Parliamentary commander in Pembrokeshire during the First Civil War. Laugharne had served the earl of Essex as a page, and like many had gained some military experience in the Netherlands. He declared for Parliament in 1642, but it only after Charles I's plans became increasingly based on Irish troops that Pembrokeshire gained in importance. Starting from Tenby, Laugharne closed in on Milford Haven and Haverford, and by the end of March 1644 had captured the Haven, giving Parliament a safe anchorage for their fleet, allowing them to blockade Bristol and place patrols in the Irish sea. However, on land Laugharne found himself penned into Pembrokeshire by Sir Charles Gerrard, one of Prince Rupert's favourite cavalry commanders, who for a period held the rest of south Wales secure for the king. A sortie in the spring of 1645 was defeated by Gerrard in a sharp fight at Newcastle Emlyn, but on 1 August 1645 Laugharne finally won free. The battle of Colby Moor was notable for the co-operation between Laugharne and Admiral Batten's Parliamentary fleet, which placed a force of sailors in the rear Gerrard's position, leading to his defeat. His victory left Laugharne free to advance into the heart of Wales, forcing Charles to leave his base at Raglan. By the end of 1645 Laugharne had captured Carmarthen, and by the spring of 1646 had entered Cardiff and placed Raglan under siege.
Despite his record for Parliament, Laugharne eventually fought for Charles in the Second Civil War. Parliament attempted to dismiss his regiments without paying them fully, and they broke out in revolt. Laugharne soon joined them, but their rebellion was quickly crushed. Marching on Cardiff they found their path blocked by a Parliamentary army under Colonel Horton, and were defeated at the battle of St. Fagans (8 May 1648). The remnants of the rebel force fled back into Pembrokeshire, where they were soon rounded up. Laugharne surrendered to Cromwell, who was very hostile to all those who had changed sides in 1648. Laugharne was court-martialled as a Parliamentary officer, and condemned to death, but escaped when a group of the condemned were allowed to cast losts for their lives, and survived to see the restoration.
The English Civil War
How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (17 April 2001), Rowland Laugharne, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_laugharne.html
, 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.