Oxford surrenders to the Roundheads
The First Civil War was probably beyond saving for the Royalists after their disastrous defeat at Naseby in June 1645, but Charles fought on. He still held several great centres such as Newark , Hereford , Chester and Lichfield , but one by one they fell to Parliament and its Covenanter allies. The final set-piece battle of the war occurred on March 21 1646, a futile clash with Parliament’s technically superior and very experienced troops facing only half their number of Royalists, with inevitable consequences.
With the last desperate hope of resistance in the field gone, garrisons around England and Wales surrendered, though some were determined to hang on at all costs – Harlech Castle only gave in on March 13 the following year.
Charles himself was bottled up in Oxford, the end for that city, headquarters of the Royalist cause and seat of its wartime ‘Parliament’ only a matter of time. Charles, his hair cut short, sporting a false beard, and in the clothes of a commoner, fled the city with a few companions, at the end of April. Parliament was well prepared for an aggressive siege, which began on May 13 1646. Numbers, morale, weaponry and circumstances were all in the Roundheads’ favour. Oxford surrendered at the end of June, a point which for many historians marks the end of the First Civil War.
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