English War Was Between The King And Parliament History Essay

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A civil war is a war between two 'sides' of a country. Examples of civil war include; Somali Civil War, American Civil War and the Russian Civil War.

The English Civil War was between the king and parliament

Reasons for starting the war include:

Charles marries a catholic

Parliament refuses Charles to have money

Ruling without parliament for 11 years

Parliament takes control of the Army

Charles introduces 'unpopular' taxes

Parliament demands more power

Charles tries to make the English

Church more catholic

Parliament makes Charles agree to the Nineteen Propositions

Charles tries to extend policies to


Charles tries to arrest five MPs


The civil war was inflicted and influenced by the things listed above but, there are three main categories that these all fall into at least once. These categories are:




These have all been highlighted on the list above.

Chapter 2

Women and their role during the civil war

Many women left their homes and followed their husbands off to war to look after them while they were fighting. Also, large numbers of women were publishing their ideas and novels into books. After Cromwell's Commonwealth the positions of women improved not to mention, that Oliver Cromwell had many female friends. This was not like any other male ruler.

The battles of the civil war

In total there were six battles of the civil war. These are;

Edgehill 23rd October 1642 Both the King's Army and the Parliament's armies were on the move. Charles' Army, commanded by the King himself, was marching from Shrewsbury to London while Cromwell's Army, under Robert Devereux, third Earl of Essex was marching from London to Worcester. When the armies were a few miles apart, Prince Rupert persuaded Charles to take to the high ground at Edgehill. The Earl realized that the King's Army was close and prepared his men for battle. Both commanders deployed their troops in the same way with infantry in the middle and cavalry to the flank.

Parliament's Army opened the battle with lots of cannon fire. Prince Rupert led the King's cavalry charge on the right side of the battlefield and the Parliament fled. Meanwhile another group of the King's cavalry charged the left side of the field and the Parliament fled again. Both cavalry commanders chose to pursue the fleeing Parliamentarians leaving Charles without a cavalry regiment.

Seeing that he now had an advantage, The Earl of Essex commanded a general assault on the King's Army. Although the King's Army held ground for a while many soon decided to run. However, The Earl of Essex had thought of this and had sent a cavalry regiment to the back of the field to cut down any who chose to flee the battlefield. They did not get the chance to do this as Prince Rupert had returned with his cavalry. The light was giving way to darkness by now and as both sides were exhausted it was decided to call the battle a draw.

Adwalton Moor 30th June 1643 The King's Army was well supported in the North of England. Knowing that he had a lot of support the King's commander, William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, decided to try and enclose Parliaments Army in Bradford. However, Fairfax, Parliament's commander decided that his Army had a better chance of survival if they fought the King's Army in a battle rather than being surrounded and forced to surrender. The two armies met at Adwalton Moor, an area covered with fields enclosed by fences and hedges. This was not good country for the King's cavalry and Fairfax knew that this would give him an advantage even though his Army was heavily outnumbered. Fairfax decided to adopt a defensive position and successfully made several charges towards Parliament. Parliament though that they were successfully withstanding the King's Army and forcing them to defeat, several groups of Parliament's soldiers decided to pursue the King's Army rather than maintaining their defensive line. The King's Army was easily able to split Parliament's Army to retreat to Bradford.

Round away Down 13th July 1643 Parliament's commander Sir William Waller, had managed to push back the King's Army, commanded by Lord Hopton, to Devizes. Knowing that the King's Army was in a bad way and having seen a company fleeing for Salisbury, Waller allowed his Army to have food and rest before mounting a final assault on the King's Army. What he did not realise was that when they reached Salisbury the Kings Army turned North to seek help. Lord Henry Wilmot was the King's commander who led a force to assist Hopton. When Waller realised that Hopton was approaching he took up battle position on Roundaway Down, just north of Devizes. He positioned his infantry in the middle and cavalry at the sides. The King's Army was the first to charge and for some reason Parliament's Army did not counter-charge. After two more charges the Parliament's cavalry had fled. Waller then turned his attention to the Parliament's infantry. However, they stood firm until a force led by Hopton attacked them from behind. Caught between two of the King's armies the majority of Parliament's soldiers simply fled from the battlefield.

First Battle of Newbury 20th September 1643 Robert Devereux, third Earl of Essex, had marched from London to Gloucester to re-supply the Parliament's Army. On his return journey he was attacked by a small company led by Prince Rupert, who wanted to slow his return to London. Rupert managed to slow the Parliament enough to allow Charles I to reach the Parliamentarian town of Newbury before Essex. Charles positioned his Army across Essex's route ensuring that Parliament would have no choice but to fight. As the two sides were stationing their soldiers, Charles foolishly allowed Parliament to station a battery of artillery and a company of infantrymen on Round Hill. The King's Army chose to attack Round Hill first. However, they were unable to mount a successful attack because the area was covered with hedgerows and bushes making it difficult for the cavalry to be effective. The King's armies suffered a number of losses and were driven back. For a second time the King's Army attack on Round Hill was more successful and Parliament were pushed back but, the King's cavalry had been badly fired upon and no further attacks were made. The battle was declared a draw.

Marston Moor 2nd July 1644 Prince Rupert was marching across the North of England to relieve the King's Army trapped in York. News of Rupert's position in the North reached Oliver Cromwell, the Parliament's General in charge, and an Army was sent to meet the King's Army. Rupert out maneuvered Parliament by sending a cavalry detachment south to Marston Moor while taking the rest of the King's Army to York and then to Marston Moor by a Northern route. Meanwhile, Rupert sent a message to William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, to meet him at Marston Moor. The combined King's forces were outnumbered by Parliament but decided to fight anyway. They reached their battle positions in the early evening and assumed that the battle would not begin until the early morning. Unfortunately for them Parliament had decided to mount an attack that evening and the King's Army were totally unprepared for the attack. For the first time since the Civil War had begun. Rupert's cavalry, at one end of the field, were beaten by the Parliament's cavalry charge. Things were better for the King's Army at the other end of the field where Parliament had been beaten back. Having defeated Rupert, Parliament was feeling optimistic and successfully defeated the King's infantry, killing those who did not flee.

Second Battle of Newbury 27th October 1644 Charles positioned his Army so as to defend the northern border of Newbury. He knew that he had a strong position and hoped that Parliament would not attack until Prince Rupert had joined him and strengthened his Army further. Parliament's commander, Edward Montague, positioned his Army on the north-eastern ridge. Parliament knew that it was going to be difficult to defeat the King's Army so they went on a daring plan. Sir William Waller led a large force of Parliament's soldiers around the edge of the King's Army. As day broke on the 27th October, Edward Montague and William Waller attacked simultaneously. Waller succeeded in taking out the King's small base but made no further gains. Meanwhile the King's Army managed to hold off the attack by Montague. The battle lasted all day with the King's Army sandwiched between two Parliament forces. Each time Parliament made some gains they were beaten back by the King's Army. Heavy losses were sustained by the Roundheads. By nightfall, both armies were exhausted and Charles decided to retreat to Oxford.

The Battle of Naseby 14th June 1645 The Parliamentarian, General Fairfax, had laid siege to Oxford in a bid to lure Charles into battle. Hearing that his King's 'capital' had been placed under siege Charles had immediately marched to Oxford to release the city. As Charles neared Oxford, Fairfax broke the siege and marched north to meet Charles. Not wanting to be forced into battle against Fairfax, Charles turned north. Unfortunately for the King's Army, they could not outmarch Parliament and had no choice but to turn and fight. They took up a good defensive position and waited for word of Fairfax's position. Prince Rupert discovered that Parliament were camped near Naseby and suggested that the King's Army should advance on Fairfax. The decision to advance was taken and the King's Army left their strong defensive position to make an attack. This was not a good decision as Fairfax had deployed his Army in a very strong position, going so far as to hide some of his troops from sight. Both sides took up their usual positions with infantrymen in the centre and cavalry on the flanks. Parliament's cavalry were commanded by Oliver Cromwell and Henry Ireton, the King's cavalry were commanded by Marmaduke Langdale and Prince Rupert. The King's cavalry, under Prince Rupert, made the first attack and pushed the Parliament cavalry back. Meanwhile the King's infantry had some success over Parliament. However, Langdale's cavalry had not fared so well, they had been pushed back by Cromwell. Parliament's New Model Army then took to the field concentrating mainly on the King's infantry. Charles' armies were unable to withstand this new attack and many foot soldiers surrendered. The battle lasted just three hours and in that time most of the King's foot soldiers were killed or taken prisoner. The King's Army also lost all of their artillery and most of their baggage. Charles fled the battlefield as soon as it became apparent that he had lost the battle.

important people involved in the war

Charles I

Born - 19th November 1600 in Fife, Scotland.

Died - 30th January 1649 in London, England.

Army - Royalist (Cavalier).

Role - King of England and Commander in Chief of Royalist

Prince Rupert

Born - 17th December 1619 in Prague, Bohemia.

Died - 29th November 1682 in London, England.

Army - Royalist (Cavalier).

Role - Commander in Chief, Duke of Cumberland and Earl of


Oliver Cromwell

Born - 25th April 1599 in Huntingdon, England.

Died - 3rd September 1658 in Whitehall, London.

Army - Parliamentarian (Roundhead).

Role - General of Horse, New Model Army.

Thomas Fairfax

Born - 17th January 1612 in Denton, Yorkshire.

Died - 12th November 1671 in Nun Appleton, Yorkshire.

Army - Parliamentarian (Roundhead).

Role - Lord General of New Model Army and 3rd Baron of Cameron.


The failure of the Royalists:

Bad leadership

Divided into two within army

Lack of resources

The success of the Parliamentarians:

Pym's successors

Marston Moor - victory in the North

Political crisis & religious divisions

The Self-Denying Ordinance: the victory of the war party

Military reorganisation: the New Model Army

Naseby: the turning point

The King's Army made many mistakes during the war. An example is Bad leadership by Charles I and Prince Rupert when the Royalists did not fight at Marston Moor as it was late at night but, this gave the Parliamentarians an advantage to catch them whilst, off guard. Another bad mistake is at Naseby when they were out marched by the Parliament's Army and had to fight. Many were killed or imprisoned. These two wars helped Parliament win but, if they were not organized then they wouldn't have won but, thanks to the New Model Army they were positioned in good places to fight.

The King's Execution

Charles I was put on trial on 1st January 1649

He was accused as being a "tyrant, traitor and murderer; and a public and implacable enemy to the Commonwealth of England."

The Chief Judge was John Bradshaw. He sat as head of the High Court of Justice. He was not one of the original 135 judges but none of the 68 that did turn up wanted to be Chief Judge and the job was given to Bradshaw, who was a lawyer. Bradshaw knew that putting Charles I on trial was not popular and he actually feared for his own life. At the hearing, he wore a riot hat to protect himself. It was Bradshaw who read out the charge against Charles; that he 

"out of a wicked design to erect and uphold in himself an unlimited and tyrannical power to rule according to his will, and to overthrow the rights and liberties of the people of England."

At the trial, Charles refused to defend himself. He did not recognize the legality of the court. He also refused to take off his hat as a sign of respect to the judges who did attend. This seemed to confirm in the minds of the judges that Charles, even when he was on trial for his life, remained arrogant and therefore a danger to others as he could not recognize his own faults.

John announced: "he, the said Charles Stuart, as a tyrant, traitor, murderer and public enemy to the good of this nation, shall be put to death by severing of his head from his body."

On the day of his execution, he was allowed to go for a last walk in St James's Park. His last meal was bread and wine. However, there was a delay in his execution. The executer refused to execute Charles. So did many replacements but, at about 2pm on Tuesday 30th January 1649, Charles was executed. Charles gave a last speech at the execution, sources say he said: "I have delivered to my conscience; I pray God you do take those courses that are best for the good of the kingdom and your own salvation."

On the 6th February, 1649, the monarchy was abolished. Parliament stated that: "the office of the king in this nation is unnecessary, burdensome and dangerous to the liberty, society and public interest of the people."

What became known as a Council of State was set-up instead of the monarchy and Oliver Cromwell was its first chairman. 

What was the Importance of the English Civil War?

The English Civil War has made changes today. Some of these changes include; laws made by parliament, Royalty is not allowed in the House of Commons, laws must be signed by the royal ruler. If it wasn't for the Civil War we would not have a government. Instead, the Queen would make all of our countries decisions and we would not have 'parties' e.g. Labour, Liberal Democrats, MRLP, UKIP etc.