Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Restoration of the Monarchy

May 29th  
On this day in 1660, Charles II was restored to the throne at the end of the Commonwealth and Protectorate of Oliver and Richard Cromwell.

The Civil War that led to the creation of the Commonwealth is discussed in Spital Square on our Thursday morning “Aldgate, Bishopsgate and beyond – Priories and Play-Houses” walk (see also our May 19thCivil War and Commonwealth” blog post). 

Other notable Civil War localities in Greater London include Brentford and Turnham Green, where battles were fought in 1642 (see “The Battle for London” by Stephen Porter and Simon Marsh).

The site of the Battle of Brentford is marked by a granite memorial and by a commemorative and informative plaque (pictured, above).  According to the plaque, what happened here was as follows:

“Parliamentarians had arrived in the prosperous market town on Friday 11 November.  The following day the royalists marched from Hampstead Heath and in the early afternoon broke through a parliamentary barricade at the bridge over the Brent.

Near this information panel, the royalists were delayed, fighting two or three hours until the parliamentarian soldiers fled.  This position was defended by about 480 of Lord Brooke’s regiment and survivors of the earlier fighting, with two small pieces of artillery.   

The royalists soon gained the upper hand.  There seem to have been no civilian dead despite the capture of the town.  About 20 royalists were killed, and perhaps 50 parliamentarians died in the fighting with more drowning in the Thames.  Parliamentary Captain John Lilburne was amongst those captured”.

And what happened next was as follows:

“Later that afternoon the royalists pressed on towards London.  There were more parliamentary troops in a large open area, probably Turnham Green and Chiswick’s Common Field.  These green-coated men of John Hampden’s regiment of foot charged five times, holding the royalists back.  But with night coming and the royalists exhausted from fighting both sides disengaged.

The royalist soldiers who had captured Brentford ransacked the town ...

The Battle of Turnham Green took place the following day”.

John Gwyn, a royalist soldier, wrote:

“We beat them from one Brainford to the other, and from thence to the open field, with ... resolute and expeditious fighting, ...  push of pike and the butt-end of muskets, which proved so fatal to Holles’ butchers and dyers that day”.
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