Sunday, 14 June 2015

Fun Facts About The Battle of Naseby

Image result for battle of nasebyThe Battle of Naseby

1. The Battle of Naseby was the decisive battle of the 1st English Civil war. Yes, there were two civil wars. The other one was pretty much immediately after the first. But, since there was a slight gap, it's classed as two wars. It was probably just an elaborate marketing stunt to sell more books.

2. On the 14th June 1645 not far from a small village called Naseby in Northamptonshire, smack near-enough-roughly-just-over-a-bit in the middle of England, the main army of King Charles-I-am-not-a-spaniel met with the Parliamentarian New Model Army (Ooh, look at me, I'm a pretty soldier). They had tea and scones, as it's England, and there has to be tea and scones, even if it's war. Be civilised, you toads.

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Charles I
3. The army of Charles-I-do-have-a-16inch-neck-why-do-you-ask? got their butts well and truly kicked. As well as butt-kicking, there was also some shooting-the-enemy in the head, stabbing with swords, poking with lances, and one bloke in the corner throwing One Direction records at passing cows.

4. The army of the King was commanded by the king himself, Charles-I-want-you-to-stop-admiring-my-neck and Prince Rupert of the Rhine, who was a right Rupert.

5. The New Model Army (just one more pose and that's a rap) of the Parliamentarians was commanded by Sir Thomas Fairfax and everyone's favourite right-git, Oliver-the-git-Cromwell.

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Prince Rupert
6. In early 1645, the Civil War had been raging for a few years, and King Charles' advisers were urging him to attack the New Model Army (we're going to try some bikini shots now) as it was still forming. But Prince Rupert-a-right-Rupert advised him to march north to subdue the North of England and join with Royalists in Scotland.

7. King Charles-I-need-a-head-to-live divided his army and marched North. That's up, right? Yep, upwards. He left Lord Goring (not boring, but was left snoring) to maintain the Siege of Taunton, in Somerset. That's south. Which is down, I think. Yep, downwards.

Taunton Castle
8. The New Model Army (what is pouting?) were going to help relieve Taunton, but thought, well, yeah, they can look after it themselves, we've some theme parks to visit. So they abandoned poor Taunton to fend for itself. Sir Thomas Fairfax was ordered by Parliament to besiege Oxford, which happened to be the King's wartime capital.

9. It's all fun until the hedgehog gets hurt. It was a prickly situation. But the king welcomed Fairfax attacking Oxford. Although Oxford was a bit miffed about it. The king thought it would help, as the New Model Army (stop winking at me) under Fairfax wouldn't be able to interfere with his march north. That's definitely up. I've checked.

10. It's never that easy, or simple. As it turns out, Oxford was short of provisions and couldn't hold out against Fairfax and his New Model Army (no, don't cross your legs, you'll crush something). The King ordered his army to attack Leicester (where Richard III is buried), to distract the New Model Army (hang on, are we talking about figurines?).

11. So, with a holiday in Scotland a bust, King Charles-I-really-don't-like-Cromwell and Prince Rupert-can't-dance turned south, downwards, for a march to Oxford.

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Lord Goring
13. The King sent a message to Goring-still-snoring to re-join with his forces so they could take the New Model Army (the flashes hurt my eyes) at Oxford (isn't that where the best university in England is located? Nah, that's Cambridge). But, Goring was actually busy snoring and ignored the King's orders. Sheesh, brave man. In another time that could get your head chopped off.

14. Parliament was alarmed. Generally, not specifically. However, specifically about the loss of Leicester. Not sure why. And if you have ever been to Leicester, you'd agree with me. Best thing about Leicester: the road outta there. They told Fairfax to abandon the siege of Oxford and get the heck to Leicester. Because, well, they do like to bury their kings in car parks in Leicester. And that was incentive enough.


15. Let's get the flock out of here. There are plenty of sheep in Northamptonshire. But there was also an abundance of New Model Army (lean against this pole). This the King didn't like. They retreated. But, which way. South? North? West? The other way? Maybe north again. Up, up, UP, and away.

15. The 13th June 1645 Oliver-the-git-Cromwell arrived to reinforce Fairfax with one goal. Lemme chop the king's head off?

16. King Charles shivered. Despite being loads of miles away, his future soul heard that.

17. The New Model Army (down the catwalk) took pursuit of the retreating Royalist army. In the evening of the 13th June 1645, part of the parliamentarian New Model Army (what no comment) attacked a Royalist outpost at Naseby. Yep, we're there. Finally. Sheesh, it only took to fact 17.

18. The King was advised to continue retreating. That's probably Prince Rupert-leaving-for-good giving that advice. Any more retreating would lower morale. The King slapped him with a wet kipper sending a clear message - We have Engaged the Borg.

19. On the morning of the 14th June 1645, the fields were shrouded in fog. Can't see a blooming thing in this. Are we sure there's an army here?

20. The Royalist army occupied a strong position on a ridge between the villages of Little Oxendon and East Farndon. The Royal Scoutmaster was sent to try and spot the Parliamentarian army. He didn't. What-a-plonker. It's right there.

21. Prince Rupert-that-fish-slap-hurt moved forwards to secure the ridge at Naseby. He thought it would be easy. He only spotted a few enemy cavalry, which he thought were retreating.

22. Fairfax considered occupying the northern slopes of Naseby ridge. But Cromwell-always-a-git sent a message: "YOLO", adding "I beseech you, withdraw to yonder hill, which may provoke the enemy to charge us."

23. He did, and it did. Fairfax moved his army back, and Rupert-gonna-get-us-all-killed prepared for battle. This basically involved make-up, a wind machine, and Chinese acupuncture. The licking of hedgehogs was just an unsubstantiated rumour.

Image result for battle of naseby24. The Royalists attacked first. Their centre advanced, and soon after both sides were hammering each other with everything they had. For the next three hours battle raged on the fields near Naseby. Prince Rupert's cavalry charged the western flank of the New Model Army and swept their horsemen aside, chasing them from the battlefield.

25. Whilst the cat's away: the Parliamentarian forces turned the tide in their favour. By the time Prince Rupert-late-to-the-party returned to the battlefield it was all but over. In fact, the Royalist army had been well and truly decimated.

26. The Parliamentarian New Model Army numbered 14,000 men.

27. The Royalist Army of King Charles I had less than 9,000 men.

28. Casualties for the Royalists: 1000 killed, 4000 captured or severely wounded.

29. Casualties for the New Model Army: 150 killed, 350 captured or wounded.

Image result for battle of nasebySir Thomas Fairfax took an army to Leicester and won the town back on the 18th June 1645. Afterwards, he took his army south and relieved the Siege of Taunton.

Goring was still snoring. And would be for the rest of his life.

The Royalist force had been devastated at Naseby. So much so, they didn't recover. It led to the Parliamentarian victory in the 1st Civil War less than a year later.

After the 2nd Civil War also ended in a victory for the Parliamentarians, the King was captured, tried, found guilty of treason, and Oliver Cromwell took quite the pleasure in pronouncing the words, "Off with his head."

And off did his head come. Charles the 1st was executed by way of separation of head from shoulders on the 30th January 1649.

The Monarchy was over. The Republic rises.

Oliver Cromwell was proclaimed Lord Protector of England.

Well worth a visit
Naseby, in Northamptonshire is easily accessible off the A14 if you want a visit. If that road had been there at the time, things would have been different. Not least due to the surprise of having a road for cars in the 1600s.

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