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The First Battle of Newbury took place on 20 September 1643, in Enbornemarker and Wash Commonmarker adjoining Newburymarker, England, between Parliamentary forces under the Earl of Essex and Royalist forces under King Charles I in person, accompanied by Prince Rupert and Sir Jacob Astley. The two sides were fairly evenly matched; the King had about 8,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry while Essex had 10,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry. Both sides had about 20 artillery pieces.

Although the Royalists had arrived at Newbury ahead of the Parliamentarians, Essex made better use of the ground, securing positions on a hill overlooking the battlefield. While the Royalists succeeded in routing the Parliamentarian cavalry, they were unable to dislodge the infantry from their positions on the hill.

The battle was fought throughout the day, becoming a gruelling stalemate in which neither side won a clear advantage. The King, appalled at the bloodshed, rejected his advisors' suggestions that the battle should be continued into a second day and withdrew his forces to Oxfordmarker. The two sides had lost about 3,500 men between them but the Royalists had come off worst. The Earl of Carnarvon and the Earl of Sunderland had both been killed in the fighting. The command left by the Earl of Carnarvon was taken up by a Berkshire landowner named Richard Neville. ]Most dismayingly of all for the King, the Viscount Falkland, his Secretary of State, had effectively committed suicide by riding deliberately to his death in apparent despair at the horror of the Civil War...

The Second Battle of Newburymarker would occur a little over a year later.

References

  1. Richard Neville, National Portrait Gallery, accessed September 2009


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