How Cropredy Bridge created the New Model Army #90SecondHistory

William Waller
On June 29 in 1644, at the height of the English Civil War, Parliamentarian troops stalked Royalists along the River Cherwell. The subsequent fight became known as the Battle of Cropredy Bridge, and Parliament's showing led to the formation of the New Model Army. We explain all with our #90SecondHistory.

The battle of Cropredy Bridge was an opportunistic strike against the Royalist army by Parliamentarian forces led by Sir William Waller.

Waller was daring but his tactics were naive, and so the Parliamentarian's came off worse in the fight. The result of the battle was indecisive, but the repurcussions were huge. 

In the run up to Cropredy, King Charles had been defeated at Cheriton and was in danger of being surrounded in his capital, Oxford, so he marched his army out of the city.

Waller and his force of part-time troops stalked the Royalists along the River Cherwell, until they eventually faced off on opposite sides of the water. 

The Royalist army was strung out and so Waller ordered his troops to cross the river at Cropredy Bridge and attack the rearguard.

His troops overpowered the Royalist infantry, but the Parliamentarian soldiers had left themselves vulnerable to attack. Royalist reinforcements beat them back across the river and Waller's forces abandoned 11 guns in their retreat.

The Royalist's suffered just a handful of casualties and managed to slip away under the cover of darkness, taking the captured guns with them.

In contrast, Waller lost 700 troops, leading Parliament to believe that they could never win the war with part-time fighters. Less than a year later the well trained and professional New Model Army was formed and fighting, with devatating affect at Naseby.

Want to know more? Cropredy Bridge is one of the highlights of our English Civil War history tour, led by  expert Julian Humphrys. You'll visit the site of this battle and stand of the river banks where the two sides face off, as well as exploring Oxford and major battle sites at Edgehill, Naseby and Stow-on-the-Wold. 

  More articles about the English Civil Wars
>> The Battle of Worcester: the final chapter
>> How divine right sparked the English Civil Wars 
>> How Charles I's Royalist revival was crushed at Preston 
>> Marston Moor - a reckoning for the Royalists 
>> Julian Humphrys on his English Civil War tours 
>> ​The third and final siege of Oxford
>> The Battle of Naseby  

Picture credit: Charge during a re-enactment of the Battle of Cropredy Bridge, taken by Glenluwin.