English Civil War: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the English Civil War.

  • The English Civil War was a series of battles fought between the Royalists or Cavaliers, and the Parliamentarians, also known as Roundheads. It took place between 1642 and 1651.

  • The Parliamentarian soldiers were known as Roundheads as many of them had short hair from being in the army. The Cavaliers were named after Spanish horsemen.
  • There were several causes of the English Civil War, including religious and political disagreements, and disputes over foreign affairs. King Charles I believed in the divine right of kings, and argued with Parliament.
  • There were actually 3 different conflicts, known as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Civil Wars. In general, the Royalists controlled the north of England, while the Parliamentarians controlled London and the south.
  • Some of the the cannons used in the English Civil War were so large and heavy, they needed 16 horses to move them. Most of the time, they were used to scare the enemy as they were not particularly accurate.
  • One of the most important battles was the Battle of Marston Moor in July, 1644 in which the Royalists were defeated. It is said that Oliver Cromwell’s ghost can often be seen at nearby Old Hall.
  • Charles I was executed for treason in 1649. Charles II hid in an oak tree and escaped to France, and Oliver Cromwell was made Lord Protector, basically ending the war.
  • In England an estimated 190,000 people died from fighting, and diseases caused by the fighting. In Ireland, over 600,000 people died from illness, famine and disease caused by the conflict.
  • Today, the Sealed Knot Society has several thousand members and regularly re-enacts battles from the period. It was named after a secret society supporting the Monarchy.

What next? Learn more about Oliver Cromwell, the leader of the Parliamentarian forces.

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