23rd October 1642. Weaponry of the English Civil War.

‘O Lord! Thou knowest how busy I must be this day: If I forget thee, do not thou forget me’. The Royalist, Sir Jacob Astley (1579-1652) Prayer before Battle of Edgehill.(1)

Harry Payne.

Charge by Prince Rupert at Edgehill by Harry Payne (1858-1927).

The 1642 Civil War Battle of Edgehill, in Warwickshire was significant as the first battle on British soil since Flodden in 1513- the last of the medieval battles.(2)

Edgehill was the last battle in which men rode to battle in armour and the first time that medals for gallantry was made.(3)

The English Civil War was a transition from the medieval reliance of shock tactics of armoured horsemen, longbows, swords and lances as at Flodden, which also witnessed artillery being used for the first time.

It was the Civil War however which saw the increasing use of  mobile cannons,  along with pistols for horsemen and muskets, pikes and arquebuses by the infantry.

Musketeer with Musket

Royalist Musketeer with the muzzle-loaded, smooth-bore Musket which replaced the Arquebus.

By 1642 the expensive fully armed Cuirassier was a rarity, few horses, in any case were strong enough to bear the weight of full armour and only two regiments of Cuirassiers were raised.

One of which was Haselrig’s ‘London Lobsters’ in the Parliamentary Army of Sir William Waller, the last regiment to wear full armour in battle.



Theses regiments of horse were equipped with front and back plate armour plus helmet carrying weaponry of sword, pistol and carbine firearms which had a long arm but shorter barrel than the musket.

The heavy  armoured Dragoons of the time were in effect mounted infantry and not until the next century did they become the fast raiding, reconnaissance and skirmishing cavalry.(4)

 Sir Arthur Haselrig

Sir Arthur Haselrig in ‘Lobster’ armour.


Cuirassier armour of the ‘Lobster’ Regiment with all-enclosed helm.









(1) The Astleys came from Melton Constable, Norfolk. The baronetcy was created for Jacob who became a Baron of England on 25th June 1660.

(2) Flodden 9th September 1513.

(3) King Charles I had a grandstand view of the battle and as a result of what he saw, medals were awarded under Royal Warrant to two of his officers, Sir Robert Welch and Captain John Smith.

(4) The name Dragoon comes from the French gun called a ‘Dragon’.

Ref: britishbattles.com/edgehill/Pic Image of battle.

Ref: historyonthenet.com.

Ref: wikipedia.org/civil war weapons.

Ref: googleimages/Pics Ref of weapons and armour.


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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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