Marmaduke Langdale, first Baron Langdale (?1598-1661)

Royalist cavalry general during the Civil War. As High Sheriff of Yorkshire he opposed Charles I's ship money, but when war came he joined the Royalist cause. As the war wore on, he came increasingly to the fore. He was present at Marston Moor (2 July 1644), and after the defeat managed to bring back together his scattered cavalry, leaving York with Prince Rupert (4 July 1644). Early in 1645, he re-entered Yorkshire with a flying column of cavalry, managing to relieve the siege of Pontefract (1 March 1645), one of the few Royalist successes at this time. In May, he joined Charles I's field army at Ashby de la Zouch. At the end of the month he cut off the Parliamentary garrison of Leicester, in preparation for the arrival of Prince Rupert with the main army (29 May), which quickly resulted in the surrender of the city. Like many Royalist commanders, his control over his men was not perfect, and on 4 June when the Royalist army prepared to move south to seek out Fairfax, his cavalry refused to march, and headed to Newark, but he soon regained control,. and at Naseby (14 June 1645), his 1,600 strong northern horse formed the Royalist left flank, facing Cromwell's Ironsides, who outnumbered them. This was to prove important in the battle. Despite fighting well, Langdale was soon driven off the battlefield, and Cromwell had enough spare cavalry to make sure he could not rally his troups and return to the fray. However, he was soon able to regroup, and rejoin Charles in the aftermath of the battle, when Charles decided to march to Scotland. However, this plan too failed. As the Royalist force approached Chester, it was clear that they would have to act to save the city, the loss of which would cut off any hope of reinforcements from Ireland. Langdale, with 3,000 cavalry, moved to attack the Parliamentary forces, but he was intercepted by General Poyntz, (Battle of Rowton Heath, 24 September 1645), with an equal force of cavalry. After an initial fight early in the day, the two sides were in stalemate, neither able to move, until Poyntz managed to get reinforcements from the besieging forces. Langdale was now in a very poor position, and an attempt to reach safety in Chester failed, leaving Charles helpless to help as his cavalry were cut down beneath the walls, eventually fleeing.

Langdale next surfaced in the Second Civil War. On 28 April 1648 he captured Berwick for the King, and joined the Scottish army on it's march south. By mid-August, the Scottish army was close to Preston (Lancs), with Cromwell close by. Of the Royalist commanders, only Langdale realised that the main Parliamentary army was close by, but could not convince his superiors of this, and on the first day of the battle of Preston (17-19 August 1648), he was left to face the entire enemy army unaided. Unsurprisingly, his force was overwhelmed, although he managed to escape the field. He was temporarily taken prisoner at Nottingham, but managed to escape again, and reaching the continent, where he eventually reached Venice. On the restoration he returned to England, and in 1658 was created Baron Langdale by Charles II for his role in the war. His troops were better controlled than most on the Royalist side, but he was unfortunate enough to be present at a series of Royalist defeats.

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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Books on the English Civil War | Subject Index: English Civil War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (1 April 2001), Marmaduke Langdale, first Baron Langdale (?1598-1661), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_langdale.html

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