The English Civil War

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The English Civil War

While never the site of a major battle during the English Civil War, Farnham and its Castle were still strategically important.

It served as a Parliamentarian garrison town for an army dependent on foraging. And its location meant it blocked the route from the western strongholds of Charles I to:

• the south coast
• Royalist sympathisers in Kent
• gunpowder production centres in the Tillingbourne Valley
• iron-founding in Weald of Sussex and Kent and associated gun-casting and manufacture of shot

In October 1642, Captain George Wither became commander of a Parliamentarian garrison at Farnham Castle. In November, he evacuated the Castle following reports of Royalist advance across Thames into Surrey.

A Royalist posse under John Denham, High Sheriff of Surrey, occupied the Castle a few days later.

Dragoons and horse commanded by Colonel Sir William Waller stormed and recaptured the Castle on November 26. On December 29, Waller ordered the northeastern wall of the keep blown up.

In February 1643, Waller was appointed Major-General of the Parliamentary Western Army. Colonel Samuel Jones took up duties as the commander of the Farnham garrison.

At the end of the year, a Royalist army of over 8000 troops massed on the heights to the north of Farnham Park. When Waller refused to be drawn from a defensive position around Castle, the Royalists withdrew.

Lord Goring made a final Royalist hit-and-run raid upon Farnham in January 1645. In April, Colonel Samuel Jones resigned his commission as Castle commander and Colonel John Feilder took up command.

In 4 July 1648, the House of Commons ordered ‘such effectual Course with Farnham Castle, as to put it in that Condition of Indefensibleness, as it may be no Occasion for the Endangering of the Peace of that County…’

Spring, L. and Hall, D., (2002). Farnham in the Civil War and the Commonwealth. Farnham & District Museum Society

‘House of Commons Journal Volume 5: 4 July 1648′, Journal of the House of Commons: volume 5: 1646-1648 (1802), pp. 622-23.