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Man of Blood

Updated Sunday, 7th January 2001

By ignoring God's will, the New Model Army believed Charles had become a man of blood

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To the New Model Army, God's will had been revealed on Naseby field when the Roundheads had crushed the Cavaliers.

By plunging England back into civil war, Charles had shown no regard for God's judgement or his nation. It was the final straw.

At a meeting of the New Model Army in Windsor, which resembled an open-air revivalist gathering with hymns, sermons, and prayers over three days, the mood was sombre but defiant. The meeting agreed that, 'it was our duty, if ever the Lord brought us back again in peace, to call Charles Stuart, that man of blood, to an account, for that blood he had shed, and mischief he had done, to his utmost, against the Lord's cause and people in these poor nations.'

A detail from the Musketeer's manual of the New Model Army
A New Model Army musketeer manual

The King's death was required by God in order to regain His blessing; without it their cause was doomed. The Army wanted nothing more to do with negotiations or settlements - it was time to call Charles to account.

Oblivious to this, Charles remained in Carisbrook Castle happily refusing all offers of a settlement from the increasingly desperate Parliamentarians. He hadn't realised the endgame was upon him. At one point, his old adversary, the Providence Island Company grandee and zealous Parliamentarian, Lord Saye and Sele went down on his knee imploring Charles to sign the Treaty. Other commissioners wept openly as they tried to convince Charles of the gravity of the moment. Charles wouldn't be moved.

He, 'resolved rather to shipwreck my person than either my conscience or belief.' He was now determined to play the martyr.

Which was helpful, because that's exactly what the Army had in mind for him. In December 1648, Charles was transferred from his regal imprisonment in the Isle of Wight to a dingy cell in Hurst Castle across the Solent. There his only comfort was a dismal 2 mile walk along the narrow spit of land towards the shore. Meanwhile in London, the Army was working out how to do away with 'the Man of Blood.'


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