The Role of Windsor Castle during the English Civil Wars, 1642–1650


This thesis examines the hitherto somewhat neglected but crucial role of the Windsor Castle garrison during the English Civil War and addresses three major themes: the role of garrison warfare, its logistics and supply, and portrayals of the garrison and its commanding officers in newsbooks and tracts of the time.

Using uniquely surviving primary sources, it examines how well-administered and fortified the garrison was and will show how the castle was used as a defensive structure, a depot and a springboard for military campaigns to a prison for Royalists throughout the civil wars.

This thesis questions the significance of Windsor’s role in aiding the Parliamentary war effort, looking at the supply of weaponry, arms, ammunition, clothing, transport links and food. It shows how Windsor and its garrison were portrayed in print through the medium of contemporary newsbooks and tracts and examines the accuracy of these accounts compared with other contemporary printed sources. It also looks at how events in Windsor were portrayed by rival Royalist and Parliamentarian sides, each with their own agendas, and how newsbooks were used to distort the truth and even change the nature of events. It assesses how news was transmitted to those who could not read, with evidence of how news spread in Windsor.

At a broader level, this thesis shows how civil wars were fought and resources mobilised, sometimes challenging traditional historiography. In particular, the traditional historiography saw strategic decisions which took place on the battlefield as the main reason why the Civil-War was won by Parliament. This is challenged in this thesis to show that it was due to the control of resources within the garrison hinterland and the successful control and distribution of goods manufactured in London. The River Thames was key to this and Windsor was the key for its control. This detailed study, using surviving archival evidence, sheds light on garrison warfare more generally and is important for understanding how the Civil War was eventually won.




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Kupfermann, Elias , “The Role of Windsor Castle during the English Civil Wars, 1642–1650,” Centre for English Local History Theses and Papers, accessed September 29, 2022,