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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
- 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.