The Battle of Winceby

by Ellen Castelow

During October 1643 at the peak of the English Civil War, Parliamentarian troops were laying siege to the Royalist stronghold of Bolingbroke Castle.

Under the command of Sir John Henderson, a Royalist force of around 2,500 cavalry and dragoons set off from Lincoln to relieve the besieged garrison.

En-route to Bolingbroke the Royalists were intercepted by a similar sized force of Parliamentarian cavalry, close to the hamlet of Winceby in Lincolnshire.

In a battle that lasted little more than half an hour, Oliver Cromwell first lured the Royalists from the defensive position they were holding before leading a charge directly into the enemy ranks. Yet another famous name, that of Sir Thomas Fairfax, then joined the melee to complete the Parliamentarian victory.

The defeated Royalists fled the field, but were pursued and hunted down by the Parliamentarian cavalrymen for the remainder of the day.

This short but decisive battle witnessed not only the first important victory for Cromwell’s cavalry, but also the first action that he fought side by side with Fairfax. Together they would eventually lead the Parliamentarian New Model Army to complete victory in 1645-46.

Click here for a battlefield map.

Key Facts:

Date: 11th October, 1643

War: English Civil War

Location: Winceby, Lincolnshire

Belligerents: Royalists and Parliamentarians

Victors: Parliamentarians

Numbers: Royalists 2,500, Parliamentarians around 5,000 (circa 3,000 cavalry, 2,000 infantry)

Casualties: Royalists around 1,000, Parliamentarians around 20

Commanders: Sir William Widdrington (Royalists), Oliver Cromwell (Parliamentarians – pictured at the top of this article)


The Battle of Winceby

More Battles in the English Civil War:

Battle of Edgehill 23 October, 1642
Battle of Braddock Down 19 January, 1643
Battle of Hopton Heath 19 March, 1643
Battle of Stratton 16 May, 1643
Battle of Chalgrove Field 18 June, 1643
Battle of Adwalton Moor 30 June, 1643
Battle of Lansdowne 5 July, 1643
Battle of Roundway Down 13 July, 1643
Battle of Winceby 11 October, 1643
Battle of Nantwich 25 January, 1644
Battle of Cheriton 29 March, 1644
Battle of Cropredy Bridge 29 June, 1644
Battle of Marston Moor 2 July, 1644
Battle of Naseby 14 June, 1645
Battle of Langport 10 July 1645
Battle of Rowton Heath 24 September, 1645
Battle of Stow-on-the-Wold 21 March, 1646

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