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 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,[ citation needed ] 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 Roundhead party was to give the Parliament supreme control over executive administration of the country/kingdom.
The term "English Revolution" has been used to describe two different events in English history. The first to be so called—by Whig historians—was the Glorious Revolution of 1688, whereby James II was replaced by William III and Mary II as monarch and a constitutional monarchy was established.
Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, was an English statesman, lawyer, diplomat and historian who served as chief advisor to Charles I during the First English Civil War, and Lord Chancellor to Charles II from 1660 to 1667.
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.
Sir Richard Grenville was a professional soldier from Cornwall, who served in the Thirty Years War, and 1638 to 1651 Wars of the Three Kingdoms. He was the younger brother of Sir Bevil Grenville, who died at Lansdowne in 1643, and grandson of Admiral Sir Richard, killed at Flores in 1591.
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 Third English Civil War (1650–1651) was the last of the English Civil Wars (1642–1651). It consisted primarily of an invasion of Scotland by an English army controlled by the Rump Parliament and commanded by Oliver Cromwell and a subsequent Scottish invasion of England by a Scottish army loyal to King Charles II and commanded by David Leslie. It ended after 14 months with Scotland conquered and garrisoned by the English, Charles in exile abroad, the English Parliament in control of the British Isles and Cromwell as the most influential man in the new Commonwealth.
The First English Civil War was fought in England and Wales, from August 1642 to June 1646. It forms one of the conflicts known collectively as the 1638 to 1651 Wars of the Three Kingdoms, which also took place in Scotland and Ireland. These include the 1638 to 1640 Bishops' Wars, the Irish Confederate Wars, the Second English Civil War, the Third English Civil War, and the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland.
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 Militia Ordinance was passed by the Parliament of England on 15 March 1642. By claiming the right to appoint military commanders without the king's approval, it was a significant step in events leading to the outbreak of the First English Civil War in August.
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.
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.
Sir George Wharton, 1st Baronet was an English Royalist soldier and astrologer. He was also known for his poetry.
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 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.
The Storming of Farnham Castle occurred on 1 December 1642, during the early stages of the First English Civil War, when a Parliamentarian force attacked the Royalist garrison at Farnham Castle in Surrey. Sir John Denham had taken possession of the castle for the Royalists in mid-November, but after the Royalists had been turned back from London at the Battle of Turnham Green, a Parliamentarian force under the command of Sir William Waller approached the castle. After Denham refused to surrender, Waller's forces successfully stormed the castle. They captured it in under three hours, mostly due to the unwillingness of the Royalist troops to fight. This allowed the Parliamentarians to get close enough to breach the gates, after which the garrison surrendered.
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.