Battle of Worcester

The Battle of Worcester and its Aftermath - from Jerry Gandolfo: Site of the Battle of Worcester on the south side of the city; in the distance can be seen the cathdral

Battle of Worcester: September 3, 1651. The final battle of the English Civil War, in which King Charles II with an army of Royalist and Scots was defeated by Parliamentarians, or Roundheads, lead by Oliver Cromwell. The Battle has also been called, "Cromwell's Crowning Mercy."

The Battle: On January 30, 1649 King Charles I was beheaded by Oliver Cromwell in the culmination of the first phase of the English Civil War. Earlier in June of 1646, the Prince of Wales (Charles I's son) had escaped to France. In 1650 the Prince returned to Scotland where he was declared King Charles II. By the summer of 1651 he had returned to England with an army composed of Royalist and Scots. Being pursued by Cromwell's forces, Charles II abandoned London and by early August 23rd was at the fortified town of Worcester. There, with about 12,000 men, he was completely surrounded and trapped inside Worcester by a force of about 30,000 men of the Parliamentarian's New Model Army. On September 3rd the final battle was fought. Cromwell's main forces were to the east where he had set up an artillery park and had begun to bombard Worcester. Charles II made an assault against Cromwell's position, but was forced back. Meanwhile, other Parliamentarian commanders attempted to attach via crossings over the Severn River from the south. The attacks failed and Cromwell was forced to send a portion of his force to the south to prevent a defeat. Seeing this, Charles II again choose to assault Cromwell's now weakened force to the east. After a battle lasting about three hours, Cromwell's dispatched forces were able to return from across the river and soon the Royalist army was in full retreat back into Worcester. This time the Parliamentarians were able to follow the Royalist into the city. Abandoning the city and the battle, many Royalist units fled to the north only to captured.

King Charles' Escape: The St. Martin's gate remained the only gate, or exit, from Worcester still in Royalist hands, and then, just barely. Charles' quarters were in (what is called today) the Swan With Two Nicks Inn which was adjoined to the gate. As the Parliamentarian forces entered the front door of the inn, Charles slipped out the back. At the gate Colonel Richard Newman was waiting. No exact record what role Colonel Newman played is known. It is acknowledged however that in fact he enabled Charles to escape. Two consequences of Newman's actions however are known. For one, Newman was subsequently imprisoned by Cromwell. For the other, Charles remembered Newman's act and commemorated the deed with Augmentations to the Newman Coat of Arms. King Charles II escaped the city and spent the next six weeks as fugitive in the English countryside until he was able to escape to France.

The Restoration: Cromwell died on September 3, 1657, seven years to the day after the Battle of Worcester. His son, who succeeded him, had neither his father's ability nor support. A new Parliament was soon in place on May 24, 1860 Charles II returned to England at Dover and soon entered London as monarch. The Restoration was now in effect. Charles II, after returning to London did not forget his friends, especially the ones who had helped to save him at Worcester. As for the Newman family, besides tangible rewards that lead to the acquisition of Fifehead Manor, Evercreech Park and Cadbury Court, and the awarding of the Barony, an escutcheon gules charged with a portcullis imperially crowned was granted as an augmentation to the family Coat of Arms. (There is also some indication that Colonel Richard Newman may have helped to financially support Charles II while he was in France and may have also put the King in his debt.)

See also notes about Sir Hugh Wyndham who was also involved at the Battle of Worcester (or at least its aftermath).

Note: a very interesting and enlightening account of the English Civil War is to be found on a page dedicated to Sir Ralph Hopton who led the Royalist forces in the West of England, and who also happened to be the owner of Evercreech Park estate before it was owned by the Newmans.

Page Created 25 July 2002