This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Totnes fell not soon after. It was clear he meant to ‘take’ Dartmouth and then move swiftly on to Plymouth.


It is difficult to imagine how it must have felt to have a Royalist army marching towards your little town. Although there was obviously fighting within some families, the majority supported Parliament and a course of action was soon decided upon. The town was fortified - at the time there were few ways in to the town, only tracks and narrow lanes, which were quickly blockaded. Guns were placed in every available high place, including both St Clements and St Saviours bell towers and Mount Boone was heavily fortified as the northernmost entry into the town at the time. Crowthers Hill was also barred and armed with large guns, as was the northern end of the Foss - now at the junction of Foss Street and Broadstone. The old chain across the river mouth was even repaired in case of a sea attack, the last record of it ever being used.


Meanwhile Thomas Newcomen, grandfather of the famous steam engineer, went to London to plead for funds to support the defence effort, to no avail.


After all had been done to make the town safe, the defenders settled down to wait. In late August


never taken, despite the Royalists trying to do so for three long years. Dartmouth’s


brave


but brief resistance was certainly not in vain – in fact the continued defence of Plymouth was one of the major factors in Charles’ eventual defeat.


It is difficult to imagine how it must have felt to have


a Royalist army marching towards your little town


Maurice and his troops arrived. Maurice offered generous terms if the town were to surrender, but they stoutly refused.


Then the rain began.


Maurice, in a delay which was to prove crucial, camped for a month before attempting a serious assault.


The Royalists attacked on October 4 1643 from


the Warfleet valley. They quickly took Paradise Fort giving them the ability to fire artillery at the town and the Castle. Dartmouth quickly surrendered rather than be bombarded and decimated. The defence and short sharp battle had cost the lives of 17 Dartmouth men. An occupation began which was to last three years.


Prince Maurice, after a month of virtual inaction, tried to quickly move on to Plymouth to consolidate Charles’ grip on the South West. But a month camping in miserable wet conditions, added to the fact the winter was now drawing in, hurt his campaign badly. Nicholas Roope along with all the other defenders at Plymouth had made good use of the delay and were ready for them. The town was


Above:


General Thomas Fairfax (1612-1671) by Robert Walker


The plan had been to take Dartmouth then Plymouth and use their two harbours to secure a safe supply route from Charles’ supporters in France. Without Plymouth, holding Dartmouth was next to useless because it was incredibly dangerous for ships to cross the channel, and Dartmouth was virtually cut off.


The three years of occupation were hard on


Dartmouth and its parliamentary supporters, many of whom were left almost bankrupt by the Royalists. Dartmouth was recaptured by Sir Thomas Fairfax in early 1646 after a decisive assault. They quickly took all the enemy positions including the decisive Paradise Fort. The Royalists retreated to Gallants Bower and Kingswear Fort too. But the fight was lost, and they soon fled or surrendered. Dartmouth’s resistance played a huge part in the war – ironically if Maurice had marched straight from Exeter to Plymouth he almost certainly would have captured it, and then could have subdued the rest of the county at his leisure, having secured a line of supply from the continent. •


English civil war map 1642 to 1645


63


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124  |  Page 125  |  Page 126  |  Page 127  |  Page 128  |  Page 129  |  Page 130  |  Page 131  |  Page 132  |  Page 133  |  Page 134  |  Page 135  |  Page 136