THE ENGLISH CIVIL WAR
in Worcester, Bewdley, Kidderminster, Stourbridge
Thursday 26 May 2022
Max entered in 17th century costume, to loud applause from his audience. He was wearing a large hat with a plume, and carrying what appeared to be the traditional helmet worn by the Roundheads. He explained, however, that though the traditional view of the cavalier was that of a jolly chap in a large plumed hat, in fact the hat would have been worn by persons on both sides of the conflict. It was just a hat; in a similar way in which the helmet was an item worn by men on both sides. His costume was in fact that of a royalist ensign – the officer who carried the colours.
Max is an unabashed royalist, and he is an obvious admirer of the exploits of the dashing cavalry commander, Prince Rupert of the Rhine (King Charles’s nephew, whose sister Sophia is the ancestress of the British Royal House of Hanover).
He divided the War into three phases:
1642-1646 (the Battle of Naseby in 1645 led to the end of this phase)
1648 (at which point the Scots joined the War)
1650-1651 (the period when the Royalists were led by Charles II).
There were only 3-4 major battles – Edgehill (1642); Marston Moor (1644); and Naseby (1645); the battle of Worcester (1651) might also count as a major engagement.
Much of Max’s talk was taken up with the comings and goings of both armies in Worcestershire, when the city of Worcester and many of the towns were occupied in turn by the opposing forces. (He lamented the lack of acknowledgement by way of plaques and other memorials in many places in Worcestershire and the rest of the country of the exciting events which had taken place during this neglected period of English history.)
Evesham had its share of comings and goings being finally taken in May 1645 by Edward Massey (the Cromwellian governor of Gloucester) on behalf of the parliamentarians. The town was a rallying point for Cromwell’s army before the Battle of Worcester in 1651.
After the talk, Max was quickly surrounded by people eager to discuss the War and to study his many props (including a very impressive sword and a Royalist banner).