax commanded the Parliamentary force with Cromwell as Lieutenant General of Horse.

Lord George Goring, one of the King's commanders, had returned with some of his forces to the town of Langport, after being attacked near Ilminster. He thought that he would be safe in Langport as any attacking force would have to advanced across a ford and down a difficult narrow lane. However, two units of cavalry of the Roundheads, supported by musketeers and then another body of horsemen, launched an attack which caused the defenders to flee.

Goring's army had finally been defeated, the few remaining soldiers escaping to Barnstaple. Goring himself left England and travelled to France.


In south Wales, remaining Royalist garrisons were being taken by Parliamentary forces. Thomas Morgan led the force which captured Chepstow.


The town of Monmouth was captured by Parliamentary forces led by Thomas Morgan. The castle was captured by mining.

13th September

The Marquess of Montrose had been very successful in his campaigns in Scotland on behalf of the King. Most of his successes had been in the highland areas. He moved into the lowlands of Scotland, excepting that people would come forward to support him.

Entering Glasgow, his troops engaged in plunder and he found it difficult to control them. When Montrose regained control, many of his troops went back to their Highland homes, and he was left with just a few hundred Irish troops.

The King had asked him to come south, so he went to Jedburgh and them to Selkirk. Sir David Leslie, leading the Scottish army which was in alliance with Parliament, surprised him at Philiphaugh.

The 400 Irish foot soldiers, the last of Macdonald's men, were charged by 4,000 horsemen. Montrose came up with his 200 cavalry, and had to be prevented from making a hopeless attack by his friends. He managed to escape back to the north. Many of the camp followers of the Irish were killed, and after the battle, many of the soldiers were killed after they had surrendered.


Carmarthen Castle was captured for Parliament by a force led by Rowland Landharne.

15th October

Sydenham Poyntz, leading a Parliamentary infantry regiment in pursuit of the King, was attacked and defeated at Sherburn in Yorkshire. Lord Digby and Sir Marmaduke Langdale were in command of the Royalist force.

A small cavalry force came to assist Poyntz; they too were defeated but as they fled through the town of Sherburn, Langdale's men thought they were their comrades running away, so they ran too. A Royalist victory became a defeat - and the King's correspondence was captured by the Parliamentarians.

15th October

In the period after the battle of Marston Moor, when Cromwell and the Earl of Manchester fell out, the Parliamentary army in the east was not as active as it could have been. The Earl of Manchester was not keen to accept the surrender of Welbeck Abbey because of the responsibility of looking after the members of the family of the Marquess of Newcastle who were there.


Sir William Vaughan had tried to raise a force in North Wales on behalf of the King, to march to help the city of Chester. The King's supporters had suffered many defeats, but still hoped for help from Ireland. Chester had to be held as a port for the Irish to land.

However, Vaughan was not to reach Chester. A Parliamentary force, led by Brereton, caught his forces at Denbigh and defeated him, to end any support for the King from North Wales.

Lathom House

Lathom House, which the Countess of Derby had held throughout the war for the King, finally surrendered to Parliamentary forces. In this period several of the isolated garrisons which had been loyal to the King were forced to surrender.

18th December

There was a very severe frost in the winter of 1645. Colonel Birch led a Parliamentary force to make a surprise attack on Hereford. Some of the soldiers pretended to be workmen and talked to the guards at the city gates whilst others attacked.

The Royalist forces in the city, under the command of Sir Barnabus Scudamore, were not very well organised, and were soon defeated. Sir Barnabus escaped with a few of his men by crossing the ice of the frozen River Wye.

The Parliamentary forces raided many houses in the city and began to cause some damage in the cathedral, but eventually Colonel Birch regained control of his men and established discipline again.

The fall of the city of Hereford was a blow to the King because it left him with hardly any control along the Welsh border. He had been relying on being able to recruit more soldiers from Wales.


A regiment of Campbells were defeated in a fight with Royalists commanded by Montrose's cousin, Patrick Graham of Inchbrakie.

Tiverton Castle

Lord Fairfax began the final campaign for Parliament in the south-west of England in January 1646. Tiverton Castle was captured when a shot from a cannon broke a drawbridge chain. The bridge was rushed before it could be drawn up again.

18th January

Fairfax led a Parliamentary attack and stormed Dartmouth castle on 18th February. The attack was made in heavy snow; after the successful capture of the town Fairfax offered prisoners half a crown (12½p) to go to their own homes or three shillings (15p) if they would join Parliament's New Model Army. These were quite large sums of money at the time. After Dartmouth had been captured, many men in the district joined the New Model Army.

At about the same time, a ship was captured carrying letters from the Queen. The letters showed how the Queen was trying to recruit troops in France to come and fight for the King.

3rd February

Chester played an important part in the King's hopes. The Royalist forces defended it because they hoped that eventually an Irish army would land there to help the King. It became the last port held by the King, but eventually surrendered on 3rd February to a Parliamentary force led by Brereton.

The King had been in the city in the previous September, when his own forces had been unsuccessful in trying to raise the siege of the city.

16th February

Lord Fairfax and the Parliamentary forces were engaged on the final campaign in the south-west of England. Sir Ralph Hopton continued to try and fight his way out with his Royalist forces.

Hopton prepared Torrington for defence; Fairfax and his men fought their way into the town. Hopton ordered the arsenal in the church to be blown up, and 84 barrels of gunpowder lifted the roof off the church and showered the town with hot lead and burning timber. In the confusion Hopton and some of his men were able to escape from the town.

Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle was held for the King by the widow of Lord Chief Justice Bankes and her daughters, but was eventually taken by the Parliamentary forces through a treacherous act.

1st March

As the first part of the Civil War came to an end, Fairfax was marching into the West country to finally secure Devon and Cornwall for Parliament. Bodmin was seized by Hopton's Royalist forces as they retreated towards Truro. It was abandoned by them on March 1st, Fairfax immediately entering the town.

10th March

Lord Fairfax led his Parliamentary forces into the town of Truro on 10th March. This was one of the last acts of the campaign in the south-west of England. On 13th March Sir Ralph Hopton surrendered the remains of his Royalist army and agreed to go abroad.

21st March
Stow on the Wold

As the King's position became more difficult, Lord Astley, one of his few remaining commanders, raised a small force in Wales. The Royalists hoped that soldiers would come from France on behalf of the King, and any help that could be given to the King would gain him a little more time.

Astley marched towards Oxford, avoiding Parliamentary garrisons whenever he could. The governor of Gloucester, Colonel Morgan, could not cover all the ground to stop Astley, and sent for help to Sir William Brereton. Morgan and Brereton's cavalry finally caught up with Astley at Stow on the Wold. Astley took up a position on the side of a hill, but his foot soldiers had little experience and soon surrendered. His cavalry fled.

13th April

The Parliamentary army led by Fairfax marched through Devon and Cornwall in the winter of 1645-1646. Fairfax began a siege of Exeter in February 1645, before going on to take some other towns.

He returned to Exeter and the commander of the garrison, Sir John Berkley, surrendered on 13th April.


Oxford was the King's base for much of the war. He set up his headquarters there when he left London.

The King left Oxford for the last time on 27th April 1646. He intended to give himself up to the Scots army, hoping to come to some agreement with the Scots.

Held by the Scottish army in Newcastle, he hoped that he could force Parliament to come to an agreement with him to prevent an attack by the Scottish army. In order to show that he was seriously trying to come to an agreement, he sent an order to the Oxford garrison to surrender.

6th May

The King had given himself up to the Scots forces, and Charles ordered the garrison at Newark to surrender.

5th June

Owen Row O'Neill was the leader of the Irish forces which barred the advance of the Scots army in Ireland. The Scots had left Belfast to take food for the army, and O'Neill barred their way at Benburb. O'Neill had been encouraged by the Papal Nuncio, the Pope's representative in Ireland.

Monro, the leader of the Scots, decided to fight. He had an advantage in firearms, but as his troops grew tired, the Irish charged and caused the Scots cavalry to retreat into their infantry, and then the whole army to flee.

The fighting in Ireland affected the fighting in England, because the English relied on the Scots army in Ireland to control the Irish and prevent them supporting the King.


Colonel Washington, the Royalist commander at Worcester, was finally forced to surrender the city, one of the last to hold out for the King.

26th October
Denbigh Castle

Some of the Welsh castles held out after the King was in the hands of Parliament and the main battles were over. Denbigh Castle surrendered on 26th October 1646.

28th February
Chirk Castle

The first Civil War was over, and the King in the hands of Parliament. Some castles in Wales still held out for the King. Chirk Castle finally surrendered on 28th February 1647.

13th March
Harlech Castle

Harlech Castle was the very last of King Charles's strongholds to surrender. It held out until 13th March 1647.

Berwick Castle

At the beginning of what is called the Second Civil War there were uprisings in south Wales, Scotland and Kent.

Sir Marmaduke Langdale led a Scottish army which captured the border town of Berwick on behalf of the King.

Pembroke Castle

In the Spring of 1648 there were a number of uprisings throughout the country on behalf of the King. Colonel Poyer, who was the Parliamentary commander of Pembroke Castle, changed sides and said he would support the King. These uprisings are seen as the start of the Second Civil War.

Most of the Parliamentary army had been disbanded, but the New Model Army was still available. Cromwell led forces to south Wales and by 11th July both Chepstow and Pembroke castles had been recaptured for Parliament.

11th July
Chepstow Castle

Chepstow Castle, one of the south Wales castles which declared that they would support the King in the Second Civil War, was recaptured by Parliament by 11th July 1648.

13th July

Whilst the fighting at Colchester started on June 13th, it was not until 27 August that Colchester surrendered.

The King had escaped, and some commanders and forces declared their support for him. Although there had been no significant fighting in Kent in the First Civil War, there had always been quite a lot of support for the King. A revolt against Parliament broke out, partly as a result of the abolition of Christmas. Eventually a force assembled under the command of the Earl of Norwich. He was defeated in a battle at Maidstone, and then he led this army towards London. He was met at Blackheath by a section of the New Model Army commanded by Lord Fairfax. Some of the rebels crossed the Thames and joined up with Royalists in Essex.

Fairfax drove them back towards Colchester, and there was heavy fighting in the suburbs of the town on the 13th June. The Royalists retreated behind the town walls and Fairfax commenced a siege. He refused to let women and children leave the town so that food and water would be used up more quickly.

The town rationed its food and was helped with water by heavy rain, but realised that they had no hope when they heard of the defeat of the army supporting the King in the north of England.

16th August

A Scottish army marched into England as part of the revolts which began the Second Civil War. In command was the Marquess of Argyll. Sir Thomas Fairfax, commander of the Parliamentary army, sent a force north under the command of Oliver Cromwell.

Both armies were spread out. A Royalist force commanded by Sir Marmaduke Langdale met with a force led by Cromwell in pouring rain at Preston. There was a fierce battle, in which Cromwell's men suffered many casualties, but eventually their greater numbers enabled them to defeat the Royalists. Cromwell entered the town of Preston and then set off towards the main Scottish army, which was forced to surrender at Uttoxeter.

26th August

The King had escaped and a number of places in England, Wales and Scotland said that they would support him and revolted against Parliament. Parliament had also abolished Christmas, and this may have been another cause for the revolt. This began what is called the Second Civil War.

Supporters of the King took over a number of towns in the county of Kent. Sir Thomas Fairfax, the Commander-in-Chief of the New Model Army on behalf of Parliament, immediately set out to deal with the revolt.

The Earl of Norwich led about 11,000 men, many of whom were not particularly good soldiers. They were gathered around the town of Maidstone. Fairfax led his force past the town and crossed the river Medway, then turned back and north to attack the town. After fierce fighting the Earl of Norwich and his men were defeated. Some simply gave up and went back to their homes, others retreated towards London and then crossed the river Thames and went to Colchester.


In March of 1649 Oliver Cromwell was sent to Ireland with an army of abut 12,000 men. It was thought that the Irish army led by Ormond and the ships of Prince Rupert which had found shelter there might provide a base from which Charles II could attack England. It was not a real danger because religious differences were too great for them to combine.

Cromwell, and those who commanded after he left, subdued Ireland with great ferocity. At Drogheda he called on the Royalist commander Sir Arthur Aston to surrender. Aston refused. The town was besieged and then captured; after the town had been taken the soldiers of the garrison and the clergy in the town were ruthlessly killed, together with civilians who became involved. The massacre is mainly remembered as against the Irish, but Aston and several of his officers were actually English Royalists. Sir Arthur Aston is reported to have been beaten to death with his wooden leg.

Cromwell's behaviour was much more brutal than anything he had shown when fighting in England. The reason may have been chiefly religious, Cromwell being a Puritan and the Irish mostly being Roman Catholics. There had been massacres of Protestant settlers in Ireland in 1641, and Cromwell may have behaved in revenge. The ferocity of the attack was also intended as a warning to other towns, and some did surrender without a fight. Another factor in his attack of Ireland is that many English businessmen had invested money in land in Ireland before the Civil War, and they pressed Parliament to get their rights back.


Parliament ordered Oliver Cromwell to lead an army to Ireland in March of 1649. The first battle was at Drogheda, and some other towns surrender without fighting. At Wexford the people decided to try and hold out and entered into negotiation with Cromwell. As negotiations seemed to be going on, Cromwell's men broke through the city walls and massacred both the garrison, the clergy and others in the town. It is thought that about 2,000 were killed, a large number being drowned in the effort to escape.

Cromwell returned to England, but Henry Ireton, Ludlow and Fleetwood continued to subdue the country.

27th April
Kyle of Sutherland

The Marquess of Montrose had been very successful in fighting on behalf of the King in Scotland. The King was executed on 31st January 1649, and five days later his son was proclaimed King Charles II in Scotland, although he wasn't there in person.

Charles II made Montrose the commander of his army in Scotland, but this decision, mainly for religious reasons, was not liked in Scotland. Montrose had under his command a few soldiers from Denmark and Germany, and men he had recruited in the Orkney Islands.

Sir David Leslie now commanded the Scottish army which opposed Montrose. Leslie marched his army north and met up with Montrose at the Kyle of Sutherland. The commander of the garrison at Inverness, Strachan, marched to attack Montrose. Strachan hid many of his horsemen, and Montrose thought that he could successfully attack the troops he could see, even though his own army was small. He moved down from his position on a hill, and as soon as he was on lower ground, Strachan launched his main attack.

Many of Montrose's men ran away and his second-in-command, Sir John Hurry, was captured. Montrose himself was wounded but escaped, only to be betrayed a week later. He was then taken to Edinburgh and executed.

Charles II landed in Scotland in June, gave up the religious principles that had caused Montrose to support him, and Sir David Leslie and his forces then supported Charles.

3rd September

Charles I's son Charles II landed in Scotland, and was proclaimed King. Parliament needed to send an army to Scotland to stop an uprising in support of Charles. Oliver Cromwell was put in command, with John Lambert as his second in command, and General Monck in command of the infantry. They led a well-trained army of 16,000 men when they left London, although sickness meant that they only had about 12,000 when they reached Scotland.

There was fighting between a Scottish army led by Sir David Leslie throughout the summer. Cromwell had fallen back to the town of Dunbar, and Leslie moved to prevent him from retreating back to England. Leslie could have forced Cromwell to retreat, but decided to force a battle.

When it was clear there would be a battle, Cromwell attacked first. His first cavalry charges were not successful, and his infantry were also unsuccessful with their first attacks. Further cavalry attacks from the side forced the Scottish horse soldiers back into their infantry, and in the confusion Cromwell's men began to gain ground. Eventually they won a clear victory.

25th December
Edinburgh Castle

Cromwell had led an army to Scotland, because of the threat of Charles II leading a force against Parliament. Cromwell eventually captured Edinburgh, the castle surrendering on 25th December, after his decisive victory at the battle of Dunbar.

17th July

Sir David Leslie and his Scottish army were fighting on behalf of Charles II, who had been declared King in Scotland. Cromwell had won a victory at Dunbar, and had eventually captured Edinburgh. Sir David Leslie had retreated to Stirling, and sent out forces to harass Cromwell.

Sir John Browne led a force of 4,000 from Stirling, but was defeated by John Lambert at Inverkeithing.


There had been fighting at Warrington in the spring of 1643, and eight years later in 1651 it was the site of further fighting between King Charles II's army marching south from Scotland, and the advance forces of Parliament which had been sent to harass Charles's army.

The King's army was commanded by Sir David Leslie, and the Parliamentary forces by John Lambert. Lambert was forced to fall back, whilst waiting for Cromwell to arrive with the main Parliamentary army.

2nd August

After the battle at Inverkeithing, Sir David Leslie led his force which supported Charles II out of Stirling to attack Oliver Cromwell's army. He realised that this would be a mistake, and he moved back into Stirling. This left the way open for Cromwell to march north and capture the city of Perth.

However, as Cromwell moved north, Leslie left Stirling again and marched southwards into England.

3rd September

The first battle of the Civil Wars was at Powick Bridge, south of the city of Worcester, and by coincidence so was the last battle. Charles II had been proclaimed King in Scotland, and led an army south, probably intending to capture London. Charles decided to rest at Worcester and built defences.

As Charles's army advanced, Cromwell organised his forces and recruited extra men, gradually closing in on Worcester. He began to bombard the city, and Charles made an unsuccessful attempt to attack the cannons. The next day, the 3rd, the Parliamentary attack began, commanded by Cromwell, with his main forces led by John Lambert and James Deane. There was fierce fighting as the Parliamentary forces tried to cross Powick Bridge. A bridge of boats was built to cross the river Severn, and Cromwell led his foot-soldiers across. The Royalists in this part of the battle retreated back towards Worcester.

On the other side of the battle, Charles's men had been more successful. It was not until Cromwell brought his men across that the Parliamentary forces began to gain ground. then all the Royalist forces were pushed back into the city. About 10,000 prisoners were taken by the Parliamentary army, though Charles himself escaped.

He successfully evaded capture, with legend saying that he hid for a while in an oak tree. After six weeks he managed to escape to France from Shoreham harbour on the south coast of England.