A map showing the defences of London in 1643
(William Maitland, ‘The History of London from its foundation by the Romans to the present Time’, 1739)
This is a map of London showing the defences that Parliament built for the protection of the city.
The key explains the different types of defences and the positions they were in. Redouts and bulwarks were basically small forts. A battery was a strong position that held one or more cannons. Breastwork meant steep mounds of earth or stone with fences to stop attacking forces.
Parliament controlled London during the Civil War. This was a key factor in Parliament’s final victory. London had a large population and lots of wealth. This helped to pay for the war.
Charles tried to capture London early in the war, but he was defeated. Parliament decided to strengthen the defences of London so that it did not lose possession of the city.
As a rule, the people of London supported Parliament against the king for most of the war. However, they paid a heavy price in taxes and seized goods and horses.
London was a hotbed of radical people with new and extreme ideas. Before the Civil War there was strict censorship. It was dangerous to write about and print new ideas on religion or politics. During the Civil War the system of censorship broke down. Many new ideas began to spread. Some people became concerned about these new ideas. They began to think that if Charles returned as king, then he would crush these radicals and their new ideas.