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Battle of Marston Moor

The Battle of Marston Moor, one of the decisive battles of the English Civil War, took place on July 2, 1644. The battle resulted in a Parliamentarian victory, and meant that, effectively, the North of England came under Parliamentary control.

Battle of Marston Moor
Dates of battleJuly 2, 1644
ConflictEnglish Civil War
Battle before
Battle after
Site of battlenear Long Marston, 11km west of York
Combatant 1Parliament
led byAlexander Leslie, Earl of Leven
Forces27,000 men
Combatant 2Royalists
led byPrince Rupert
Forces7000 infantry, 7000 cavalry
resultdecisive Parliamentary victory


The royalist position in North England was precarious by the early summer of 1644. The last major royalist stronghold, York, was under siege from Leven and Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester.

Prince Rupert decided to relieve York and marched north. Cavalry officer Oliver Cromwell, responsible for patrolling the area, reported Rupert's approach to Montagu, who together with Leven marched south to intercept Rupert. But Rupert evaded them, and found a small cavalry detachment under Sir Thomas Fairfax at Marston Moor. Fairfax recalled his superiors. Rupert called the Duke of Newcastle out of York for the upcoming battle.


Parliamentary forces were in the south, with their infantry under Leven and Manchester in the centre. Their cavalry was on the flanks, with Fairfax, Cromwell and Sir David Leslie in command.

Royalist forces occupied the moor, also with the infantry in the centre and cavalry under Goring and Byron on the flanks. Rupert commanded the reserve cavalry in the rear.

At about 6 pm, Leven ordered an advance, and Cromwell succeeded in routing the Royalist cavalry under Byron, assisted by Leslie when Rupert came in to support Byron. On the other flank, Goring routed Fairfax, and most of Goring's horse pursued them. The rest of Goring's horse assaulted the Parliament infantry, till Cromwell arrived to chase them off and assisted Manchester to take on the royalist infantry. The royalist whitecoats refused to surrender and were killed.


In this battle Rupert lost his reputation of invincibility, and Cromwell's reputation as a cavalry commander was made.

With the major Royalist force destroyed, York fell on July 16, and the Royalists lost their influence in Northern England.

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