Siege of Lathom House
The Siege of Lathom House was a military confrontation between a Parliamentarian army and a Royalist stronghold in Lathom near Ormskirk in Lancashire, during the First English Civil War. The first lasted from late February to late May 1644; the second siege took place a year from July to December 1645. Lathom House was slighted. James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby, was the leading Royalist adherent in the northwest of England when the civil war broke out in 1642; the family seat of the Stanleys was Lathom House. In 1643, the Earl of Derby was ordered by King Charles to fortify the Isle of Man against a possible Scottish invasion, move on to the northern campaign, his wife, Charlotte de la Tremoüille, was left in charge of what turned out to be the last remaining Royalist stronghold in Lancashire. Sir Thomas Fairfax saw Derby's absence as an opportunity to strengthen the Long Parliament's position in Lancashire and set out to conquer Lathom House. After the fall of Warrington, the Parliamentarians requested that the countess acknowledge Parliament's authority and surrender her house, but she refused on the grounds that doing so would dishonour her husband.
She offered to limit herself to defending her home, this postponed further attacks on her position. When Fairfax arrived at Lathom House in February 1644, the Countess had made every effort to conceal the strength of the castle's fortifications. Fairfax demanded, she asked for a week to consider his offer, insisted that it was only appropriate that he visit her at Lathom House for further negotiations. He was received as an honoured guest, but the entire household categorically rejected his terms for surrendering, he gave her two more days to consider her situation. The emissary sent two days was scornfully dismissed; the siege began with 2,000 Parliamentary soldiers against a garrison of 300. The fortifications of Lathom House consisted of: Outer walls and embankments six feet thick An eight-yard moat Nine towers, each with six cannons, three pointing in either direction, the Eagle Tower providing an excellent overview of the battlefieldIn addition, the castle was at the lowest point in the middle of an open expanse that allowed superb views of the enemy's activities.
Charlotte had assembled a militia of seasoned marksmen who were able to inflict significant losses by sniping. John Seacome, an 18th-century historian of the House of Stanley quoted from another account A true and genuine account of the famous and memorable siege of Lathom-House in the County of Lancaster: Latham-house stands upon a flat, upon a moorish and spumous ground. Without the wall was a mote, eight yards wide, two yards deep. Nature herself formed for a strong hold or place of security.... The uncommon situation of it may be compared to the palm of a man's hand, flat in the middle, covered with rising round around it, so near to it, that the enemy in a two year's siege, were never able to raise a battery against it so as to make a breach in the wall practicable to enter the house by way of storm; the fortifications sustained continuous mortar fire with minimal damage. The Royalists launched several successful sorties to disrupt Parliamentary efforts to set up batteries; as a result, Parliamentary forces were unable to establish any major artillery positions against the castle, the army refused to replenish those guns that were lost or spiked during the sorties.
Morale among the Roundheads suffered as the besieged shot soldiers and engineers on the battlefield. Fairfax persisted in demanding that Charlotte surrender to his forces, going so far as to obtain a letter from Lord Stanley asking for safe passage for her, she refused to surrender under any terms, rebuking messengers in disdainful tones. After one audacious sortie in late April that destroyed several Roundhead positions, Fairfax declared a day of fasting and prayer in his camp. One of the chaplains invoked the following verse from Jeremiah 50:14: Put yourselves in array against Babylon on every side: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the Lord. Captain Hector Schofield, a messenger from Colonel Alexander Rigby of the Roundheads, arrived to offer Charlotte an honourable surrender, she threatened to hang him from the tower gates asked him to convey the following while she tore the message: Carry this answer back to Rigby, tell that insolent rebel, he shall have neither persons, nor house.
When our strength and provisions are spent, we shall find a fire more merciful than Rigby.
Siege of Lichfield
The Siege of Lichfield was a victory for a besieging Royalist force under the command of Prince Rupert, that defeated the Parliamentary garrison of Lichfield in Staffordshire under the command of Colonel Russell who surrendered on terms. Earlier in the war the Royalists had occupied the Close at Lichfield. King Charles I wanted Lichfield re-taken and turned into a Royal garrison, because the Royalists were in considerable need of ammunition, their chief supply was drawn from the northern counties; the convoys had, however, to pass through districts sympathetic to Parliament and as: the enemy was much superior in all the counties between Yorkshire and Oxford, had planted garrisons so near all the roads that the most private messengers travelled with great hazard, three being intercepted for one that escaped, a Royalist party little inferior in strength to an army was necessary to convoy any supply of ammunition from Yorkshire to Oxford. It was, resolved to establish a Royalist garrison at Lichfield, thereby forming a centre from which escorts could be sent to convoy whatever was required.
Among the orders given to Rupert for the Lichfield expedition was that he should teach the population of Birmingham a lesson for their disloyalty to the Crown, both for being a manufacturing arsenal for Parliament, for the insults they had put on the King in October, 1642, before the Battle of Edgehill, in plundering the Royal Coach. Rupert's mission was, threefold. Punish Birmingham, garrison Lichfield, clear the country as far as possible. To do this he was given a force of 600 or 700 foot, he left Oxford on 29 March 1643 via Chipping Norton, Shipston-on-Stour, Stratford-on-Avon. He spent Easter Sunday there and advanced on the unwalled town of Birmingham on Easter Monday. After the Royalist victory at the Battle of Camp Hill, Rupert stayed in Birmingham overnight and on Easter Tuesday, 4 April, he marched to Walsall. On Saturday 8 April he marched on to Lichfield. Arriving on the 8 April 1643, Rupert at once summoned the city to surrender. Colonel Russell, the governor, sent back the following answer: I have heard there is a man who goes by the name of Rupert, who has burnt near four score houses at Birmingham, an act not becoming a gentleman, a Christian, or Englishman, much less a Prince, that that man has not in all the King's dominion so much as a thatched house.
Rupert accordingly began the siege. After a week's work, on Sunday 16 April, the breaches were considered practicable. Rupert ordered an assaulted the place; the siege was continued until Friday, 21 April, when Rupert again ordered an assaulted the place and this time the Royalists took it with a help of a explosive mine — said to have been one of the earliest used in England — blowing up part of the wall of the Close. On this taking place the garrison surrendered on terms; the Parliamentary garrison was allowed to march out of Lichfield with bag and baggage, sent under a convoy to the Parliamentary stronghold of Coventry. Rupert had now completed his task, took steps to return to Oxford, he did not stay long at Lichfield. The day after the surrender, leaving some of his force to garrison the town, he set out for to Oxford, arriving on 24 April 1643 He was shot in the back by Robert Stallion in 1645; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Willis-Bund, John William, The Civil War In Worcestershire, 1642-1646: And the Scotch Invasion Of 1651, Birmingham: The Midland Educational Company
First Battle of Newbury
The First Battle of Newbury was a battle of the First English Civil War, fought on 20 September 1643 between a Royalist army, under the personal command of King Charles, a Parliamentarian force led by the Earl of Essex. Following a year of Royalist successes in which they took Banbury and Reading without conflict before storming Bristol, the Parliamentarians were left without an effective army in the field; when Charles laid siege to Gloucester, Parliament was forced to muster a force under Essex with which to beat Charles' forces off. After a long march, Essex surprised the Royalists and forced them away from Gloucester before beginning a retreat to London. Charles rallied his forces and pursued Essex, overtaking the Parliamentarian army at Newbury and forcing them to march past the Royalist force to continue their retreat. Essex reacted by making a surprise attack on the Royalist lines at dawn, capturing several pieces of high ground and leaving Charles on the back foot. A series of Royalist attacks led to a large number of casualties and the slow retreat of Essex's force, driven from the central hill and encircled.
The slowing of this counter-attack in the face of the Royalist cavalry forced Essex to send for reinforcements, while marching to him, were attacked and forced to retreat. This left a hole in the Parliamentarian line, dividing the army into two wings through which the Royalists hoped to pass, splitting the Parliamentarians and allowing Charles's troops to encircle and defeat the enemy. In line with this, the Royalists moved forward to press the attack, but were forced to halt by the London Trained Bands. With night falling, the battle ended, both exhausted armies disengaged; the next morning, low on ammunition, the Royalists were forced to allow Essex to pass and continue his retreat to London. Reasons for the Royalist defeat include shortage of ammunition, the relative lack of professionalism of their soldiers and the tactics of Essex, who compensated "for his much lamented paucity of cavalry by tactical ingenuity and firepower", countering Rupert's cavalry by driving them off with mass infantry formations.
Although the numbers of casualties were small, historians who have studied the battle consider it to be one of the most crucial of the First English Civil War, marking the high point of the Royalist advance and leading to the signing of the Solemn League and Covenant, which brought the Scottish Covenanters into the war on the side of Parliament and led to the eventual victory of the Parliamentarian cause. After the failure of Parliamentarian forces to gain a conclusive victory at the Battle of Edgehill in 1642, the Royalist armies had advanced on London, capturing Banbury and Reading without conflict. On 13 November they faced the Earl of Essex at the Battle of Turnham Green, with Charles's advisers persuading him to retreat to Oxford and Reading. After Essex besieged Reading and Charles's armies failed in their attempts to relieve the town, a stalemate occurred on the front. Despite this setback, the war was turning in favour of the Royalists; the early months of 1643 saw a "crushing" defeat of the Parliamentarians at the Battle of Adwalton Moor, while the Battle of Roundway Down left Parliament without an effective army in the west of England, the lack of which allowed the Royalists under Prince Rupert to storm Bristol with the western army and Oxford army.
The result was that Parliamentarian forces appeared to be losing. Despite this, Royalist forces were depleted by the battle at Bristol. Suffering over 1,000 men dead, having exhausted their supplies, the armies were forced to regroup. Considering this, the capture of Bristol is considered the high-water mark for the Royalist cause during the First English Civil War. With the city captured, however, an immediate dispute occurred over, to govern it, this led to Charles travelling there on 1 August to take personal command of the Royalist forces. Upon arriving he called his council of war together to discuss their next move, the primary questions at hand being "first, whether the armies should be united, march in one upon the next design, and what the design should be". The western army, although still strong, refused to advance further to the east due to the presence of Parliamentarian forces within Dorset and Cornwall; because of this unrest, it was resolved that the western army would remain an independent fighting force and remain in Dorset and Cornwall to "mop up" the remaining Parliamentarians.
Accordingly, the western army, commanded by Lord Carnarvon, remained in the region, capturing Dorchester in a bloodless victory on 2 August. Prince Maurice left 1,200 infantry and 200 cavalry to garrison Bristol before marching to Dorchester and taking command; the greater issues were what to do with the Oxford army and what the "next design" of the Royalist campaign would be. Rupert's strategy was to advance through the Severn Valley and capture Gloucester, which would allow Royalist forces in south Wales to reinforce Charles's army and thus allow for an assault on London. Another faction, howev
Roundheads were supporters of the Parliament of England during the English Civil War. Known as Parliamentarians, they fought against King Charles I of England and his supporters, known as the Cavaliers or Royalists, who claimed rule by absolute monarchy and the principle of the'divine right of kings'; the goal of the Roundhead party was to give the Parliament supreme control over executive administration of the country/kingdom. Most Roundheads sought constitutional monarchy in place of the absolutist monarchy sought by Charles. However, at the end of the English Civil War in 1649, public antipathy towards the king was high enough to allow republican leaders such as Oliver Cromwell to abolish the monarchy and establish the Commonwealth of England; the Roundhead commander-in-chief of the first Civil War, Thomas Fairfax, remained a supporter of constitutional monarchy, as did many other Roundhead leaders such as Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester and Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex. England's many Puritans and Presbyterians were invariably Roundhead supporters, as were many smaller religious groups such as the Independents.
However many Roundheads were members of the Church of England. Roundhead political factions included the proto-anarchist Diggers, the diverse group known as the Levellers and the apocalyptic Christian movement of the Fifth Monarchists; some Puritans, but by no means all, wore their hair cropped round the head or flat and there was thus an obvious contrast between them and the men of courtly fashion, who wore long ringlets. During the war and for a time afterwards, Roundhead was a term of derision—in the New Model Army it was a punishable offence to call a fellow soldier a Roundhead; this contrasted with the term "Cavalier" to describe supporters of the Royalist cause. Cavalier started out as a pejorative term—the first proponents used it to compare members of the Royalist party with Spanish Caballeros who had abused Dutch Protestants during the reign of Elizabeth I—but unlike Roundhead, Cavalier was embraced by those who were the target of the epithet and used by them to describe themselves."Roundheads" appears to have been first used as a term of derision toward the end of 1641, when the debates in Parliament in the Clergy Act 1640 were causing riots at Westminster.
The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition quotes a contemporary authority's description of the crowd gathered there: "They had the hair of their heads few of them longer than their ears, whereupon it came to pass that those who with their cries attended at Westminster were by a nickname called Roundheads". The demonstrators included London apprentices and Roundhead was a term of derision for them because the regulations to which they had agreed included a provision for cropped hair. According to John Rushworth the word was first used on 27 December 1641 by a disbanded officer named David Hide. During a riot, Hide is reported to have drawn his sword and said he would "cut the throat of those round-headed dogs that bawled against bishops". However, Richard Baxter ascribes the origin of the term to a remark made by Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I, at the trial of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, earlier that year. Referring to John Pym, she asked; the principal advisor to Charles II, Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, remarked on the matter, "and from those contestations the two terms of Roundhead and Cavalier grew to be received in discourse... they who were looked upon as servants to the king being called Cavaliers, the other of the rabble contemned and despised under the name of Roundheads."Ironically, after Anglican Archbishop William Laud made a statute in 1636 instructing all clergy to wear short hair, many Puritans rebelled to show their contempt for his authority and began to grow their hair longer though they continued to be known as Roundheads.
The longer hair was more common among the "Independent" and "high ranking" Puritans toward the end of the Protectorate, while the "Presbyterian" faction, the military rank-and-file, continued to abhor long hair. By the end of this period some Independent Puritans were again derisively using the term Roundhead to refer to the Presbyterian Puritans. Roundhead remained in use to describe those with republican tendencies up until the Exclusion Crisis of 1678–1681. During the Exclusion Bill crisis, the term Cavalier was replaced with "Tory", an Irish term introduced by their opponents, initially a pejorative term. Macaulay, Thomas Babington; the History of England from the Accession of James II. 1. New York: Harper & Brothers. P. 105. ISBN 0-543-93129-3. Hanbury, Benjamin. Historical Memorials Relating to the Independents Or Congregationalists: From Their Rise to the Restoration of the Monarchy. 3. Pp. 118, 635. Hunt, John. Religious Thought from the Reformation to the End of Last Century. 2. General Books LLC. p. 5.
ISBN 1-150-98096-6. Roberts, Chris. Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind Rhyme. Thorndike Press. ISBN 0-7862-8517-6. Worden, Blair; the English Civil Wars 1640–1660. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-100694-3. Attribution This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Anonymous. "Roundhead". In Chisholm
Battle of Aylesbury
The Battle of Aylesbury was an engagement which took place on 1 November 1642, when Royalist forces, under the command of Prince Rupert, fought Aylesbury's Parliamentarian garrison at Holman's Bridge a few miles to the north of Aylesbury town. The Parliamentarian forces were victorious, despite being outnumbered. Prince Rupert took possession of Aylesbury with a force of several thousand infantry and cavalry but subsequently received intelligence of the impending arrival of a brigade of Parliament's troops from Stony Stratford. Prince Rupert marched out with most of his force to confront the enemy at a site a few miles north of the town, he arrived at a ford and encountered a unit of 1,500 Parliamentarian troops under Sir William Balfour on the opposite bank. Prince Rupert, supported by Sir Lewis Dyve in reserve, charged across the ford and engaged the enemy; however Prince Rupert was forced to retreat towards Thame. Some 500 of Prince Rupert's men fell and over 90 of the Parliamentarian forces died.
In 1818, remains were discovered in a field at Holman's Bridge, outside Aylesbury, by labourers digging pits for gravel, which were believed to belong to the fatalities from the battle. Many appeared, from the way they were laid, they were buried in a common grave in St Mary's churchyard in Hardwick. There have been mixed claims surrounding the scale and the existence of the battle due to the alleged lack of archaeological evidence, it has been claimed that its existence is a piece of parliamentary propaganda and that the bodies found in 1818 were far earlier being of the Saxon era. The only record of the battle was a Roundhead pamphlet entitled Good and ioyfull nevves ovt of Bvckinghamshire, the'somewhat bombastic' account, said to have a bias of a similar nature to other material they produced. Monitoring of a sewage scheme by archæologist Bob Zeepvat in 1995, found no trace of the burials at Holmans Bridge. Zeepvat concluded that the battle, if it happened, may have instead been a skirmish as opposed to a full scale battle as thought.
Furthermore, the journal of Prince Rupert's marches pinpoints him in Abingdon on the day of the battle. In 2002, the site fell under scrutiny. Doubts of the existence of the battle was used as ammunition for the developers and the County Council to push forward the development. A spokesperson for Bucks County Museum at the time said: "All newspapers and leaflets at the time backed one side or another so there would have been a tendency to exaggerate. Something on this scale would have made contemporary histories of the war; some accounts suggest the battle took place in 1642 while others say it was 1643. There may have been two or three different engagements."
John Belasyse, 1st Baron Belasyse
John Belasyse, 1st Baron Belasyse was an English nobleman and Member of Parliament, notable for his role during and after the English Civil War. He suffered a long spell of imprisonment during the Popish Plot, although he was never brought to trial. Balasyse was the second son of Thomas Belasyse, 1st Baron Fauconberg, Barbara, daughter of Sir Henry Cholmondeley of Roxby, Yorkshire, he was born at Newburgh Grange, baptised at Coxwold, both in Yorkshire. He was MP for Thirsk in the Long Parliaments. Shortly after the start of the Civil War he was "disabled" from sitting in the Long Parliament because he joined the Royalist cause, he raised six regiments of horse and foot soldiers at his own expense, took part in the battles of Edgehill and Brentford, Newbury and Naseby, as well as the sieges of Reading and Newark – being wounded several times, he became Lieutenant-General of the King's forces in the North of England, Governor of York and of Newark. In Oxford on 27 January 1645 he was raised to the peerage under the title of Baron Belasyse of Worlaby, Lincolnshire.
On 4 February 1665 Samuel Pepys recorded an anecdote about Belasyse's civil war activities in a diary entry: To my office, there all the morning. At noon, being invited, I to the Sun behind the Change to dinner to my Lord Bellasses – where a great deal of discourse with him – and some good. Among other at table, he told us a handsome passage of the King's sending him his message about holding out the town of Newarke, of which he was governor for the King; this message he sent in a Slugg-bullet, being wrapped up in lead and swallowed. So the messenger came to my Lord and told him he had a message from the King, but it was yet in his belly; this was a month. And at the just day he did come to the Scotts, he told us another odd passage: how the King, having newly put out Prince Rupert of his Generallshipp upon some miscarriage at Bristol, Sir Rd. Willis of his governorshipp of Newarke at the entreaty of the gentry of the County, put in my Lord Bellasses – the great officers of the King’s Army mutinyed, came in that manner, with swords drawn, into the market-place of the town where the King was – which the King hearing, says, “I must to horse.”
And there himself when everybody expected they would have been opposed, the King came and cried to the head of the Mutineers, Prince Rupert, “Nephew, I command you to be gone!” So the Prince, in all his fury and discontent and his company scattered – which they say was the greatest piece of mutiny in the world. Belasyse is considered to have been one of the first members of the Royalist underground organisation The Sealed Knot. During the Interregnum, Belasyse was in frequent communication with King Charles II and his supporters in Holland. After the Restoration Belasyse was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire and Governor of Hull, while from 1665 to 1666 he held the posts of Governor of Tangier and Captain-General of the forces in Africa. According to Samuel Pepys, he accepted the post only for the profit. In 1666/67 Belasyse was in England, he subsequently resigned this appointment as he was unwilling to take the Oath of Conformity introduced under the Test Act. At the time of the Oates Plot, along with four other Catholic peers, Henry Arundell, 3rd Baron Arundell of Wardour, William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford, William Herbert, 1st Marquis of Powis, William Petre, 4th Baron Petre, was denounced as a conspirator and formally impeached in Parliament.
Belasyse was said to have been designated Commander-in-Chief of a supposed "Popish army" by the Jesuit Superior-General, Giovanni Paolo Oliva, but Charles II, according to Von Ranke, burst out laughing at the idea that this infirm old man, who could hardly stand on his feet due to gout, would be able to hold a pistol. The informer William Bedloe who had once worked for Belasyse, now accused him of ordering the murder, which remains unsolved today, of the respected magistrate Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey, it was never made clear why Belasyse, or indeed any other Catholic, should wish to kill Godfrey, notably tolerant in religious matters. Belasyse in his defence referred to his age and ill-health, reasonably pointed out that under the tolerant rule of Charles II he was living out his last years in comfort: what possible reason had he to wish for a change of regime? The Government, for example, was well aware that the Catholic mass was celebrated at his London house, but made no effort to prevent it.
The most that could plausibly be said against him was that he was a friend of the senior civil servant Edward Colman, an ardent and politically active Catholic, executed for his supposed part in the Plot in December 1678, that Colman had visited Belasyse the night before he gave himself up to the authorities. However Colman in fact seems to have been guilty of nothing more than indiscreet correspondence with the French Court in which he outlined his wildly