Prince Rupert was determined to defeat the enemy quickly by any means. The two armies contested in Edgehill, in the vicinity of Stratford-on-Avon, on October 23, 1642.The royal army’s trump was battle experience, the radicalist soldiers’ trump was prayer. Rupert’s cavalry was the first to inflict a strike on the puritan militants’ rows. A huge mistake of the royal cavalrymen was their retreat, which enabled the adversary to get rearranged.
The outcome of that battle was never known for sure. However, it was clear that for a lot of parliamentarians that battle was the last one in their life. The London press announced the figure of 5 thousand soldiers killed in the battle, but according to the media statement, one dead puritan warrior accounted for 10 killed royal soldiers.
After the unclear Edgehill victory, the troops of Charles I withdrew to Oxford. The town also got split: the townspeople supported the radicalists, whereas the royalists were backed up by the Oxford University.
According to a witness, Charles I and his troops marched into the town with 70 flags waving above their heads. The Oxford University which was almost empty due to the desperate situation in the country served for troop housing, as well as for keeping weapons in premises arranged as warehouses.
Prince Rupert was absolutely decisive in his intent to make Oxford his stronghold. All structures in the vicinity of the university were blast out to disable the enemy from settling anywhere nearby. Rupert requested for each student to get involved in fortification of the walls with no labor compensation. Disobedient youngsters were taken in an underground jail.
Meanwhile the situation in Oxford got into the spotlight of the London press. The Oxford “prison” was depicted as a deadly trap for young scholars.
The building of Oxford became a sheltered venue for Queen Henrietta Maria to come back from Holland. In Europe, she had been raising money for the royal army’s needs by selling her jewellery.
To be continued…