#375Edgehill: The Battle of Edgehill, 23rd October 1642

375 years ago today, the Battle of Edgehill took place just outside of Kineton, Warwickshire. It was the first of many pitched battles of the English Civil Wars that took place between 1642 and 1651.

Regimental Member Anne has written a follow up to her piece about the road to rebellion that was published a couple of days ago and has written all about what happened 375 years ago.

Late on 22 October, both armies unexpectedly found the enemy to be close by, near to Edge Hill, a few miles from Banbury. The next day, the Royalist army descended from Edge Hill to force battle, and the Earl of Essex marched out to meet them.

After the Parliamentary artillery opened a cannonade, the Royalists attacked.

The two armies were of approximately the same size; about 14,500 men. The Royal cavalry under Prince Rupert and Lord Wilmot pushed back the wings of the Parliamentary army, but in the centre the royal troops were themselves badly mauled.

Both armies consisted mostly of inexperienced and sometimes ill-equipped troops. Many men from both sides fled or fell out to loot enemy baggage, and neither army was able to gain a decisive advantage.
The Battle

Commanders & Leaders

Royalist                                                             Parliamentarian

Charles I                                                            Earl of Essex

Prince Rupert                                                 Lord Fielding

Earl of Forth

Lord Astley

Lord Wilmot


Royalist troops                                               Parliamentary  troops under the

12,400 – being:                                               15,000 – being:

2,500 horse                                                      2,300 horse

800 dragoons                                                 700 dragoons

9,100 foot                                                          12,000 foot

16 guns                                                                7 guns


Casualties and Losses  

500 dead                                                            500 dead

1,500 wounded                                                1,500 wounded


The Result

After only three hours of hard fighting neither side was able to make headway, and they broke off the fight as darkness descended.

Prince Rupert’s cavalry had much the better of the exchanges, but the parliamentary infantry stood firm, allowing both sides to claim victory.

Essex considered his army too badly damaged to resume the fight next day, and he pulled back his men to Warwick, leaving the road to London open to Charles’ army.

However, Charles’s natural caution asserted itself, and his leisurely advance by way of Oxford gave his opponents time to regroup and look to their defences.

By the time his troops reached Reading, Essex had regained London and a fresh force of men prevented any further royalist advance. Charles never again had so clear an opportunity to take London as he did after Edgehill.

The inconclusive result of the Battle of Edgehill prevented either faction gaining a quick victory in this (the First) Civil War, which eventually lasted four years.

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