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leaves Reading in Ruins



  • When Parliament wouldn't let King Charles I rule the country without their help, he declared a Civil War against them. 
  • The King made Oxford his headquarters. He was worried about Parliamentary soldiers attacking him from London. So he set up a Royalist outpost at Reading and made them give him lots of money.
  • There were 5,000 townsfolk. They had to find beds for 3,000 soldiers, plus all their horses, guns and ammunition!
  • A big earth bank and ditch was dug around the town to protect it from attack. There was no trade now. Everyone became very poor.
  • In April 1643, the Earl of Essex and John Hampden arrived with a parliamentary army. They made Southcote Manor their headquarters.
  • Reading would not surrender. It was put 'under siege'.
  • This meant that the Parliamentarians bombarded the town with cannon fire, while not letting anyone in or out. That way they would starve.
  • They blew off the spire of St. Giles' Church!
  • The King and his army marched to Reading to save the town. The governor did not know they were coming.
  • The governor surrendered, just as they arrived and started fighting the Parliamentarians at the Battle of Caversham Bridge. It was now too late for the Reading forces to help.
  • The King lost the battle and withdrew to Caversham Park. He was very upset.
  • The earl of Essex marched into Reading & made Walsingham House his headquarters. His soldiers took all got drunk and ransacked the town. Everyone was very unhappy.


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