The National Civil War Centre

8 January 2015


The Civil War was one of the bloodiest chapters in Britain's history and wiped out one in 20 of the population. Now, almost 370 years after the conflict, its story is being told in a dedicated museum.

The conflict from 1642 to 1646 split families as they took up sides with the supporters of King Charles I, known as Cavaliers, or the Parliamentarians, nicknamed Roundheads.

A country torn apart

  • At the heart of war was a conflict between Charles I's belief in the divine right of kings and the rights of Parliament
  • War broke out in 1642. After a good start, the Royalists' 1644 defeat at Marston Moor lost the King control of the north
  • After the war Charles I was imprisoned, charged with treason and later executed

How would you choose sides in the Civil War?

The £5.4m National Civil War Centre has opened in Newark in Nottinghamshire, a Royalist stronghold which came under siege three times until the King surrendered the town in 1646.

Broadcaster and historian Michael Wood said it was "amazing" there was nowhere in the UK dedicated to marking the conflict until now.

"It is the first such exhibition to tell the story of the Civil War from start to finish," he said.

"And it's a tale we all should know, drawing in the people of the British Isles from Elgin to Cornwall and from Newark to Haverfordwest and indeed over the sea to Dublin and Drogheda."

Paid for by the local council and a £3.5m Heritage Lottery grant, its exhibits give a fascinating insight into the gruesome realities of everyday life during the tumultuous period.

The National Civil War Museum
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