Charles Spencer

Brother against brother in the English civil war

The prolonged siege of Basing House illustrates in microcosm the sheer hell of England in the 1640s

‘The Plundering of Basing House’, by Charles Landseer. [Alamy]

‘The Wars of the Three Kingdoms’ is the best description of the devastating conflict that erupted in England, Ireland and Scotland during the 1640s and 1650s. While Britain lost 2.2 per cent of its population in the first world war, 4 per cent perished during these terrible 17th-century clashes.

The kingdoms were, at the outset, Charles I’s.

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