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Wars of the Three Kingdoms
Part of Third English Civil War
Date 25 August 1651
Location Wigan, England
Result Parliamentary victory
Belligerents
Roundheads Cavaliers.
Commanders
Colonel Robert Lilburne Earl of Derby
Strength
3,000[1] Between 600 and 1,500[1]
Casualties and losses
Royalists claimed 700 killed and more wounded. Lilburne stated he lost one corporal, ten soldiers but many wounded.[1] 60 killed with 400 captured.[2]

The Battle of Wigan Lane was fought on 25 August 1651 during the Third English Civil War, between Royalists under the command of the Earl of Derby and elements of the New Model Army under the command of Colonel Robert Lilburne. The Royalists were defeated, losing nearly half their officers and men.

Contents

Prelude

King Charles II accepted the Scottish throne which lead to an invasion of Scotland by the New Model Army under the command of Oliver Cromwell. Although Cromwell defeated a Scottish army at the Battle of Dunbar, Cromwell could not prevent Charles II from marching from Scotland deep into England at the head of another Royalist army. The Royalists marched to the west of England—English Royalist sympathies were strongest in that area—arriving at Worcester on 22 August 1651. He planned to rest his predominantly Scottish army there and await English Royalist reinforcements before pressing on to London. One Royalist contingent from the Isle of Man and Lancashire under the command of Earl of Derby, were heading towards Worcester, and it was the duty of Colonel Robert Lilburne to stop them.

On the same day that Charles II arrived in Worcester, Lilburne, having obtained a company of foot from Manchester, two more from Chester, and fifty or sixty dragoons, marched to Wigan, where he heard the enemy were gathering, hoping to surprise them. But he found they had moved off to Chorley. The next day, on hearing that the Royalists were at Preston, Lilburne set off in pursuit. He bivouacked within two miles of the town and sent out patrols to harass the enemy. The next afternoon the enemy retaliated. "A party of the enemy's horse fell smartly amongst us, where our horse was grazing, and for some space put us pretty hard to it : but at the last it pleased the Lord to strengthen us, that we put them to the flight, and pursued them to Ribble bridge (this was something like our business at Mussleburg) and killed and took about thirty prisoners."[3]

Lilburne now heard that Cromwell's own regiment of foot was approaching Manchester. Cromwell had detached it with a troop of horse to his assistance, from Rutherford Abbey in Nottinghamshire on the 20th or 21st. Lilburne therefore halted on the Ribble, thinking the foot would join him there. But these, though they had marched very rapidly as far as Manchester, were now obliged to advance with great caution, Royalists were reported to have 500 men in Manchester, and some of Derby's levies lying between them and Lilburne.[2]

Battle

The next morning, the 25th, Lilburne heard that Digby was marching towards Wigan, retiring, he supposed. He therefore followed. In reality, however, it was Derby's intention to fall on Cromwell's regiment before the horse could join it. When, therefore, Lilburne reached Wigan he found the enemy in considerable force, both horse and foot, marching out of the town towards Manchester. Being very short of foot, and the country being much enclosed and very unfavourable for cavalry, Lilburne determined to avoid a fight. Instead he intended to flank the Royalits in Wigan and march join the foot regiment before the Royalists could attack.[2]

Digby, aware of Lilburne's inferiority in strength, and intending to defeat the Parliamentary forces piecemeal before they could combine, wheeled about and marched back through the town to attack him. In spite of the unfavourable nature of the ground, Lilburne now decided to accept the proffered battle. Lilburne placed his horse in Wigan-lane, and lined the hedges with his infantry. As the Royalists approached they were met with a volley of musketry.[1] A fierce fight ensued in the same lanes through which Cromwell had chased the Scots in 1648.[2] Derby divided his force into two divisions of about the same size. Derby took command of the van guard and placed the rear guard command to Sir Thomas Tyldesley. Three times Derby lead a charge against Lilburne's cavalry and failed to break them. On the third charge the ranks of the Royalists were now severely depleted and were overwhelmed by the superior numbers of the Parliamentarians,[1] so after an hour's fighting the remaining Royalists fled the field.[2]

Lord Witherington, Sir W. Throgmorton, Sir T. Tildesley, and Colonel Baynton were killed or died of their wounds, with sixty others. Four hundred prisoners were taken, Cromwell's regiment, which was advancing to join Lilburne picking up many stragglers. Derby himself escaped badly wounded, and joined Charles at Worcester with only thirty horsemen.[4][5]

Aftermath

The Earl of Derby, was the Lord of Mann and had enlisted ten men from each parish in the Isle of Man a total of 170 men. David Craine, in his book Manannan's Isle states "those who did not fall in the fighting [were] hunted to their death through the countryside."[6]

This defeat was a sore blow to Charles as this was the only English Royalist force of any size to attempt to ride to his standard in Worcester. Without large numbers of English Royalists to support him Charles II's position was untenable and 9 days later his predominantly Scottish army of about 15,000 men were decisively beaten at the Battle of Worcester, by a Parliamentary army under the command of Cromwell and nearly twice the size. This victory brought to an end Third English Civil War and ushered in nine years of republican rule. Charles escaped to France and lived in exile on the continent until his return at the Restoration in 1660.

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e Draper, Chapter: Defeat of Charles and Capture of James, Earl of Derby
  2. ^ a b c d e Stanford Baldock,p. 501
  3. ^ Stanford Baldock, p. 500 citing "Lilburne to Cromwell, Cary, vol. ii. p. 338."
  4. ^ Stanford Baldock, p. 501 cites "Lilburne's Letters to Cromwell and the Speaker, Cary,. vol. ii. pp. 338–344 ; Hodgson's " Memoirs," p. 153."
  5. ^ Draper, quoting a Robert Lilburne's letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons:

    A List of the Prisoners taken at Wigan, August 25th, 1651.—Col. Throgmorton, Col Rich. Leg, Col John Robbinson, Col Baynes, Col Ratcliffe Garret, Adjutant General, Lieut.-Col Francis Baynes, Lieut.-Col Galliard, Lieut.-Col Constable, Major Oower, Four Captains, 2 Lieutenants, One Quarter-master, Twenty Gentlemen and Reformadoes, 400 Private Prisoners.—All their Baggage and Sumptures, Armes and Ammunition, the L. Derbies three cloakes with stars, his George, Garter, and other Robes.—Slaine and dead since they were taken :—The L. Witherington, Major-Gen. Sir Thos. Tilsley, Col. Math. Boynton, Major Chester, Major Trollop, and divers others of quality, whose names are not yet brought in, besides 60 private men.

    Draper also noted that Sir Robert Throgmorton, knight-marshal, was also left for dead upon the field of battle, but, being taken up by a poor woman, and placed under the care of Sir Robert Bradshaw, he recovered.
  6. ^ Craine, D. (1995). Manannan's Isle. The Manx Museum and National Trust. ISBN 978-0-901106-10-0.  

References

Further reading

  • Beamont, William (1864 editor). Remains, Historical and Literary: Connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chest Volume 62. Published by Chetham Society.pp. 70–78. Publication of a history written just after the Civil War called Discourse of the Lancashire Warr by Anon, although the Chetham Society surmised it was written by Major Edward Robinson (see preface xxiv-xxx) and it is written from the perspective of an ardent Parliamentarian.
  • Morris, Adrian. Report of Wigan Lane by Robert Lilburne, Wigan Archaeological Society. Cites "A History of Wigan" vol II by David Sinclair 1883, Reprinted as "The Battle of Wigan Lane" by Smiths Books 1987
  • Slingsby, Henry; Hodgson, John (1806) Original memoirs written during the great Civil war, the life of sir H. Slingsby [written by himself] and memoirs of capt. Hodgson, with notes [by sir W. Scott. Followed by] Relations of the campaigns of Oliver Cromwell in Scotland, 1650, Arch. Constable and Co. Edinburgh, and John Murray, 32 Fleet-Street, London. p. 152,153. Account by an Officer in Cromwell's own regiment.
  • Wyke, Terry (2004). Public Sculpture of Greater Manchester, Liverpool University Press, ISBN 0-85323-567-8 Page 425 "Wigan Lane Tyldesley Monumnet"
  • Sir Thomas Tyldesley 1612-1651, Tyldesley Family History
  • Sir Thomas Tyldesley's Regiment of Foote, Being part of The King's Army The English Civil War Society.

Coordinates: 53°34′N 2°38′W / 53.57°N 2.63°W / 53.57; -2.63


Wars of the Three Kingdoms
Part of Third English Civil War
Date 25 August 1651
Location Wigan, England
Result Parliamentary victory
Belligerents
Roundheads Cavaliers.
Commanders and leaders
Colonel Robert Lilburne Earl of Derby
Strength
3,000[1] Between 600 and 1,500[1]
Casualties and losses
Royalists claimed 700 killed and more wounded. Lilburne stated he lost one corporal, ten soldiers but many wounded.[1] 60 killed with 400 captured.[2]

The Battle of Wigan Lane was fought on 25 August 1651 during the Third English Civil War, between Royalists under the command of the Earl of Derby and elements of the New Model Army under the command of Colonel Robert Lilburne. The Royalists were defeated, losing nearly half their officers and men.

Contents

Prelude

King Charles II accepted the Scottish throne which lead to an invasion of Scotland by the New Model Army under the command of Oliver Cromwell. Although Cromwell defeated a Scottish army at the Battle of Dunbar, Cromwell could not prevent Charles II from marching from Scotland deep into England at the head of another Royalist army. The Royalists marched to the west of England—English Royalist sympathies were strongest in that area—arriving at Worcester on 22 August 1651. He planned to rest his predominantly Scottish army there and await English Royalist reinforcements before pressing on to London. One Royalist contingent from the Isle of Man and Lancashire under the command of Earl of Derby, were heading towards Worcester, and it was the duty of Colonel Robert Lilburne to stop them.

On the same day that Charles II arrived in Worcester, Lilburne, having obtained a company of foot from Manchester, two more from Chester, and fifty or sixty dragoons, marched to Wigan, where he heard the enemy were gathering, hoping to surprise them. But he found they had moved off to Chorley. The next day, on hearing that the Royalists were at Preston, Lilburne set off in pursuit. He bivouacked within two miles of the town and sent out patrols to harass the enemy. The next afternoon the enemy retaliated. "A party of the enemy's horse fell smartly amongst us, where our horse was grazing, and for some space put us pretty hard to it : but at the last it pleased the Lord to strengthen us, that we put them to the flight, and pursued them to Ribble bridge (this was something like our business at Mussleburg) and killed and took about thirty prisoners."[3]

Lilburne now heard that Cromwell's own regiment of foot was approaching Manchester. Cromwell had detached it with a troop of horse to his assistance, from Rutherford Abbey in Nottinghamshire on the 20th or 21st. Lilburne therefore halted on the Ribble, thinking the foot would join him there. But these, though they had marched very rapidly as far as Manchester, were now obliged to advance with great caution, Royalists were reported to have 500 men in Manchester, and some of Derby's levies lying between them and Lilburne.[2]

Battle

The next morning, the 25th, Lilburne heard that Digby was marching towards Wigan, retiring, he supposed. He therefore followed. In reality, however, it was Derby's intention to fall on Cromwell's regiment before the horse could join it. When, therefore, Lilburne reached Wigan he found the enemy in considerable force, both horse and foot, marching out of the town towards Manchester. Being very short of foot, and the country being much enclosed and very unfavourable for cavalry, Lilburne determined to avoid a fight. Instead he intended to flank the Royalits in Wigan and march join the foot regiment before the Royalists could attack.[2]

Digby, aware of Lilburne's inferiority in strength, and intending to defeat the Parliamentary forces piecemeal before they could combine, wheeled about and marched back through the town to attack him. In spite of the unfavourable nature of the ground, Lilburne now decided to accept the proffered battle. Lilburne placed his horse in Wigan-lane, and lined the hedges with his infantry. As the Royalists approached they were met with a volley of musketry.[1] A fierce fight ensued in the same lanes through which Cromwell had chased the Scots in 1648.[2] Derby divided his force into two divisions of about the same size. Derby took command of the van guard and placed the rear guard command to Sir Thomas Tyldesley. Three times Derby lead a charge against Lilburne's cavalry and failed to break them. On the third charge the ranks of the Royalists were now severely depleted and were overwhelmed by the superior numbers of the Parliamentarians,[1] so after an hour's fighting the remaining Royalists fled the field.[2]

Lord Witherington, Sir W. Throgmorton, Sir T. Tildesley, and Colonel Baynton were killed or died of their wounds, with sixty others. Four hundred prisoners were taken, Cromwell's regiment, which was advancing to join Lilburne picking up many stragglers. Derby himself escaped badly wounded, and joined Charles at Worcester with only thirty horsemen.[4][nb 1]

Aftermath

The Earl of Derby, was the Lord of Mann and had enlisted ten men from each parish in the Isle of Man, a total of 170 men. David Craine, in his book Manannan's Isle states "those who did not fall in the fighting [were] hunted to their death through the countryside."[5]

This defeat was a sore blow to Charles as this was the only English Royalist force of any size to attempt to ride to his standard in Worcester. Without large numbers of English Royalists to support him Charles II's position was untenable and 9 days later his predominantly Scottish army of about 15,000 men were decisively beaten at the Battle of Worcester, by a Parliamentary army under the command of Cromwell and nearly twice the size. This victory brought to an end Third English Civil War and ushered in nine years of republican rule. Charles escaped to France and lived in exile on the continent until his return at the Restoration in 1660.

References

Notes
  1. ^ Draper, quoting a Robert Lilburne's letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons:
    A List of the Prisoners taken at Wigan, August 25th, 1651.—Col. Throgmorton, Col Rich. Leg, Col John Robbinson, Col Baynes, Col Ratcliffe Garret, Adjutant General, Lieut.-Col Francis Baynes, Lieut.-Col Galliard, Lieut.-Col Constable, Major Oower, Four Captains, 2 Lieutenants, One Quarter-master, Twenty Gentlemen and Reformadoes, 400 Private Prisoners.—All their Baggage and Sumptures, Armes and Ammunition, the L. Derbies three cloakes with stars, his George, Garter, and other Robes.—Slaine and dead since they were taken :—The L. Witherington, Major-Gen. Sir Thos. Tilsley, Col. Math. Boynton, Major Chester, Major Trollop, and divers others of quality, whose names are not yet brought in, besides 60 private men.
    Draper also noted that Sir Robert Throgmorton, knight-marshal, was also left for dead upon the field of battle, but, being taken up by a poor woman, and placed under the care of Sir Robert Bradshaw, he recovered.
Footnotes
  1. ^ a b c d e Draper, Chapter: Defeat of Charles and Capture of James, Earl of Derby
  2. ^ a b c d e Stanford Baldock,p. 501
  3. ^ Stanford Baldock, p. 500 citing "Lilburne to Cromwell, Cary, vol. ii. p. 338."
  4. ^ Stanford Baldock, p. 501 cites "Lilburne's Letters to Cromwell and the Speaker, Cary,. vol. ii. pp. 338–344 ; Hodgson's " Memoirs," p. 153."
  5. ^ Craine 1995
Bibliography

Further reading

  • Beamont, William (1864 editor). Remains, Historical and Literary: Connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chest Volume 62. Published by Chetham Society.pp. 70–78. Publication of a history written just after the Civil War called Discourse of the Lancashire Warr by Anon, although the Chetham Society surmised it was written by Major Edward Robinson (see preface xxiv-xxx) and it is written from the perspective of an ardent Parliamentarian.
  • Morris, Adrian. Report of Wigan Lane by Robert Lilburne, Wigan Archaeological Society. Cites "A History of Wigan" vol II by David Sinclair 1883, Reprinted as "The Battle of Wigan Lane" by Smiths Books 1987
  • Slingsby, Henry; Hodgson, John (1806) Original memoirs written during the great Civil war, the life of sir H. Slingsby [written by himself] and memoirs of capt. Hodgson, with notes [by sir W. Scott. Followed by] Relations of the campaigns of Oliver Cromwell in Scotland, 1650, Arch. Constable and Co. Edinburgh, and John Murray, 32 Fleet-Street, London. p. 152,153. Account by an Officer in Cromwell's own regiment.
  • Wyke, Terry (2004). Public Sculpture of Greater Manchester, Liverpool University Press, ISBN 0-85323-567-8 Page 425 "Wigan Lane Tyldesley Monumnet"
  • Sir Thomas Tyldesley 1612-1651, Tyldesley Family History
  • Sir Thomas Tyldesley's Regiment of Foote, Being part of The King's Army The English Civil War Society.

Coordinates: 53°34′N 2°38′W / 53.57°N 2.63°W / 53.57; -2.63








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