OCR Civil War Revision: Why did the Royalists lose the First Civil War?

Key dates and answers for Key Question Two

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  • Created by: Alice
  • Created on: 19-05-12 21:10

Poor Military Leadership on Both Sides

On King's side

  • Newcastle ignored Rupert's instructions at Marston Moore 1644
  • Newcastle beseiged Hull instead of Lincolnshire as part of Three Pronged Attack in 1643
  • Rupert's untrained cavlary would only ever attack once and did this at all three major battles (Edge Hill, Marston Moore and Battle of Naseby)

The King himself

  • Failed to move on London after Edgehill in 1642
  • Failed to organise Three Pronged Attack effectively 
  • Sent confusing messages to Rupert in Marston Moore 1644
  • Cessation in 1643 set English protestants against him further

On Parliament's side

  • Essex and Manchester were inexperienced leaders who were only appointed because of their social status
  • Essex carried a coffin on his military campaigns
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  • People were county based and felt loyalty for their county rather than their country
  • Opposition from people living in the countryside meant both sides lost support
  • Groups like the Dorset Club Men opposed both sides
  • Hopton's attack on Hampshire through Three Pronged Attack failed due to localism in 1643
  • Most money raised locally was spent locally, leading to financial problems
  • Plundering as a result of being away from home and therefore unable to tend to farm land to earn income lead to anti-royalist feeling among the English
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Weaknesses in the King's Income

Sources of Finance

  • King had to resort to personal wealth and the melting of royal gold to fund the war
  • He was forced to give degrees from Oxford to his commanders rather than pay them


  • Parliament had control of London, the ports and the Navy which were more financially lucrative
  • Pym had arranged an efficient tax system which ensured consistent income for Parliament
  • This was so successful it raised more money from the home counties than Ship Tax did from the entire country

Consequences for King

  • Troops resorted to plundering, making them unpopular 
  • Lack of income meant they were undertrained
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Creation of New Model Army

Nature of the army

  • Created winter of 1944
  • Self Denying Ordinance meant you couldn't have a role in the army and be an MP - this purged the system of inefficient commanders (eg Manchester)
  • Fairfax had overall command, Skippon controlled the infantry and Cromwell controlled the cavalry
  • The men were well paid and well trained so didn't plunder, making Parliament more popular
  • They were passionate Puritans and therefore fought better for their cause
  • Promotion by merit lead to more competent officers

Military successes

  • Success at Marston Moore contrasted with Essex and Manchester's performances at Edgehill in 1642 and Lostwithiel in 1644
  • Had immediate success at Naseby in 1645 which ultimately lead to Royalist surrender in 1646
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