ECW reading list

  • 'By the Sword Divided', John Adair, (Century Publishing)
  • 'Decisive Battles of the English Civil War', Malcolm Wanklyn, (Pen & Sword)
  • 'Sir Ralph Hopton's Narrative', ed C.E.H. Chadwyck Healey, (Somerset Record Society)

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Ralph Hopton - Baron Hopton of Stratton.

Ralph Hopton (1596-1691), the son of Robert Hopton of Witham, Somerset, he appears to have been educated at Lincoln College, Oxford, and to have served in the army of Frederick V, Elector Palatine, in the early campaigns of the 'Thirty Years' War. In 1642 he was lieutenant-colonel of a regiment raised in England to serve in Mansfield's army. King Charles I, at his coronation, made Hopton a knight of the Bath (Order of the Bath). In the political troubles which preceded the outbreak of the Civil War, Hopton, as member of parliament successively for Bath, Somerset and Wells, at first opposed the royal policy, but after Strafford's attainder (for which he voted) he gradually became an ardent supporter of Charles, and at the beginning of the conflict he was made lieutenant-general under the Marquess of Hertford in the west.

His first achievement was to rally Cornwall to the royal cause by indicting the enemy before the grand jury of the county as disturbers of the peace, and had the posse comitatus called out to expel them; his next, to carry the war from there into Devon. In May 1643 he defeated the Parliamentarian forces in the West Country at Stratton, enabling him to overrun Devon and link up with reinforcements under Prince Maurice. On the 5th July their combined forces clashed indecisively with Sir William Waller at Lansdowne. Hopton was severely wounded there by the explosion of a powder-wagon and soon afterwards he was besieged in Devizes by Waller; he defended himself until relieved by the royalist victory at Roundway Down on 13 July. He was soon afterwards created Baron Hopton of Stratton. These successes in the west enabled the Royalist's to expand their control across southern England as far as the western fringes in late 1643, but a counter-attack led by Waller forced Hopton to fall back on Winchester. Hopton was reinforced by a force under the Earl of Forth, but on the 29 March 1644 he was defeated by Waller at Cheriton and again forced to retreat. After this he served in the western campaign under Charles' own command, and towards the end of the war, after Goring had left England, he succeeded to the command of the royal army. Hopton was defeated at Torrington on 16 February 1646 and surrendered to Thomas Fairfax. (Wikipedia)

To accompany the above, here are a couple of WIP photos of the said gentleman. The figures are Warlord metals, with a their Essex figure used to represent Hopton, so not only has he had a change of identity, but also one of allegiance.

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