A Brief History of the English Civil Wars (Brief Histories)

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The country was becoming dangerously divided. In January Charles made the situation worse by entering the Commons and attempting to arrest 5 MPs for treason. They had already fled. No king had entered the Commons before and his actions caused outrage. Once again Charles feared for his safety and he left London. In March Parliament declared that its ordinances were valid laws and they did not require the royal assent. In April king then tried to seize arms in Hull but he was refused entry to the town.

Meanwhile in London parliament began raising an army. Although most of the House of Lords went over to the king. The king also began raising an army and he set up his standard at Nottingham in August. However most people were reluctant to take sides in a civil war and wished to stay neutral. Yet gradually people were sucked in. From the start parliament had several advantages. Firstly it held London and the customs dues from the port were an important source of money.

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Secondly most of the Southeast and East of England supported parliament. In the 17th century they were the richest and most densely populated parts of the country. Wales, most of northern England and most of the Southwest supported the king but they were poor and thinly populated. Thirdly the navy supported parliament and made it difficult for the king to receive help from abroad.

The first clash of the civil war took place at Powick Bridge near Worcester.

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It was only a skirmish but it ended in royalist victory. The first major battle took place at Edgehill near Banbury. On 23 October the parliamentarians started by firing artillery.

Prince Rupert, the king's nephew then led a cavalry charge. They chased the parliamentary cavalry off the field. Then infantry then fought but neither side could gain the upper hand. By the time the royalist cavalry returned to the field it was growing dark so the battle ended indecisively.


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The king advanced towards London but he was stopped at Turnham Green on 13 November In things went better for the king. His army won a victory at Adwalton Moor in Yorkshire in June However, in September , the first battle of Newbury proved indecisive. However, the parliamentarians won a victory at Winceby in Lincolnshire on 11 October Then, in September , the parliamentarians persuaded the Scots to intervene on their behalf by promising to make England Presbyterian a Presbyterian church is one organized without bishops.

A Scottish army entered England in January On 2 July , the royalists were severely defeated at the battle of Marston Moor in Yorkshire. Following this battle, the parliamentarians captured all of Northern England. The parliamentarians then decided to reform their army. Early in parliamentary forces were reorganized and became the New Model Army. Afterwards, the parliamentarians slowly gathered strength.

Finally, in May , the king surrendered to the Scots. The Scots eventually handed the king over to parliament. That left the problem what to do with the king? Most people did not wish to abolish the monarchy but it was difficult to keep the king but limit his power.

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Did Women Fight in the British Civil Wars? - HistoryExtra

Charles made things worse, as usual, by being obstinate and refusing to compromise. Meanwhile following civil war radical ideas flourished. In November a man named John Lilburne, one of a group of radicals called the Levellers published a tract called London's Liberty in Chains. He demanded a republic and the abolition of the House of Lords. He also said that all men should be allowed to vote and there should be religious freedom. Furthermore, the army fell out with parliament.

A Brief History of the English Civil Wars

By the spring of , the soldier's pay was heavily in arrears and they were not happy. In April parliament voted to disband the army and give them no more than 6 weeks pay. However, the army refused to disband. Meanwhile in December Charles made a secret agreement with the Scots. They agreed to invade England on his behalf. A royalist uprising also took place in Kent. However the royalists failed to capture London and instead they marched to Colchester where they were besieged and finally defeated.

The army now felt that parliament was being too lenient with the king. This action was called 'Pride's Purge'. It left a 'rump parliament' of about 60 members. In January Charles was put on trial for treason. He was found guilty on 27 January and he was beheaded outside Whitehall on 30 January On 17 March parliament passed an act abolishing monarchy and the House of Lords. In the early 17th century firearms were either matchlocks or wheel locks. A matchlock held a slow burning match, which was touched to the powder when the trigger was pulled.

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