English Civil War

Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth ascended to the English throne on the 17th November 1558 and crowned on the 15th January 1559, at Westminster.  She was the last Tudor monarch to sit upon the throne, and upon her death on the 24th March 1603, she had died, without an heir.

The English throne passed to her cousin; James VI of Scotland, the son of Mary, Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley.  On the 9th February 1567 Darnley was murdered and in the June Mary was imprisoned at Lochleven Castle.  Mary abdicated her crown, passing it to her son James, who was crowned King James VI of Scotland on the 29th July 1567.  In 1568 Mary escaped and fled across the border into England, expecting support from Queen Elizabeth.

NPG 1766,Mary, Queen of Scots,by Unknown artist

Mary Queen of Scots

Mary, became Queen Elizabeth’s prisoner, and on the 25th October 1586, was sentenced to death for plotting against Queen Elizabeth’s life, and on the 8th February 1587 died at the hands of her executioner at Fotheringhay Castle.

King James I

King James I

King James VI of Scotland, ascended to the English throne on the 24th July 1603, and was crowned King James I of England at Westminster Abbey on the 25th July.

England, Scotland and Ireland, had become united, under a single monarch; King James I of England, of the Stuart dynasty.

James believed that Kings took their authority from God, but accepted his actions were subject to the laws of the land.  He was often in dispute with Parliament, over the royal finances, as his predecessors have been, before him.

King James I of England reigned for 22 years and as James VI of Scotland, reigned for 57 years, died on the 27th March 1625.

King Charles I

King Charles I

Charles I, son of King James I and Anne of Denmark ascended to the English throne on the 27th March 1625.  On the 1st May 1625 Charles had married Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV of France by proxy in front of Notre Dame in Paris.  On the 13th June 1625 Charles I of England married Henrietta Maria in Canterbury.  Charles I was crowned King of England on the  2nd February 1626 at Westminster Abbey, without his wife, his Queen at his side.  She being a Roman Catholic would not participate in a Protestant religious ceremony.

Charles had informed Parliament, that a marriage to a Roman Catholic would not change religious lifestyle of a Protestant England.  Saying that he added to the French treaty of marriage, that he promised to remove all restraints, upon Catholic subjects residing in England.

Charles I had delayed the opening of his first Parliament, until the marriage ceremony had taken place on English soil.

Charles believed, much as his father had before him, it was his divine right as King, to rule without interference from Parliament.

Charles forces through highly unpopular “Ship Money,” tax to raise funds without the consent of Parliament.  They replied in 1628 by presenting him with the Petition of Right a declaration of the “Rights and Liberties of the Subject,” which under pressure, he had no choice but to abide by its terms.

In 1629 Charles steps forward and dissolves Parliament, and opted to rule as he believes it is his divine right from 1629 – 1640.

The Short Parliament, met in April of 1640, and the main topic, led to their refusal to grant Charles funds, until grievances between the two sides had been ironed out.  A stale mate existed and Parliament was dissolved once again.

In November of 1640, the Long Parliament was assembled, and an Act was passed, preventing the dissolvement of Parliament without consent of all parties.

Charles and Parliament, could not work with each other, they were at odds with each other.  Charles failure of 4th January 1642, of arresting five parliamentary leaders, believed Parliament had become too Puritanical.

The King and Parliament were on different sides of the fence, and the English Civil War between Royalists and Parliamentarians, was a powder keg waiting to explode.

Charles I, felt he had no choice, and on the 22nd August 1642, withdrew from London, and declared war on Parliament, raising his standard at Nottingham.  The English Civil War of 1642-1648 had begun.

In October 1642, the Royalists won a tactical victory over Parliamentary forces at the “Battle of Edgehill.”

Henrietta Maria of France

Henrietta Maria of France

In 1643 Henrietta Maria, actively supported her husband, landing at Bridlington, Yorkshire, with a ship laden down with men and arms, to fight the Royalist cause.

In 1643 Royalists defeated Parliamentary forces at the “Battle of Chalgrove Field,” with the taking of Bristol.

Oliver Cromwell by History Heroes

Oliver Cromwell

On the 16th June 1645, Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army defeated Royalist forces.

In April of 1646, Charles barely escapes with his life from the “Siege of Oxford,” surrendering at Newark to the Scottish Army.

In January 1647, Scottish forces handed Charles I, over to Parliamentary forces, and in June Cromwell’s forces escorted him to Hampton Court Palace.  In the November he briefly escapes, and is recaptured and held at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight.

In January of 1649, a court of justice is convened by the House of Commons, to hear the case against King Charles I.  For, he has been accused of treason against England; pursuing his own objectives, rather than those of England.

Charles refused to plead, in the belief the court was unlawful, and that the monarch, had absolute authority of his kingdom, granted to him by God.

The court challenged the question of sovereign immunity, stating the King of England, was not a person, but an office to govern by the laws of the land.

On the 26th January 1649, the court had found him guilty, and sentenced him to death.  On Tuesday the 30th January 1649, King Charles I of England was beheaded in front of the Banqueting House in Whitehall, London.

An act of Parliament was passed, on the 30th January 1649, forbidding the automatic succession of the son of Charles I.  On the 7th February, the office of the King had been abolished.

Main Battles of the English Civil War:

Battle of Edgehill: 23rd October 1642

The Earl of Essex commanded Parliamentarian forces, their aim to prevent King Charles and his army reaching London.  Parliamentarian and Royalist forces met at Edgehill mid-afternoon of the 23rd October.

Both armies faced each other in traditional battle formation; cavalry units and dragoons on the right, and left flanks, infantry to the middle.  The Parliamentarians had two cavalry regiments to the rear.

Prince Rupert led the Royalist army; leading his cavalry unit in a charge, which saw Parliamentarian cavalry and infantry flee the scene.  Royalist infantry forces advanced into battle, inflicting losses and causing panic and confusion to their opposing armies.  By night, the battle was all but over, neith side had won, but each claimed victory over the other.  The Royalists had their chance to capitalise against the Parliamentarian army, and bring the war to a quick end.

Battle of Marston Moor: 2nd July 1644

Parliamentarian and Scottish forces attacked York.  Royalist forces and the York garrison met their attackers on Marston Moor.

The battle started late in the day, Royalist cavalry advanced on Parliamentarian infantry causing high losses.  Then a surprise attack to the rear of the Royalists; Oliver Cromwell attacked with his cavalry, defeating the Royalists, and many surrendered.

The Parliamentarians had won the battle of Marston Moor.  York surrendered two weeks later.  The north was now effectively under the control of the Parliamentarians and Scottish forces.  Their decisive victory had almost wiped out the Royalist northern field army.  Oliver Cromwell was seen as an effective commander.  His strong leadership and the discipline of his men had played a crucial role in winning the battle.

Battle of Naesby: 14th June 1645

Sir Thomas Fairfax, commander of the Parliamentarian New Model Army had been ordered to break off his siege of Oxford.  The Royalist Army of King Charles I had taken the Parliamentarian garrison at Leicester.  The New Model Army marched north with orders to attack the Royalists.  King Charles marched south to aid Oxford.  At Daventry, King Charles discovered that Fairfax and the New Model Army were closing in on his army.

The Parliamentary forces had taken up position on the ridge, just outside Naseby.  The Royalists drew first blood.  The Parliamentarian infantry were forced back and some of their cavalry fled.  Prince Rupert and his cavalry units left the field and headed for the Parliamentarian baggage train at Naseby.  Oliver Cromwell, commander of the right flank of cavalry units successfully repelled a Royalist cavalry charge and then sent units to attack behind their lines, as Parliamentarian forces regrouped.  The Royalist infantry was defeated.  Some surrendered, whilst others fled.  Prince Rupert returned to the battlefield but his men refused to fight.  The New Model Army had won a decisive victory.

Naseby was the beginning of the end of the first English Civil War.  King Charles had lost his main Royal Army.  As well as the loss of his infantry, horses, field arms, artillery and gunpowder.  These resources of the King lost, and replacements would not be that easy…

Wikipedia Images

Source Material:
The English Civil War by Maurice Ashley                                          
Civil War by Taylor Downing & Maggie Millman                      
Warfare – Renaissance to Revolution by Jeremy Black                       
Short History of England by Simon Jenkins                                          
A History of Britain by Richard Dargie 

English Civil War Timeline

English Civil War

On the 24th March 1603 Queen Elizabeth I dies without an heir, and the throne passes to her cousin, James VI of Scotland, who takes the title of King James I of England.  With the ascension of James, the three separate kingdoms; England, Scotland and Ireland, are now united under a single monarch.

In August of 1604, James brought an end to a twenty-year war with Spain by way of the “Treaty of London,” Spain’s hope of bringing England under their control was over.

On the 5th November 1605 English Catholic’s, angered by James I failure to relax penal laws, hatched an audacious plan to blow up the King and Parliament in a single action.  The Gunpowder Plot was averted.  The conspirators were apprehended and executed.

In September of 1607, Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone and Rory O’Donnell, Earl of Tyrconnell was defeated in the Nine Year War.  The victorious English government treated them leniently and they retained their lands and titles, until the appointment of Arthur Chichester the new Lord Deputy.  Fearing arrest, they fled Ireland for pastures new with their families, thus marking the end of the power of Ireland’s Gaelic aristocracy.

James I created a settlement program to secure Ulter for the crown in 1609, by encouraging Protestants from England and Scotland to re-locate.

By the end of the 16th century, several different English Bibles were in circulation.  In 1604 the King James Bible was commissioned and published in 1611.

On the 14th February 1613, Princess Elizabeth, daughter of James I and Anne of Denmark married Frederick V, Elector of the Rhine Palatinate.  Frederick was elected King of Bohemia in 1619, but driven out of the country by Catholic forces.

It was through Elizabeth’s descendants, that the “House of Hanover” inherited the English throne.

William Shakespeare, English poet and playwright, died on the 23rds April 1616.

In 1619 Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, not to work as slaves, but indentured servants.  During the 17th century this changed, as more and more became slaves.  Slavery became part of the economy of the British Colonies in North America.

The Pilgrim Fathers sailed to America aboard the Mayflower, in August of 1620, fleeing England and religious persecution, landing at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts.  Often portrayed as founders of modern America, but in reality one Captain John Smith, founded the first British Colony at Jamestown in North America.

King James I dies on the 27th March 1625, and is succeeded by his son Charles I.

Captain John Powell lands in Barbados and claims the island as a British Caribbean colony on the 14th May 1625.  In 1427 English settlers developed the island for the growing of sugar using indentured slaves and later slaves captured in West Africa.

King Charles I assisted French Protestants of La Rochelle who were being besieged by Catholic forces in October of 1627.  English forces were defeated, and the Duke of Buckingham who commanded the English Army was forced to evacuate, the nearby island of Rhe.

King Charles creates unrest, as he pushes through a tax to raise funds for war, without parliamentary consent.  Parliament replies on the 26th May 1627 by issuing a Petition of Rights, that he needs their permission to levy taxes on his subjects.  Also he cannot impose martial law on civilians or imprison them without due process.

George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham was stabbed to death by John Felton, a discontented former soldier, on the 23rd August 1628.

In January of 1629, the House of Commons delegates voice their opposition, in having goods confiscated, for failure to pay tonnage and poundage, believing it to be a breach of the Petition of Right Act.

Charles I was disillusioned with parliament, and further outraged by their actions, when on the 2nd March 1629, they held the Speaker of the House down in his chair, passing three resolutions on the King’s financial and religious policies.  Charles took matters into his own hands, and on the 10th March dissolved the assembly, imprisoning eight parliamentary leaders, and chose to rule without a parliament, it became known as “Personal Rule.”

In 1633 Charles I appoints William Laud as Archbishop of Canterbury.  Laud visits each and every diocese to enforce conformity in services across the land.  Some regarded this, as moving closer to Roman Catholicism.

In 1635, King Charles issues a writ, aimed at collecting “Ship Money” tax, under the pretext of fighting off piracy.  He took this tax a step further, by imposing it inland, one’s goods could be seized for non-payment of tax.

Charles I ordered the introduction of a new prayer book in Scotland on the 23rd July 1637, in a bid to secure a greater degree of religious conformity across his three kingdoms… angry crowds protested in Edinburgh.

In 1638, Charles I attempted to force the “Book of Common Prayer” upon Scotland, and the Presbyterians opposed it.

Determined not to accept the new prayer book which Charles I was trying to impose on them, the Scots had drawn up a “National Covenant” which bound its signatories to resist all religious innovations.  Scottish gentleman began signing the document in Grey Friars Church in Edinburgh, on the 28th February 1638.  The General Assembly of the Kirk declared episcopacy (Bishops) abolished and Charles prepared to send troops into Scotland to restore order.

In the summer of 1639, Charles puts together an English force, and the Bishop’s Wars with Scotland began in earnest.

King Charles summoned the Short Parliament in 1640 bringing an end to eleven years as solo ruler, after only three weeks it was dissolved on the 5th May, when he was refused funds for his war with Scotland.

Having advanced deep into England, the Scottish army found the army of Charles I waiting for them on the southern bank of the River Tyne at Newburn.  Charging across the river under cover of artillery fire, the Scots swiftly put the English infantry to flight, and Charles was forced into agreeing a humiliating truce.

On the 3rd November, King Charles, close to bankruptcy summons the Long Parliament, another of his request for funds.  At this time Parliament declares his “Ship Tax” illegal, and on the 11th November they impeach the Earl of Stafford and Archbishop Laud on the 18th December.

On the 16th February 1641, the Triennial Act is passed, which states by law that Parliament has to sit at least once every three years.

A reluctant King Charles is forced into agreeing to the new Act of Attainder on the 5th May against the Earl of Stafford, who was executed on the 12th May.

On the 5th July Parliament dissolves: Courts of High Commission, Star Chamber, Council for Wales and suppression of powers of the Privy Council.  Then on the 1st September the House of Commons passes a bill, which saw the destruction of altar rails, crucifixes etc as introduced by Archbishop Laud.

On the 4th January 1642, Charles feared that his opponents in Parliament were intent upon seizing political control, but were prepared to go a step further and impeach his Catholic wife; Henrietta Maria.  Charles had to act first, and so he marched into the House of Commons, intent on arresting five members of parliament, but they had been warned and escaped and Charles left empty handed.

On the 10th January, King Charles and the Royal family leave London and set up court in York.

In March Parliament announces they would be acting independent of the English King, in matter relating to the defence of the realm.

On the 1st June Parliament issues nineteen propositions, requiring the King to relinquish military control and the right to appoint ministers.  On the 18th June Charles rejected the request.

On the 22nd August King Charles raised his standard at Nottingham, and so the English Civil War between Parliament and the King had begun.

Although Parliament had initially managed to gain control of major parts of southern England, there were pockets of resistance.  In the October some 10,000 Cornishmen rose up in arms for Charles I and drove parliament’s local supporters across the River Tamar.

Royalists won a tactical victory over Parliamentary forces at the “Battle of Edgehill” led by Oliver Cromwell.

Royalists won another victory over Parliamentary forces at the “Battle of Chalgrove Field” in 1643, and went on to capture Bristol.

In the spring Oliver Cromwell is promoted to Colonel of Horse, and on the 2nd July Oliver Cromwell’s forces achieve victory over the Royalists at “Marston Moor,” and later in the year Cromwell is promoted to Lieutenant General and Governor of Ely.

Charles I ordered James Butler, Marquis of Ormond to arrange a ceasefire with Catholic confederates in Ireland, so that the English Protestant soldiers fighting there could be shipped home to serve against the Parliamentarians.

Parliamentarian forces negotiated a treaty with the Scots, where they would send mighty Scottish forces across the border to northern parts of England to face Royalist forces.  In return they would keep Scottish Protestantism.

In 1644 the northern forces of King Charles were besieged at York by Parliamentarians and Scots fighting alongside each other.  Royalist support came to bear in the shape of the King’s nephew; Prince Rupert.  Triumph by Royalist forces turned in favour of Parliamentarians at the “Battle of Marston Moor,” and northern England was lost to the King.

In the February of 1645, Cromwell gets what he has called for: The New Model Army, created by Parliament, made up of fully trained soldiers, with General Fairfax as Command-in-Chief and Oliver Cromwell as Lieutenant General, in charge of cavalry.

On the 14th June, Cromwell’s New Model Army proves its worth, crushing Royalist forces at the “Battle of Naseby.”

In April of 1646, King Charles barely escapes with his life from the “Siege of Oxfird,” surrendering at Newark to Scottish forces.

In 1647 King Charles prisoner of the Scots, was handed over to Parliamentary forces in northern England, on the 30 January for the sum of £400,000.

Whilst King Charles is held prisoner at Holmby House, he plots his restoration and return to King and ruler of England.  In the June he is moved to Hampton Court Palace, and then Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight.

Charles makes an agreement with Scotland to attack England, leading to the second English Civil War.

King Charles turns down Parliament’s proposals for peace.  Cromwell steps in, and leads the New Model Army, crushing Royalist forces in Wales, and putting a stop to the Scottish invasion of England.  So it was, the Second English War ended on the 28th August 1648.

In the December, the New Model Army enraged by Parliament’s opposition to their political ideas, moved in and removed parliamentary members they considered untrustworthy.  Some 180 members were removed and 40 were arrested; the result the “Rump” Parliament of 160 members.

In January of 1649, a court of justice had been convened by the House of Commons, to hear the case against King Charles I.  For, he had been accused of treason against England; pursuing his own objectives, rather than those of England.

Charles, refused to plead, in the belief the court was unlawful, and that the monarch, had absolute authority of his kingdom, granted to him by God.

The court challenged the question of sovereign immunity, stating the King of England, was not a person, but an office to govern by the laws of the land.

On the 26th January 1649, the court had found him guilty, and sentenced him to death.  On the 30th January 1649 King Charles I of England was beheaded in front of the Banqueting House in Whitehall, London.

An act of Parliament was passed, on the 30th January 1649, forbidding the automatic succession of the son of Charles I.  On the 7th February, the office of the King had been abolished.

On the 9th February 1649, King Charles I was buried in Henry VIII’s vault, in St.George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

On the 18th May, an Act was passed, which declared that England was a Commonwealth, governed by a council, appointed by Parliament.

The Scottish and Irish, proclaimed they would assist Charles II, claim his rightful place, as King of England.

Determined to subdue Irish rebellion, parliament ordered Oliver Cromwell to lead an expeditionary force across the Irish Sea.  After landing at Dublin, Cromwell moved on to Drogheda where he massacred the 3,000 strong garrisoned army and defenders of the town.

Then in July of 1650, Cromwell’s army crushed loyal Scottish supporters of Charles II.  Defeating Dunbar and entering Edinburgh as the victor.

Desperate to recover his father’s throne, the heir of Charles I struck a bargain with the Scots in 1651, and was crowned King Charles II of Scotland at Scone Castle.

On the 3rd September, Scottish forces led by Charles II, come face to face with Cromwell’s forces at the “Battle of Worcester.”  Charles II had no choice, but flee into exile in Holland.

In 1653 Oliver Cromwell, a successful leader in the English Civil War, became one of England’s most powerful men.  On the 20th April angered that Parliament are stopping many reforms, marches into Parliament and dissolves it.

On the 16th December, a reluctant Oliver Cromwell, becomes Lord Protector of England’s Commonwealth.  He wore a purple robe, lined in velvet and carried a golden sceptre at the ceremony.  Similarities to a coronation were there, but the oath changed to “Save the Lord Protector.” In the eyes of the people, Cromwell was now King of England, in all but name.

In 1657 supporters of Cromwell put forward that he should appoint himself as, King Cromwell, but he rejected the offer.

On the 3rd September 1658, Oliver Cromwell dies at Whitehall and is buried at Westminster Abbey.

In 1659 Richard Cromwell (Lord Protector) son of Oliver Cromwel resigned in the May.

Parliament and the Monarchy were restored under King Charles II in 1660.

On the 30th January 1661, twelve years to the day, of King Charles I execution.  The bodies of Oliver Cromwell (Lord Protector), John Bradshaw (President, at trial of Charles I) and Henry Ireton (Cromwell’s son-in-law and General in the English Civil War), were removed from Westminster Abbey.

They were hung from Tyburn gallows in chains, and beheaded at sunset.  Their bodies tossed into common graves, and heads placed on spikes at Westminster Hall from 1661-1685.

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The Spanish Armada

Queen Mary I

Queen Mary I

Mary I married Prince Philip of Spain in 1554 at Winchester Cathedral.  Once crowned Queen of England, Mary burned many Protestants at the stake on charges of heresy, and restored Catholicism across England.

Philip spent little time in England, during their four years of marriage, for in 1556; he became King of Spain, and always considered himself King of England, until Mary’s death in 1558.

On the 17th November 1558, Elizabeth ascended to Queen of England, upon the death of Mary I, and restored the Protestant faith across her kingdom.

So it was, Queen Elizabeth I of England and King Philip of Spain, never saw eye to eye with each other.  Things got worse in 1585, when Elizabeth sent aid to Dutch Protestants, fighting for Independence from Spanish rule.

Queen Elizabeth I.jpg

Queen Elizabeth I

Philip retaliated, and pushed forward plots to murder Queen Elizabeth I and replace her, with Mary, Queen of Scots, of Catholic faith … but these attempts failed.

In 1586, Mary, Queen of Scots was brought to trial on charges of treason, plotting against the life of Queen Elizabeth, and found guilty.

King Philip of Spain received the support of the Pope in 1586, for an invasion of England, and the removal of the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I, from the throne.

NPG 1766,Mary, Queen of Scots,by Unknown artist

Mary Queen of Scots

The final straw came, when Elizabeth signed the death warrant for Mary, Queen of Scots, to be executed, on charges of treason, notably plotting against the life of Elizabeth.  On the 8th February 1587, Mary was beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle.

News reached the ears of Francis Drake, that the Spanish port of Cadiz was amassing ships and supplies, for an attack upon England.

Elizabeth sent Drake on a pre-emptive strike, to buy time for England.  In April of 1587, Drake rallied other ships for a raid, launching a surprise attack on Cadiz; destroying 24 Spanish ships and supplies.

By 1588, the Spanish had rebuilt their fleet, and the word was, they would sail first to the Netherlands to collect soldiers, and then attack London in force.

The English fleet was commanded by Lord Charles Howard and split into three forces, located at; Plymouth, Kent and Tilbury.

The Marquis de Santa Cruz, the intended choice to command the Spanish Armada, died in February 1588, to be replaced by the Duke of Medina Sidonia, but he lacked military and naval experience.

In July of 1588, 130 Spanish warships departed Lisbon, heading for Calais, and were first sighted on the 29th July, off the coast of Cornwall.  Southern coastal ports were notified, by fire beacons.

Drake playing bowls

Francis Drake Playing Bowls

According to legend, Francis Drake chose to finish his game of bowls, before setting sail from Plymouth, to engage the Spanish Armada.

Spanish Armada

Close Quarter Exchanges

Initially the English attempted to disable Spanish warships, with long range cannon fire, which only inflicted minor damage.  So they opted for repeated broadsides at close quarters, getting in and out quickly, resulting in many Spanish ships sunk.

Spanish Armada Fire Ships

English Fire Ships attack Spanish Ships

On the night of the 7th August 1588, eight fire ships, packed with explosives were pushed towards the Spanish fleet anchored between Dunkirk and Calais.  On the 8th August, English gunners crippled many Spanish ships as they tried to make their escape.

Fierce storms pushed remnants of the Spanish fleet northwards, and round the coast of Scotland.  King Philip’s attack upon England, and quest to remove Elizabeth from the throne, ended in disaster.

Both the Spanish and English ships flew flags displaying the Red Cross on white background.  The Spanish believed the Armada was a crusade to remove a heretic queen, and the English, because the cross of St.George had become England’s national emblem.

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English Crown = Norman Civil War

English Saxon Crown

England’s Anglo-Saxon Crown

1135 Stephen the grandson of William the Conqueror claimed the English throne on the death of Henry and was crowned King of England on the 26th December.  However, Henry’s choice of successor had been his daughter; Matilda.

1136 The Earl of Norfolk, a keen supporter of Matilda led a rebellion against Stephen.  Robert the Earl of Gloucester, an illegitimate son by birth of Henry I, once a supporter of Stephen, switched his allegiance to Matilda in 1138.  David I of Scotland, invades the English lands, showing support for Matilda, and her right to the English throne, but is defeated in battle at Northallerton.

In 1141 Matilda captures Stephen at the “Battle of Lincoln” and she proclaims herself Queen of England.”  What appeared to be a victory was scuppered as Robert the Earl of Gloucester is captured by Stephen’s forces, and Matilda is forced to exchange Stephen for his freedom.

1145 Stephen defeats Matilda at the “Battle of Farringdon.”

1147 Matilda’s son Henry Plantagenet is called to England, and Stephen hopes that his presence would put an end to his mother’s right to the English throne.  In 1148 Matilda is forced to abandon her cause to become Queen of England, and leaves English soil.

1151 Geoffrey of Anjou, husband of Matilda dies, and so their son Henry Plantagenet, becomes the Count of Anjou.  In 1153 Henry the new Count of Anjou, lands his forces in England and gathers support, for war against Stephen.

This Civil War between Stephen and Matilda is resolved under the “Treaty of Westminster.”  Stephen remains King for life, and upon his death, Henry Plantagenet, the Count of Anjou would become King Henry II of England.

1154 King Stephen of England dies, and was buried at Faversham in Kent.

1167 The rightful heir to the English throne according to the wishes of King Henry I, was that his daughter Matilda should have reigned… sadly that never happened, and after years of war between each other Matilda died on the 10th September at Rouen, and buried in the Rouen Cathedral in France.

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Battle of Mons Graupius

Roman Navy at war

Roman Naval Ships

The Romans landed in Britain in 43AD, and conquered this land, defeating the uprising led by Boudicca.  Britain was now under Roman rule.  Scotland’s inhabitants new they be at risk, from Roman forces, but had no intention of bowing down to the will of Rome.

In the year 79AD, a Roman fleet surveyed Scotland’s coastline, looking for weak points.  By 83AD, Roman forces had conquered parts of southern Scotland.  Scotland’s Caledonian forces faced an imminent invasion.  The Caledonian went on the attack against Roman forts and legions.  One surprise night attack by the Caledonian’s against the Roman’s nearly wiped out the 9th legion, but was saved by Agricola’s cavalry.

In the summer of 84AD, Agricola advanced into Caledonian territory in the north-east, hoping to force a battle.

Battle of Mons Graupius

Battle of Mons Graupius

“The Battle of Mons Graupius.”

Everything depended on this encounter.  Some 30,000 Caledonian’s faced a Roman army half its size, and they had the advantage of holding higher ground, it looked a foregone conclusion, it should have been a victory to the Caledonian’s.  What the Caledonian’s lacked was organisation and military tactics, as used by the Roman’s.

The Romans were tightly disciplined and relied on a short stabbing sword for combat.  Their front line was made up of Germanic auxiliary troops from Holland and Belgium, with the Roman legionaries following up at the rear.  At one point the Caledonians, using their greater numbers, outflanked the Romans only to meet hidden Roman cavalry suddenly closing on them.

Any hopes of a Caledonian victory soon vanished.  In a merciless bloodbath 10,000 were slaughtered.  Many fought valiantly to the end, others fled into the surrounding woods and hills, burning their houses in fear of Roman reprisals.

The following day… an awful silence reigned; the hills were deserted, houses smoking in the distance…

Wikipedia Images

Anglo-Scottish Wars

William Wallace - Robert the Bruce

William Wallace and Robert the Bruce – Edinburgh Castle

The Anglo-Scottish Wars were a series of military conflicts which took place between England and Scotland in the latter part of the 13th and early 14th centuries… Scottish Independence Wars.

With the death of King Alexander III of Scotland in 1286, the heir to the Scottish throne was Margaret, aged just four (known as the Maid of Norway).

In 1290, Margaret travelled to her new kingdom, and shortly after arriving on the Orkney Islands, she died leaving a country in crisis, as who would be their next King or Queen.

king edward I

King Edward I

Thirteen potential rivals for the throne stepped forward.  The Guardians of Scotland, feared a civil war, and called upon King Edward I of England to select a new ruler for them.  On the 17th November 1292 John Balliol was named King of Scotland and crowned shortly afterwards at Scone Abbey.  John Balliol, King of Scotland swore homage to King Edward of England on the 26th December at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

A Scottish Council of War was convened, consisting of four bishops, four earls and four barons in 1294.  This delegation negotiated an alliance with King Philip IV of France.  The Auld Alliance was agreed that outlined set terms, being that the Scots would invade England if England invaded France.  In return Scotland would receive support from France.

An outraged Edward discovered the Franco-Scottish treaty, his response was to invade Scotland and defeat them at the Battle of Dunbar on the 27th April 1296.  John Balliol was forced to abdicate his position as King; he no longer had control over his citizens.  Edward had the Stone of Destiny moved to London on the 28th August.  Parliament was convened at Berwick, where Scottish nobles paid homage to King Edward I of England.

William Wallace killed an English sheriff in 1297 and revolts broke out across Scotland.  Wallace’s force defeated the English on the 11th September at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.  In the October Scottish forces raided parts of Northern England.


William Wallace

William Wallace was appointed Guardian of Scotland, in the March of 1298.  In the July Edward invaded Scotland defeating Scottish forces at the Battle of Falkirk.  A defeated William Wallace was forced into hiding.

Further English campaigns took place by Edward in the years 1300 and 1301, which led to a truce between England and Scotland.

Stirling Castle was captured by English forces in February of 1304, and Scottish nobles were expected to pay homage to Edward.  The rebellion by Scottish forces against the English was all but over, and the final nail in the coffin was the capture of William Wallace on the 5th August 1305, betrayed by John de Mentieth, a Scottish knight.

William Wallace was escorted to London on the charge of treason.  He was brought before the authorities charged with treason and atrocities against civilians in war, and crowned with an oak garland, meaning he is the King of the outlaws.

His response was “I could not be a traitor to Edward, for I was never his subject.”  Wallace implied that John Balliol was his King.

On the 23rd August 1305 he was removed to the Tower of London having been found guilty of all charges against him, and stripped naked and dragged through the city streets.  He was then hanged, stopping just short of death, drawn and quartered; an English medieval ritual to ensure one could not rise again on Judgement Day.

His head was dipped in tar and placed on a pike on London Bridge.  The remaining four parts of his body were displayed separately in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Stirling and Perth.

William Wallace was seen by the Scottish people as a true martyr of Scotland, and as a symbol of the struggle for independence.  What he had started continued on after his death.

Robert the Bruce and John Comyn, two surviving claimants of the Scottish Throne, quarrelled before the High Altar of Greyfriars Kirk in Dumfries. Ending with the killing of John Comyn and Robert the Bruce, crowned King of Scotland in 1306.

Edward despatched an army to avenge John Comyn’s death and destroy Robert the Bruce.  On the 19th June English and Scottish forces met at the Battle of Methven Park, and defeated by the English.  Robert the Bruce barely escaping with his life, fled into hiding as an outlaw.

Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce

On the 10th May 1307, Robert the Bruce led Scottish forces against the English at the Battle of Loudon Hill, and were victorious.  On the 7th July King Edward I died aged sixty-eight.

Over the next seven years, Robert the Bruce established Scottish rule in north and western parts of Scotland, capturing many English held towns and castles across Scotland.

On the 24th June 1314, King Edward II forces met the Scots at the Battle of Bannockburn, and suffered heavy losses.

In 1320 Scottish nobles sent the Declaration of Arbroath to Pope John XXII, affirming Scottish Independence from England.

King Edward II

King Edward II

In 1322, Edward II raided Scottish lowlands and in 1323 a truce had been agreed by the two countries; England and Scotland.

King Edward II was deposed and murdered at Berkeley Castle, to be succeeded by his fourteen year old son Edward III.

The year 1328 was a joyous time in Scottish history.  The peace treaty known as the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton was signed, recognising an Independent Scotland with Robert the Bruce as King.  Robert the Bruce had achieved what William Wallace had believed in.

On the 7th June 1329, Robert the Bruce died and the Scottish crown passed to his four year old son King David II.

On the 12th August 1332, Edward Balliol son of John Balliol and disinherited Scottish nobles invaded Scotland, by landing in Fife.  Edward’s army defeated Scottish forces at the Battle of Dupplin Moor and was crowned King of Scotland at Scone on the 24th September.

Scots who were loyal to King David II, attacked Balliol at Annan, and defeated his forces.  Balliol escaped and fled by horse to England, joining up with Edward III.  In the April an English force laid siege to Berwick.

On the 19th July 1333, Scottish forces made an attempt to relieve the town of Berwick, but sadly they were defeated at the Battle of Halidon Hill, and subsequently Berwick was captured by the English.  By now much of Scotland was under English occupation.

In 1334, King Philip VI of France offered King David II of Scotland and his court asylum in France.  They felt they had no option but to accept the offer, and in the May put foot on French soil.

King Edward IIIIn 1337 King Edward III of England made a formal claim to the French throne, and he knew it would be rejected, so he will be remembered as the English King who started the Hundred Years War with France.

With Edward’s forces in France, Scotland was free of large English forces, giving Scots the chance to regain their lands.

After many years of fighting in which many of Scotland’s nobles had perished in battle, it was time for King David II to return home and take charge of his kingdom.  True to his ally Philip VI, David led raids into England around 1341, forcing Edward to pull back troops from France to reinforce the borders in the north.

David invaded England, capturing Durham in 1346, before being defeated on the 17th October at the Battle of Neville.  The Scots suffered heavy losses and King David was captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London.  Edward Balliol commanded a small force, and charged with reclaiming Scotland.

Edward Balliol relinquished his claim to the Scottish throne in 1356 and died in 1365.

The General Council of Scotland by way of the Treaty of Berwick agreed to pay a ransom of 100,000 marks for King David in 1357. Heavy taxation was imposed on its people, to pay the ransom.

In 1363 David made a pact with London; should he die childless the Scottish throne would pass to King Edward III of England.  This was rejected by the Scottish Parliament, preferring to pay ransom at all costs.  On the 22nd February 1371, David died and was succeeded by his cousin Robert II, grandson of Robert the Bruce and first Stuart ruler of Scotland.

Scotland went on to retain its Independence until 1707, when the Treaty of Union created a single kingdom of Great Britain.

King Edward III died on the 21st June 1377, and the balance of the ransom died with Edward.

(Image) William Wallace & Robert the Bruce: Pininterest
(Image) King Edward I – II – III: Wikipedia
(Image) Robert the Bruce: Wikipedia
(Image) William Wallace: Wikipedia

One Hundred Years War: Battles

Battle of Calais

The Hundred Years War:  England and France fought each other for the French throne, and English territories from 1337-1453.  The war was not fought continuously but in phases.  It started out well for the English, but by 1453, the tide had turned in favour of France, all English lands except Calais were lost.

The “Battle of Cadsand – (1337),” the first battle of the Hundred Years War, where Edward III raided the island of Cadsand… leading to an English victory.

The “Naval Battle of Sluys – (1340)” saw some two hundred French, Castilian and Genoese sail across the English Channel… for a prolonged invasion of England.

The English had a small fleet, but they had long bowmen situated on platforms at the rear of their ships, and were able to fire off arrows, much quicker than Frances crossbowmen.

The French were driven from their decks by a barrage of arrows, as ships closed in.  Grappling irons secured boats for boarding, as English forces scrambled onto French ships followed by hand-to-hand fighting.

The achieved victory, gave England control of the English Channel.

The “Battle of Auberoche – (1345),” was a battle fought between English and French troops over disputed boundaries… English forces won through.

The “Siege of Calais – (1346)“, tells of English forces capture of Calais, turning the area into their operations base.

The “Battle of Crecy – (1346)” was fought in northern France; an overwhelming defeat for the French, with a far larger army than the English forces.  Genoese mercenary crossbow men and French knights, proved no match for the English longbow men.

The “Battle of Saint – Pol – de – Leon (1346),” an English commander named Dagworth, withdrew his men, taking cover at a nearby hill, where they dug trenches and waited for the French.  He was not disappointed as General Blois and his infantry assaulted their position, and they were cut down by English forces, leading to an English victory.

The “Battle of La Roche – Derrien (1347),” England’s forces fell into a trap set by Duke Charles, luring Dagworth into a night battle.  The French overwhelmed them, Dagworth was forced to surrender.  Charles let his guard down, and English backup forces led to his defeat.

The “Battle of Saintes (1351),” where French forces attempted to capture the town, but English forces arrived, and were victorious.

The “Battle of Ardres (1351).”  French forces led by Lord Beaujieu, surrounded English forces under the command of John of Beauchamp as they withdrew from Saint-Omer, leading to a French victory.

The “Battle of Mauron (1352),” tells of an English captain, Breton captain and Franco Breton forces, meeting at Brambily, where the French were defeated… leading to an Anglo-Breton victory.

The “Battle of Poitiers (1356)” saw Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III of England, defeat the French army near Poitiers.  Yet again, the English longbowmen played a decisive part in the battle.  King John II (Jean II) of France was captured and taken to England, where he remained until 1360, promising to pay a ransom for his release.

During the French King’s captivity in England, Charles attempted to be crowned King of France, but the attempt failed.

A peace treaty was drafted in 1360, which coincided with John’s release, by 1369 the treaty broke down wand was resumed.

At the “Battle of Auray (1364),” English troops commanded by John Chandos lay siege to the town of Auray.  French forces lose and the town surrenders.  The French military leader; Bertrand du Guesclin is captured and held for ransom.

At the “Battle of Navarrette (1367),” fought between Anglo-Gascon and Franco-Castilian forces.  English forces were led by Edward, against Henry of Trastamara.  Henry’s half-brother assisted Edward in his defeat.

At the “Battle of Montiel (1369)” Peter had the support of Edward and England, Henry and France.  Peter lost the battle, as Edward withdrew his support, and Henry was victorious for France.

At the “Battle of Chiset (1373),” French forces attacked the town of Chiset.  The English called for help, but the battle was over before they arrived, and the French were the victors.

At the “Siege of Harfleur (1415)” King Henry V of England landed on French soil with 10,000 men.  The siege lasted about a month, and Henry’s forces were victorious, but at a price, his number had been severely reduced.  Next stop for Henry was Calais, but French forces intercepted him at Agincourt.

The “Battle of Agincourt (1415)”.  English forces under the command of King Henry V, defeated a superior French army, and his skilled longbowmen, won the battle for their King and England.

The “Siege of Rouen (1418-1419)” English forces reached Rouen in the July of 1418, and came face to face with the French commanded by Blanchard and LeBouteillen.  English forces found it impossible to breach city walls, and opted to starve out their enemy.  On the 20th January 1419, the French surrendered.

The “Battle of Bauge (1421)” French and Scottish forces joined up, attacking the English in Normandy.  Thomas, the Duke of Clarence’s force of cavalry and infantry, were not working with each other, as they attacked allied forces, which brought down their army and victory went to the Franco-Scots force.

On the 31st August 1422, King Henry V of England died at Vincennes in France, and two months later King Charles VI of France also died.

The “Battle of Cravant (1423).”  Following a standoff, Scottish archers began firing at the enemy.  Then under the protection of the longbows chose to cross the river.  The French withdrew their forces, as the Scottish forces fought on, only to be cut down.  This would lead to a victory for the English and Burgundian army.

The “Battle of Verneuil (1423).”  Some 15,000 French and Scottish troops attacked a 9,000 strong English force in Normandy.  As the French and Scottish forces charged, English longbowmen cut them down in their tracks.

The “Battle of St.James (1426).”  The battle took place at Avranches, between French and English troops on the border of Normandy and Brittany.  English forces overwhelmed the French, leading to an English victory.

The “Battle of Jargeau (1429).”  Joan of Arc and Duke John controlled French forces against the English.  The French assault started on the 11th June and on the 12th June, Joan called upon the English to surrender.  Even though the English suffered heavy losses, they battled on, refusing to give in, and were victorious over the French.

The “Battle of Beaugency (1429).”  French forces were losing control of the river crossings, one by one.  French determination won through, as English commanders were captured and longbowmen killed.

The “Siege of Orleans (1429),” will be most remembered when Joan of Arc, a 17 year old peasant girl, stepped forward claiming divine guidance.  Her actions marked a turning point for French forces, she would lead the troops to victory over the English.

In the year 1429, French became more victorious in battle against the English.  Joan of Arc put fire in the bellies of French troops, and she would lead them into battle.

The “Battle of Patay (1429).”  This victory is credited to Joan of Arc, even though the battle was won, before France’s main force arrived on the scene.

The “Siege of Compiegne (1430).”  Captain Louis led an artillery bombardment at Choisy.  As the French forces were victorious, Joan of Arc was captured, put on trial by the English and burnt at the stake as a witch in 1431, in Rouen.

At the “Battle of Gerbevoy (1435).”  French forces were commanded by La Hire and Jean Poton de Xaintrailles, who were victorious over English forces.  La Hire was promoted to Captain General of Normandy in 1438, and died in 1443 at Montauban.

The “Battle of Formingny (1450).”  King Charles VII of France, goes on the attack, pushing back a force of 5,000 English troops, into the town of Formingny.  French artillery open fire on the town, and only 1,000 English survived the bombardment.  Formingny marked an end to fighting in the northern territories of France.

The “Battle of Castillon (1453),” saw a victorious French army defeat English forces and marked an end to the Hundred Years War.  This battle was more about the use of cannons to achieve victory.

King Edward III of England had plunged the country into war against the French: “The Hundred Years War.”  Edward died in 1377 and so the reign of King Richard II began.  In 1396 Richard married Isabella of France, daughter of King Charles VI.

Richard and Isabella’s marriage, led to a twenty-eight truce in hostilities between the two countries.  It didn’t take long for the truce to be broken, and war to break out again.

The English failed to achieve victory in the Hundred Years War, even though they had achieved many victories.  After the Battle of Agincourt, the war changed direction, away from the English to the French.

England lost the war, all their territories except Calais, which was later captured in 1558.

Wikipedia Image