The English Civil War: Timeline 1640-46

A summary of events beginning with the summoning of the Short Parliament in 1640, leading to the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642, and the course of the war through to the surrender of the Royalist headquarters at Oxford in 1646.


Apr 13 King Charles I summons the Short Parliament, bringing his eleven-year Personal Rule to an end.
May 05 The King dissolves the Short Parliament when MPs refuse to grant him subsidies for war against Scotland.
Aug 28 The Scots defeat the English army at the battle of Newburn.
Oct 25 The Treaty of Ripon ends the Bishops' Wars.
Nov 03 Desperately short of money, King Charles summons the Long Parliament.
Nov 11 The Earl of Strafford impeached by Parliament.
Dec 07 The House of Commons declares ship-money to be an illegal tax.
Dec 18 Impeachment of Archbishop Laud.


Feb 16 The Triennial Act passed, guaranteeing that Parliament will be called at least once every three years.
Mar 22 Opening of the trial of the Earl of Strafford.
May 03 The House of Commons draws up the Protestation Oath against popery.
May 05 John Pym reveals details of the "First Army Plot": an alleged conspiracy by Royalist officers to coerce Parliament.
May 10 The King reluctantly assents to the act of attainder against the Earl of Strafford.
May 12 Execution of the Earl of Strafford.
Jul 05 Parliament abolishes the courts of High Commission and Star Chamber; the Council of Wales and the North abolished; powers of the Privy Council suppressed.
Sep 01 The House of Commons passes a resolution for the destruction of altar rails, crucifixes and other 'innovations' introduced under the Laudian reforms.
Oct 23 News of the Irish Uprising reaches London.
Dec 01 The Grand Remonstrance presented to King Charles at Hampton Court.
Dec 27-9 Riots at Westminster against bishops and papists.


Jan 04 The King fails in his attempt to arrest the Five Members regarded as his leading opponents in Parliament.
Jan 10 Popular support for Parliament forces the King and royal family to leave London.
Feb 12 The King refuses to surrender control of the militia to Parliament.
Mar 5 Parliament passes the Militia Ordinance, despite the King's objections.
Mar 19 King Charles sets up his court at York.
Apr 23 Sir John Hotham prevents the King and his entourage from entering Hull, the site of England's main northern arsenal.
Jun 01 The Nineteen Propositions passed by Parliament, requiring the King to give up control of the militia and the right to appoint ministers.
Jun 06 The King issues the first Commissions of Array.
Jun 18 The King rejects the Nineteen Propositions.
Jul 02 The fleet declares for Parliament and accepts the Earl of Warwick as its Admiral.
Jul 04 Parliament appoints the Committee of Safety.
Jul 10 The first military action of the English Civil War takes place when a Royalist raiding party approaches Hull to burn down buildings outside the town walls, but is driven away by gunfire from the defenders.
Jul 12 Parliament resolves to raise an army. The Earl of Essex commissioned Captain-General.
Aug 21 Prince Rupert and Prince Maurice join the King.
Aug 22 King Charles raises the royal standard at Nottingham Castle. King and Parliament now at war.
Sep 07 Sir William Waller captures Portsmouth for Parliament.
Sep 09 The Earl of Essex marches from London against the King.
Sep 23 Action at Powick Bridge near Worcester: Prince Rupert routs Essex's advance guard.
Oct 23 Battle of Edgehill: the Earl of Essex fails to prevent the Royalists advancing on London.
Nov 13 Royalist advance on London halted at Turnham Green.
Nov 29 The King's army withdraws to Oxford which remains the Royalist capital for the rest of the war.


Jan 19 Battle of Braddock Down: Sir Ralph Hopton defeats Colonel Ruthven and secures Cornwall for the King.
Feb 01 Treaty negotiations open at Oxford.
Mar 27 Parliament issues it first ordinance for sequestration (confiscation of Royalist estates).
Apr 14 Oxford treaty negotiations break down.
Apr 14 The Earl of Essex besieges Reading.
Jun 30 Battle of Adwalton Moor: The Earl of Newcastle defeats Lord Fairfax to secure most of Yorkshire for the King.
Jul 01 The Westminster Assembly meets to discuss reform of the Anglican church.
Jul 13 Battle of Roundway Down: Sir William Waller's Western Association army destroyed.
Jul 26 Bristol falls to Prince Rupert.
Aug 10 The King's army besieges Gloucester.
Sep 02 The Earl of Newcastle besieges Hull.
Sep 05 The Earl of Essex relieves the siege of Gloucester.
Sep 15 The Marquis of Ormond signs a one-year cease-fire with the Irish Confederates, allowing troops stationed in Ireland to return to England and fight for the King.
Sep 20 First Battle of Newbury; the Earl of Essex fights his way back to London.
Sep 25 The signing of the Solemn League and Covenant secures a military alliance between the English Parliament and the Scottish Covenanters.
Oct 12 The Earl of Newcastle abandons the siege of Hull.
Dec 08 Death of John Pym.


Jan 19 The Scottish invasion: the Army of the Covenant crosses the River Tweed and marches into England.
Jan 22 King Charles formally opens the Oxford Parliament.
Feb 16 The Committee for Both Kingdoms formed to co-ordinate the Parliamentarian and Scottish armies.
Mar 12 The trial of Archbishop Laud opens in London.
Mar 21 Prince Rupert relieves the siege of Newark.
Mar 29 Sir William Waller defeats Lord Forth and Lord Hopton at the battle of Cheriton; Parliament's first decisive victory of the war.
Apr 20 Allied Parliamentarian and Scottish armies besiege York.
May 16 Prince Rupert marches for the relief of York.
Jul 02 Battle of Marston Moor: Royalist power in the north of England ended.
Aug 30 The Marquis of Montrose raises his standard in Scotland.
Sep 02 The Earl of Essex abandons his army at Lostwithiel.
Sep 18 Battle of Montgomery: Parliamentarians gain control of central Wales.
Oct 27 Second battle of Newbury: Parliamentarian commanders bickering.
Nov 25 Oliver Cromwell presents his complaints against the leadership of the Earl of Manchester in the House of Commons.


Jan 04 Ordinance for a Presbyterian Directory of Worship to replace the Book of Common Prayer.
Jan 10 Execution of Archbishop Laud.
Jan 29 Opening of the Uxbridge Treaty negotiations between representatives of the King, Parliament and the Scots.
Feb 17 New Model Army Ordinance passed by the House of Lords.
Apr 03 Self Denying Ordinance passed by the House of Lords.
Apr 30 Sir Thomas Fairfax marches from Windsor with the main body of the New Model Army to raise the siege of Taunton.
May 30 Prince Rupert storms Leicester.
Jun 14 Battle of Naseby: the New Model Army inflicts a crushing defeat on the King's army.
Jul 10 Battle of Langport: the New Model Army advances into the West and defeats Lord Goring.
Aug 15 Battle of Kilsyth: the Marquis of Montrose defeats the Covenanters to briefly gain control of Scotland.
Sep 11 Fall of Bristol to the New Model Army. Prince Rupert in disgrace.
Sep 13 Battle of Philiphaugh: defeat of the Marquis of Montrose.
Nov 27 The Covenanter army besieges Newark.


Feb 16 Battle of Torrington: Sir Thomas Fairfax defeats Lord Hopton and the western Royalist army.
Mar 14 Lord Hopton surrenders to Fairfax.
Mar 21 Lord Astley and the last Royalist army defeated by Sir William Brereton at Stow-on-the-Wold.
May 03 The New Model Army besieges Oxford.
May 05 King Charles surrenders to the Covenanter army at Newark.
Jun 24 Surrender of Oxford.