King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649

By Esmé Wingfield-Stratford | Go to book overview

of uniting with Essex, and turn his face Northwards. Early in May, therefore, he started to mop up the insignificant garrisons which were all the Cavaliers had been able to spare for their recent conquests in Lincolnshire, storming Lincoln itself, and forcing the Trent at Gainsborough. Thence, moving with his accustomed deliberation, he entered Yorkshire and on June the 3rd added his army to the two that were already investing York. It was the mightiest concentration of force as yet made by either side in this war, and it boded ill for the fate of Newcastle's devoted garrison.


4
A DESPERATE SITUATION

IT had come to this: York was incapable of holding out much beyond the end of June--indeed on the 14th of that month Newcastle put out an offer to capitulate on terms, failing relief within 20 days. If York were to go, that would mean the loss of the North, and without the North the King could not reasonably hope to survive for more than a very few months. York therefore must, at all costs and without delay, be relieved. Easy enough to say--but the King had no field army remotely capable of standing up to the three that were investing it. One would have to be improvised under the only possible commander, Rupert, by sweeping up every man, horse and gun that the scattered and ill- equipped Cavalier forces could be made to yield--scraping the bottom of the military pot. But this could only be done at the cost of so fatally depleting the King's own strength in the central theatre as to render it feasible for the two remaining Roundhead armies, those of Essex and Waller, to close like a pair of nutcrackers on Oxford, while Rupert was far away struggling through the passes of the Pennines, or at death grips outside York with the superior forces of its besiegers.

That was the King's unescapable choice: whether to leave York to its fate, or whether to expose himself and his temporary capital to a mortal blow from which nothing could save him but the omission of his enemies to deliver it.

Meanwhile in whatever direction he looked, there was nothing to offer a gleam of consolation. On every front signs were manifest

-16-

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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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