CHRONOLOGY OF THE FIRST CIVIL WAR

1643

 

Original Art by Chris Collingwood



Early January The Earl of Stamford, appointed commander of Parliament's western army, arrives in Devonshire with troops from Herefordshire. Meanwhile, Patrick Ruthin, the Parliamentary commander in Devon, out-manoeuvres the Cavaliers and forces them back into Cornwall. In the North, the Earl of Newcastle garrisons Newark, and appoints Sir John Henderson, a loyal Scot, as its governor. At Oxford, the first number of the Cavalier weekly newssheet Mercurius Aulicus is published.

January 2 (Monday) Agents of the City arrive at Oxford with the petition of the Common Council, which assures Charles of protection if he returns to Westminster. They receive an unfriendly welcome in the town.

January 3 (Tuesday) 3000 apprentices arrive at Westminster with a petition for peace. The counties of Bedfordshire, Essex and Hertfordshire have also agreed to petitions for peace.

January 4 (Wednesday) At Oxford the agents of the City are dismissed. One of Charles' servants is to accompany them and read the Royal reply to the Common Council. In the Midlands, Lord Grey arrives at Daventry with Parliamentary reinforcements, threatening the Royalist garrison of Banbury.

January 7 (Saturday) A Royalist attempt to take Cirencester fails because of lack of co-ordination between the attacking forces of Rupert and Hertford. Meanwhile, Parliamentary forces are unsuccessful in an attempt to seize Stratford-on-Avon.

January 9 (Monday) The customs farmers announce to Parliament that they are unable to advance any more money, alleging a falling-off of trade. The real reason is that they are concerned about the King's proclamation to the effect that any man paying unauthorized customs duties will be guilty of treason. The Queen sets sail from Holland with reinforcements and money, but is forced back by storms.

January 11 (Wednesday) Charles issues a commission to Ormonde, Clanricarde and others to meet the Catholic leaders and report on their complaints, offering various compromise measures -but not recognition of the Irish assembly.

Mid-January In the West, Patrick Ruthin's Parliamentary forces pursue the retreating Cornish and attempt to force the passage of the Tamar at Saltash. Later, Parliamentary reinforcements cross into Cornwall at Newbridge, forcing the Cavaliers to fall back from the Tamar.

January 13 (Friday) The King's answer to the City's peace petition is read to the Common Council at the Guildhall, but its tone is too aggressive, and accusations of treason against the Lord Mayor and three aldermen only serve to reduce support for the Royalist cause in the City.

January 16 (Monday) At the Common Council, Royalist supporters attack Parliamentary demands for money. The meeting breaks up in disorder.

January 17 (Tuesday) Three Parliamentarian warships are blown into Falmouth harbour: their cargoes of arms and money are seized and used to re-equip the Cornish army. 

January 18 (Wednesday) A further attempt to circulate the King's answer in the all the halls of the 
City Companies is frustrated by the intervention of the House of Commons. Meanwhile, the uncooperative customs farmers are dismissed from office, and replaced by ones more amenable to Parliament. In Yorkshire, the Royalists are ejected from Bradford by townspeople who have risen in support of a small Parliamentary force occupying the church.

Models from the barracks of the Ilkley Lads



January 19 (Thursday) Hopton and Grenville defeat Patrick Ruthin's pursuing Parliamentary force at Braddock Down in Cornwall. Ruthin is defeated before the Earl of Stamford can join him with the reinforcements, and is a blow for Roundhead hopes in the West Country. Cornwall is secured for the King.

January 20 (Friday) Several wealthy citizens are imprisoned by Parliament for refusing to pay their taxes. In Ireland, Thomas Preston leads Confederate forces take Birr Castle.

January 21 (Saturday) The Cornish Cavaliers re-launch their invasion of Devon, dividing their forces into separate columns.

January 22 (Sunday) The Cornish storm Saltash, capturing prisoners, guns, and a warship.

January 23 (Monday) Sir Thomas Fairfax storms Leeds, with the aid of local forces from Halifax, thus re-opening communications between Selby and the West Riding clothing towns. The Royalists, led by Savile, fall back on Pontefract. The Royalist garrison of Wakefield joins them, and Newcastle is later forced to continue the retirement to York. At the same time the garrison of Newark is withdrawn, leaving its defence in the hands of local forces.

Mid-to-late January In Parliament, Pym agrees to allow a peace commission led by the Earl of Northumberland to make approaches to the King. Parliament needs to buy time to put its war finances on a better footing. At Oxford, the King has a similar agenda. In the West, one wing of the Royalist Cornish army blockades Plymouth. In the North, Cheshire attempts to proclaim its neutrality, but is mobilized against the King by Sir William Brereton. 

January 27 (Friday) Essex' troops attempt to seize the Royalist outpost of Brill, but are repulsed.

January 28 (Saturday) Sir William Brereton defeats the Cheshire Royalists at Nantwich, and prepares to advance into the Midlands.

January 29 (Sunday) Sudeley Castle, near Gloucester, is taken for Parliament.

January 30 (Monday) The Lords pass the Bill for the abolition of episcopacy. At Dublin, Charles' commission to treat with the Irish is received with some disapproval. However, the officers of the army in Ireland are persuaded that they should support the King. 

Late January Heavy snow prevents reinforcement of the Parliamentary garrison at Cirencester. Waller takes Farnham Castle, Arundel Castle and Chichester.

February 1 (Wednesday) The Oxford Propositions: Northumberland and the Parliamentary commissioners present the peace proposals to the King at Oxford. One of the initial requirements is that the armies are disbanded. At Westminster, the Treasurer of the Army announces that there are no funds left for army pay.

February 2 (Thursday) Rupert and Hertford capture Cirencester, storming the town within two hours despite stiff resistance. The town is sacked. All Gloucestershire, apart from Gloucester itself, is now under Royalist control. 

February 3 (Friday) Rupert appears before Gloucester, and calls on it to surrender. Massey refuses. At Oxford, the King presents his counter-proposals to the Commissioners. He requests a cessation of hostilities in the zone between Oxford and London, and freedom of trade before any negotiations can begin. He meanwhile writes to the Lord Justices in Dublin ordering the exclusion of members of the English Parliament from the Council. 



February 6 (Monday) The Queen sets sail for the Yorkshire coast again, but is once more driven back to Holland by bad weather. 

February 7 (Tuesday) The Lords agree to Charles' proposal for a cessation of hostilities.

February 8 (Wednesday) The Commons begin a two-day debate on whether to accept the King's conditions for negotiation. In the West, the Cornish Royalists attack Okehampton.

February 9 (Thursday) The Lancashire Puritans occupy Preston.

Early - mid February The Cornish Royalists, pursuing Stamford's army into Devon, are checked in a skirmish at Chagford. In the Midlands, Parliamentary forces under Colonel Hans Behr begin a brief occupation of Stratford-upon-Avon. Lord Brooke is given supreme command of the Warwickshire and Staffordshire Association. In Lancashire, the Roundheads hold Bolton against attacking Cavaliers and secure Lancaster castle. In Ireland, Confederate forces led by Preston take Barre.

February 11 (Saturday) The Commons vote against acceptance of the King's terms, and insist that the armies must be disbanded. In reply, the Lords refuse to pass the Assessment Bill fixing the amount each county is to pay for the war, thus raising the likelihood of a breach between the two houses. The Western Association is formed, to include Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somersetshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire and the City of Bristol; William Waller is given command.

February 12 (Sunday) The Earl of Newcastle leads a party of horse to secure Bridlington, in expectation of the Queen's arrival.

February 16 (Thursday) The Lords propose a revision to the terms of negotiation. There is to be an initial cessation of hostilities, followed by twenty days of negotiation in which Parliament's demand for disbandment, and the King's demand for surrender of the forts and the navy, are to be discussed.

Mid February The Earl of Northampton occupies Stratford-upon-Avon, and begins to fortify the town. Tamworth and Lichfield are also occupied by the King's forces.

February 17 (Friday) The Commons vote in favour of the new terms proposed by the Lords, and agree to open negotiation. In return the Lords are persuaded to pass the Assessment Bill. In Ireland, the Catholic remonstrance is presented to the Royalists at Trim.

February 18 (Saturday) Ormonde takes command of an expeditionary force against the Catholics.

February 20 (Monday) Waller drives off a Royalist force in a skirmish near Gloucester.

February 21 (Tuesday) In the West, the Earl of Stamford's Parliamentarians descend on Hopton's advance guard at Modbury, forcing the Royalists to fall back to Plympton.

Mid-February The Queen again puts to sea from Holland with an escort of Dutch warships under Admiral Van Tromp.. 

February 22 (Wednesday) The Queen lands at Bridlington. In the West Country, the Cornish army falls back towards Tavistock.

February 23 (Thursday) Parliamentary warships, frustrated in their attempt to intercept the Royalist convoy, bombard Bridlington and force the Queen to flee. 

February 24 (Friday) The Ordinance for the Assessment is passed by Parliament, imposing a monthly payment on every county in England. Commissioners are to be appointed to assess the owners of property at their discretion. In the Midlands, Lord Brooke arrives at Warwick with Parliamentary reinforcements.

February 25 (Saturday) Lord Brooke's Parliamentary forces occupy Stratford-upon-Avon.

February 26 (Sunday) The City presents Parliament with a fresh loan of 60,000, secured by money raised by the Assessment Ordinance.

February 27 (Monday) Henderson's Cavaliers hold Newark in the face of an attack by Parliamentarian forces from Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire under the command of Major-General Ballard. 

February 28 (Tuesday) The new peace proposals are ready to be forwarded to Oxford. In the Midlands, Lord Brooke marches from Warwick into Staffordshire. In the West, Stamford and Ruthin agree a local cessation of hostilities with the Royalists. It is to last until 23rd April. 

Late February Captain Hotham arrives at Bridlington to exchange prisoners with the Royalists. His wavering loyalty to Parliament is evident to the Queen. 

March 1 (Wednesday) The King receives the Parliamentary commissioners in Oxford. Parliament's terms include the abolition of episcopacy, the enforcement of penal laws against Catholics, and the punishment of the King's "delinquent" advisors. 

March 2 (Thursday) Lord Brooke's Parliamentary forces commence a bombardment of the Cathedral Close at Lichfield. Brooke is killed by a sniper's bullet. 

March 3 (Friday) Tadcaster falls to Parliament. 

Early March Stamford Bridge falls to Parliament.

March 4 (Saturday) The Royalist garrison at Lichfield surrender to Sir John Gell, who has brought Parliamentary reinforcements from Derbyshire.

March 6 (Monday) The King's reply to the peace commissioners is despatched to Westminster. He complains that Parliament has not granted freedom of trade, demands that ships be placed under the command of Royalist officers, and insists that no one be imprisoned except in accordance with the known laws of the land. To the west, Gloucester prepares for a siege. The city is under threat from Royalist forces under Prince Maurice, and from Lord Herbert's Welsh army now encamped at Highnam only 2 miles from the city. 

March 7 (Tuesday) Parliament, at the suggestion of the City, orders that London should be fortified. Rupert moves against Bristol, but a plot to open the gates is discovered, and the Royalist suspects within the city arrested. The Prince is forced to withdraw. In the North, the Queen arrives at York. The Hothams sit tight at Hull, and make no attempt has been made to intercept the Queen's party during its journey. 

March 10 (Friday) Parliament publishes an intercepted Royal letter, in which the King writes to the Queen stating his only object in continuing the peace negotiation is to "undeceive the people". 

Early-mid March The Lords Justices of Ireland send a report to Charles attempting to dissuade him from dealing with the Catholics. In East Anglia, Oliver Cromwell marches on Lowestoft, capturing a number of Royalists and forcing the town to vote assistance for the Parliamentary forces. Cromwell then marches on disaffected King's Lynn.

March 11 (Saturday) The City demands an association to prosecute the war.

March 12 (Sunday) The King authorises Rupert to appoint a governor for Shrewsbury, and to include Cheshire within his sphere of influence. This confirms Rupert's role as the main Royalist commander in the central field of operations.

March 15 (Wednesday) Sir William Waller enters Bristol with considerable forces to strengthen the defence. He establishes the headquarters of the Western Association in the city. 

March 16 (Thursday) At Oxford, the Royalists hatch a plot to seize London. Sir Nicholas Crisp and other citizens are addressed with a Commission of Array, which is to be retained at Oxford until it can be safely conveyed to London. One of the Parliamentary peace commissioners, Edmund Waller, agrees to complete the political arrangements on his return to London.

March 17 (Friday) In Ireland the King's commissioners open negotiations with the Catholic Assembly at Trim. Their remonstrance and offers of support are despatched to Charles.

March 18 (Saturday) Parliament empowers the peace commissioners in Oxford to make further concessions. In the North, the Earl of Derby takes Lancaster for the Royalists. The town is burnt, but his troops are unable to take the castle, and cannot hold the town for long. In Ireland, Ormonde is unable to take New Ross, but defeats Confederate forces under Thomas Preston at the Battle of Ross. The government forces are soon forced back to Dublin by lack of pay and provisions.



Mid March The King despatches the Earl of Northampton to recover Lichfield. The Scots commissioners, the Earl of Loudoun and Alexander Henderson, arrive at Oxford, bearing their petition for the reform of the Church of England, and offering mediation between the two sides. They are received without courteously. 

March 19 (Sunday) The Battleof Hopton Heath. Sir John Gell marches from Lichfield to affect a link-up with Parliamentary troops from Cheshire under Sir William Brereton. However, the Earl of Northampton's Royalists intercept the two Parliamentary forces close to Stafford before they can unite. The Roundheads are defeated, though Northampton is killed in the action. Gell retreats to Uttoxeter; Brereton back towards Cheshire. In Lancashire, the Earl of Derby re-takes Preston from the Puritans.

March 20 (Monday) At Oxford, the Scots commissioners Loudoun and Henderson have their petition rejected. However, the King assures them that he has no desire to be drawn into another conflict north of the border, so will not encourage a Royalist rising in Scotland. In Yorkshire, Sir Hugh Cholmley, the Parliamentary governor of Scarborough, travels in disguise to York to meet the Queen.

March 21 (Tuesday) Waller pushes the Royalists out of Malmesbury.

March 23 (Thursday) Charles objects to the proposed articles of cessation. In the North, Grantham is stormed by combined Royalist forces under Cavendish and Henderson. In the West, Sir William Waller crosses the Severn estuary on a bridge of boats, and makes a night march through the Forest of Dean to Gloucester. 

March 24 (Friday) Waller, with support from Massey's Gloucester garrison, surprises Lord Herbert's Welsh army in camp at Highnam. The small force of Royalist cavalry escape, but the 1400 Welsh infantry are forced to surrender the next day. This is defeat is regarded as major disaster by the Royalists.

March 25 (Saturday) Sir Hugh Cholmley, Parliament's Governor of Scarborough, offers his allegiance to the Queen. 

Mid-late March In Lancashire, the Earl of Derby sacks Blackburn, terrorizing the Puritan country-side. In Yorkshire, Parliamentary forces are withdrawn from Selby, their position made precarious by the defection of Scarborough. Newcastle despatches Goring to re-take Tadcaster with a cavalry force raised by the local gentry.

March 27 (Monday) Parliament introduces the Sequestration Ordinance under Pym's guidance. This brings into existence the Committee for Sequestration, whose responsibility is to seize the estates of Royalists or other "notorious delinquents". This is Parliament's most important measure to raise war money, and confirms the policy of confiscation partially introduced in 1642.

March 28 (Tuesday) Charles rejects the compromise peace proposals. Pym proposes an excise on all commodities bought and sold, but the motion is not carried by the House.

March 30 (Thursday) The Battle of Seacroft Moor. Lord Goring falls on a Roundhead force under Sir Thomas Fairfax as it is withdrawing from Tadcaster. The Parliamentarians are pursued across the moors and their infantry routed. However, the elder Fairfax is able to withdraw the main body of the Parliamentary army from Selby to Leeds. In London, the Capuchins are expelled from the Queen's chapel at Somerset House.

Late March Charles orders Parliament's two commissioners in Dublin to be expelled without delay. In Lancashire the Parliamentarians take and immediately lose Wigan. The Manchester Puritans fail to take Warrington, and retire within their fortifications. Rupert and Digby leave Oxford for the Midlands with a force of horse and foot.

March 31 (Good Friday) In the governor's absence the garrison of Scarborough reverts to Parliament. The King replaces one of the Lords Justices in Ireland who is not amenable to his policy of placating the Catholics. At Cambridge the Vice Chancellor and other chief personages of the University are imprisoned until midnight for refusing to pay the Parliamentary taxation. 

Early April Cromwell summons 12,000 men from the Eastern Association. Prince Maurice is despatched from Oxford to aid Lord Herbert, threatened by Waller's advance towards Wales. In the North, Sir Hugh Cholmley re-appears at Scarborough and compels the garrison to surrender. In Lancashire, Lord Derby's undisciplined army is defeated and scattered at Whalley Abbey by a Parliamentary force under Ralph Assheton with local help. Lord Derby escapes with difficulty, and makes no further attempts to raise forces for the King, leaving all of Lancashire under the control of Parliament except for Derby's stronghold of Lathom House.

April 2 (Easter Sunday) The Fairfaxes abandon Selby, and throw themselves into Leeds, where they are besieged.

April 3 (Easter Monday) Prince Rupert, en-route to Lichfield, storms Birmingham and captures the unfortified town after a brisk but fierce fight. The Earl of Denbigh is wounded in the fighting, and later dies of his wounds. 

April 4 (Tuesday) The Royalists fire Birmingham before marching on to Walsall, where they take Rushall Hall. In Ireland, Scottish and British settler regiments begin to burn Clandeboy's woods.

April 5 (Wednesday) Waller occupies Monmouth and Chepstow, installing small garrisons to hamper Royalist recruiting in the area.

Early-mid April Waller seizes Wardour Castle from its Catholic owner, and installs the young Puritan Edmund Ludlow.

April 7 (Friday) The King dismisses the Earl of Loudoun, and declares that there is to be no mediation by the Scots.

April 8 (Saturday) Parliament declares that the King's offers are not acceptable. Prince Rupert arrives at Lichfield, to find the cathedral close fortified and stoutly defended by its Parliamentary garrison. The Royalists invest the Close despite possessing inadequate forces and little artillery, and plan to mine the walls. 

April 10 (Monday) Cromwell is at Huntingdon with a few troops of Horse. A body consisting of 5000 of the Eastern Association troops summoned at the start of April march to join Essex at Reading, under the command of Lord Grey of Wark. The rest are to march against Newcastle.

April 11 (Tuesday) Waller slips into Gloucester at the head of his cavalry, after a brief skirmish with pursuing forces under Prince Maurice. In the North, Charles Cavendish, spearheading Newcastle's advance southwards, defeats a Roundhead force under Lord Willoughby and the younger Hotham at Ancaster.

April 12 (Wednesday) Charles, amending his original proposals only slightly, makes a further demand: for the immediate surrender of the ships and forts. This brings the peace negotiations to a close. In the west, Waller and Massey re-take Tewkesbury from the Royalists. 

April 13 (Thursday) Essex advances from Windsor to lay siege to Reading. In the west, Maurice seizes the Severn bridge at Upton, and pushes onto the east bank to inflict a serious defeat on Waller at the battle of Ripple Field. The Royalists then fall back to Evesham.



April 14 (Friday) Parliament refuses to accept the King's proposals as a basis of negotiation; the peace commissioners are recalled from Oxford. Essex summons the garrison of Reading to surrender, but the governor, Sir Arthur Aston, refuses. The Roundheads prepare to besiege the town. Charles writes to summon Rupert back to help relieve the town.

April 15 (Saturday) Parliament recalls the Commissioners. Essex's army sweeps round the southern outskirts of Reading to seize Caversham Bridge, barring the approaches from Oxford. The investment is completed when Lord Grey of Wark arrives with the Eastern Association reinforcements. At Lichfield, Rupert begins the construction of a mine beneath the walls of the Close. In the West, the reorganisation of the Parliamentarian army is complete, and Stamford is ready to begin a new campaign.

April 16 (Sunday) Essex' siege guns open fire on Reading. Prince Rupert begins his assault on Lichfield Close.

Mid April Roundhead batteries commanding the Thames frustrate Royalist attempts to reinforce the Reading garrison by barge.

April 17 (Monday) In London a Catholic missionary priest is hanged and disembowelled at Tyburn. At Reading, Sir Arthur Aston, the Royalist governor, is incapacitated and command devolves onto his deputy, Richard Fielding.

April 20 (Thursday) At Lichfield the Royalists explode a mine under the walls of the Close (the first in England). The breach is defended all day, but when night comes the Roundheads sue for terms. 

April 21 (Friday) The garrison of Lichfield march out with the honours of war and safe passage to Coventry. Rupert, having appointed a governor, immediately rides south to join Charles.

April 22 (Saturday) Cromwell establishes his headquarters at Peterborough, where his troops commit acts of iconoclasm. In the West Country the local truce is due to expire at midnight.

April 23 (Sunday) The King writes to Ormonde in Dublin, authorizing him to treat with the Confederates for a cessation of arms for one year. In private, Ormonde is urged to bring over the Irish army to Chester as soon as peace has been agreed. In the West Country, the Parliamentarian army, led by James Chudleigh, attacks Hopton's position at Beacon Hill outside Launceston. Both armies are reinforced during the course of the day, and the Roundheads are eventually forced to fall back on Okehampton in some disorder.

April 24 (Monday) Charles leaves Oxford with the relief force for Reading; although recognising the impossibility of saving the town they plan to help the garrison escape. The House of Commons appoints a committee with authority to destroy superstitious or idolatrous monuments.

April 25 (Tuesday) At Reading, Richard Fielding agrees to a truce, and begins negotiations for surrender. Meanwhile, Rupert joins Charles' relief force at Wallingford, but the Royalist attempt to relieve Reading by seizing Caversham Bridge fails when Fielding refuses to break the truce with Essex. In the Midlands, Sir William Waller marches on Hereford from Gloucester. In the West, Hopton's Cornish army, attempting a night march against the disordered Roundheads at Okehampton, are ambushed by a small force under Chudleigh and put to flight at the Battle of Sourton Down. Hopton's private papers are captured in the rout, and detail Royalist plans for an advance into Somerset. In East Anglia, Cromwell joins forces with Sir Miles Hobart and Sir Anthony Irby in besieging Crowland. In London, iconoclasts invade Westminster Abbey and St Margaret's.

April 27 (Thursday) The garrison of Reading capitulates to the Earl of Essex. In the Midlands, Hereford surrenders to Waller.

April 28 (Friday) The garrison of Reading march out with the honours of war and safe passage to Oxford, though they are harassed by the Parliamentary troops en-route. In the eastern theatre Crowland surrenders to Cromwell, thus preparing the way for an attack on Newark.

April 29 (Saturday) News of Sourton Down reaches Parliament: the victory is termed the "Western Wonder" by the London pamphleteers. It is assumed that the King's position is now very weak, but on the same day the Houses are warned that Essex's army cannot move for lack of pay.

Late April On the advice of Hamilton, Charles directs six Scottish noblemen to return to Scotland and to stir up opposition to the Marquis of Argyll. The Queen receives a party of Scottish Royalists at York, including Montrose, Lord Aboyne and Lord Ogilvie, who offer to rise in arms in support of the King. This plan has been officially rejected in favour of Hamilton's diplomatic methods. Meanwhile, the Earl of Antrim appears at York, having escaped captivity in Ulster, and offers to make peace in Ireland and raise an army of 20,000 men to march against the Covenanters in Scotland. The Queen authorises him to proceed, and at the same time surreptitiously encourages the Scots Royalists to continue with their projected rising. Montrose refuses to take part in a scheme not approved by the King, and leaves York at odds with the other Royalists (Aboyne etc) and under the Queen's disfavour.

May 1 (Monday) Pym moves that committees of both Houses should be sent to Holland, to acquaint the Dutch with the true state of affairs, and to Scotland, to demand aid. However, the proposals are not immediately acted upon.

May 2 (Tuesday) The Commons order Cromwell, Irby and others to secure Lincolnshire against Newcastle's advance. Essex plans to combine forces from the Eastern Association, Sir John Gell's Nottinghamshire forces, and the Lincolnshire Roundheads. In London Cheapside Cross is pulled down. Charles authorises a City businessman to collect money, in furtherance of the plot to seize the City. 

Early May The Earl of Ormonde's troops mutiny in Dublin,.

May 3 (Wednesday) The Royalists burn the town of Banbury.

May 6 (Saturday) Skirmish at Middleton Cheney. Parliamentary forces marching to avenge the burning of Banbury are ambushed and driven off by the Royalists under the Earl of Northampton.

May 9 (Tuesday) A Parliamentary army under Cromwell, Lord Willoughby and Sir John Hotham concentrates at Sleaford, intending to attack Newark.

Cromwell



May 10 (Wednesday) In Scotland a Convention of Estates is summoned to meet on June 22, under Argyll's influence, to act as a sort of informal parliament. It does not have Royal consent, and is opposed by Hamilton.

May 11 (Thursday) The Parliamentarian army advances to Grantham, there to sit inactive for two days.

May 13 (Saturday) The first Royalist convoy of arms and ammunition from York arrives safely at Woodstock. Fielding, court-martialled for his part in the fall of Reading, is finally spared the death sentence. In Lincolnshire, Lord Cavendish raids Parliamentarian troops at Belton. Cromwell defeats a superior force of Royalists in a skirmish at Grantham, but the Roundhead advance on Newark is abandoned.

May 14 (Sunday) In Ireland, Monro's Scots covenanter troops skirmish with Confederate forces near Loughall, County Armagh. The Scots burn all Catholic property between Armagh and Charlemont.

May 15 (Monday) The first convoy of arms and ammunition from the north arrives at Oxford, bringing the King's army up to par with that of Essex. The Earl of Stamford, having strengthened and reorganised the Parliamentary army in the West Country, crosses once more into Cornwall and establishes himself in a strong position at Stratton. The cavalry are sent to Bodmin to prevent the gathering of the Cornish militia.

May 16 (Tuesday) The Battle of Stratton. Hopton's Cornishmen storm a hill held by the Earl of Stamford and rout the Parliamentarian army. During the battle Sir James Chudleigh is captured and later changes sides. In the Midlands, Brereton's Roundheads take Stafford in a surprise attack.

May 17 (Wednesday) The Commons despatches 15,000 borrowed from the City to enable Essex to pay his troops; however, his army is now beset by disease. In the Midlands, Brereton takes Wolverhampton. 

Mid-May The Cornish, now unopposed, advance throughout Devon, raiding Totnes on market-day to seize horses.

May 18 (Thursday) The Parliamentarian garrison of Hereford abandons the town, and falls back on Gloucester. In Ireland, Newcastle in County Down surrenders to Monro's covenanters after a siege.

May 19 (Friday) A Royalist plot develops. Charles despatches Alexander Hampden as an emissary to Parliament, ostensibly to request a response to his demands of 12 April. At the same time another supporter, Lady d'Aubigny, smuggles the Commission of Array into the City, to be proclaimed as soon as the King sends word of an advance on London. The Tower is then to be secured, and the leading Parliamentarians arrested. In the West, the Marquis of Hertford and Prince Maurice march from Oxford to occupy Salisbury. Their aim is to affect a juncture with the advancing Cornish forces of Sir Ralph Hopton.

May 20 (Saturday) Sir Thomas Fairfax attempts to seize Wakefield with troops from the Puritan cloth-making villages of the West Riding in a surprise night attack. The defenders are alerted and the attempt fails. In the Midlands, the Royalists re-occupy Hereford. In Ireland, the second Confederate General Assembly opens, and meets until 19 June.

May 21 (Whit Sunday) Wakefield falls to Fairfax's Parliamentary forces who infiltrate the town. The Royalist commander, Lord Goring, is taken prisoner. Having achieved their immediate aims, the Fairfaxes fall back separately on Leeds and Bradford. Newcastle establishes Royalist forces at Pontefract, occupies Rotherham and Sheffield, and pillages the West Riding.

May 22 (Tuesday) The royal plot: with their suspicions aroused, the Commons order the King's emissary Alexander Hampden to be detained in custody.

May 23 (Wednesday) The House of Commons refuse Charles' demands of 12 April, and pass a motion demanding the impeachment of the Queen.

May 26 (Friday) The county of Huntingdon is added to the Eastern Association. 

May 28 (Sunday) The royal plot: a spy is set by the Committee of Safety to find evidence. In the West, Waller leads Parliamentary forces from Gloucester in a night march on Worcester.

May 29 (Monday) Worcester refuses the Parliamentarian summons to Surrender, and Waller opens a bombardment.

Flags from GMB

 

May 31 (Wednesday) The royal plot: Parliament orders the arrest of Edmund Waller and other suspect conspirators on the evidence provided by the spy. The King's Commission of Array is found hidden. The discovery of the plot, at a time when Charles is ostensibly offering to entreat, effectively ends any chance of a negotiated peace, and Charles is now generally regarded as conspirator against the peace and safety of the nation. In the Midlands, Waller abandons the attack on Worcester, and falls back on Gloucester, withdrawing the Parliamentary garrison from Tewkesbury en-route.

End May The Earl of Antrim is captured whilst returning to Ireland from his visit to the Queen at York. Sir Robert Monro, commander of the Scots Covenanter army in Ireland, learns of the plan to encourage an armed rising in Scotland, and proposed invasion by Irish Catholic troops. 

Early June Montrose spends three days in Aberdeen with Huntly (whose son, Aboyne, had participated in the discussions at York), unsuccessfully trying to persuade him to take part in a Royalist rising. After this second failure, Montrose withdraws in anger.

June 2 (Friday) A Parliamentary army 6,000 strong is gathered at Nottingham under Lords Grey of Groby and Willoughby of Parham, Cromwell, Gell, the younger Hotham and others, intending to march against Newcastle in Yorkshire. They lose heart, however, and claim that the expedition is made unnecessary by Newcastle's weakness.

June 4 (Sunday) The Queen departs from York on her march to join the King at Oxford. She brings with her 4500 reinforcements. In the West Country, Hopton's Cornish army unites with the forces of the Marquis of Hertford and Prince Maurice at Chard. 

Early-mid June Waller, failing to prevent the union of Hertford and Hopton, establishes himself at Wells and tries to raise the Somerset men in his support. Taunton surrenders to the Royalists. The garrison of Bridgewater flees from the Royalists, whilst the garrison of Dunster Castle surrenders. At Glastonbury, the remnants of Stamford's cavalry are driven off in a skirmish.

June 5 (Monday) News reaches the Commons of Charles' activities in Ireland, the supercession of the late Lord Justice, and the despatch of Lord Taffe to communicate with the Irish Confederates at Kilkenny. This news finally ends any serious opposition to Pym and the war party. At Oxford, Hamilton dissuades Charles from prohibiting the meeting of the Scots Convention of Estates.

June 6 (Tuesday) Pym presents his report on the royal plot to the Commons, which in response accepts the imposition of a vow of support for Parliament (the covenant). At the same time the Lords pass an ordinance for an Assembly of Divines, to consider the reform of the Church of England in accordance with the examples set by other Protestant countries.

June 7 (Wednesday) Parliament passes an ordinance authorising a body of censors, without whose license nothing is to be published. 

June 9 (Friday) The sixteen peers present in the House of Lords take the new vow of support for Parliament (the covenant), after which it is sent forth to the country as a test of loyalty. In Scotland, the Scottish Council, alerted by Antrim's revelations and suspicious of Montrose's activities in Aberdeen, announce the detection of the Royalist plot.

Mid June Waller retreats from Wells in the face of the Royalist advance.

June 10 (Saturday) The Earl of Essex, his army hampered by sickness and lack of pay, leaves Reading to march on Oxford. He occupies Thame in an attempt to shield Buckinghamshire from plunder and to prevent the Queen's convoy from arriving at Oxford. In the West, Sir William Waller has now fallen back to Bath though his rearguard is caught by Prince Maurice and the cavalry in a running fight at Chewton Mendip.

June 12 (Monday) Parliament passes the ordinance to set up the Westminster Assembly to discuss reform of the Church of England. Meanwhile, the conspirator Edmund Waller fails in an attempt to implicate Northumberland and others in the Royal plot. 

June 13 (Tuesday) Essex, reinforced, occupies Wheatley, near a Royalist post on Shotover Hill. In Ireland, Sir Robert Stewart defeats Confederate forces under Owen Roe O'Neill at Clones, county Monaghan.

June 14 (Wednesday) Parliament passes an ordinance to impose more stringent licensing of the press. This is to control the pamphleteers, but has little real effect.

June 15 (Thursday) The City of London observes a day of official thanksgiving for deliverance from the recent Royalist plot. The Parliamentary covenant of support is freely taken in the City.

Prince Rupert



June 16 (Friday) The Queen arrives at Newark, where she will remain until 3 July whilst the route across the Midlands to Oxford is secured. 

June 17 (Saturday) A detachment of Essex's Army fails in an attempt to cross the Cherwell at Islip. Rupert launches a raid through the Parliamentarian army, aiming to disrupt Essex's advance and intercept a convoy of money sent from London. 

June 18 (Sunday) Rupert falls on outposts of the Parliamentary army at Postcombe and Chinnor, but the convoy of money is successfully concealed from him. He falls back to Oxford, turning on his pursuers and defeating them at Chalgrove Field. John Hampden is mortally wounded in the fight. Essex, his forces in some disorder, abandons the attempt to blockade Oxford. In the North, Captain Hotham is arrested at Nottingham on suspicion of plotting with the Royalists. However, he manages to escape to Lincoln.

June 19 (Monday) In Ireland, the second Confederate General Assembly closes.

June 20 (Tuesday) In response to the Parliamentary covenant or vow of support, the King issues a proclamation making all who abet it liable to the penalty of high treason (a penalty to be waived for any presenting themselves at Oxford - with certain exceptions). From this point the King regards the Houses of Parliament at Westminster as officially non-existent. In Ireland, the Castle of Galway, under siege since April 1642, capitulates to the army of the Irish Confederates. 

Mid-late June In Ireland, Sir Charles Vasavour is defeated in Munster.

June 21 (Wednesday) In Ireland, Ormonde tells the Lords Justices that he is willing to break off negotiations with the Irish Confederates if they can find any possible way of maintaining the troops. 

June 22 (Thursday) Newcastle, aiming to clear the last remnants of Roundhead resistance in the West Riding, storms Howley House, the residence of Lord Savile. In Scotland, the first session of the Convention of Estate begins, under the guidance of Chancellor Loudoun. Alexander Henderson offers to give the King's approval for discussion of domestic legislation if they consent to abstain from military preparations. In Ireland, an attempt by the Lords Justices to draw money or supplies from the impoverished citizens of Dublin ends in complete failure. 

June 24 (Saturday) John Hampden dies from wounds inflicted at Chalgrove Field. In the North, Captain Hotham writes to the Commons from Lincoln to protest his innocence. In Ireland, Ormonde begins truce negotiations with the Confederates, having at least the tacit consent of the government in Dublin.

June 25 (Sunday) A Royalist detachment under Colonel Urry strikes around the rear of the Parliamentary army and across the Chilterns to raid West Wycombe; the raid causes great alarm in London, where the Trained Bands stand to arms all night.

June 26 (Monday) The Commons looks to find Essex a scapegoat for the Royalist raid: Pym sends him a letter of remonstrance, and bids Essex tender the new covenant to his army. In Scotland, the Scots Estates declare themselves a free Convention; they are alarmed at the Royalist successes, and suspicious of the King's plans to raise an Irish army.

Late June Captain Hotham leaves Lincoln to join his father at Hull.

June 27 (Tuesday) The Queen, still at Newark, hopes to encourage the Hothams to betray Hull. The House of Commons is horrified to receive advance news of the Royalist plot in Scotland, as learned from Antrim after his capture. Pym persuades the Lords to join with the Commons to send a deputation of both Houses to Edinburgh to negotiate a closer understanding with the Scots.

June 28 (Wednesday) Essex, weakened by desertions and short of money, threatens resignation. Pym restrains the condemnation of the Commons and placates him. In the north, the Mayor of Hull receives information of a plot by the Hothams' to betray the town to the Royalists. Meanwhile, the Scots Convention determines to communicate the details of the plot for a Royalist rising in Scotland to London.

June 29 (Thursday) The plot to betray Hull to the royalists is foiled. A naval party from the warship Hercules secures the town and magazines, and Captain John Hotham is arrested. The elder Hotham affects an escape but is recaptured and returned as a prisoner after a fall from his horse at Beverley. Meanwhile, the Earl of Newcastle advances on Bradford. In London, the Committee of Safety spares Lady D'Aubigny and another held responsible for smuggling the Commission of Array into the City.

Thomas Fairfax

 

June 30 (Friday) Newcastle's army advances on Bradford. At Adwalton Moor, outside the town, the Parliamentarian forces under Lord Fairfax are routed in a hard-fought battle. The Roundheads are forced to retreat in separate directions: the elder Fairfax to Bradford, and Sir Thomas, with some of the cavalry, to Halifax. Sir Thomas rejoins his father in Bradford before nightfall, where they are almost immediately besieged by Newcastle. However, they then receive news of events at Hull, which they had previously thought to be lost to Parliament. In London, the trial opens of Alexander Hampden and five other conspirators in the royal plot to seize the City.

End June In Scotland, Alexander Henderson tries to persuade Montrose to join the Covenanting army that is to be raised to quell the Irish (and possibly invade England); Montrose refuses, and rides to join the King. In the Midlands, Parliamentary forces from Stafford and Cheshire invest Eccleshall Castle.

July 1 (Saturday) The Westminster Assembly. The Assembly of Divines meets to consider reform of the Church of England along Presbyterian lines. It sits until 1649. In the Centre, Rupert moves to Buckingham, to shield the advance of the Queen's convoy from Newark. In the North, the Royalists begin to assault Bradford. The Fairfaxes resolve to abandon the West Riding. Lord Fairfax leaves for Leeds immediately, gathering the remnants of Roundhead support en-route. Sir Thomas Fairfax breaks out of the town during the night and rides for Hull. 

July 2 (Sunday) The King consents to discuss proposals for a free Irish parliament with Confederate agents, on the understanding that they will agree to a cessation. This is against the wishes of members of the Privy Council in Dublin. In the Midlands, moves to secure the Queen's route to Oxford continue: Rupert skirmishes with and disperses Parliamentary troops concentrating outside Buckingham, and Lord Cavendish storms Burton-on-Trent. However, a Royalist plot to seize Lincoln is foiled. In the North Bradford falls to the Earl of Newcastle. The Royalists, hot in pursuit of Sir Thomas Fairfax, foil his plan to cross the Ouse at Selby, forcing him south onto the Lincolnshire shore of the Humber estuary. In the West Country, Hopton crosses the Avon and turns northwest to cut Waller's communications with London.

July 3 (Monday) The Earl of Essex establishes himself at Aylesbury, having abandoned his advance post at Thame. The Queen leaves Newark to continue her march to Oxford. In the North Sir Thomas Fairfax takes his cavalry across the estuary into Hull, where his father is already established as governor. Sir Thomas' infantry are left on the Lincolnshire shore. With the exception of Hull, all Yorkshire is now in Newcastle's hands. In the West, Waller's attempts to ambush the Royalists at Monkton Farleigh fail. The Royalists attempt to swing round to the north of Bath but halt for the night at Batheaston.



July 4 (Tuesday) Waller occupies Lansdown ridge, north of Bath, whilst Hopton attempts to draw him out by moving further north to Marshfield. Edmund Waller is called to the bar at the House to explain why he should not be court-martialled for his part in the Royalist plot; he is spared a trial but expelled from the House, and forced to remain in prison (without trial) for many months.

July 5 (Wednesday) Battle of Lansdown. Drawn into an engagement, the Royalists force their way into Waller's positions on Lansdown Hill, suffering heavy losses in the process, including the death of Sir Bevil Grenville. During the night the Parliamentarians fall back on Bath, leaving the exhausted Royalists in possession of the battlefield. In London, two of the conspirators in the Royalist plot are executed.

July 6 (Thursday) In the aftermath of the battle of Lansdown, the explosion of a powder wagon seriously wounds Hopton; the Royalists fall back to Marshfield.

July 7 (Friday) Waller, having made good his losses at Lansdown with reinforcements from Bristol, marches out again against the Royalist Army, which is making its way to Devizes.

July 8 (Saturday) Failing to bring Rupert to battle, Essex falls back on Brickhill, to secure his communications.

July 9 (Sunday) The Queen's convoy marches from Daventry to Burton-on-Trent, where the town is stormed and sacked by her escort. In the West, Waller's advance guard falls on the Royalists three miles outside Devizes. Maurice's cavalry fight a rearguard action, allowing the Royalist infantry fall back into the town. During the night, Maurice, the Marquis of Hertford, and the Earl of Carnarvon, ride to Oxford with the cavalry to obtain help. An ammunition convoy, under the command of the Earl of Crawford, has already been despatched from Oxford to the Western Army. Meanwhile a frustrated Essex writes to the Commons suggesting that they once again offer peace terms. This polarises politics in London, encouraging the peace party in the House of Lords, and provoking the extreme war party in the commons, led by Harry Marten. 

July 10 (Monday) Waller occupies Roundway Down above the town of Devizes, at the same time intercepting the Earl of Crawford's Royalist ammunition convoy between Marlborough and Devizes. The Queen continues her progress towards Oxford, marching from Walsall to Kings Norton.

July 11 (Tuesday) The Queen arrives at Stratford-upon-Avon, where she is met by Prince Rupert. In the West, Waller opens the siege of Hopton in Devizes. Maurice arrives in Oxford looking for reinforcements for Hopton, but finds it fairly empty of troops. However, a relief expedition is quickly put together and despatched late the same day under the command of Henry, Lord Wilmot and Sir John Byron. In London, the House of Commons refuses to re-open negotiations with the King, and despatches reinforcements to Essex.

July 12 (Wednesday) Truce at Devizes whilst terms of surrender are negotiated.

July 13 (Thursday) Battle of Roundway Down. Waller's besieging forces are destroyed on the downs above Devizes when they are caught between Wilmot, Byron and Maurice' Royalist relief force, and the Cornish infantry advancing out of Devizes. The remnants of Waller's army fall back towards Bristol. Elsewhere, the Queen is reunited with the King at Kineton, on the battlefield of Edgehill.

Mid July In Ireland, Papal agent Pier Francesco Scarampi arrives at the Confederate capital, Kilkenny. Ormonde, having found the Supreme Council of the Confederates less yielding to diplomacy then he hoped, resolves to resort to arms once more. Ormonde launches a campaign against the Irish leader Preston, but is unable to bring him to battle, and is forced by lack of provisions to return to Dublin. He is forced to renew negotiations. Owen Roe O'Neill defeats the English forces at Trim. In the north, Monro lead an expedition to Dungannon.

July 14 (Friday) The King and Queen, accompanied by Prince Rupert, enter Oxford in triumph. In the West Country, the Royalists occupy Bath; Waller falls back to Bristol and then takes refuge in Gloucester. In the Eastern theatre, Cromwell storms Burghley House to complete the clearance of Royalists from Stamford and its neighbourhood. Parliament passes the "Doubling Ordinance", promising land to all who double previous loans to help secure victory in Ireland.

July 17 (Monday) The King issues a proclamation ordering naval officers and seamen to carry their ships into Falmouth, where they form the core of a new Royal Navy under the command of Sir John Pennington.

July 18 (Tuesday) The Excise Ordinance is again proposed in Parliament. In Kent, a Royalist rising begins and continues for a week, threatening the Thames estuary and the port of London. Armed crowds seize Parliamentarian property in Tonbridge and Sevenoaks; mobs are raised to oppose taxation and religious changes but are more interested in plunder than political gain. Prince Rupert marches on Gloucester from Oxford, aiming to capitalize on the defeat of Waller's army in the west. 

July 19 (Wednesday) The Parliamentary commissioners (including the Earl of Rutland and Sir Henry Vane the younger) are given orders to go to Scotland to discuss an alliance and the intervention of a Scots Army on the side of Parliament.

July 20 (Thursday) Lord Willoughby of Parham surprises and captures Gainsborough for Parliament; Newcastle, made Marquis for his victory at Adwalton Moor, despatches Sir Charles Cavendish to re-take it. 

July 21 (Friday) Rupert abandons plans to besiege Gloucester on learning that Waller and the survivors of Roundway Down are inside. Instead, he swings south, towards Bristol.

July 22 (Saturday) Parliament issues Pym's Excise Ordinance, imposing a purchase tax on various items, to establish the finances on a sounder footing. 7000 additional horse are to be raised immediately. Lord Fairfax is confirmed as governor of Hull. 

July 23 (Sunday) Troops from London suppress the Royalist rising in Kent. Rupert joins the Western Army two miles from Bristol: before the end of the day he has taken an advance party of his troops into position north of the town, whilst Maurice and the Western Army begin to erect batteries to the south. 

July 24 (Monday) Rupert summons Bristol: Colonel Nathaniel Fiennes, the governor, declines to capitulate, and the Royalist guns begin a day-long cannonade.

July 25 (Tuesday) A Royalist council of war determines to storm Bristol, rather than engage in a prolonged siege or mining operation. Waller arrives back in London, to receive a hero's welcome. His defeat at Roundway Down is imputed to Essex's inactivity.

July 26 (Wednesday) Early morning: the Royalists begin the storm of Bristol. The attacks to the south and north are repulsed, but Rupert's troops are able to force a breach in the outer defences to the west. After a further struggle the defenders send out for a parley, and ask for terms of surrender. Parliament gives directions to Sir John Meldrum in Nottingham and Cromwell in East Anglia to go to the aid of Lord Willoughby, besieged in Gainsborough by the Royalists. 

July 27 (Thursday) The defenders of Bristol march out with the honours of war but are taunted and plundered by the victors. The owners and masters of eight merchant ships in the harbour agree to serve the King, thus forming the nucleus of a Royalist fleet on the Severn. In the Eastern theatre Cromwell hurries northwards, leaving his infantry behind him, to join Meldrum and the Lincolnshire Roundheads at Scarle, ten miles from Gainsborough. In London, Waller is received enthusiastically at Merchant Taylors' Hall and acclaimed by the extreme war party as the saviour of Parliament. 

LateJuly The King issues a general declaration of his devotion to the Protestant religion and the liberties of his subjects, and offers a pardon to all who had been misled by his enemies. The King writes to Ormonde, commanding him to arrest four of his fellow councillors in Dublin, Sir William Parsons, Sir John Temple and two others, to ensure the loyalty of the Dublin government, and allow a peace treaty to be negotiated with the Irish Confederates. A proposal for a formal alliance reaches Westminster from Edinburgh.



July 28 (Friday) Essex addresses Parliament, describing the poor condition of his army, its size drastically reduced by sickness. In the Eastern theatre Meldrum and Cromwell fight Sir Charles Cavendish at Gainsborough; the Royalists are swept from the field, Cavendish killed, and the town relieved. However, the victorious Parliamentarians are soon after faced with the main body of the Marquis of Newcastle's army, on its way to besiege Gainsborough. Willoughby falls back on the town, whilst Cromwell conducts the retreat of the Eastern Association horse to Lincoln. In Scotland, the Scots Convention orders the raising of the "Levied Regiment" of foot and three troops of horse.

July 29 (Saturday) Parliament votes command of new forces raised by the City to be given to Waller, and that he is to be independent of the control of the Earl of Essex. The new army is to oppose the Royalist army of the West under the Earl of Caernarvon and Prince Maurice. This appointment riles the Earl of Essex, who sees this as a snub to his role as commander-in-chief. The Parliamentary command is split and demoralized. Meanwhile, news arrives from Gloucester that the state of the town is "very ill". In the Eastern theatre, Gainsborough is summoned to surrender by the Marquis of Newcastle.

July 31 (Monday) Lord Willoughby surrenders Gainsborough to the Royalists. The defenders march out with terms and fall back to Lincoln. 

Early August The Cornish troops begin their return march to Cornwall from Bristol. In the Eastern theatre, Willoughby is forced to abandon Lincoln and retire to Boston. A Royalist newsletter announces that Sir john Pennington is ready to go to sea with the Royalist fleet. In Ireland, Ormonde has Sir William Parsons and other Parliamentary sympathisers removed from the Council board in Dublin, in order to smooth the way for a truce with the Irish rebels. In the north, Scots and British forces besiege Charlemont, and raid Irish territory.

August 1 (Tuesday) The King enters Bristol, to the popular acclaim of the citizens. 

August 2 (Wednesday) Parliament appoints a Council of War at the instigation of John Pym, to replace the slow and difficult Committee of Safety. The Council comprises a small group of members of Parliament together with merchants and soldiers to offer practical advice. They grant all Essex' demands for reinforcements and pay, and confirm his position as Commander-in-chief. Meanwhile, Essex is redeploying part of his army to the north-east of Oxford. In Gloucestershire the local Royalist forces call upon the city of Gloucester to surrender.

August 3 (Thursday) The peace party of the House of Lords, who hope to win support for what is basically a capitulation, make approaches to Essex. Their proposals are rejected, and the Earl re-confirms his support for Pym and the existing policy. At Bristol, the King presides over a council of war at which a decision is made to march on Gloucester.

August 4 (Friday) The peace party gain the assent of the House of Lords, and demand that the proposals are laid before the Commons. In the west, Dorchester, deserted by its puritan fathers after the fall of Bristol, surrenders to the Earl of Caernarvon, to remain in Royalist hands until the Summer of 1644.

Early-mid August The Parliamentarian army under Sir Walter Erle abandons its siege of Corfe Castle and shuts itself up in Poole. Surrender of Weymouth and then Melcombe to the Royalists under Lord Caernarvon. 

August 5 (Saturday) The Commons resolve to take the Lords' peace proposition into consideration. In the West, a Committee for Defence is set up at Gloucester. Portland Castle is surrendered to the Royalists under Lord Caernarvon.

August 6 (Sunday) The City of London is roused in opposition to the peace propositions. At Gloucester, the Royalist army sets up its first camp to the east of the city.

August 7 (Monday) Parliament's commissioners arrive at Edinburgh. In London, the Common Council presents a petition urging the rejection of the Lords' proposals. A mob demanding peace appears at Westminster, but after renewed consideration, the House of Commons finally rejects the peace proposals. The three peers behind the peace proposals, the Earls of Holland, Bedford, and Clare, flee to Oxford. The Earl of Essex commissions Waller to command the new forces raised by the City. 

August 8 (Tuesday) In the Scots Assembly, negotiations are opened with Vane and the Parliamentary Commissioners. The formula for the Solemn League and Covenant is laid down. In the West, the King's army reaches Berkeley in its advance on Gloucester. 

August 9 (Wednesday) At Westminster, a violent mob of women appear for the second day, demanding peace; soldiers open fire, and cavalry are called upon to disperse them. The Commons resolves to raise more troops for the Eastern Association, and calls upon the divines to rouse the people of the counties in their own defence.

August 10 (Thursday) The King's army, under the command of Lord Ruthven (Earl of Forth), complete the encirclement of Gloucester. The King appears before the city and summons the garrison, who are thought to be willing to surrender. The summons is brusquely rejected. The Earl of Essex is instructed to appoint the Edward Montagu, Earl of Manchester, as Major-General of the Eastern Association, with orders to block any advance on London by the Northern Royalists under the Marquis of Newcastle. 

August 12 (Saturday) The Royalists establish a redoubt opposite the East Gate at Gloucester.

August 14 (Monday) At Gloucester the bombardment makes a breach in the south-east corner of the defences, but the defenders quickly shore it up. Royalist attempts to mine the walls are rendered useless by a sudden downpour. 

Mid August Prince Maurice lays siege to Exeter. An attempt to relieve the city by sea is driven off by the Royalist batteries ashore, leaving three ships on fire and three captured in the narrow channel. King's Lynn, under the command of Sir Hamon Lestrange, declares for the King after having refused to pay Parliaments tax assessment. The Earl of Manchester's Eastern Association forces besiege it.

August 16 (Wednesday) At Westminster, a direct attack on the monarchy leads to the imprisonment of Marten. The King returns to Oxford to discuss the situation in Scotland with his advisors. Whilst there, he debates whether he should accepts the submission of the three renegade peers, Holland, Bedford, and Clare. At Gloucester, the Royalists extend their entrenchments within musket shot of the walls. 

August 17 (Thursday) The Solemn League and Covenant is agreed between Parliament and Scotland. The formula ratified by the Scots Convention of Estates, after intense negotiation by Argyll and Vane; the covenanters insist on the establishment of Presbyterianism in England. The Estates order the levy of a general taxation to pay for an army. 

August 18 (Friday) The Scots Convention orders all fencible (able-bodied) men to stand ready for service at twenty-four hours warning. The text of the Covenant is despatched to Westminster. Charles returns to Gloucester followed by Holland, Bedford and Clare. At Rupert's urging, he reluctantly accepts their submission. Meanwhile, the Royalist forces complete a bridge of boats to link their forces on both sides of the Severn, and redouble their bombardment of the city. In London a compulsory loan equivalent to fifty times the current subsidy rate is forced on rated inhabitants to raise money for the relief of Gloucester.

August 19 (Saturday) The furious bombardment of Gloucester continues.

August 21 (Monday) Parliament has now raised three new auxiliary regiments to add to the three existing regiments of the London Trained Bands. A major sally by the defenders of Gloucester has only limited success.

August 22 (Tuesday) In Scotland the government begin to nominate commanders for the new army; the Earl of Leven is appointed as commander-in-chief.

Mid-late August Montrose arrives in the King's camp, to report on the Covenanters arming to ally with Parliament. Charles still follows Hamilton's advice; Montrose is dismissed, and Hamilton made a duke.

August 24 (Thursday) The Earl of Essex's relief force musters at Hounslow. The Royalists offer Massey a further chance to surrender Gloucester. 

August 26 (Saturday) Essex sets out from Colnbrook to begin the march to the relief of Gloucester. The Royalists begin to plan a direct assault on the city. The Scots Convention of Estates adjourns itself, leaving a committee to govern Scotland. A copy of the Solemn League and Covenant reaches Westminster, and is forwarded from the House of Commons to the Assembly of Divines.

August 28 (Monday) At Gloucester the defenders become aware of a Royalist mine under the East Gate of the city, and begin a counter-mine. In the West Country, a Parliamentary defeat at Torrington leaves Barnstaple exposed, and the townsmen surrender it to Sir John Digby.

August 29 (Tuesday) During the night, rumours of the approach of the relief force reach Gloucester. 

August 30 (Wednesday) In the Midlands, Eccleshall Castle falls to Parliamentary forces from Stafford and Cheshire, under Brereton.

August 31 (Thursday) Bideford surrenders to the Royalists under Sir John Digby.

End August The Marquis of Newcastle rejects the idea of marching on London with the Royalist army of the north, and instead moves on Lord Fairfax in Hull. The Parliamentarians are driven from Beverley. In the Midlands, Parliamentary forces occupy and garrison Wem in Shropshire, to raid surrounding Royalist areas. The Earl of Warwick sends vice-admiral Batten to London to press Parliament to provide additional ships, hasten out the winter guard, and send pay and supplies to the fleet.



September 1 (Friday) The five London regiments loaned for the Gloucester relief expedition rendezvous with Essex and the main body at Baynards Green near Brackley. Wilmot harasses them with a large force of Royalist cavalry. 

September 2 (Saturday) The Marquis of Newcastle lays siege to Hull, his army equipped with two large siege cannon known as "the queen's pocket pistols". 

September 3 (Sunday) The Royalists plan to assault the East Gate of Gloucester, and are constructing siege engines (these siege engines later give rise the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty). Wilmot continues to skirmish with Essex' relief force, but is unable to prevent its continued march towards Hook Norton.

September 4 (Monday) Aware of the approach of Essex' relief force, Rupert's cavalry withdraw from Gloucester and face the Parliamentary army below Stow-on-the-Wold. They attempt to cut off the London Trained Bands near Chipping Norton, but are unable to prevent the Parliamentary columns reuniting again at Stow-on-the-Wold. In the West, Exeter surrenders to Prince Maurice.

September 5 (Tuesday) The Earl of Essex' relief force reaches Cheltenham, within striking distance of Gloucester. The King's army raises the siege and draws off into the night. In East Anglia, Manchester despatches his cavalry, under Cromwell, to encourage Lord Willoughby to hold out in Boston and the Fens.

September 7 (Thursday) Charles' army takes up quarters at Sudeley Castle to block Essex's route back to London. The Solemn League and Covenant, amended by the Assembly of Divines and the House of Commons to modify the clause about the establishment of the Presbyterian Church in England, is sent to the Lords. Scots Commissioners arrive at Westminster to forward the alliance. Negotiation of the final amendments proceeds.

September 8 (Friday) The Parliamentary relief force enters Gloucester in triumph. 

September 10 (Sunday) Essex marches north to Tewkesbury, where he appeals to Parliament to send supplies and munitions to the urgent relief of Gloucester.

Mid September The King denounces the Covenant and forbids his subjects to sign it. A Parliamentary fleet of twenty-two ships arrives off Plymouth, blockaded by Sir John Pennington and the Cornish Royalists. The fleet is able to keep the town supplied, bring in reinforcements, and prevent an assault from across the estuary.

September 15 (Friday) The Cessation in Ireland: the Marquis of Ormonde signs a twelve month truce with the Irish Confederates in the King's name. Sir Robert Monro's Scots in the north are left to make their own peace; or face the undivided attentions of the Confederation forces. In the Midlands, Essex moves from Tewkesbury: at first making a feint towards Worcester, then at dusk strikes unexpectedly southwards, marching through the night.

September 16 (Saturday) Essex reaches Cirencester before daybreak, surprising and capturing the Royalists garrison, and cutting off a convoy of provisions heading for Oxford. The Parliamentary army then marches for the London Road by way of Cricklade. Rupert, seeking permission to set off in pursuit of Essex, concentrates the Royalist horse on Broadway Down. In the Eastern theatre, King's Lynn surrenders to the Earl of Manchester, releasing the Eastern Association troops for service further north. In Scotland, the first of the new levies meet on Leith Links. In Ireland, Monro's Scots/British raids on Irish territory in the north, and the siege of Charlemont come to an end.

September 17 (Sunday) The Royalist army sets off in pursuit of Essex, following a parallel course to the east. Rupert races ahead with the cavalry, arriving at Stamford in the Vale, hoping to cut off the Parliamentary army. The Royalist infantry, following more slowly, spend the night at Alvescot, ten miles to the north-east of Essex' positions at Swindon. The Parliamentarians are dispirited by the weather, and slowed by plunder.

September 18 (Monday) Essex marches from Swindon for Newbury, but is checked by Rupert at Aldbourne Chase. The Parliamentary army is forced south to Hungerford, so that they end the day still nine miles short of their goal. Meanwhile, the King with the Royalist main body reaches Wantage. In the Eastern theatre, Cromwell appears at Barton, on the Lincolnshire side of the Humber opposite Hull.

September 19 (Tuesday) After a day of slow advance, the advance elements of the Parliamentary army arrive at Newbury only to be driven out by Rupert's cavalry; the King's army have won the race and now block the road to London.

September 20 (Wednesday) First battle of Newbury. The Royalist army makes day-long attacks on the Parliamentary forces, but is unable to force them from their positions. Amongst the Royalist casualties are Lord Falkland (the King's Secretary of State), Lord Caernarvon, and the Earl of Sunderland. Parliament adds Lincolnshire to the Eastern Association by ordinance. In the Eastern theatre, Willoughby and Cromwell cross the Humber and enter besieged Hull to confer with the defenders: it is decided to evacuate twenty-five troops of Sir Thomas Fairfax's horse to Lincolnshire. In the North, Scots covenanter troops occupy Berwick.

September 21 (Thursday) The King, with his army hampered by lack of ammunition, decides to discontinue the battle and withdraw into the town of Newbury under cover of night. In the morning, after waiting for a renewal of the fighting, Essex marches for London. Rupert's cavalry harass the Parliamentarians between Aldermaston and Padworth. Parliament seizes the revenues of the King, the Queen and the Prince (where practicable).

September 22 (Friday) Essex enters Reading. The King throws a garrison into Donnington Castle and retires to Oxford. Cromwell enters Hull with supplies of muskets and powder.

September 23 (Saturday) Lord Willoughby visits the besieged garrison of Hull. Essex evacuates the garrison of Reading and resumes his march to London.

September 24 (Sunday) In Lancashire, the Royalists lay siege to Manchester.

September 25 (Monday) At Westminster, the Solemn League and Covenant is signed by members of the House of Commons and the Assembly of Divines, with the Commissioners from Scotland. The Earl of Essex and reaches London.

September 26 (Tuesday) Essex receives the thanks of both Houses. In the North, Sir Thomas Fairfax, with the remainder of his cavalry, crosses from Hull to Lincolnshire to join up with the forces of Willoughby and Cromwell.

September 28 (Thursday) The London Trained Bands march in triumph through the City.

September 29 (Friday) The Royalists hold a Council of War at Oxford. Hopton is appointed to command a new army, which is to clear Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire and advance on London from the south-east.

Early October The French send an ambassador, Harcourt, to London: his aim is to mediate peace. The populace warmly greets him, but Parliament refuses him an audience, as he will not recognise them as the Parliament of England. The English priest accompanying him is arrested.

October 2 (Monday) Cromwell arrives at King's Lynn to confer with Earl of Manchester about the poor state of affairs in Lincolnshire. He is promised assistance. In Lancashire, the siege of Manchester is raised.

October 3 (Tuesday) The Royalists occupy Reading.

October 5 (Thursday) Reinforcements of 500 infantry from Manchester's army arrive in Hull.

October 6 (Friday) Money is subscribed to enable Parliament to fulfil its obligations to pay the Scots the required 100,000 before their army will cross the Tweed. A Royalist force under Sir Lewis Dyve seizes Newport Pagnell, threatening communications between London and the Eastern Association counties. In the West, Dartmouth surrenders to Prince Maurice. The Royalists are able to seize forty ships in the harbour, a considerable addition to their fleet. Maurice moves on to join the Royalist besiegers at Plymouth.

October 7 (Saturday) Waller agrees to recognise the authority of the Earl of Essex, and is tasked with raising an army for the Western theatre.

October 9 (Monday) A Royalist assault on one of the forts defending Hull is repulsed. Meanwhile, the Eastern Association army marches from Boston under the command of the Earl of Manchester, Oliver Cromwell and Sir Thomas Fairfax, to begin the reconquest of Lincolnshire. They reach Bolingbroke, where the Royalist garrison refuse their summons to surrender. Sir William Widdrington, and Sir John Henderson (governor of Newark) put together a scratch force to march to the relief of the castle.

October 10 (Tuesday) The Parliamentarians open the siege of Bolingbroke castle. A Royalist relief force from Newark under Sir John Henderson approaches, and drives in a screen of Sir Thomas Fairfax's horse.

October 11 (Wednesday) Battle of Winceby. The Earl of Manchester routs Sir John Henderson's Royalist cavalry force operating out of Newark. Cromwell and Fairfax co-operate successfully for the first time. Meanwhile, at Hull, the Royalist siege is lifted; a high tide floods the siege works, and a sally by Lord Fairfax and Sir John Meldrum with forces including a naval landing party, captures one of the Royalist forts.

October 12 (Thursday) The Marquis of Newcastle breaks off the siege of Hull and retires on York. This reverse, and the defeat at Winceby, discourages Newcastle from further attempts to move south during 1643.

October 13 (Friday) Royalist forces rendezvous at Banbury, as a prelude to a march on Northampton.

October 15 (Sunday) Rupert and Sir John Urry sortie from Oxford, raiding through Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire. At Westminster, the small group of peers remaining loyal to Parliament take the Covenant.

October 16 (Monday) Parliament pass an ordinance authorizing a loan of 200,000, one third of which is to go to pay for the Scots Army at once. 

October 17 (Tuesday) At Westminster the Assembly of Divines opens the discussion on the re-organisation of church government, with those who preferred to follow the strict Presbyterian line in the ascendancy. In the Midlands, Royalist forces under Lord Capel march from Shrewsbury to besiege the Parliamentary garrison in Wem. The Royalist attack fails.

October 18 (Wednesday) Essex leads a Parliamentary force, comprised chiefly of the London Trained Bands, to attack Newport Pagnell.

Mid October Sir John Byron, now Lord Byron, is appointed to command the Royalist army in Cheshire, which is to be reinforced by 4,000 troops from Leinster.



October 19 (Thursday) The King appoints Ormonde as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He is sent intricate secret instructions to enlist help from the Irish Confederacy whilst at the same time delaying their demands. Parliament, fearing a Catholic conspiracy, passes a resolution to accelerate the proceedings against Archbishop Laud, who has been held in captivity for the past two years. 

October 20 (Friday) In the Eastern theatre, the Earl of Manchester summons Lincoln.

October 23 (Monday) The Royalists begin to ferry troops and ammunition from Ireland to Wales and the West country. The first regiment arrives at Minehead from Munster.

October 24 (Tuesday) The Royalist commander at Lincoln, Sir Peregrine Bertie, abandons the city, with a large supply of arms, to Parliament.

October 27 (Friday) Sir Lewis Dyve evacuates the incomplete fortifications of Newport Pagnell, and Parliamentary forces occupy the town. Royalist supplies despatched from Oxford arrive too late. Parliament, having found it impossible to raise even he first third of the 200,000 loan from voluntary subscription, pass an ordinance to levy of a forced loan. Vane and Marshall are sent to advise the City of their resolution.

October 30 (Monday) Detachments from Essex's army begin to throw up defences around Newport Pagnell and St Albans.

Late October Rupert makes efforts to fortify Towcester in a further attempt to disrupt supplies between the eastern counties and London. Gainsborough falls to Parliament. Tewkesbury falls to Parliamentary troops from Gloucester. 

Early November Hopton takes the field with his army including the English troops recently arrived at Minehead from Munster. He begins his advance on Sussex and Kent. The French ambassador, Harcourt, having been rejected by Parliament, travels to Oxford.

November 1 (Wednesday) The Houses of Parliament issue instructions to Parliamentary Commissioners appointed to accompany the Scottish army.

November 2 (Thursday) A Parliamentary ordinance appoints the Earl of Warwick and others to be Commissioners with power over the colonies.

November 4 (Saturday) Parliament despatches the first instalment of money for the Scots army (50,000) to Leith. At Farnham, Waller musters the army of the new South-Eastern Association, whose theatre of operations is to include the counties of Kent, Surrey, Sussex, and Hampshire.

November 7 (Tuesday) Waller lays siege to Basing House, held stoutly for the King by the Catholic Marquis of Winchester and his garrison of London Royalists. In Ireland, the third Confederate General Assembly convenes, and meets until 1 December.

November 8 (Wednesday) Parliament confers on Pym the post of Mastership of the Ordinance (care of the store of arms in the Tower). Waller's first attack on Basing House is frustrated by bad weather.

November 9 (Thursday) In the North West, Sir William Brereton leads his Parliamentary army into the Welsh marches to capture Wrexham, and threaten the King's supply route to Ireland.

November 10 (Friday) Ormonde is informed that the King is now ready to accept a proposal to bring over 2000 Irish Catholic troops.

November 11 (Saturday) Parliament decides to introduce a Great Seal of its own, to annul all commissions made under the Seal held by the King.

November 12 (Sunday) In the south, a second attempt by Waller to take Basing House ends in failure when a London regiment refuses to obey orders.

November 14 (Tuesday) The siege of Basing House is raised when the London trained bands refuse orders to attack and insist on returning to the City. Waller falls back to Farnham with the remains of his army. In the Eastern theatre, Bolingbroke Castle falls to Parliament.

November 18 (Saturday) The first regiments of Irish Foot from Leinster (five regiments, 2500 troops in total), arrive at Mostyn to defend Chester.

Mid November Prince Maurice, besieging Plymouth, falls ill. Byron, with a small force, leaves the Midlands to assume command of the army in Cheshire, which has been heavily reinforced by the recently landed troops from Ireland.

November 19 (Sunday) In Ireland, the Marquis of Ormonde nominates seven delegates to meet Charles at Oxford.

November 23 (Thursday) In Scotland, the first instalment of pay for the raising of a Scots army to support Parliament arrives at Leith.

November 24 (Friday) Sir Thomas Ogle, one of the minority independent divines threatened by the policy of Presbyterian reform, encourages the Royalists of the Peace-party to seek a settlement. He intimates that Aylesbury might be betrayed to the Royalists by its governor, Colonel Mosley, as proof of the serious intent of the negotiators.

November 27 (Monday) Hopton moves against Waller at Farnham, but Waller is unwilling to be drawn outside the protective walls of Farnham castle. The Royalists then withdraw and go into winter quarters.

November 28 (Tuesday) The military arrangements of the alliance between Parliament and the Scots are agreed: the Scots are to raise an army of 18,000 foot, 2000 horse and artillery at Parliament's expense. Parliament promise not to make any peace without including the Scots. In London, the Sheriffs and a deputation of Aldermen appear at the bar of the Commons to demand the return of the three London regiments serving with Essex. In the Midlands, the Cavaliers capture Leek.

November 30 (Thursday) Parliament entrusts the Great Seal to six Commissioners.

Late November Lothian, returned from a mission on Charles' behalf to France, is thrown into prison for refusing to swear never to bear arms against the King.

December 1 (Friday) In Ireland, the third Confederate General Assembly closes.

December 4 (Monday) The Commons votes that the Army of Essex should consist of 10,000 foot and 4,000 horse and fixes its monthly pay, to be raised out of the assessments and excise.

December 6 (Wednesday) With help from Hopton, Sir Edward Ford, the King's High Sheriff of Sussex, seizes the town of Arundel.

December 7 (Thursday) Parliament appoints the Earl of Warwick Lord High Admiral, in recognition of his achievements in keeping the fleet loyal to Parliament during 1643. At Oxford, Sir Thomas Ogle is sent money and a safe conduct to carry on negotiations. 

December 8 (Friday) John Pym dies of cancer.

December 9 (Saturday) Hopton takes Arundel Castle, advising a contingent under Lord Crawford at Alton to keep a watch on Waller.

December 11 (Monday) The Committee of Safety learns of the negotiations between the Independents and the King, and the plot to betray Aylesbury, from its commander. A counter-plot is developed, but in general it is decided, at least for the present, to conciliate the Independents.

December 13 (Wednesday) Waller attacks the Royalist detachment under Crawford at Alton, driving the cavalry and taking many of the infantry prisoner. Many of the captives take the Covenant and transfer their services to Parliament. In Cheshire, Lord Byron captures Beeston castle, drives Brereton's Roundheads into Nantwich, and lays siege to the town.

December 15 (Friday) Funeral of Pym.

Mid December Waller advances into Sussex to find Hopton. Hopton abandons Petersfield, thus breaking communications with Arundel.

December 16 (Saturday) The Marquis of Hamilton and his brother the Earl of Lanark arrive at Oxford and are charged with connivance with the Scots Presbyterians. Lanark escapes, but Hamilton is imprisoned.

December 20 (Wednesday) Waller drives the Cavaliers out of Arundel, and opens the siege of the Castle. In the East, Sir Thomas Fairfax recaptures Gainsborough, the last Royalist stronghold in Lincolnshire.

December 21 (Thursday) In the Midlands, Lapley House, a satellite garrison of Stafford, falls to the Cavaliers.

December 22 (Friday) The King denounces the alliance between the Scots and Parliament, and calls on all members of Parliament to join a free Parliament at Oxford, in return for a free pardon.

December 23 (Saturday) The Assembly of Divines warns against the gathering of new congregations, but in reality they allow toleration in a move to conciliate the Independents.

December 24 (Sunday) Parliamentary forces storm and capture Grafton House near Towcester. 

Mid-late December The convoy of arms for Gloucester reaches Northampton.

December 25 (Monday) In the first rift between the allies, the Scots Commissioners in London are shocked to discover that the English propose to celebrate Christmas. Parliamentary leaders accede to their demands to regard Christmas as an ordinary working day in the Presbyterian fashion, but not all the divines of the Westminster Assembly are agreeable.

December 26 (Tuesday) "Brooke's Plot": at the instigation of the escaped Royalist prisoner Colonel Reade, the King opens a correspondence to encourage a plot by Sir Basil Brooke. The aim is to encourage discontented members of the City to declare for peace, summoning Members of Parliament to Oxford, and opening a route to London by seizing Aylesbury. Unfortunately, the Committee of Safety quickly discovers the plot. In Cheshire, a detachment of Parliamentary troops is given no quarter by Byron's forces after taking refuge in a church at Barthomley. In the Midlands, the Royalist stronghold of Aston Hall is attacked by Parliamentary forces from Birmingham.

December 28 (Thursday) Aston Hall falls to Parliament.

December 29 (Friday) Sir Thomas Fairfax, freed for service elsewhere by the fall of Gainsborough, sets out to support Brereton in Cheshire.

 

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