English Civil War Part 3
General unrest in the country
After Hamilton's surrender in the English civil war in the same month, August, a revolt against Parliamentary control happened in Kent. This revolt was of greater concern to Parliament as Kent was much nearer to London. 10,000 people gathered near Rochester and appointed the Earl of Norwich to lead them. Thomas Fairfax was sent to deal with the rebels. They met at Blackheath and the New Model Army easily dealt with them and one thousand rebels surrendered while the others dispersed. A number of towns in Kent supported the king; Maidstone, the county town, was among them. Many of the Kentish rebels simply dispersed and many returned to their homes in Kent, but a small number joined up with Royalists in Essex. Bolstered by these men, the Essex Royalists thought they were strong enough to take Colchester.
On June 13th, Fairfax entered Colchester. The fighting was particularly vicious and the Parliamentarian force lost 1,000 men. The Royalists had been promised an advance by the Marquis of Hamilton from the north, but as he had surrendered, this was not possible and on August 27th the town surrendered to Fairfax.
Charles was tried at Westminster Hall in January 1649, and found guilty that he had “traitorously and maliciously levied war against the present Parliament and the people therein represented.”
He was executed on January 30th 1649.
Lead up to civil war
The last bastion of Royal support at this time was Pontefract Castle. The castle held out and defied Cromwell even after the trial and execution of Charles 1st. It was only in March 1649 that those in the castle surrendered.
Still the Royalists fought on under Charles 1st's son, Charles 2nd and Cromwell had to put down insurrections in Scotland, in Dunbar in 1650 and again in Worcester in 1651. This last battle was the end of the civil wars.
Cromwell was becoming increasingly frustrated with those members of Parliament who had not passed reforms in either the political or religious spheres. This parliament devolved into a petty, self-perpetuating and unbending body, which lost credibility in the eyes of the army. Cromwell marched into Parliament in December 1653 with his army, and dismissed the members. It was replaced by his Barebones Parliament, a select parliament of committed Puritans who elected Cromwell as Lord Protector. The Monarchy was banished.
By 1655, Cromwell had dissolved this new Parliament as well as they were as inept as the previous one, choosing to rule alone.
In 1657, he refused the offer of the crown. In England, Lord Protector Cromwell reorganised the national church, established Puritanism, and presided over a certain degree of religious tolerance. Abroad, he ended the war with Portugal in 1653 and Holland in 1654, and allied with France against Spain, defeating the Spanish at the Battle of the Dunes in 1658. Cromwell died on 3 September 1658 in London. With Cromwell's death, the Commonwealth floundered and the monarchy was restored only two years later.
After the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, Cromwell's body was dug up and hanged.
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