First Newbury 1643


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There were, in fact, three English Civil Wars from , which emerged from conflict in Scotland and Ireland, as well as constitutional struggles between Crown and Parliament, emergent ideals of liberty and reform and a struggle of Protestantism over Catholicism. Suggesting that one of the main drivers was based on class and material considerations is both misleading and unhelpful; yet this vision of the wars as David rising up against Goliath pervades.

This was simply not the case. Arrive at our Thatcham hotel midday Newbury 1 hour approx.


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Sandwich lunch and introductory talk. Thence to the ruins of Basing House, a former royalist stronghold that came under siege on three separate occasions.


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  • Travel to the battlefield of Edgehill which was the first major engagement between the two armies. This afternoon we visit Broughton Castle, a hotbed of the Parliamentary movement that was besieged by Royalists following the battle of Edgehill. Check-in to our Ettington hotel for one night. This morning we head out to the picturesque Cotswold village of Chipping Campden and at its church hear about the role religion played in the war.

    First Battle of Newbury

    Although insignificant in comparison to the later battles, it showed the Parliamentarians that although they were better equipped, they lacked the training, leadership and loyalty of the Royalist force. Check-in to our Worcester hotel before we explore Fort Royal, the Cathedral and the Commandery dedicated Civil War museum that was used as the royalist headquarters during the Battle of Worcester Today we focus on two Royalist successes during The Earl of Essex stayed at Biggs Cottage still survives today along Enborne Street prior to the battle that was to start in the morning.

    Prince Rupert's Royalist cavalry was located just north of the River Enborne, and in-front of the area of Wash Common. Sir John Byron's foot soldiers supported by cavalry were to the south of the River Kennet, and in the centre was Sir Nicholas Byron's foot soldiers. The Parliamentarians were deployed to the west of the Royalist force, Sir Philip Stapleton's foot soldiers were supported by cavalry located just north of the River Enborne and opposite to Prince Rupert.

    Thomas Middleton also had a combined force of foot soldiers and cavalry that were located just south of the River Kennet, and opposite to John Byron. Phillip Skippon was in the centre and in front of the area of Round Hill with his army of foot soldiers, with the London Trained Bands foot soldiers in reserve just behind.

    Berkshire History for Kids: The Battles of Newbury

    The artillery was also place in front of Round Hill with a small contingent of Calvary. At 7am the Parliamentarian artillery opened fire on Sir Nicolas Byron's foot soldiers, that were advancing to the area of Round Hill where the foot soldiers of Phillip Skippon were located. Both sides were engaged in fierce fighting, Sir John Byron's musketeers ran out of gunpowder, fortunately the Royalist cavalry saved them by charging in to Skippon's infantry and gaining some ground from the Parliamentarians.

    The Royalist cavalry of Prince Rupert that were towards the south, charged on the position held by the infantry of Phillip Stapleton. If Essex had continued on his direct route he might have expected to reach Newbury on the night of the 18 th September As it was his concern at the possible presence of the Royalist army caused him to spend the night at Hungerford, some nine miles short of Newbury.

    In fact, King Charles I and his Royalist army were much further to the north and spent that night at Wantage, further from Newbury than Hungerford by some six miles. On 19 th September Essex was severely handicapped by heavy rains which, exacerbated by the passage of his army turned the road into a quagmire.

    The Parliamentary quartermasters rode on to Newbury to acquire provisions and allocate billets for the various senior officers and the regiments.

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    The First Battle of Newbury 1643

    These quartermasters were at their work when Prince Rupert rode into Newbury with his cavalry advance guard. The requisitioned quarters and supplies were taken over by the Royalists and many of the quartermasters made prisoner. Once he realised that he was forestalled Essex halted his army and made camp at Enborne two miles short of Newbury.

    The Parliamentary army passed the night in extreme discomfort and on short commons in an extended camp stretching from the River Kennet in the north to Biggs Cottage at the southern end where the Earl of Essex is reputed to have passed the night. All his army had to do was occupy a strong position, await the Parliamentary attack and defeat it.

    Deployment of the Royalist and Parliamentarian forces

    The Round Hill was to be the focus of the savage battle fought between the two armies on the next day. The road to London ran west to east across the north of the ground occupied by the two armies. A feature of this area was the large number of agricultural enclosures, all ideal defensive field works. Sir John Byron advanced with his brigade of horse to attack the Round Hill position on its northern flank. Skippon responded by bringing up several of the London Trained Bands regiments from the Parliamentary reserve.

    The First Battle of Newbury 1643

    He also brought more guns up onto his position. They fell back to leave the assault to be taken up by the Royalist foot. The fighting continued over Round Hill and Wash Common until night fell at around 7pm when the Royalist line fell back towards Newbury. One small gun was captured by the Royalists from the Parliamentary positions on the Round Hill.

    First Newbury 1643 First Newbury 1643
    First Newbury 1643 First Newbury 1643
    First Newbury 1643 First Newbury 1643
    First Newbury 1643 First Newbury 1643
    First Newbury 1643 First Newbury 1643
    First Newbury 1643 First Newbury 1643
    First Newbury 1643 First Newbury 1643
    First Newbury 1643 First Newbury 1643
    First Newbury 1643

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