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Battle of Naseby

Although the confrontation between Charles I and Parliament was to continue for a further year after the Battle of Naseby, this battle effectively ended any chance Charles had of victory.

His main army was crushed and his weapons and stores were seized. Most unfortunate for The Royalists (also known as Cavaliers), Charles' private papers fell into the hands of his enemies. These proved that the King was interested in hiring foreign mercenaries and bringing in money from abroad. Seizing their opportunity, Parliament published the papers. The Royalist cause already on an unsteady footing, Charles' papers proved to be a political disaster for The Royalists.

Split In Two

In the Spring of 1645, Charles and his commanders were split as to their strategy over The Parliamentarians (also known as Roundheads). The options were to either march into Scotland, march to the north of England, or concentrate on The Midlands.

At a council of war on May 8 in the North Cotswolds, it was decided that the forces would be divided. A force of 3, 000 would ride to the west with Lord Goring, while Charles and Prince Rupert would head north. Instead of continuing to the north, however, Charles decided to attack the Parliamentarian city of Leicester. The Royalist city of Oxford was under siege by The Parliamentarians, under the command of Lord Fairfax, and Charles hoped to lure them into relieving Leicester.

Onward to The Battle of Naseby

Leicester was taken by The Royalists. This galvanized Lord Fairfax into abandoning Oxford to do battle with Charles. Not knowing that Fairfax was on his way, Charles left Leicester, and headed towards Oxford to relieve the city.

Prince Rupert strongly objected to the army turning south. His objection was not heeded.

The Royalists clashed with an advanced Parliamentarian patrol just outside the village of Naseby. However, wanting to await reinforcements, The Royalists withdrew. The reinforcements never arrived.

On June 14, the battle lines were drawn. The Royalists army was clearly outnumbered; 7500 to 9000 troops for Charles, and 13500 troops for Fairfax.

As the Battle of Naseby progressed, and being under pressure from three different directions, The Royalist army began to crack. Although Rupert had regrouped his cavalry, with the re-forming of Fairfax' army for a final attack, The Royalists began to flee. Those who did not surrender were chased, and killed.

What Happened To:

King Charles I of England

One year after Naseby, Charles surrendered to Scotland. Scotland, in turn, handed Charles over to the English Parliament.

In 1648, Charles was put on trial for treason. On January 30, 1649 Charles stepped through a window of the Banqueting House, Whitehall in London. Before a crowd, he placed his head on the block and was beheaded.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine

After the Battle of Naseby, Rupert urged Charles to make peace with Parliament. Charles refused.

After surrendering the City of Bristol to The Parliamentarians in September 1645, Charles dismissed Rupert from his service. After the fall of Oxford in 1646, Parliament banished Rupert.

Upon Charles II reaching the throne, Rupert returned to England. After a successful career in the military, he turned to scientific research. He died in his home in November, 1682.

Lord-General Thomas Fairfax

Fairfax continued as Commander in Chief until Scotland declared for Charles II. He then resigned his commission and went into retirement. However, upon the death of Cromwell and the end of The Protectorate, he was called upon to work for the restoration of The Monarchy. He was put at the head of the commission that visited Charles II, urging him to return to England as king.

Fairfax died in 1671, once more back in retirement.

Article by "Tudor Rose"

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