An order from Parliament in 1644 about paying for Parliament’s army
(Catalogue ref SP 16/506/45)
This is an Ordinance from 1644 (and this copy of it was published the following year). This ordinance set up a new type of army, which came to be known as the New Model Army.
An ordinance was a law passed by Parliament without the approval of the king.
The Civil War was still dragging on in late 1643. Neither side could achieve a final victory, although Charles had the upper hand. This changed when Parliament made an alliance with the Scots. Parliament also decided to introduce a completely new army. The New Model Army was a well-disciplined force commanded by Sir Thomas Fairfax. It was also properly paid for.
One of the biggest problems faced by both sides in the Civil War was supplying, feeding and paying their soldiers. War was a very expensive business. In many cases, hungry soldiers ended up plundering the local countryside. Poorly paid soldiers usually fought badly as well. Parliament tried to tackle this problem by setting up the New Model Army. Wages were to be paid regularly and the soldiers were well trained and disciplined.
The amounts of money listed in this source are very large. London’s bill of £8000 would be about £1 million today. Paying for this new army was very expensive. The New Model Army was also unusual in that many of the soldiers had strong religious and political ideas. As they fought, the officers and soldiers began to debate what England should be like once the war was over.
The New Model Army came to be controlled by Puritans. By 1645 the most high profile Puritan in the army was Oliver Cromwell.