Saturday, July 2, 2011

367 Years Ago Today: The Battle of Marston Moor (ELO Musical Accompaniment)


Marston Moor battlefield today

      The Battle of Marston Moor was fought on 2 July 1644, during the First English Civil War of 1642–1646. The combined forces of the Scottish Covenanters under the Earl of Leven and the English Parliamentarians under Lord Fairfax and the Earl of Manchester defeated the Royalists commanded by Prince Rupert of the Rhine and the Marquess of Newcastle.

Marston Moor

          During the summer of 1644, the Covenanters and Parliamentarians had been besieging York, which was defended by the Marquess of Newcastle. Prince Rupert had gathered an army which marched through the northwest of England to relieve the city, gathering fresh recruits on the way. The convergence of these forces made the ensuing battle the largest of the Civil Wars.

Studio of Anthony van Dyck, Portrait of Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Count Palatine, 1637, National Gallery, London

     The defeat at Marston Moor was a serious blow to the Royalist cause. Prince Rupert had been decisively beaten for the first time in the war and lost his reputation for invincibility. He was deeply affected by the defeat and suffered an additional blow through the death during the battle of his dog "Boye", a rare hunting poodle, who had been a constant companion by his side throughout his campaigns. Parliamentarian propaganda made much of this, treating Boye almost as a Devil's familiar.

Prince Rupert in battle accompanied by Boye (d. July 2, 1644) -- From the 1643 Parliamentary pamphlet entitled "The Cruel Practices of Prince Rupert".

         By contrast, Oliver Cromwell's reputation as a cavalry commander was firmly established by the engagement . It was acknowledged that the discipline he had instilled into his troops and his own leadership on the battlefield had been crucial to the victory. Cromwell would later declare that Marston Moor was "an absolute victory obtained by God's blessing".  From this moment, he was to exert increasing influence both in the House of Commons and in the Parliamentarian armies in the field.

Marston Moor battlefield observed from "Cromwell's Clump"

The Electric Light Orchestra (l-r:  Bev Bevan, Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne) 

Cue:  The Battle of Marston Moor -- From Electric Light Orchestra, No Answer (Composer: Roy Wood)

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