Lord Jacob Astley (1579-1652)

Royalist general during the Civil War. Tutor of Prince Rupert. He gained military experience fighting in the Netherlands (Thirty Years War), before serving as governor of Plymouth (1638), and then as sergeant-major at Newcastle upon Tyne to defend against a threatened Scottish invasion (First & Second Bishops' Wars), and was a member of the Council of War in 1640. On the outbreak of the Civil War, he joined Charles at Nottingham and was dramatically raised to command the infantry on the morning of the battle of Edgehill, after the earl of Lindsey publicly resigned in front of the army after Prince Rupert insisted on directing the deployment of the infantry. In the resulting drawn battle, the Royalist infantry fought well, but was let down by the cavalry, who foolishly left the field to chase already broken foes. During the war, Astley was one of the few Royalist generals to show a real concern for discipline, along with Prince Rupert, who learnt from the debacle at Edgehill. However, he was not a strong presence on the council of war. He was made a baron in 1644, and by the end of the following year was serving as governor of Worcester, from where he travelled into Wales attempting to raise troops for the King to replace those lost at Naseby. Eventually, he managed to raise a force of 2,000 men, which represented the King's last field army, but it was at Worcester, while the King was at Oxford, with the intervening countryside held by Parliament. He attempted the march in March 1646, but Colonel Thomas Morgan, the parliamentary governor of Gloucester, managed to delay his march long enough for Sir William Brereton to arrive with his cavalry, and Astley's carefully recruited army dissolved (battle of Stow on the Wold, 21 March 1646). He was himself captured, and remained imprisoned at Warwick until the surrender of Oxford in June. He died six years later, aged 73
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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See Also
Books on the English Civil War
Subject Index: English Civil War

How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (8 April 2001), Lord Jacob Astley (1579-1652), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/people_astley.html

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