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.

Who was Oliver Cromwell? Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Oliver Cromwell.

  • Oliver Cromwell was an English military leader and Member of Parliament. He is best known for being Lord Protector and helping to make England a republic.
  • Cromwell was born in Huntingdon in 1599. He studied at Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge, although he never graduated. He later studied law in London.

  • In 1628 he became a Member of Parliament and he later became a Puritan, determined to carry out the will of God. The Puritans believed that the Bible should determine the actions of daily life and that society should be unified.
  • In 1631, he sold his property, moved to a farm in St Ives (in what is now Cambridgeshire) and had a sort of spiritual awakening. He kept chickens and sheep, and sold wool and eggs to make money.
  • Although Cromwell had little military experience, he was appointed army commander when the English Civil War broke out in 1642, helping to overthrow King Charles I. He became Lord Protector in 1643.

Oliver Cromwell

  • In 1645, Oliver Cromwell became second in command of the newly created New Model Army. He enjoyed victories against the Royalists at Marston Moor and Naseby and gained English control over Scotland and Ireland.
  • He allowed Jews to settle in England, for the first time in almost 400 years. In 1647, he banned Christmas and other religious holidays, declaring them to be pagan festivals.
  • Cromwell died in 1658 in London, probably from septicemia resulting from a kidney infection.
  • Oliver Cromwell was buried in Westminster Abbey.
  • Cromwell’s son, Richard, succeeded him as Lord Protector. Richard resigned in 1659 and in 1660 Charles II came out of exile, the monarchy was restored and Charles was crowned as king.
  • In 1661, Oliver Cromwell’s body was exhumed and hanged.
  • A collection of his books, paintings and medals is on display in the Museum of London.
  • There is a Cromwell Museum in the Huntingdon school which he attended. The exhibits include his gunpowder flask, some of his medical equipment and a hat that he wore.
  • Oliver Cromwell has been featured in many books and several films. He was been played by many actors, including: Tim Roth and Richard Harris.
  • There are statues of Oliver Cromwell in London and Manchester.