Tuesday, 20 November 2012
The Attack on Reigate Castle 1648
In the spring of 1648 a new Civil War broke out in England as the harsh rule of Parliament after the defeat of King Charles I took hold. The rebellion began in Kent in May, prompting Henry Rich, Earl of Holland, to make a speech in Surrey supporting the uprising. By early July some 600 men had come armed to support Holland, among them George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, and his younger brother Francis. Holland led his small force to attack Reigate Castle, then a store of weapons for the local militia garrisoned by a small Parliamentarian force. When the Royalists arrived they fired a few shots, after which the Roundheads fled north to Kingston. The two Villiers brothers led the few cavalry in the Royalist force in pursuit. They had just crossed Surbiton Hill and were riding down what is now Villiers Road when they were ambushed by men from the Kingston garrison. Francis was killed outright, and George unhorsed. Backing up against a tree, George Villiers drew his sword and managed to hold off a determined assault by no less than six Roundhead troopers long enough for a comrade to bring him a horse on which he made his escape. Having looted Reigate Castle of anything useful, Holland led his men out of Surrey to join Royalist forces elsewhere.
from The Little Book of Surrey by Rupert Matthews
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