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Endgame - The Second Civil War

Updated Sunday 7th January 2001

It was to be short, but brutal: the Second Civil War

Picture showing execution of King Charles I Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Wark Clements

The military dimensions of the Second Civil War were brutal but brief. The war started when Colonel Poyer raised a revolt in Wales which quickly spread to Carlisle, Berwick, Anglia, Kent and Surrey. The war effectively ended on 17th August 1648 when Cromwell's troops put the Scots Engagers to flight by the banks of the Ribble. The Cromwellian Cavalry had saved the day once more.

Although brief, the war's political repercussions were profound. By plunging the three kingdoms back into conflict, Charles revealed himself as a 'man of blood', an unscrupulous monarch who would stoop at nothing to regain his thrones. From having been seen as an essential part of any peace process, Charles was now regarded as an impediment. He would have to go.

Simple assassination was out of the question as this would create more problems than it would solve. The Army's actions would have to be cloaked in the guise of due process and this would require Parliament's support. And yet, a Parliament containing so many moderates and conservatives was unlikely to acquiesce in the removal of their sovereign.

The Army's solution was brutal and simple. On 6th December 1648, Colonel Thomas Pride stationed himself outside the Commons and barred entry to anyone suspected of moderate or conservative sympathies. In what became known as Pride's Purge, 140 MPs were excluded and 40 were arrested. The remaining 'Rump' of 56 were prepared to do anything - even contemplate regicide.

Civil War battle scene Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission

The superior discipline and organisation of the Cromwelliam cavalry proved decisive in several key Civil War battles - Marston Moor, Naseby, Preston. At Preston, Cromwell unleashed his cavalry on the Scots infantry just as they were being broken by the Parliamentary troops and pushed them into the River Ribble. Others were cut down as they fled south to Wigan.

Civil War: The Endgame

 

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