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Newbury, battle of

Newbury, battle of, 1643. After relieving Gloucester in September 1643, Essex was shadowed on his return journey to London by Charles's army. The royalists reached Newbury a few hours before their opponents, cutting off the retreat, and took up defensive positions just west of the town. The king's army was some 10,000 men, Essex's perhaps a little less. On 20 September battle commenced with an artillery exchange but the fighting, though heavy, was inconclusive. Charles, running short of ammunition, was obliged to withdraw to Oxford, leaving Essex free to return to the capital. A royalist victim in the battle was Viscount Falkland, their chevalier sans peur et sans reproche who, despairing of the war, rode deliberately to his death in a hail of bullets.

J. A. Cannon

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Newbury, battle of

Newbury, battle of, 1644. Charles I's staggering victory at Lostwithiel in September 1644, when most of Essex's infantry had been forced to surrender, enabled him to take the initiative once more. While the parliamentarians regrouped and re-equipped, Charles moved to relieve Banbury, Donnington castle near Newbury, and Basing House. On 27 October he dug in at Newbury to face a superior force under senior command of Manchester. The parliamentary army was large enough to permit an enveloping move, but the east–west attack was badly co-ordinated and beaten off. Under cover of darkness, the royalists retreated to Oxford, but they had shown more enterprise than their opponents and boosted morale.

J. A. Cannon

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Newbury

Newbury, town (1991 pop. 31,488), West Berkshire, S central England. In a farming region, Newbury trades in wool, malt, and farm products. Paper, furniture, and metal products are also made. In the Middle Ages the town was an important textile manufacturing center. The 16th-century cloth hall contains a museum. Civil war battles were fought at Newbury in 1643 and 1644.

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