The English Civil War (1642-1651) started when Charles I raised his royal standard in Nottingham. The split between Charles and Parliament was such that neither side was willing to back down over the principles that they held and war was inevitable as a way in which all problems could be solved. The country split into those who supported the King and those who supported Parliament – the classic ingredients for a civil war. This blog will record my wargaming journey through the English Civil War using 28mm miniatures.
Saturday, 11 March 2017
Wednesday, 8 March 2017
Tuesday, 7 March 2017
Monday, 6 March 2017
Sir Ralph Hopton
Sir Ralph Hopton became the prime mover of Royalist activities in the west succeeding where other commanders failed in uniting the men of Cornwall with other Royalist forces in the West Counties into an effective fighting force. His first challenges was to control Cornwall which he did after victories at Braddock Down and Stratton.
His strength and weakness was his Cornish troops who, while ferocious fighters, were unwilling to fight outside the county of Cornwall. This unwillingness may have been the cause of his failure to take Plymouth and his reversal at South Down.
However the victory at Stratton over the Earl of Stamford caught the attention of the Court at Oxford who sent reinforcements under the joint command of the Marquis of Hertford and Prince Maurice of the Palatinate, Rupert’s younger brother. United under Hopton’s command in early 1643 this Royal Western Army invaded Devonshire and Somerset where they came up against the Western Association Army under Hopton’s friend and now rival, Sir William Waller. At Landsdown Hopton achieved a Pyrrhic victory but was only saved from defeat in the next encounter by the arrival of a relief force from Oxford under Prince Maurice which resulted in the smashing of Waller’s army at Roundway Down. Following this victory the Western Army split into two. An injured Hopton led some of his Cornish foot north to join with the King’s Oxford Army in taking Bristol and becoming that city’s Governor. The rest, under Prince Maurice, returned to Cornwall where it continued to try to subdue Exeter and Plymouth, capturing the former but fatefully not the later. Plymouth would defy the Royalists for the rest of the war.
In early 1644 Hopton led a now reinforced Western Army (Oxford troops under the Earl of Forth) ambitiously into Sussex where it met defeat at the hands of Sir William Waller’s re-built Western Association Army. For the rest of 1644 Hopton’s army was incorporated into the King’s Oxford Army.
In 1645 Lord Goring assumed command of the Western Royal Army for the campaign of 1645, a poor choice as by this time Goring had become a depressed drunk with a dislike of Prince Rupert. He failed to support the King’s Army at Naseby and led the army to unremitting failure into 1646. Even the return of Hopton in that year could not save the army against Fairfax’s New Model Army and the last Royalist force surrendered in March 1646.
Braddock Down (Minor Victory)
Stratton (Major Victory)
Lansdown (Minor Victory)
Roundway Down (Major Victory)
Cheriton (Major Defeat)
Listed below is a selection of the regiments who served at various times:
Regiments of Foot
Sir Nicholas Slanning
Regiments of Horse
Earl of Caernavon
Sir George Vaughan
Lord Hopton’s Dragoons
Text taken with courtesy from the Warhammer Historical ECW Yahoo Group.
Royalist Cornish Regiment of Foot serving with
Hopton’s army on his famous 1643 campaign.
Grenville's infantry fought for Hopton in a series of battles in south-western England during 1642-3. At the battle of Braddock Down in January 1643, Grenville led them in an uphill charge that won the battle for the Royalists. Hopton advanced into Devon but was surprised by Parliamentarian forces at Sourton Down in April 1643. Although the Royalists were routed, Grenville made a stand that saved their army from complete destruction. The Earl of Stamford then led a Parliamentarian invasion of Cornwall in May 1643 and took up a strong defensive position at Stratton. Grenville's knowledge of the local terrain enabled Hopton to mount a surprise dawn attack on Stamford's position. After a desperate struggle to reach the hilltop, the Royalists were victorious and the Parliamentarians were driven out of Cornwall.
In the summer of 1643, the Cornish army joined forces with a detachment from Oxford under the command of the Marquis of Hertford and Prince Maurice. The combined Royalist army marched eastwards against Sir William Waller, who occupied a commanding position at Lansdown Hill near Bath. Grenville's Cornish infantry stood firm when the Royalist cavalry was routed in the early stages of the battle, then Grenville led a counter-attack against the Parliamentarian position at the top of the hill. The Cornishmen succeeded in gaining the hilltop and forcing Waller to withdraw, but during the attack Grenville was wounded by a halberd blow to the head. He died from his wound the following day. Grenville's loss was a serious blow to the morale of the Cornish army, many of whom were killed in Prince Rupert's bloody assault on Bristol a few weeks after Lansdown.
Colours to to the rear!!