Timeline 1642-1645 First English Civil War

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January 1642 - Preparations for War

Charles sent his wife Henrietta Maria to the Continent to enlist Catholic support for his cause against Parliament. She was also to pawn the crown jewels to buy arms. Although both sides were now preparing for war, negotiations continued.

March 1642 - Militia Ordinance

This allowed Parliament to take control of the Militia, ordering them to make sure they were prepared. Charles replied with the very ancient legal device named the “Commission of Array” which many did not accept. Parliament seemed to be in a stronger position than Charles as they had more success getting the county militias support.

April 1642 - Charles in Hull

Charles tried to secure an arsenal left in Hull from his Scottish campaign. He was blocked by Sir John Hotham, with Parliamentary and naval support and was forced to retire to York. Charles made his headquarters in York.

June 1642 - Nineteen Propositions
The Nineteen Propositions were issued by Parliament in the hopes of reaching a settlement with the King. However, Charles could not accept them as it was unthinkable at the time, especially as he believed in his divine right to rule. They called for a new constitution recognising their own supremacy, demanding that ministers and judges should be appointed by parliament, not by the King and also that all Church and military matters should come under the control of Parliament.

22th August 1642 Civil War - Standard raised
Charles raised his standard at Nottingham formally declaring war. He only had 800 supporters with him, making it an empty gesture. However, both sides hoped that either war could be averted or that one decisive battle would put an end to the matter.

7th September 1642 - Portsmouth falls to Parliament

The vital port and fortress of Portsmouth surrendered to Parliament.

23th Oct 1642 - Battle of Edgehill
In the early afternoon, Charles sent his army of 10,000 soldiers to London to meet the Parliamentary army commanded by Essex. On the royalist right was Prince Rupert who broke Essex's left flank. In the centre, reinforcements arrived and they managed to push forward putting the lives of the King's sons, Charles and James, in danger. The battle was a stalemate with neither side able to advance. The Earl of Essex withdrew, leaving the way open to the capital. Charles hesitated and didn’t take the opportunity to capture London.

12th and 13th Nov 1642 - Small Battles

The Royalists led by Prince Rupert managed to surprise the Parliamentarians and capture Brentford. However, the following day, Rupert was surprised to find his route to London was blocked by an army of 24,000 at Turnham Green under the Earl of Essex’s command. Rupert decided to retire.

Royalist Failures

If Charles had listened to Rupert’s urgings to force the defences at Turnham Green, then normal London citizens would have fled from the attack. It could however, have ended up with hand-to-hand street fighting with the Londoners eager to defend their property.

Charles threw


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