Conflicts – Fighting the British Civil Wars 1642-1649

Professor Peter Gaunt goes beyond the major set-piece battles such as Marston Moor and Naseby to explain that for most communities in England and Wales, this was a local or regional conflict of skirmishes and sieges which ebbed and flowed across the landscape.

By July 1646 Parliament had completed its victory in the First Civil War, but peace was elusive. The King’s intransigence, divisions between Parliamentary factions – particularly because of Protestant religious differences – and pressure from the Scots caused uprisings across the kingdoms, known as the Second Civil War.

The New Model Army responded and order was restored, but many Parliamentarian soldiers felt betrayed by the king’s machinations and demanded his trial. To settle what they believed was a ‘Debt of Blood’, Charles I was executed in Whitehall on 30 January 1649.

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The World Turned Upside Down
The World Turned Upside Down - The British Civil Wars 1638-1651
Conflicts - Fighting the British Civil Wars 1642-1649
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Peter Gaunt

Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Chester

Peter Gaunt is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Chester and is the current president and past chairman of The Cromwell Association. He has…

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Further reading

The English Civil Wars, 1640-60 London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2009

Blair Worden

The latter half of this continues the author’s brief and fast-moving survey of the mid-seventeenth century.

A Brief History of the English Civil Wars London: Robinson, 2009

John Miller

On the 1640s alone, gives a brief and fast-moving introduction to the period.

God’s Fury, England’s Fire: A New History of the English Civil Wars London: Allen Lane, 2008

Michael Braddick

A much more detailed narrative of the twelve years 1637-49.

The Oxford Handbook of the English Revolution Oxford: Oxford UP, 2015

Michael Braddick

A collection of clear overviews of different aspects of England and Britain during the 1640s and the 1650s.

The English Revolution, 1642-49 Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000

D. E. Kennedy

A straightforward (military and) political account of these years.

Politics and War in the Three Stuart Kingdoms Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2004

David Scott

Stresses the connections between England, Scotland and Ireland during the 1640s.

The English Civil War: A Military History London: Tauris, 2014

Peter Gaunt

Provides a crisp military history of the main civil war of 1642-46.

War in England, 1642-49 Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008

Barbara Donagan

Looks at aspects of the fighting then and in the later 1640s.

John Poyer, the Civil Wars in Pembrokeshire and the British Revolutions Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2020

Lloyd Bowen

Offers a fascinating insight into the leader of the renewed civil war in south-west Wales in 1648.



The English Civil Wars: A People Divided

A documentary series featuring leading historians which who trace the causes of the Wars, the key battles during the conflict and finally the trial and regicide of the King.

Episode 1 A People Divided Episode 2 A Nation at War Episode 3 To Kill a King