After routing the Royal army at Naseby (14 June 1645), the New Model Army, together with 5,000 prisoners, seized the King’s personal effects, including correspondence exposing his attempts to inveigle Catholic European nations and the Irish Confederation into the war. They published the correspondence under the banner ‘The King’s Cabinet Opened’, thereby destroying Royalist popular support as effectively as they had his army. The most substantial remaining Royalist force under Lord Goring was crushed at Langport, two weeks after Naseby. His conqueror, Thomas Fairfax, moved on to take Bridgewater and Bristol, while the king retreated to Chester. Here, he received the dispiriting news that his potential saviour in Scotland, the Marquess of Montrose, had been defeated by the Covenanters at Philiphaugh. After the last battle of the war at Stow-in-the-Wold (21 March), Oxford, Raglan and Wallingford surrendered, leaving the victorious Parliamentarians in complete command. Charles attempted to flee English shores, but was held in captivity at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight. From here he continued to make political manoeuvres and plot his escape.
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