The Battle of Newburn
by Ellen Castelow
The only battle of the Second Bishops’ War was fought on the morning of 28th August 1640 between a Scottish Covenanter army of around 20,000 men commanded by General Alexander Leslie and English royalist forces led by Edward, Lord Conway.
The crisis stemmed from 1637, when King Charles I had attempted to impose a new prayer book on the Scots.
The two forces met at strategic crossing points of the River Tyne. Heavily outnumbered the English had constructed fortifications to help defend the crossings. Poorly sited however, the forts were simply bombarded by the superiorly positioned Scottish artillery.
Just two days later, the victorious Scots entered and occupied Newcastle.
This relatively small battle would have a much more of a political significance, ultimately leading to the outbreak of the English Civil War as King Charles was forced to install the Long Parliament.
Date: 28th August, 1640
War: Second Bishops’ War
Location: Newburn, Northumberland
Belligerents: English Royalists, Scottish Covenanters
Victors: Scottish Covenanters
Numbers: English Royalists around 15,000, Scottish Covenanters around 20,000
Casualties: Few (both sides)
Commanders: Lord Conway (English Royalists), Alexander Leslie (Scottish Covenanters – pictured to the right)
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