Taking Sides: Divided Loyalities
While Parliament was beginning to be defined by what it stood for, Royalism was largely defined by what it opposed. While many Royalists supported their King through a sense of duty and obligation, the Royalist Party in Parliament was heavily inspired by anti-Scottish sentiment: they objected to the Covenanters' religious demands and attempts to impose a form of Presbyterianism throughout the three kingdoms.
Throughout 1642, England polarised militarily as people were forced to take sides. Parliament passed the Militia Ordinances which sought to place the local county militia under its control while, at the same time, Charles issued Commissions of Array which required Lords Lieutenant in the counties to provide him with armed forces. As the country began to polarise, people found it increasingly difficult to stay neutral.
The process of polarisation placed great strains on relationships between families, friends and regions. In Buckinghamshire, Ralph Verney, M.P. supported Parliament while his brother and father supported the King. In the west country, the long-standing friendship between Sir William Waller and Sir Ralph Hopton, allies during the Thirty Years War, was placed under great pressure as they found themselves on opposite sides of the political divide.
England was gradually divided into two fairly clear spheres of influence. Parliament was strongest in the South and East while the Royalists controlled the North and West. Parliament controlled most of the Navy, and large cities such as London, Bristol and Newcastle.
After sending his family overseas, Charles began to organise his military campaign. On 22nd August 1642, on a small hill just outside of Nottingham, Charles raised his standard and denounced his Parliamentary opponents as traitors. There could be no turning back-England was at war with itself.
This image depicts Scottish Covenanter and Parliamentary troops greeting each other warmly during the early 1640s. The Scottish Convenanter forces played an important, if somewhat inconstant, role during the Civil Wars - at times united in opposition with Parliament against an arbitary sovereign, at other times dealing directly with Charles to try to secure a better deal.
Civil War: Taking sides
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Sunday, 7th January 2001
Last updated on: Sunday, 7th January 2001
- Body text - Copyrighted: The Open University
- Image 'Civil war soldiers' - Copyrighted: Wark Clements
- Image 'Civil War soldiers' - Copyrighted: Used with permission
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.
- Latest OpenLearn pages
- Latest pages by The Civil War team
- Latest pages from OpenLearn - World History
- Latest pages tagged Protestant
- Latest pages tagged Catholicism
- Latest pages tagged Parliament
- Latest pages tagged John Pym
- Latest pages tagged Irish Rebellion
- Latest pages tagged Edgehill
- Latest pages tagged Robert Devereux
- Latest pages tagged Royalists
- Latest pages tagged Scotland
- Latest pages tagged Roundheads
- Latest pages tagged English Civil War
- Latest pages tagged Cavaliers
- Latest pages tagged Ireland
- Latest pages tagged England
- Latest pages tagged Charles I
- Latest pages tagged Prince Rupert Of The Rhine
- Latest pages tagged Presbyterianism
- Latest comments on this page