Flushed by his success at York, which he had relieved by bisecting the besieging Parliamentarian forces, the impulsive Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Charles I’s nephew and a commander of the Royalist cavalry, was determined to achieve a decisive victory. The Parliamentarians had combined with their Scottish Covenanter allies, and Rupert, reinforced by the Duke of Newcastle (but still outnumbered c. 22,000:17,000) pursued them west to Marston Moor in North Yorkshire. There, the forces confronted one another on the evening of 2 July. Still waiting for many of his infantry to arrive, Rupert prepared to encamp for the night, when the Earl of Leven’s Covenanters unexpectedly attacked. Supported by Cromwell’s ‘Ironsides’ they drove back the Royalist right flank. Rupert rushed to counterattack, but his cavalry too were routed, and the Parliamentarians overwhelmed the Royalist centre. Lord Goring’s cavalry had actually overcome the Parliamentarian right, but were now put to flight by Cromwell and Lord Fairfax’s reserves. Decisively defeated, the Royalists had lost the north.
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