King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649

By Esmé Wingfield-Stratford | Go to book overview

as good as told them to mind their own business. His position was not an easy one, for in the midst of a hostile area, it was hard for him to obtain intelligence of the enemy's strength or movements. He therefore waited for the situation to clarify before committing himself to any irrevocable step.

On the 12th of June all doubt was at an end. The appearance of some cavalry of Fairfax's advance guard caused the King hastily to call in his scattered detachments and draw back to a carefully chosen position near Market Harborough in which he hoped to get the enemy to attack him. Fairfax, several miles behind with the main body, was making all speed on his tracks, not even disdaining to foot slog in the mud with his infantry to silence their grousing. Early on the morning of the 13th, just as they were falling in for another day's march, there was a burst of cheering that was taken up by the whole camp, as the news spread from unit to unit that Oliver Cromwell, riding all night after them at the head of six hundred troopers, had arrived to take up his post as Lieutenant-General. The demand for him from the City, the Council of War, and the rank and file, had indeed become irresistible, and he had lost no time in satisfying it.

Things were now hurrying to the supreme crisis, but this latest event had gone far to determine the result.


9
PRELUDE TO NASEBY

ON that memorable morning of Saturday, the 14th of June, both armies were astir with the first light of dawn, the Roundheads to press what they imagined to be the pursuit, the Cavaliers to complete their preparations for receiving them. But by eight in the morning no tidings of the enemy's approach having come to Cavalier headquarters, Rupert, who could only guess at Fairfax's strength and intentions, sent forward his scoutmaster Ruce to ascertain the enemy's whereabouts.

It is an entire mistake to imagine that Rupert was spoiling for a fight at all hazards. At the Council of War, his had been the one voice in favour of a delaying policy. With an army reduced by its losses in taking Leicester and the necessity of garrisoning it to a

-102-

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King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xiii
  • I - The Clinch 1
  • I - The Court at Oxford 3
  • 3 - Newark and Cheriton 7
  • 4 - A Desperate Situation 11
  • 5 - Adieu! 16
  • 6 - The King's Strategy 19
  • 7 - A Night March 21
  • 8 - Rupert's Flank March Through Lancashire 25
  • 9 - The Relief of York and Cropredy Bridge 30
  • 10 - Marston Moor--The Challenge 33
  • II - Marston Moor--The Decision 36
  • 12 - The Escape of the Queen 50
  • 14 - Second Newbury and the Cavalier Recovery 54
  • 15 - Artist as General 58
  • II - Defeat 71
  • I - Tertium Quid 73
  • 3 - "Three Things I Will Not Part With" 76
  • 4 - The Liquidation of the Primate 81
  • 5 - A Foredoomed Negotiation 88
  • 6 - An Irish Imbroglio 92
  • 9 - Prelude to Naseby 97
  • 10 - Naseby 102
  • 12 - The King's Cabinet Rifled 112
  • 13 - The King Takes His Stand 116
  • 15 - Meeting and Reconciliation 124
  • 16 - Last Days at Oxford 130
  • 17 - Hobson's Choice 141
  • III - Captivity 149
  • I - Confidence Trick 151
  • 2 - Third Degree at Newcastle 155
  • 4 - "Barbarously Baited" 159
  • 5 - Foreshadowing Martyrdom 162
  • 6 - A King for Cash 168
  • 7 - Holdenby Backwater 171
  • 8 - The Mutiny of the New Model 173
  • 9 - The Commission of Cornet Joyce 178
  • 10 - The King at Newmarket 189
  • 15 - The Fall of London 203
  • 16 - Cromwell on the Turn 208
  • 17 - A Darkening Prospect 219
  • 18 - Escape from Prison 224
  • 21 - The Engagement with the Scots 232
  • 22 - The Trap Shuts 244
  • 24 - Escape Barred 247
  • 26 - Jane Whorwood 256
  • IV - Martyrdom 285
  • I - The Train is Laid 287
  • 3 - Hurst Castle and Pride's Purge 295
  • 4 - Journey to Windsor 299
  • 6 - Conspiracy to Murder 301
  • 7 - High Court of Justice 308
  • 8 - By What Authority? 313
  • 13 - Cromwell Takes Charge 344
  • 14 - Preparation for Death 348
  • 16 - "Cruel Necessity" 354
  • Appendices 369
  • Index 381
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