Battle of Chalgrove Field

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Battle of Chalgrove Field
Part of the First English Civil War
Date 18 June 1643
Location Between Chalgrove and Chiselhampton, Oxfordshire
Result Royalist victory
Belligerents
Royalists Parliamentarians
Commanders and leaders
Prince Rupert Sir Philip Stapleton
Colonel John Hampden +
Strength
1000 cavalry [1] 1150 cavalry and dragoons[1]

The Battle of Chalgrove was a small battle during the English Civil War in the county of Oxfordshire. It took place around 09:00 hours on the morning of 18 June 1643 in Chalgrove Field, northeast of Chalgrove in Oxfordshire. It was a minor Royalist victory and is notable for the mortal wounding of Parliamentarian Colonel John Hampden, who died six days later of his wounds.

Prelude[edit]

Acting on information from Colonel John Hurry, who had recently defected from the Parliamentarians, Prince Rupert took 2,000 men on the night of 17 June on a raid to harass the Earl of Essex's army and attempt to capture his payroll of £21,000.[2] On the morning of 18 June, Prince Rupert's force surprised and destroyed Parliamentarian garrisons at Postcombe and Chinnor.[3] The pay convoy evaded Rupert, and Parliamentarian troops led by Major John Gunter pursued Rupert back towards Oxford. Colonel John Hampden, the senior officer, put himself in Captain Crosse's company and fought as trooper. At Chalgrove, about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of the city, Rupert ordered his infantry ahead while his cavalry set an ambush.

Battle[edit]

The Parliamentarian horse charged through the great hedge and made a front of eight cornets leaving the two sides separated only by a ragged hedge. Leading the charge, Rupert

... set spurs to His horse, and first of all, (in the very face of the Dragooners), leapt the hedge that parted us from the Rebels.[4]

The Royalist troopers attacked while another troop blocked the Parliamentarian's reserve from entering the battlefield. The rebel force split from their reserves and unable to flee the battlefield suffered many casualties. During this fight, John Hampden was mortally wounded in the shoulder (some sources claim by two carbine balls, others by shrapnel from his own pistol exploding).[5]

Aftermath[edit]

John Hampden retired to Thame where he died six days later.[3]

Poor Hampden is dead ... I have scarce strength to pronounce that word.

Anthony Nicholl, M.P., on hearing the news.[6]

Following Chalgrove, Colonel Hurry led another raid a week later which swept around Essex's army and plundered Wycombe. This led to sharp criticism of Essex in London, and he offered his resignation, which was refused.

Today[edit]

The area is legally protected being a registered battlefield with English Heritage. It is marked by the Hampden's Monument.[1]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Battle of Chalgrove Battlefield Trust, Accessed 16 June 2008
  2. ^ English Heritage Battlefield Report: Chalgrove 1643, English Heritage, 1995
  3. ^ a b "1643: The siege of Reading and Chalgrove Field". 
  4. ^ Late Beating Up
  5. ^ "two carbine balls" (Britannica 1911, Hampden, John). Pistol exploded (Guest & Guest 1996,[page needed].)
  6. ^ Adair, John. "The death of John Hampden" (PDF). John Hampden Society. Retrieved 16 June 2008. 

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Coordinates: 51°40′N 1°04′W / 51.67°N 1.07°W / 51.67; -1.07