Battle of Aldbourne Chase

The Battle of Aldbourne Chase, in 1643, was a battle of the First English Civil War, in which a flying column of Royalist troops, led by Prince Rupert, attacked the dangerously extended Parliamentarian troops of Essex's army at Aldbourne Chase in Wiltshire. The action that followed was inconclusive, but allowed the Royalists to get to Newbury ahead of the Parliamentarian army.

Battle of Aldbourne Chase
Part of the First English Civil War
Date18 September 1643
51.477°N 1.677°W / 51.477; -1.677
Result inconclusive
Royalists Parliamentarians
Commanders and leaders
Prince Rupert Earl of Essex
5,000 horse [1] 10,000 foot, 4,000 horse, 15-20 cannons [1]


After relieving the siege of Gloucester, Essex needed to bring his army back to London, and the Royalists saw an opportunity to stop him. Essex marched north on 10 September to Tewkesbury to feint an attack on Worcester. However, the Royalist army blocked his path at Pershore, and Essex decided on the southern path back to London through Swindon, Newbury and Reading. On 15 September, the Parliamentarian army turned south and scattered a Royalist garrison at Cirencester. The King's army, marching parallel to Essex, attempted to cut him off, and Rupert's cavalry rode ahead to intercept Essex. He met the army of Parliament on 18 September at Aldbourne.[2]


Dawn on 18 September brought wet weather. Rupert's cavalry found Essex's troops extended in line of March across Aldbourne Chase. A running action ensued, including a charge by Colonel Harvey against the Royalists to no avail. The battle passed through the village of Aldbourne, where ammunition wagons were upset and destroyed to prevent their capture.[1]


Following the action, Essex decided to take the route to Newbury via Hungerford,[3] where some of the wounded died.[4] This allowed the King's army to occupy Newbury on 19 September just before the Parliamentarians arrived. The delay at Aldbourne led to the First Battle of Newbury of 20 September.


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