Home Away From Home - January 1645 to May 1646
In the midst of the English Civil War, the pendulum of momentum swung heavily in favor of the Parliamentarian forces led by Lord Fairfax and one Oliver Cromwell. Many of Fairfax's top generals predicted that the war would soon be over by the end of the year, seeing as how the majority of the royalist land was hold up in Northern Wales and Cornwall. However the Parliamentarian forces had learned news that a large portion of King Charles I and his royalist were holed up in the castle of Oxford. The Parliamentarians sat and wait for the perfect opportunity to lay siege to the castle at Oxford. When news hit from a local spy amongst the town that Charles I had sent one of his top generals, Lord Astley to retrieve reinforcements from Wales. Sir William Brereton was given the responsibility to intercept Astley’s forces on the return journey back from Wales. Brereton and his forces routed Astley and his men, then quickly captured him as a prisoner of war. On the 18th of March, the committee in London ordered that 2,000 Parliamentarian troops, led by Colonel Charles Fleetwood, would besiege and take back the castle of Oxford and Charles I who had been holed up in the castle since early November. On the 30th of March Fleetwood and his troops met with Fairfax’s best men, and began to quickly stage skirmishes on the outskirts of the town of Oxford.
It was not until the 4th of April, that Fleetwood and his men began the actual siege of the actual castle of Oxford. The royalist were given extra support from incoming Colonel Henry Ireton to help relieve the pressure from Fairfax and his men in Oxford. For 11 long days, both sides traded blow after blow, neither side able to gain the advantage against one another. Though at around 6:00 PM, cannon shots were heard coming from the Woodstock Manor House, in which Commander Rainsborough and his men were able to finally punch a hole in the castle’s defenses, although he was quickly routed from the defending royalists forces, losing nearly 100 men and his life. On April 26th the House Manor finally surrendered the Governor and his soldiers, without their weapons. However news reached Fleetwood and his officers that the king, the royal family, and his loyalists were able to escape in the early morning of April 27th. Disguised as mere peasants trying to escape the war. On April 29th the House of Commons hearing of the King’s escape, prompted that “no one be allowed in or out of Oxford, and that the former king and his loyal dogs be apprehended as soon as possible.” Though many politicians and even Cromwell himself would not expect the interesting news that would hit them later...
This sudden string of events prompted King Charles I to escape from England entirely. It would take him a long time, and he knew that most would probably consider him a traitor to England itself. However, he believed the entire nation to be tainted beyond fixing, due to the six years of war that had wrecked most of the governmental infrastructure and alliances. He knew he would have to leave, but most places weren’t available for urgent living. He predicted that Scotland would simply let him be seized by Cromwell’s forces if he attempted to go there, and he didn’t believe that his allies in the Rhine would help him and his entire gang of royalists. Most of Europe was inaccessible, due to many nations not wanting to be involved at all with the ordeal. However, in early May, he came up with a risky plan to ensure his survival and the survival of his children. For an entire week he conspired, meeting up with high officials who were loyal to him. He snuck on seven ships with his followers and family, most of which disguised themselves as colonists (some pretended to be rich traders, or captains). A merchant named Ainsley Smith accompanied them on this long trek across the Atlantic, to their new home in the Americas. Eighteen thousand people in Virginia would be there to welcome him, after he finished his journey to America in late June. Over the next few years, the Americas would experience a massive influx of more of his followers due to his rule in the region. This began the reign of the Kingdom of Carolina.
“Our homeland has been tainted; we must go find a new one, pure of all corruption and fallacy.” - A famous quote by Charles I, as told in one of the autobiographical recountings of his life.
Charles I, eternal and constant king of England, and ruler of Virginia and the Americas
~ The Faraway Kingdom ~
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