The Siege of Loyalty House: A Story of the English Civil War

The Siege of Loyalty House: A Story of the English Civil War

by Jessie Childs
The Siege of Loyalty House: A Story of the English Civil War

The Siege of Loyalty House: A Story of the English Civil War

by Jessie Childs


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An immersive and electrifying account of a defining episode in the English Civil War that illuminates the human experience—and human cost—of this devastating war.

It was a time of puritans and populism, witch hunts and civil war.

Between 1643 and 1645, Basing House in Hampshire, England, was besieged three times. To the parliamentary Roundheads, the house symbolized everything that was wrong with England: it was the largest private residence in the country, a bastion of royalism and excess. Its owner, the Marquess of Winchester, reportedly had the motto Love loyalty etched into the windows. Winchester refused all terms of surrender. When he discovered his brother plotting to betray the house, he forced him to hang his accomplices. When the garrison divided along religious lines, Winchester expelled all the Protestants.

As royalist strongholds crumbled around the country, the Winchesters—and Basing House—stood firm. The famed architect Inigo Jones designed fortifications; gamekeepers became snipers; and the women hurled bricks at the besiegers. 'Loyalty House', as it was known, became the king's principal garrison. But the drum of the parliamentary army beat ever louder—and closer—and in October 1645, Oliver Cromwell rolled in the heavy guns.

The Siege of Loyalty House tells the story of these dramatic events, not only recounting the sallies and skirmishes, but the experiences of the men, women, and children caught in the crossfire. What was it like to be under siege, lying in bed with shells crashing through the window? What was it like to conduct a siege, sleeping on frosty fields, receiving news of sick children at home from desperate wives?

Ultimately, the story of Basing House is the story of England in the 1640s: a tale of brother against brother, of women on the frontline, of radicalism, iconoclasm, and fanaticism. It is a tale of destruction and derring-do, courage and cowardice, and a house on fire—the true end of an era.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781639363100
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 01/03/2023
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 375,567
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jessie Childs is the award-winning author of God's Traitors (winner of the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History) and Henry VIII's Last Victim (winner of the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography). She has written for several journals, including the London Sunday Times, the Guardian, and the London Review of Books. Her television contributions include the BAFTA-nominated Elizabeth I's Secret Agents (PBS) and two BBC series on Charles I. Jessie lives in England.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xi

Maps xii

Introduction 1

Part 1 The Shop of War

1 Snow Hill 9

2 The Apothecary 25

3 Waves of the Sea 34

4 Blessed Are the Peacemakers 50

5 The Bell Tolls 60

Part 2 The Autumn Assault

6 Stone Fidelity 79

7 A Slight Piece 95

8 Another Fling 104

9 The Strongest Place in England 108

Part 3 The Summer Siege

10 Paulet the Hangman 121

11 Worthies 130

12 Dog, Cat or Rat 146

13 A Special Operation 160

14 The Hand of God 166

Part 4 The Storm

15 Figures Set upon Horory Questions 179

16 Exodus 182

17 The Face of God 189

18 More Sulphur for Basing 195

19 Babylon is Fallen 207

Epilogue 219

Notes 239

List of Illustrations 297

Acknowledgements 301

Index 305

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