Siege of Basing House, to 14 October 1645

One of the great Royalist strongholds during the Civil War. Basing House was the great mansion of the Marquis of Winchester, one of Charles I's wealthiest supports. The Marquis turned it into a fortress, blocking the road from London to the Wiltshire Downs, one of the main arteries of the London wool trade. The first Parliamentary attack was launched by Waller (7-12 November 1643), but he was forced to withdraw when faced by a virtual mutiny of the London bands. who demanded a return home. A more serious siege began in June 1644. The advantage was still with the defenders, who in October fought off an attack by the combined forces of Waller, Essex and Manchester. The relief of Basing House was one of the motives behind Charles I's campaign of October 1644, which ended in the Second battle of Newbury (27 October 1644). Despite the inconclusive nature of the battle, when a Royalist relief force reached Basing House on 19 November, they found the siege abandoned. Basing House finally fell to Cromwell and the artillery of the New Model Army, busily mopping up Charles's remaining strongholds after Naseby. They arrived in front of Basing House on 8 October 1645. The bombardment began on 12 October, and within a day had battered a breach in the walls, which allowed an assault on 14 October, which led to the fall of the House in less than an hour of fighting. Captured along with the Marquis of Winchester was the architect Inigo Jones, and a vast amount of moveable wealth, most of which was carried off by the soldiers of the New Model. More importantly, the road to Wiltshire and the west was freed, and London's trade made much easier.
cover The English Civil War , Richard Holmes & Peter Young, an early work by one of the country's best known military historians, this is a superb single volume history of the war, from its causes to the last campaigns of the war and on to the end of the protectorate.
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How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (12 April 2001), Basing House, siege of, to 14 October 1645, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_basing.html


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