Siege of Reading

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Siege of Readingore
Part of First English Civil War
Date4 November 1642 – 25 April 1643
LocationReading, Berkshire
Result Royalist garrison surrendered
Parliamentary army Royalist garrison
Commanders and leaders
Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex Sir Arthur Aston
King Charles I
Prince Rupert
16,000+ 2,000+

The Siege of Reading refers to the English Civil War military campaign waged to besiege a Royalist garrison quartered in the town of Reading, Berkshire from 4 November 1642 to 25 April 1643.


In early October 1642, King Charles returned to Oxford from the indecisive Battle of Edgehill (23 October). On 4 November, he entered Reading from Oxford and later that month retired, leaving a Royalist garrison of 2,000 foot-soldiers and a cavalry regiment under Sir Arthur Aston.

The town and townspeople suffered many privations due to the demands of the garrison for money and lodging.

On 23 April 1643, the Earl of Essex at the head of a Parliamentary army of 16,000 men left Windsor and laid siege to Reading using cannon. Despite attempts by the King and Prince Rupert to lift the siege, the Royalist garrison surrendered on 26 and 27 April 1643.

Except for a single Royalist incursion Reading stayed a Parliamentary possession for the remainder of the Civil War.


  • Barrès-Baker, Malcolm – The Siege of Reading: The Failure of the Earl of Essex's 1643 Spring Offensive (EbooksLib, 2004)

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Coordinates: 51°27′26″N 0°57′59″W / 51.4572°N 0.9665°W / 51.4572; -0.9665