383 Choosing Sides

A general sense of disbelief that war was necessary persisted well into 1643. And yet, over time most were forced to make choices. this episdoe about what made them choose, as Charles raises his standard at Nottingham, on 22nd August 1642


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Last time, we heard about the war of words; how Charles managed to present himself as the defender of order – social hierarchy and permanence of tradition; defender of the Church of England and book of Common prayer. It was a powerful call to arms. Because he had a point; parliament did appear to be innovators, taking over royal prerogatives in the name of parliament and the people, accompanied by dangerous and radical ideas of liberty and individualism in politics and religion. We heard about Henry Parker, his belief that authority proceeded from the people, that the welfare of the people was the supreme law, and that while a king could be a tyrant, and representatives of the peoples’ parliament never could.

I think I promised you physical violence in this episode, and if so, I am afraid I lied, so sorry about that, I can be unreliable. This week in fat what we are going to do, is discuss how people made the agonizing decisions about which side to back, a choice that became increasingly urgent. But at the same time, was all this upheaval really necessary many had begun to ask? Had the king’s tyranny not been pinned back enough – after all, he says he promises to be good – maybe this time he means it? Why can’t the pair of them just sort it out. A peace party was appearing on both sides of the divide.

None the less. It was coming to the crunch; parliament and king were now demanding of people that they make a choice. Many simply could not believe that it had come to this:

It is strange to note how we have insensibly slid into this beginning of a civil war, by one unexpected accident after another, as waves of the sea, which hath brought us thus far, and we scarce know how, but from paper combats…we are now come to the question of raising forces and naming a General of Officers of the Army[1]

These are the words of Bulstrode Whitelock, a solid and reasonably well off member of the gentry, with houses by the Thames and up the hills near Henley. We have met Bulstrode already at the trial of Strafford, when Bulstrode the southern Softie was outwitted by the bluff Yorkshireman Strafford. Bulstrode left a long and detailed diary, which the great Victorian Samuel Gardiner found thoroughly dull; Bulstrode ‘dryasdust’ he called him. But Dryasdust or not, I swear you will find this quote in pretty much every book on the civil war. It shows the bewilderment that was shared by the large number of the English and Welsh as they slid into the blood red maw of civil war in a country which hadn’t seen a civil conflict on any scale since when? The Northern Rising of 1569 was a damp squib; the Commotions Time of 1549 I suppose, but for an army on the march on a significant, national scary scale don’t we have to go back to the Cornish rebellion of 1497,or the battle of Stoke 1487. I mean we could debate that, but whatever the tides and tensions in English society, it is cohesion, coherence and accommodation that is the far and away chief characteristic. Almost no one wanted to fight. And yet hundreds of thousands of English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish were about to nonetheless step into one of the greatest tragedies of our history. How people made the choice they didn’t want to make is the subject of this episode.

There are a couple of fundamental questions concerning civil War allegiances about which folks have argued back and forth, waving their papers in fury at conferences, rattling tea cup aggressively against saucer in chin wobbling frustration about the false steps and faux pas of their professional colleagues. One of these is why people made the choices they did? And whether ordinary folk like you and me – though of course I accept we are all of us extraordinary and there is no such thing as normal – whether ordinary folks really had any choice, or got involved in any way – or were simply, as David Underdown asks, merely cannon fodder in the war of the powerful and extremist, targets for plunder, pawns cocktailed according to the wishes of their social superiors? We had a famous philosopher at the time, Hobbesy by name, and he not only feared that life could be ‘Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’, but was frankly cynical about the motivations of the woman on the Clapham omnibus

There were very few of the common people that cared much for either of the causes, but would have taken any side for pay or plunder

For shame Hobbsey. But for the Kidderminster minister Richard Baxter, Hobbes was no kidder

The poor ploughman understood but little of these matters, but a little would stir up their discontent when money was demanded[2]

Talking of ploughmen, Nick of this parish sent me a note about a story a historian tells,  one of the many great stories of the Revolution. There we are at one of the biggest battles of the Civil War, Marston Moor in 1644. Rival armies all drawn up, hearts in mouths, cannons primed, ready for blood and glory. But unable to have at it because a sturdy yokel was ploughing his fields between them. He was rapidly brought up to speed about the war between King and parliament at which he leant on his plough, rolled his eyes and asked, “What has they two fallen out again?”[3]

Nice story, thank you Nick.

We’ve gone through various fashions of explaining how and why people got involved; there’s the deference theory which says this was a quarrel of the elite, a bit like the Wars of the Roses maybe, with ordinary folk just there to shoot and get shot – cannon fodder, sent to their deaths by their social superiors and landlords. Then we had a period where the idea of class struggle was popular – a politicised middling sort of merchants and lesser gentry seizing political control from the old guard. Christoper Hill and his like. And while the out and out Marxism thing might have departed stage left pursued by the lack of evidence, a sort of class explanation does remain, which was around at the time and of which people were very conscious at the time. Edward Hyde, who become Earl of Clarendon and increasingly posh by the time he wrote his history of the Rebellion, angrily accused the people of supporting parliament, not, of course, through any lofty belief in liberty and rule of law, oh dearie me no, their support was born of ‘natural malignity’, the ‘fury and licence of the common people’ – Acting direction note here by the way, take an enormous swig of port, let some dribble down your lips onto your chin as you spit bile on the common people’s ‘barbarity and rage against the nobility and gentry’. No one accused Clarendon of being Woke. But he was not alone. As the shooting started off, the Earl of Danby confidently predicted to his steward

The king would have the better, for the gentry would stick by him, but parliament had only the common people

Poor old parliament. In fact of course he was quite wrong in that many gentry did support parliament, but he was partly right, in that in almost all counties, except two I think, the royalist gentry outnumbered those supporting parliament – often by a significant margin, 2 to 1. But after the counting is done, there is no hard and fast rule; all you can conclude is that the higher up the social scale you go, the higher the proportion of royalists.

Then there is religion of course; remember the quiz, if you took part, many observers are convinced this is British Religious wars, a bit delayed maybe from the continental too’ing and ro’ing, but had to happen – and here it is. Lawyers Vs Clerics, Royalist Catholic and Anglican fun lovers stick the puritans & lemon suckers. Once again, it is impossible to create a hard and fast rule, but like social class you can identify tendencies. For contemporaries, politics and religion were almost inextricably intertwined; Arminianism was closely associated with papism and with tyranny for example. Richard Baxter looked around at his community and thought that those

Who were then called puritans…that used to talk of God and Heaven, and scripture and holiness, I say the main body of this sort of men…adhered to parliament.

Ok. Then on the other, Royalist side were

the gentry that were not so precise…against…an oath, or gaming, or drinking, nor troubled themselves so much about the matters of God and the world to come…but went to church and heard common prayer[4]

But again it’s not hard and fast by any means, you can find numerous examples that run against this grain.

There’s an important wrinkle to the Religion thing. One key motivator towards the start of the war sort of involved religion, but related specifically to Ireland. Richard Baxter again:

The terrible massacres of Protestants in Ireland and the threatening of the rebels to invade England were the chief reasons why the nation moved to a state of war

It’s difficult to understand the extent of this panic, which combined sympathy and a desire to help the co religionists they saw fleeing the violence in Ireland, religion, and simple fear of invasion and destruction.[5]

And that illustrates another principle motivator that drove the decisions of individuals; the desire to defend home and hearth, to concentrate on Not Dying, to keep their community together. A laudable emotion that might manifest itself in a number of ways. Here’s a particularly lucky parson from the land of the warriors, the heir to Penda the last pagan king, the Aetheflaed, Lady of the Mercians, conqueror of the Vikings – from the Midlands basically

When an uncivil war was being waged most fiercely between king and parliament throughout the greater part of England, I lived well because I lay low[6]

Penda would be horrified. But I think I might have been with that lucky Parson. But of course as time went by, continuing to duck became increasingly difficult; the demands for money, horses, provisions by king or parliament, and frequently both, made it harder and harder to stand to one side. Neutralism might result then in trying to duck; but one of the most utterly heart rending aspects of this period, is the attempt of local communities to refuse to fight. Right until bullet or pike met flesh, horses screamed, men, women and children died, many people did not believe war was coming and begged the king and parliament to get their heads together and sort this thing out. Communities tried to hold back the tide and simply refuse to take part – loyalty to the local community was all. And so gentries got together and made an agreement not to fight; fully 22 of the 38 historic counties negotiated such an agreement, and sometimes they were pretty aggressive about it; in Staffordshire they agreed to put a local army of 1,000 men together and chase away anyone who came to destroy the peace on their patch; they would just put their arms around each other and turn their backs on the world outside; after all, if you live in Stoke you have already won first prize in the lottery of life. Attempts to keep the world at bay went on well into 1643; in Dorset for example in 1643, the leading gentry agreed to bury the hatchet in the heads of any roundheads or cavaliers that came to call, or

All forces whatseoever that shall enter our territory

Devon, Cornwall and Dorset tried to set up a south West peace zone – but guess who didn’t turn up? Somerset that’s who. Tsk. Typical. Maybe the polar opposite of the ‘not in my backyard approach was the ‘just do what you are told’; many tried to just do what they were told when their county was taken over, which ever side was in control at any given time. South Wales was a good example of this where they tried to please both sides and acquired the name of ambidexters[7].

Which incidentally raises the question of how Catholics reacted; and it might seem that the rule of Thomas Hobson would apply. Thomas Hobson, it was said, was a livery owner in Cambridgeshire in the 16th century, who would give the buyer the choice only of the horse closest to the door of the stable – effectively no choice at all.  I mean if you were a Catholic given the invective against Papism of the likes of Pym, Warwick and the Covenanters you’d surely find your nearest royal recruiter and ask where to sign – a Hobson’s choice as clear as day, you’d have thought. And it is true to say that Catholics would form a disproportionately high percentage of officers in some royal armies, particularly in the north. But Hobson could not afterall really remove any choice – because you could always walk away and not buy any jolly old horse at all. And 2/3rds of Catholics did just that. They tried not to fight for anyone, and concentrate on Not Dying.

All the attempts at neutralism failed. But localism remained very powerful; even in 1645, after 3 years of war there will appear movements of the Clubmen, large numbers of people arming themselves to keep royalist or parliamentary armies off their patch. All of this, just as a plot spoiler, will fail.

There have been other attempts to create a general theory, and the most famous is delightfully and deliciously crafted by David Underdown from a study of South Western England, which is also, co-incidentally, where will come the strongest incidence of Clubmen. This is the idea that allegiances were driven by cultural characteristics that owed much to the typography and natural environment of the area where people lived. He traced a difference between those areas of the country dominated by arable areas and wood pasture areas. So Champion land, open countryside, with a predominance of arable farming demanded close cooperation of communities, the village was tightly nucleated, close knit communities where tradition and custom were strong, a culture of hierarchy and deference, a close attachment to the church of England. These lovers of social order would be inclined to support the side that had very effectively presented itself as the defender of order and stability and tradition. Long live King Charles!

On the other hand, many areas were characterised far more by dispersed settlement; unplanned ancient countryside, a land of wood and pasture, where rural crafts might be stronger, and the dispersed nature of pastural agriculture, the reliance on the resources of individual farms were the norm. There it is suggested, puritanism and religious pluralism, and radicalism flourished. These were the people who valued their liberty, independence and religious freedom, and would support their champion – God save parliament, our bulwark against the royal tyrant!

It’s very attractive theory, the sort of thing with an elegance that makes you want to believe it’s true. But there are simply too many exceptions for it to be a rule. The most obvious one is east Anglia; counties of open, rolling countryside and arable farming…also the most religiously radical outside London and the firmest supporter of Parliament throughout the war. The lead miners of Derbyshire were highly independent and you’d expect them to be core parliament territory; nope, they were staunchly royalist. So there we have it – another example of maybe an indicator sometimes, and a delightfully fun theory.

OK, howzabout Towns then? That must be an absolute gimme, a three pointer all the way home, or as one person put it,

Nurseries of faction and rebellion

I mean there’s London for crying aloud? All that mayhem and protest. And I mean yes, in many cases towns would be for parliament – the clothing districts in particular, driven by independent piece workers, traders and artisans; literacy was high in towns, puritanism and religious radicalism too, religions of the word. And in towns more than anywhere was a high proportion of the middling sort – these were highly politically engaged. So Coventry, west riding of Yorkshire, Birmingham, Norwich – all were strong supporters of parliament. But just as Mayor Richard Gurney in London had helped the king make a comeback and triumphant entry into London in November 1641, fought the likes of Isaac Pennington and John Venn, so the wealthy aldermen in many towns were either worried by the social chaos promised by religious radicals, or just wanted none of it – war was not good for trade. They often enjoyed political and commercial privileges under the king – what would parliament do to those? Bristol, Worcester, Gloucester tried to stay well out of it; in places like Leeds and Newcastle, there was a strong difference of opinion between the elite and the people. Oxford and Cambridge are interesting; there, the Gown was for the king, the Town for parliament. It is again, not simple.

Have you now had enough of not simple? Might be easier just to go for the good old traditional north and west = royalist, South and East = parliament, wham bang thank you Sam. Next! But hang on, even Wales isn’t simple. Everything I had read used to take it as read that for the Welsh, Charles was…well, king. And indeed there were very powerful magnates, the Marquis of Worcester at Raglan Castle, the Earl of Hereford, the Dacres in Wales who did indeed provide massive power bases for Charles. But there were also many powerful supporters of parliament – particularly the Herbert Earl of Pembroke in South Wales.

It’s complicated essentially, and in the end you have to get your hands dirty and understand the situation in each county. We are going to do a few, and a few families too, because the word I want you to go anyway with is division. The civil war divides everyone. Country, County, community, village, family. There are some indicators, but no hard and fast rules. The one that really brought that home for me was the Court interest – office holders of the king essentially, owing loyalty directly to the king, paid and employed by the king. 900 of ‘em, surely a shoe in. Wrong. About half did – the other half supported either parliament of stayed out of it.

I might take us to God’s own county of Yorkshire to illustrate the message of this week’s episode, which is that most people made decisions very reluctantly; that those choices depended on a vast array of local and personal factors; but that people did make a choice, one way or another. No one really believes anymore that the civil Wars were a purely elite affair like the wars of the Roses. People made an active choice for a side – king, parliament or simple survival.

So let me take you away from all this, and whip you off to Heworth Moor, 2 miles to the East of the glorious city of York. It’s 3rd June 1642 and by golly, an area which was normally windswept and deserted was heaving with people – ministers, Yeomen, husbandmen, a pretty fair cross section of society and there were 40,000 of them. That my friend, is a lot of people. They’d been summoned by the king, who intended to demand and receive their loyalty as he ramped up his campaign to build an army to crush the rebels. Majesty would be the watchword of this day, the king in Glory to dazzle his loyal people of Yorkshire.

So he arrived at Heworth Moor in all his glory; accompanied by his son and Heir Charles, and by his Nephew, Charles Louis the Elector of the Palatinate, and by 120 gentlemen in very shiny, buffed and burnished armour, and 800 of the Trained bands. After his announcement, he awaited acclamation and then silence, but received instead a confused clamour. Some cried

God Bless the king’

Which was you know, gratifying and as it should be. But hang on others were shouting

God Turn the King’s heart

Well now, Charles tried to address them all through his leading men. And there were a couple of royal proclamations, but I invite you to imagine the scene as one similar to Monty P’s rendition of the sermon on the Mount. Noone could hear properly. So most people spent their time discussing issues along the lines of whether he’d really said blessed are the Cheesemakers, and if that was in fact simply a metaphor for the makers of all dairy products. Almost no one would leave Heworth moor with any clue on why they’d been summoned.

But it was a scrum. As the event unfolded, Charles realised to his horror and frankly, injured outrage, that rather than reverence for the king head, there was politicking, and frankly bolshie-ness going on, hundreds of years before the Bolsheviks gave rise to the word, and this is, as far as the good people of Yorkshire are concerned, sui generis; Yorkshire folk are not given to just doing what they are told without a good reason. So, there were groups of gentlemen and gentry working the crowd for support – for king by some, but outrageously for parliament by others, like a socialism turning up to a meeting of the Newport Pagnall Conservatives’ annual tombola. This was not a royal progress this was a scrum – there were handshakes, pledges, deals, exhortations, pleadings curses going on all over the field. It was chaos! This was supposed to be a fundraiser, a royal recruitment! Instead here we had the indignity of the supposed fine leaders of society desperately bidding for the favour of the commoners.

Then a Yorkshireman on a horse approached the king’s party – it was a young soldier, who Charles had knighted on the eve of the Bishops war, had he remembered. The young man’s name was Thomas Fairfax and he looked to address the king. The guard and gentlemen around Charles drew their horses closer and tried to keep him away – but Fairfax would not be denied. He had a petition to present, from his community. But Charles refused to receive it – though Fairfax slapped the petition defiantly on the King’s pommel, Charles pushed his horse past Fairfax and refused to acknowledge him.

At this time, the Fairfaxes, relatively minor Gentry from the West Riding of Yorkshire, were worried about the king’s actions but not decided either way. As the king pushed them aside, he would live to regret his contemptuous dismissal, and his declaration later that the Fairfax and his supporters were

A few mean inconsiderable Persons, disliked…by the known Gentry, clergy and inhabitants of this whole county

Charles was wrong. I mean in a way he was right – the greater gentry of Yorkshire, including our traditionalist Henry Slingsby, were very much for the royal cause. But over the next 12 months, the Fairfaxes would build and fight for a significant part of Yorkshire. To some degree this would divide into a royalist east and parliamentary west, and the survival of a parliamentarian force in Yorkshire under the Fairfaxes would demonstrate a few points. Firstly, Fairfax was not a great lord; his was not a baronial revolt, a gathering of their tenants to fight for a cause whether they wanted to or not – they didn’t have that many tenants to order about anyway. Instead the Fairfaxes’ support would rely very much on the clothing towns of Yorkshire – places like Halifax and Bradford. These were people who were energised by news of the atrocities visited on Irish protestants and the fear the same threat was coming here; who looked for religious freedom, and were used to independence through their reliance on the rural trade of cloth production. They were also suffering – the cloth trade was in trouble from war here and abroad, and they were suffering great economic hardships; many of them saw this suffering in providential terms – God’s punishment for having permitted the sinful and idolatrous policies of Charles I. [8]

The struggle in Yorkshire is fascinating; if you are looking for evidence of a class struggle it’s a good place to start. The phrase clubmen appears, as the people of Bradford and Manchester across the border in Lancashire threatened local royalist estates; similar scenes took place in the Stour Valley in Essex; In Oxfordshire a libel had declared

The Gentry have been our masters a long time now and we may chance to master them[9].

A tract in January 1643 called Plain English praised the uprisings and celebrated the rights of ordinary people

Sure you are not so contemptible a thing as some people would make you; your right is much, and your power no less

Such words horrified the traditional Yorkshire Gentry, and scared them; William Saville for example was well known to the clubmen of Bradford as a rent racker, and in December 1642 they would take their revenge and raise his estates as close to the ground as was possible without a good strimmer. Royalist gentry outnumbered parliamentarian Gentry in Yorkshire by 2 to 1, and it was Bradford’s defiance which kept the Fairfax’s campaign alive[10]. Here is a theme we will return to many times – the world turned upside down. It extended not just from Gentry to common people; John Hotham was horrified at having to take orders from a family as lowly as the Fairfaxes. It was a horror that he would not manage to deal with. As we’ll hear; the very thought of taking orders from an oik like Fairfax offended his deeply touchy sense of lineage and precedence, his sense of honour.

Honour was another major motivator in another way, which often played for the king. After fighting for years on the royalist side, George Goring later reflected

I had it all from His Majesty, and he had it all again

One of the most famous family splits in the whole revolution was that of the Verney family. Ralph Verney was a fervent parliamentarian, who would fight for their cause. But none of the rest of his family would. His father, the head of the family, Edmund Verney had protested at the king’s actions in the 20s and thirties, but when the chips were down he went north to York to join him, and wrote

I do not like the quarrel and do heartily wish the king would yield and consent to what they desire; so that my conscience is only concerned in honour and gratitude to follow my master. I have eaten his bread and served him near thirty years, and will not do so base a thing as to forsake him

It’s very sad. Edmund would be welcomed by the king, and made his standard bearer. His son Ralph was the object of letters from his family both pleading and angry. A friend of his Mother, Anne Sydenham wrote of her anger at Ralph’s decision to fight for parliament and the people for whom he fought

For tis the liberty of the subject to take all …and to pull down their houses and imprison them and leave them to the mercy of the unruly multitude

In the end Ralph just couldn’t reconcile family and conscience; in the end he’d run away, and take his family abroad so that he could escape his choice.

For Thomas Fairfax honour was also a crucial part of his decision. But for him honour was less a matter of status and lineage, but of his civic duty, his responsibility to defend and lead the ordinary people of his community and defend their best interests. Thomas Fairfax is one of the revolution’s most attractive characters; he was relentlessly self-effacing and modest, even when he became Commander of the New Model Army in 1645. And now he was clearly reluctant to fight unless he had no choice. In September the Fairfaxes and others including our Henry Slingsby will sign a Peace Treaty, reserving Yorkshire to stand aside from conflict. It suspended all commissions of Array and musters of Militia bands. Like all the other 21 counties that tried to do the Cnut, hold-back-the-tide thing, it failed within a month.

Ok, that’s enough I think, although there will be more agonising about choices before we are done. How to summarise all this before we move on to our climatic scene of the week? Hopefully you have the message of families, counties, communities split; of active participation by all classes, of a politicised middle sort. That choices were made for a variety of reasons, from deference and loyalty, to religion, to resistance to tyranny, even to class. There are no hard and fast rules just indicators, and the Historian Mark Kishlansky probably summaries it as well as possible when he wrote this:

royalists fought for the traditions of religion and monarchy that their ancestors had preserved. They believed in Bishops and the divine right of kings…as the mooring of a hierarchy in church and state. Parliamentarians fought for true religion and liberty…their fundamental principle was consent – an ingrained belief in the cooperation between subject and sovereign’. [11]

I can see you rolling your eyes and saying ‘well why didn’t you say that then so we can get on with the fighting? We want blood…give us blood…’ and so on. Well you know, Kishlansky’s summarising. You can have too much of that, it’s a drug. Let’s get on with it though.

Now, Heworth moor was not one of Charles’ high spots, but he was learning. After all, he was now consistently doing what he had hated to do since he first came to the throne – engaging with the people. He didn’t have the Good Queen Bess common touch quite, but he’d made his great entry into Edinburgh, into London in November, and here at Heworth. We’ve see with Edward Hyde that he had that ability to make people feel special when he chose, draw them in. He went on a series of progresses now from York – Doncaster, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire; and most successful of all to Lincolnshire on 13th July, where crowds lined the streets and cheered, and he met all the local dignitaries,

Caressing the principal gentlemen, severally, familiarly and very obligingly

Said that way it seems a little dodgy, but hey, you don’t get to see royalty very much in Lincoln. So in a fit of enthusiasm they promised 400 cavalry to support him. The message as 1643 unfolds, is that Charles is perfectly capable of generating enthusiasm and loyalty from those that agree with his world view.

By August it was time. Charles felt that Hotham’s defiance and parliament’s stealing of military power was effectively a declaration of rebellion, and he was free to act; he had pressed the flesh, called on his great men, people were coming to his call and armies collecting under the Earl of Newcastle, the earl of Hertford, the Earl of Northampton and others. He had lift off, and he planned a great event to start the great crushing of parliament’s hope. It would be in Nottingham, and he would be surrounded by loyal, cheering crowds – his people as the great comeback was launched. On 12th August 1642 he sent out a proclamation ordering subjects to attend him at Nottingham on 22nd August

where we intend to erect our Standard Royal, in our just and necessary defence, and whence we resolve to advance forward for the suppression of the said Rebellion, and the protection of our good subjects among them, from the burthen of the slavery and insolence under which they cannot but groan until they be relieved by us.

The day dawned, and summer was not playing ball, it was rainy and blustery. In the morning, on a mound in the middle of Nottingham, the king gathered his loyal retainers, and there made his proclamation, and with great ceremony unfurled the royal banner set on a long red staff, with the St. George’s Cross, the Royal Arms, and the motto: “Give Caesar his due’. The drums rolled, the trumpets blared, they struck noble poses. Edmund Verney, now made Knight Marshal and firmly gripping the standard declared loudly that

they who would take that Standard from him must first wrest his soul from his body.’’

It was raining. As Charles looked out from the standard no one looked back – well in fact, about 30 miserable and rather wet looking individuals had come along, and stood there in the dripping rain. Then everyone wandered off. That night, the standard blew over and lay in the rain and the mud.

It wasn’t a great start. But We are off. England was at war. With itself.

[1] Jackson, C: ‘Devil-land’, p258

[2] Underdown, D: ‘Revel, Riot and Rebellion’, p1

[3] Braddick, M from https://blog.oup.com/2015/06/battle-marston-moor

[4] Hunt, T: ‘The English Civil Wars at first hand’, p95

[5] Kenyon, J: ‘The Civil Wars: A military History’, pp115-6

[6] Woolrych, A: Britain in Revolution’, p247

[7] Woolrych, A: ‘Britain in Revolution’, p248

[8] Hopper. A: ‘Black Tom: Sir Thomas Fairfax and the English Revolution’, p133I had it all from the king

[9] Healey, J: ‘The Blazing World’, p172

[10] Hopper. A: ‘Black Tom: Sir Thomas Fairfax and the English Revolution’, p140

[11] Hunt, T: The English Civil War at first hand’, pp95-6




3 thoughts on “383 Choosing Sides

  1. Gripping though increasingly sad episode. Thank you!
    Did anyone at the time comment on the near-blasphemous nature of “Give Caesar his due” or the dreadful omen of the standard blowing down? Charles is OK at thinking stuff up, but much weaker on actually doing them.
    And Shakespeare fans like me did notice that a self-declared Shakespeare hater (you) quoted the bard as much as Monty P in last week’s (excellent) episode.

    1. Hi Esme, I do look forward to your comments! I am very glad you pickled up on the tragic side of that. It’s all too easy to forget that it must have been a hideous time to live through. On the bard the thinbg is that he’s a deviloish weevil, his words burrowing into the language. Also, I may slowly be acquiring some intellectual maturity and bbeginning to forgive the guy for my school years!

      1. If I can repay a some of the great enjoyment I get from your work (and my membership), I’m very glad.
        The bloodshed will be horrible when it comes, but it’s been quite distressing to see Charles waltzing himself and so many others towards their doom in the calm conviction that he really couldn’t honorably (!) do anything else.
        As to Shakespeare, the people to be mad at are probably your teachers. My theory is that too many of them actually vaccinate students against literature, rather than introducing them to it.

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