The Civil War
The Battle of Brentford
Sunday 12 November 1642: An incident in the Civil War
After the Battle of Edgehill, the King’s army moved on Oxford whilst the Parliamentary army under the Earl of Essex retired to Warwick and thence to London. The King’s army moved towards London in early November and a battle between elements of the two armies took place at Brentford on 11 November. The royalists were victorious and two days later advanced on Turnham Green. Faced with a much larger force the Royalists withdrew. Charles spent the night at Hampton Court and then moved via Kingston to Oatlands and thence to Reading and back to Oxford.
One minor incident, however, occurred on 12 November, which some of the inhabitants of Twickenham would have witnessed. A Parliamentary force at the time held Kingston and its bridge and efforts were made to move men and supplies from there down river past Twickenham to reinforce the two regiments in Brentford. As it happens they arrived too late.
There are several contemporary accounts of what then happened on the 12th, which differ in minor points of detail. The most informative was that by a Royalist officer serving in the force that had captured Brentford on the llth. His account was later quoted by Lysons in his Environs of London. It reads as follows:
"That night (11th November) most lay in the cold fields. Next morning (the l2th) we were startled afresh by the loud music of some canon, which proved to be but some 14 barges of theirs who, with 13 ordinance and 600 men attempted very indescreetly to pass up (sic) the river from Kingston, by the town where we lay for London; but being discovered, what from the banke and from Sion howse, (the Earl of Northumberland's), where we had placed some four musketeers within two or three howers space,we sunk four or five of their vessels with the canons in them, took the rest, and 8 pieces in them, for our breakfast."
D Lysons, Environs of London (1810 edn)
S R Gardiner, History of the Great Civil War (Vol.1 1642-44)
C V Wedgwood, The King's War 1641-47
G E Bate, And so Make a City Here, Thomasons Ltd, 1948