Warrant from the Lord Mayor of London to seize all horses in London, 12 August 1643
(Catalogue ref: SP 16/497/143)
This source is a warrant signed by the Mayor and the Parliamentary Committee for London. Committees ran areas controlled by Parliament.
A warrant was basically an order. This warrant gave the power to Captain Gheste and his troops to seize horses in London to use in Parliament’s armies.
By the time this source was written the war had been going on for about a year. Armies used huge numbers of horses for cavalry and for pulling wagons. There would have been many warrants like this throughout the war years, 1642-46.
Parliament and the king both relied on local supporters to raise troops, horses and money from their areas. London was by far the biggest and richest city in the country. Controlling London and the South East of England gave Parliament a big advantage in its war effort against the king.
People would not have been able to refuse such a warrant. Parliament’s County Committees controlled their areas very strictly. County Committees were made up of men loyal to Parliament. Their job was to control their area and also to help Parliament’s war effort by supplying Parliament forces with food and equipment. The Royalist side used a similar approach.
As well as horses, armies also needed soldiers, food, equipment and money. Throughout the war both sides constantly brought in new laws and taxes that were designed to raise money and resources for the war. On top of the official taxation, there was also a lot of unofficial taxation.
Local bands of soldiers would often descend on a farm or village and demand food and shelter. As the armies got bigger during the war, so did the demands on the population to feed and pay for these armies.