King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649

By Esmé Wingfield-Stratford | Go to book overview

write down Charles at all costs, libels his own intelligence by the almost incredible sneer:

"Whatever may have been the meaning of these painfully involved sentences, there could be no doubt what interpretation would be put upon them by Rupert."

An order that is clearly intelligible to its recipient, or anyone else with a knowledge of King's English, one would have thought to be as clear as any order need be, and much clearer than a great many famous and fatal orders have been. Gardiner in fact proceeds to stultify himself in his very next sentence by quoting the comment of Sir John Colepeper, one of the cold-footed faction at headquarters:

"By God, you are undone, for upon this peremptory order he will fight, whatever comes of it."

Which is beyond doubt just what the King intended his nephew to do. Had the gamble come off--as it so nearly did--it would have ranked in military history as a classic example of the use of the interior lines, and the military reputation of Charles and Rupert would have stood as high as that of Cromwell does now. That the gamble did, in the event, fail, is no proof that it ought not to have been undertaken. There is no gambling on certainties. But the alternative would indeed have been a certainty--of defeat.


9
THE RELIEF OF YORK AND CROPREDY BRIDGE

ANY temptation that Rupert might have had to spend more time in rounding off his conquest of Lancashire must have been dissipated by his uncle's orders, though he probably needed little enough spur. With the finest Cavalier army that had taken the field, an army flushed with victory and superbly confident of itself and its commander, he proceeded by way of Preston and Clitheroe through the Aire-Ribble gap in the Pennines, debouching thence on to the Yorkshire moors, and crossing them to Knaresborough, a bare dozen miles from beleaguered York. Here he received intelligence that the combined armies had thrown up the siege and were barring his path on the open moorland to the west of the city.

-33-

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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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