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Civil War - 1642

As the summer of 1642 wore on, both sides raised troops. No serious actions occurred although many skirmishes and brawls were due more to the settling of local grievances than the wider national issues. The first serious action occurred around Portsmouth. On 4th August 1642, Goring declared the town for the King. A somewhat gentlemanly and amateurish siege began with William Waller rallying local supporters for parliament. With his garrison depleted, he surrendered to Waller on the 7th of September. Similarly, the Isle of Wight succumbed to parliament with Carisbrooke Castle surrendering on the 24th August.

After the fall of Portsmouth a rapid series of events occurred. Southampton generally allied to nearby Portsmouth, was riven with dissent. Military pressure from the local militia and navy forced their hand and the corporation submitted to parliament. The military situation was about to change. On December the 1st, Waller stormed Farnham Castle, which was to be his base for the remainder of the war. Moving onto the offensive, Waller chased a brigade of royalist horse to Winchester and the castle fell on December 13th. Excesses against both property and people in Winchester sullied Waller’s reputation, cost him his house in the city and stiffened royalist resolve in the county. These three main towns were the only ones permanently garrisoned by troop.


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