​How Charles I's Royalist revival was crushed at Preston

Painting of Cromwell at Dunbar
The Battle of Preston, fought on 17 August in 1648, is considered one of the English Civil War's bloodiest battles, and saw an end to the second Royalist uprising.

This was a victory for Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army against Royalists and Scots led by the Duke of Hamilton.

King Charles I had surrendered to the Scots to bring about the end of the first Civil War, but they then handed him over to the English Parliament for the sum of £400,000.

He escaped and took refuge on the Isle of Wight, where he struck a deal with the Scots, despite their previous actions, to put him back on the throne.

The result saw Hamilton march an army of around 18,000 from Scotland and down through Lancashire, with Cromwell speeding from a successful campaign in Wales to meet him.

Cromwell's force of 9,000 was around half the number mustered by the Scots and Royalists, and the New Model Army had moved too quickly for its artillery to keep up. However, the Scots were poorly equipped, and their forces were strung out over many miles.

On 17 August, the New Model Army smashed into Hamilton's infantry at Preston Moor, driving the soldiers out of Preston and back to the Ribble, giving Cromwell’s troops a place to shelter from the rains that night.

The fighting continued into the following day when the Scottish infantry, who were now wet, hungry and hampered by damp ammunition, put down their weapons rather than continue the fight.

Hamilton led the men under his command south to escape, but after a seven-day pursuit he was forced to surrender.

Just 100 Parliamentarian troops died during the battle, but Scottish casualties were huge, with 2,000 killed and 9,000 captured. The defeat brought an end to Royalist hopes in the second English Civil War.

You can walk the battlefields of the English Civil Wars and examine the tactics and strategies of both parliament and royal leader with our expert guides. Tours based in both Oxford and Bath offer outstanding insight from historian Julian Humphrys.

Take a look at our English Civil War tour itineraries

More articles about the English Civil Wars
>> The Battle of Worcester: the final chapter
>> How divine right sparked the English Civil Wars 
>> Marston Moor - a reckoning for the Royalists 
>> How Cropredy Bridge created the New Model Army 
>> Julian Humphrys on his English Civil War tours 
>> ​The third and final siege of Oxford
>> The Battle of Naseby  

Picture credit: Cromwell and the New Model Army at Dunbar, Andrew Carrick Gow / Public domain