1643 Attempted Siege of Worcester

Sir William Waller, Parliamentarian general and the Member of Parliament that first suggested the New Model Army, oversaw the taking of the formally Royalist towns of Portsmouth, Farnham, Winchester and Hereford in late 1642, and early 1643.

In May 1643 he marched towards Worcester. Overnight on May 29th, he had flyers scattered through the streets of Worcester recommending the townspeople overthrow the city governors and come over to his side.

Mercurius AulicusAn account of the events was published in Mercurius Aulicus, an early weekly newspaper with a strong Royalist voice. It’s considered the first English example of popular partisan journalism.

The Worcester City museum collection includes a copy of Mercurius Aulicus from May 1643, from which the following excerpts tell the story of the attempted taking of Worcester by Parliamentary troops:

Sir William sent a Trumpeter to summon in the Towne, but Colonel Sands told him that he was not now at Hereford, and bad him be gone.

The Souldiers and Townesmen are of that brave courage, that if Waller come againe with above twice his number, he cannot fright them.

But above all, the honest brave behaviour of the good women of the Towne is worthy observation, who did not onely encourage their husbands to stand it out bravely, telling them they would die with them in this just cause, but did also themselves run out of the Town (as soon as Waller was gone) and with their owne hands sleighted the worke that had sheltered his Mukseteirs, and the day after very orderly levelled all the ditches in and about the Towne; which (if anything) will make them so famous, that no honest maid of that Corporation shall hereafter want a good husband.

William Waller


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