Ward's Book of Days.

Pages of interesting anniversaries.

What happened on this day in history.

JULY 2nd

On this day in history in 1644, took place the Battle of Marston Moor.

Marston Moor was a battle of The Civil War in which the Royalist army under Prince Rupert was defeated by a combined force of the English Parliamentary army and a Scottish army. This decisive action led directly to the ultimate defeat of the Royalist cause.

In 1641, tension between Charles I and Parliament grew steadily until January 1642, when Charles left London and both sides prepared for war. Charles raised his standard at Nottingham in August 1642, and after some inconclusive battles withdrew to Oxford, which became his military headquarters. In 1643, Royalists took control Yorkshire at Adwalton Moor, while Parliament held London and pushed up to Lincoln. The Southwest became a Royalist stronghold in July 1642, when Charles's nephew, Prince Rupert captured Bristol.

In June 1644, Charles ordered a force under Prince Rupert to relieve the Royalist stronghold at York, which was under siege by the Parliamentarians. Rupert assailed the besiegers, relieved York, and pursued the Parliamentary army seven miles west, to a stretch of moor land known as Marston Moor. There, Sir Thomas Fairfax with a Parliamentary force, and Alexander Leslie, with a band of Scottish Covenanters, surprised Rupert with an early evening attack.

The battle lasted two hours. The left wing of the Parliamentary forces, under Oliver Cromwell, scattered Rupert's cavalry and then combined with Leslie to enclose the Royalist core. The Royalists lost 3,000 to 4,000 men, together with most of their cannon, with what remained of their army being forced to flee. Prince Rupert escaped unhurt, but his dog, Boye, was killed in action.

The Parliamentary and Scottish allies were able to resume the siege of York which fell on 16th July. With the capture of York, the Royalist lost control of the north. Cromwell’s success allowed him to emerge as the leading Parliamentary general. In 1645, Cromwell formed the New Model Army, a militia that would overwhelm all opposition and destroy the Royalist forces, bringing about the execution of the king and putting Cromwell in power.

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