From the moment that Charles I raised his standard at Nottingham in August 1642, ordinary people throughout the land were forced to choose which side they were on. In the majority of cases this choice was made for them as they simply joined the army that reached their city or town first.

Support remained much the same throughout 1642 and 1643, but during 1644 and 1645 people began to change sides.

For the King

Catholics, most of the Nobles and gentry, about half of all Members of Parliament, the poorer areas of the North and West.


The supporters of the King were called Cavaliers because many of them fought on horseback. The term comes from the French ‘chevalier’ meaning ‘horse’. Cavaliers had long hair and wore fancy clothes.

For Parliament

Puritans, the more militant Members of Parliament, merchants, the richer areas of the South and East.


Parliamentarians were nicknamed ’roundheads’ because they cut their hair very short. They also wore very plain and simple clothes.

Cavalier roundhead soldier

These maps show how Charles gradually lost control of England and Wales as the Parliamentarians gained more and more support.

Civil War Support 1642-1643   Civil War Support 1644   Civil War Support 1645

The overall outcome of the English Civil War was the trial and execution of Charles I, then the exile of Charles II, and finally the replacement of the English monarchy with the Commonwealth of England and the Protectorate under the rule of Oliver Cromwell and his son Richard. This ultimately led to Parliament as the ruling power of England, being formally legally established as part of the Glorious Revolution in 1688.

The wars left England as one of the few countries in Europe without a monarch, and many of the factions of the war were sidelined.


This post is part of our larger historical resource on the English Civil War. For a comprehensive overview of the English Civil War, click here.

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"English Civil War: Royalist or Parliamentarian?" History on the Net
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May 31, 2023 <https://www.historyonthenet.com/english-civil-war-royalist-or-parliamentarian>
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