A history of the regiment during the English Civil War - Part 2

Starting with the battle of Martson Moor through to Newbury and the aftermath that followed

Posted on February 08, 2022

Continuing on with our series covering the history of Edward Montagus regiment during the civil war we start with the battle of Marston Moor. The first part in this series is available here.

Marston Moor

On the evening of the 2nd July 1644 the Battle of Marston Moor was fought.  Both sides had originally settled down for the night expecting to fight on the morrow.  However the Scottish Generals persuaded the other Allied generals to attack.  The Parliamentarians started singing psalms.  Oliver Cromwell was in charge of the cavalry on the Allies left flank.  The infantry were formed up in three lines between the flanks of the cavalry.  Crawford's brigade was placed immediately to the right of Cromwell's cavalry.  This brigade consisted of the regiments of Montagu, Pickering and Russell.

A report by a member of the Eastern Association states that the brigade '..... had a hard pull of it, for they were charged by Rupert's bravest both in front and flank ..... but they pressed on ..... dispersing the enemies foot almost as fast as they charged them .....'. Another eyewitness stated that '..... what should I name the brigade of Colonel Russell, Colonel Montagu and Colonel Pickering, who stood as a wall of brass and let fly small shot like hail upon the enemy, and not a man of their whole brigade killed .....'. Although it is unlikely that they did not lose men it seems certain that their training prevented the foot of Rupert in front of them having much time to react.

Crawford's brigade, now supported by part of Cromwell's cavalry, faced the remnants of Rupert's cavalry - recently reformed after plundering the Allied baggage train.  Cromwell's cavalry charged and routed them.  Crawford's foot then attacked and defeated the foot that had formed up around this cavalry.


Surrender of York and After

The 4th July saw the Allies back in front of York. On the 13th Edward Montagu was sent to negotiate the surrender of York as the representative of Manchester's Eastern Association.  On the 16th the garrison, with the remnants of Rupert's foot, marched out with all honours of war.

Some of the Eastern Associations' senior officers had become dissatisfied with the Earl of Manchester.  After York this widened into a visible rift. Manchester wished to take the Eastern Association back to recruit and recuperate.  Cromwell and many of the senior officers, including Edward, wished to reduce the remaining Royalists garrisons - of which there were many.  The senior officers felt that if this was not done then all that had been gained at Marston Moor and York would be lost.  Manchester felt that Fairfax had sufficient force to do this.  The Eastern Association continued to discuss this whilst marching back to Doncaster.

At Doncaster a propitious situation occurred.  Colonel Lilburne with a small force had been besieging Tickhill castle nearby.  He lacked, however, both sufficient forces and cannon to take the castle.  Lilburne requested Manchester's help and was refused.  Lilburne then summoned the castle to surrender in the name of Manchester.  This worked and the castle and its garrison subsequently surrendered on the 26th July.  Manchester was furious.  A compromise was then almost certainly reached as part of the Eastern Associations foot, cannon and cavalry under Crawford was detached to deal with all Royalist garrisons found in the retiring path of the Eastern Association.

Montagu's regiment was a part of this force although Edward himself was not present.  In early August Edward had received information that his father was very ill and had returned to the house at Barnwell.  Edward left his Lieutenant Colonel, Mark Grimes, in charge of the regiment.

On the 2nd August 1644 Welbeck House, South Yorkshire surrendered to Crawford's force.  On the 11th Sheffield castle, South Yorkshire surrendered.  The preserved articles of surrender show Mark Grimes and Colonel Pickering as signatories.  On the 14th Bolsover castle, Derbyshire fell, followed on the 16th by Staveley House, Derbyshire.  In early September Crawford’s force rejoined the rest of the Eastern Association.  Montagu's regiment had started out in early 1644 with a strength of around 1000.  By the time the regiment returned in the following September death, disease and desertion had reduced it to around 300.


Newbury and the aftermath

On the 1st September the Southern Association army under the Earl of Essex was resoundingly defeated at Lostwithiel, Cornwall.  On the 18th October Manchester's army joined forces with the Western Association under Sir William Waller at Basingstoke, Hampshire. Parliament had ordered Manchester to join his army with Waller's and the remnants of Essex's and defeat the Royalist army then under the command of the king, Charles I.

The forces met at Newbury, Oxfordshire on the 27th October.  Manchester's army was detailed to take Shaw House, which was garrisoned by the Royalists.  The route to be taken to reach this objective was complicated.  By the time Manchester attacked in the early evening the defenders had been given plenty of time to strengthen the outworks.  The army met severe fire and Manchester called off the attack.  This allowed the King to extricate the defenders.  Senior officers requested permission to pursue the retreating Royalists but Manchester refused.  After this battle serious accusations were levelled at Manchester.  Cromwell and some of the senior officers, Montagu amongst them, brought an indictment against Manchester.

The rest of the year was spent by Montagu, Cromwell and the other officers testifying on behalf of, or against, Manchester.  Montagu is reported to have told the hearing '..... that he heard the Earl of Manchester say that he was against this war in the beginning of it and that if those who began it had to do it again they would be twice advised, or to that effect .....'. The members of the Parliamentarian committee set up to hear all points of view decided to take no action against Manchester.

You can read the final part in this series here.