King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649

By Esmé Wingfield-Stratford | Go to book overview

12
THE ESCAPE OF THE QUEEN

CROPREDY Bridge had been fought three days before Marston Moor, and King Charles had not waited to hear of the fate of Rupert's expedition before deciding on his own next move. Whatever happened in the North, the irruption of Essex into the West had presented the King with an opportunity that he did not intend to let slip, of doing what he had only just failed to do last year at Newbury--severing Essex's communications with London and forcing him to surrender at discretion. This time there was to be no hitch.

There was another consideration that added a special urgency to the King's determination. This eccentric and unexpected move of Essex's had brought the Queen, who had gone to Exeter to be out of harm's way for her accouchement, into more acute and imminent peril than she would have incurred had she remained quietly at Oxford. It is easy to sneer, as Gardiner does, at Charles for adopting this plan, "not because it was strategically the best, but because it would bring him into the neighbourhood of the Queen." Apart from the fact that it would have been suicidal to have allowed the Queen to become a blackmailing counter in the hands of the enemy, his strategy was, as the event proved, that of King Arthur with Sir Mordred:

"Tide me life, betide me death, now that I see him yonder alone, he shall never escape my hands, for at better avail I shall never have him."

Immediately after Cropredy Bridge, Charles had made another of his rapid marches to his vantage point of Evesham, again leaving the enemy in doubt, and reserving his own freedom of choice whether to strike North or South. Here he waited no longer than was necessary to make sure that Oxford could be safely left to look after itself and then, on the 9th of July, just a week after Marston Moor, intimated to his council of war his decision of marching against Essex. Within three days he was on the road.

But fast though he hurried his sweating troops along the line of the Cotswolds and through the broad pasture lands of Somerset, Charles arrived at Exeter too late to find the Queen, though he

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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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