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Early Modern

THE CIVIL WAR

DARTFORD AND THE ENGLISH CIVIL WAR

  

Military dress

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In July 1642 preparations for war between King Charles I and his parliament began. Most ordinary people in Kent seem to have supported the Parliamentarian cause, but the inhabitants of Dartford initially did not particularly appear to favour either side. Parliamentary troops were active in the Dartford area in August 1642:

Document 1: Click the link below to view the document

Report of an action near Dartford, Friday 19 August 1642

 

  

Cannon & cannon ball

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Dartford’s churchwarden’s accounts date from 1642, the year the Civil War started. Holy Trinity church was used as an ammunition depot during the Civil War. Among the churchwarden’s receipts for 1643 is an entry "Item...mony for fiting a rome for the powder and magasien in the Church 2.19s.7d". Thomas Round was paid 5 shillings for bringing the gunpowder from London to Dartford and 8d was spent in taking the gunpowder from Waterside at Dartford to Holy Trinity church.

Important victories in the Civil War were commemorated by the ringing of the church bells. In 1645, 5 shillings was paid to the Dartford bell-ringers when Sir William Waller defeated Sir Ralph Hopten at Winchester.

  

Half-groat coin

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On 26 July 1644 a body of Kentish Royalists 6,000 strong seized the powder magazine at Dartford and carried off its contents. The Kentish Royalists got their come-uppance on 30-1 May 1648 when Sir Thomas Fairfax with four regiments of horse and three of foot set out to confront the Royalist troops who were known to be close to Dartford. Fairfax marched his troops to Eltham, where they lay in the fields all night. Next day the Parliamentarian troops mustered on Crayford Heath and one wing marched through Dartford to attack the Kent Royalists led by Major Child. The Royalist troops, numbering only six hundred, had retreated to Northfleet and fortified the bridge ready to defend their position.

 

Document 2: Click the link below to view the document.

An account of the action led by Sir Thomas Fairfax at Northfleet bridge, May 1648

  

Loyalty document

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In 1660, at the restoration of the monarchy, when King Charles II returned to London on 29 May from his exile, an Address of Welcome was presented to him on his arriving at Dartford Heath. The local bell ringers were paid 1.10s. when King Charles passed through the town, and the Royal Arms were set-up at Holy Trinity church.

 

 

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