Battle of Edgehill: The first conflict of the English Civil War

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 This evening, I am posting information on the Battle of Edgehill which took place on October 23rd, 1642. Location is about ninety miles NW of London.

This was the first major clash of  the English civil war, a conflict which lasted until 1651. The country was split between the forces of King Charles I, who believed in the Divine Right of Kings and those supporting the democratically inspired forces of Parliament.  These became known as Cavaliers and Roundheads respectively. Oliver Cromwell rose through the ranks to lead the Parliamentary forces but did not have a meaningful role at Edgehill.

Edgehill was fought between armies of roughly equal size, about 15000 in each. The Royalists were led by Prince Rupert of the Rhine and the Parliamentarians by the Earl of Essex.

The two opposing armies were both en-route to London and it was by chance they found each other in close proximity. The King drew up his army along Edgehill whereas the Parliamentarians under  the Earl of Essex occupied the low ground near Kineton. The battle commenced about noon with the two armies about one mile apart. The Royalists attacked first with cavalry charges that were successful but flawed in that the Royalist cavalry left the field to pursue their quarry leaving the infantry exposed.The heart of the battle comprised opposing pikemen.

As the day drew on the evenly balanced forces fought to a standstill and became exhausted. The battle thus concluded in a form of stalemate laving the King to march on London whilst the Parliamentarians withdrew to nearby Warwick.

Radway Tower shown below was erected in 1742 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the battle. It is now a pub and restaurant.

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 Landscape view of battlefield

 

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