The term 'Cavalier' ( // ) was first used by Roundheads as a term of abuse for the wealthier royalist supporters of King Charles I and his son Charles II of England during the English Civil War, the Interregnum, and the Restoration (1642 – c. 1679). It was later adopted by the Royalists themselves. Although it referred originally to political and social attitudes and behaviour, of which clothing was a very small part, it has subsequently become strongly identified with the fashionable clothing of the court at the time. Prince Rupert, commander of much of Charles I's cavalry, is often considered to be an archetypal Cavalier.
Cavalier derives from the same Latin root as the Italian word cavaliere and the French word chevalier (as well as the Spanish word caballero), the Vulgar Latin word caballarius , meaning 'horseman'. Shakespeare used the word cavaleros to describe an overbearing swashbuckler or swaggering gallant in Henry IV, Part 2 (c. 1596–1599), in which Robert Shallow says "I'll drink to Master Bardolph, and to all the cavaleros about London". Shallow returns in The Merry Wives of Windsor (c. 1597), where he is called "Cavaleiro-justice" (knightly judge) and "bully-rook", a term meaning "blustering cheat".
"Cavalier" is chiefly associated with the Royalist supporters of King Charles I in his struggle with Parliament in the English Civil War. It first appears as a term of reproach and contempt, applied to the followers of King Charles I in June 1642:
1642 (June 10) Propositions of Parlt. in Clarendon v. (1702) I. 504 Several sorts of malignant Men, who were about the King; some whereof, under the name of Cavaliers, without having respect to the Laws of the Land, or any fear either of God or Man, were ready to commit all manner of Outrage and Violence. 1642 Petition Lords & Com. 17 June in Rushw. Coll. III. (1721) I. 631 That your Majesty..would please to dismiss your extraordinary Guards, and the Cavaliers and others of that Quality, who seem to have little Interest or Affection to the publick Good, their Language and Behaviour speaking nothing but Division and War.
Charles, in the Answer to the Petition 13 June 1642, speaks of Cavaliers as a "word by what mistake soever it seemes much in disfavour".It was soon reappropriated as a title of honour by the king's party, who in return applied Roundhead to their opponents. At the Restoration, the court party preserved the name, which survived until the rise of the term Tory.
Cavalier was not understood at the time as primarily a term describing a style of dress, but a whole political and social attitude. However, in modern times the word has become more particularly associated with the court fashions of the period, which included long flowing hair in ringlets, brightly coloured clothing with elaborate trimmings and lace collars and cuffs, and plumed hats.This contrasted with the dress of at least the most extreme Roundhead supporters of Parliament, with their preference for shorter hair and plainer dress, although neither side conformed to the stereotypical images entirely.
Most Parliamentarian generals wore their hair at much the same length as their Royalist counterparts,though Cromwell was something of an exception. The best patrons in the nobility of Charles I's court painter Sir Anthony van Dyck, the archetypal recorder of the Cavalier image, all took the Parliamentary side in the Civil War. Probably the most famous image identified as of a "cavalier", Frans Hals' Laughing Cavalier , shows a gentleman from the strongly Calvinist Dutch town of Haarlem, and is dated 1624. These derogatory terms (for at the time they were so intended) also showed what the typical Parliamentarian thought of the Royalist side – capricious men who cared more for vanity than the nation at large.
The chaplain to King Charles I, Edward Simmons described a Cavalier as "a Child of Honour, a Gentleman well borne and bred, that loves his king for conscience sake, of a clearer countenance, and bolder look than other men, because of a more loyal Heart."There were many men in the Royalist armies who fit this description since most of the Royalist field officers were typically in their early thirties, married with rural estates which had to be managed. Although they did not share the same outlook on how to worship God as the English Independents of the New Model Army, God was often central to their lives. This type of Cavalier was personified by Jacob Astley, 1st Baron Astley of Reading, whose prayer at the start of the Battle of Edgehill has become famous "O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not forget me".
At the end of the First Civil War, Astley gave his word that he would not take up arms again against Parliament and having given his word he felt duty bound to refuse to help the Royalist cause in the Second Civil War; however, the word was coined by the Roundheads as a pejorative propaganda image of a licentious, hard drinking and frivolous man, who rarely, if ever, thought of God. It is this image which has survived and many Royalists, for example Henry Wilmot, 1st Earl of Rochester, fitted this description to a tee.Of another Cavalier, George Goring, Lord Goring, a general in the Royalist army, the principal advisor to Charles II, Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, said:
[He] would, without hesitation, have broken any trust, or done any act of treachery to have satisfied an ordinary passion or appetite; and in truth wanted nothing but industry (for he had wit, and courage, and understanding and ambition, uncontrolled by any fear of God or man) to have been as eminent and successful in the highest attempt of wickedness as any man in the age he lived in or before. Of all his qualifications dissimulation was his masterpiece; in which he so much excelled, that men were not ordinarily ashamed, or out of countenance, with being deceived but twice by him.
This sense has developed into the modern English use of "cavalier" to describe a recklessly nonchalant attitude, although still with a suggestion of stylishness. Cavalier remained in use as a description for members of the party that supported the monarchy up until the Exclusion Crisis of 1678–1681 when the term was superseded by "Tory" which was another term initially with pejorative connotations. Likewise, during the Exclusion Bill crisis, the term Roundhead was replaced with "Whig", a term introduced by the opponents of the Whigs and also was initially a pejorative term.
An example of the Cavalier style can be seen in the painting Charles I, King of England, from Three Angles by Anthony van Dyck.
The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of England's governance and issues of religious freedom. It was part of the wider Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The first (1642–1646) and second (1648–1649) wars pitted the supporters of King Charles I against the supporters of the Long Parliament, while the third (1649–1651) saw fighting between supporters of King Charles II and supporters of the Rump Parliament. The wars also involved the Scottish Covenanters and Irish Confederates. The war ended with Parliamentarian victory at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651.
Roundheads were the supporters of the Parliament of England during the English Civil War (1642–1651). Also known as Parliamentarians, they fought against King Charles I of England and his supporters, known as the Cavaliers or Royalists, who claimed rule by absolute monarchy and the principle of the divine right of kings. The goal of the Roundheads was to give to Parliament the supreme control over executive administration of the country/kingdom.
The cavalier poets was a school of English poets of the 17th century, that came from the classes that supported King Charles I during the English Civil War (1642–1651). Charles, a connoisseur of the fine arts, supported poets who created the art he craved. These poets in turn grouped themselves with the King and his service, thus becoming Cavalier Poets.
George Goring, Lord Goring was an English Royalist soldier. He was known by the courtesy title Lord Goring as the eldest son of the first Earl of Norwich.
Jacob Astley, 1st Baron Astley of Reading was a Royalist commander in the English Civil War and most famously served during the Battle of Newbury and Naseby. He also was involved in the Dutch Revolt and the Thirty Years War. After the second phase of the Civil War, he was imprisoned and then retired in Maidstone. He died shortly after in 1652.
William Lenthall (1591–1662) was an English politician of the Civil War period. He served as Speaker of the House of Commons for a period of almost twenty years, both before and after the execution of King Charles I.
The Wars of the Three Kingdoms were a series of related conflicts that took place between 1639 and 1651 in England, Scotland and Ireland. When the separate entities united in personal union under Charles I, the wars were fought mainly over issues of governance and religion which affected all three states, although there were others that were unique to each one. The execution of Charles I in 1649 led to the abolition of monarchy and founding of the Commonwealth of England, a unitary state which ruled the three kingdoms until the Stuart Restoration in 1660.
The Anglo-Scottish war (1650–1652), also known as the Third Civil War, was the final conflict in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists.
The First English Civil War was fought in England and Wales from approximately August 1642 to June 1646 and forms part of the 1639 to 1651 Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Other related conflicts include the Bishops' Wars, the Irish Confederate Wars, the Second English Civil War, the Anglo-Scottish war (1650–1652) and the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. Based on modern estimates, 15% to 20% of all adult males in England and Wales served in the military between 1639 to 1651 and around 4% of the total population died from war-related causes, compared to 2.23% in World War I. These figures illustrate the impact of the conflict on society in general and the bitterness it engendered.
The Battle of Powick Bridge was a skirmish fought on 23 September 1642 just south of Worcester, England, during the First English Civil War. It was the first engagement between elements of the principal field armies of the Royalists and Parliamentarians. Sir John Byron was escorting a Royalist convoy of valuables from Oxford to King Charles's army in Shrewsbury and, worried about the proximity of the Parliamentarians, took refuge in Worcester on 16 September to await reinforcements. The Royalists despatched a force commanded by Prince Rupert. Meanwhile, the Parliamentarians sent a detachment, under Colonel John Brown, to try to capture the convoy. Each force consisted of around 1,000 mounted troops, a mix of cavalry and dragoons.
The Battle of Brentford was a small pitched battle which took place on 12 November 1642, between a detachment of the Royalist army under the command of Prince Rupert, and two infantry regiments of Parliamentarians with some horse in support. The result was a victory for the Royalists.
Cavalier boots are a style of boot that were popular in Europe between approximately 1500 and 1700. They are soft knee-high leather boots typically made of brown calfskin.
Cornwall played a significant role in the English Civil War, being a Royalist enclave in the generally Parliamentarian south-west.
The ordinance of no quarter to the Irish was a decree of the English Long Parliament passed on 24 October 1644 in response to the Irish Confederation of Kilkenny threat to send troops from Ireland to support King Charles I during the English Civil War. The decree ordered Parliamentary officers to give no quarter to Irish soldiers fighting in England and Wales, and Irish Confederate sailors at sea who surrendered.
1646 was the fifth and final year of the First English Civil War. By the beginning of 1646 military victory for the Parliamentary forces was in sight. A Royalist army was defeated in the field at the Battle of Torrington on 16 February and the last Royalist field army was defeated at the Battle of Stow-on-the-Wold on 21 March. From then on the New Model Army mopped up the remaining Royalist strongholds. The politics moved into a post war phase with all major the factions in England and Scotland, trying to reach an accommodation with King Charles I that would further their own particular interests.
The Five Members were Members of Parliament whom King Charles I attempted to arrest on 4 January 1642. King Charles I entered the English House of Commons, accompanied by armed soldiers, during a sitting of the Long Parliament, although the Five Members were no longer in the House at the time. The Five Members were:
The Battle of Babylon Hill was an indecisive skirmish that took place between Royalist and Parliamentarian forces near Yeovil, in South West England, on 7 September 1642, during the early stages of the First English Civil War. The engagement occurred after a failed Parliamentarian siege of nearby Royalist-held Sherborne. After the Parliamentarians had retreated to Yeovil, a force of around 350 Royalists was sent to reconnoitre their movements. Under the command of Sir Ralph Hopton, the Royalist detachment established itself on Babylon Hill, on the outskirts of Yeovil.
Sir Thomas Byron was a Royalist officer during the First English Civil War. He had effective command of the Prince of Wales' cavalry regiment during the first year of the war, including at the Battle of Edgehill in late 1642. A few months later he led a charge during the Battle of Hopton Heath after the death of the Earl of Northampton, which helped the Royalists capture enemy artillery pieces. Byron was attacked by one of his own soldiers over a pay dispute in December 1643, and died from his wounds on 5 February 1644.
The siege of Hereford took place in 1645 during the English Civil War when the city of Hereford and its English Royalist garrison was besieged by a Scottish Covenanter army under the command of the Earl of Leven. The Covenanters were allied to the English Parliamentarian cause and moved to take the Royalist stronghold in the wake of their victory at the Battle of Naseby. After a month-long siege the approach of Royalist reinforcements and news of Montrose's victories against the Coventanters in Scotland forced Leven to abandon the siege and retreat. However, in December of the same year the city was taken in a surprise attack by Colonel John Birch and remained in Parliamentarian hands for the remainder of the conflict.