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Battlefield: Naseby

Before the Battle of Naseby the outcome of the First Civil War in Britain hung in the balance. After it, Parliamentarian victory was only a matter of time. Julian Humphrys looks at this pivotal moment…

The turning point of the civil war

ACTION PLAN A 1647 record of the battle at Naseby
ALAMY X1, TOPFOTO X1

BATTLE CONTEXT

Who

Royalists

Commanded by Charles I and Prince Rupert: 4,300 foot, 5,500 horse

Parliamentarians

Led by Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell: 6,400 foot, 7,200 horse, 1,000 dragoons

When

14 June 1645

Where

Naseby, Northamptonshire

Outcome

Decisive Parliament victory

Losses

Royalists

c1,000 killed, 4,000 captured

Parliamentarians

c450 killed and wounded

One foggy morning in June 1645, two armies faced each other across open fields, just north of the Northamptonshire village of Naseby. Although no one knew it then, in just a few hours the fate of a nation would be set.

The British Civil Wars had been raging across England, Scotland and Ireland for nearly three years but, until a few months before Naseby, neither the Royalists nor the Parliamentarians looked like winning it. In 1644, the Royalists had lost large tracts of land in North England, but attempts by the Parliamentarians to destroy their main field army, which was based at Oxford, had come to nothing.

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The Christmas 2015 issue of History Revealed