Storming of Bristol - Background

Background

During the mid-17th century, Bristol had been one of the most important cities in England, second only to London in wealth. The Royalists had failed to secure it when the Civil War began, leaving it under Parliamentarian control although there were many Royalist sympathisers within the city. In July 1643, the city's garrison was weakened when several of its units were detached to reinforce a Parliamentarian field army under Sir William Waller. On 13 July, Waller's army was destroyed at the Battle of Roundway Down.

The Royalists quickly realised that this presented them with a great opportunity to capture important Parliamentarian-held towns in the south-west of England. Only two days after the battle, Prince Rupert marched from Oxford, the Royalists' wartime capital, with a large army. He also sent orders to the Royalist Western Army which had been victorious at Roundway Down, now under the command of his younger brother Prince Maurice, to march against Bristol from the south while he himself advanced on the city from the north.

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