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Looking south west from the tower of the Cathedral towards Powick and the southwestern part of the battlefield. The royalists used the tower to maintain an overview of the military situation both before and during the action.
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Powick Bridge
The Battle

The battle of Worcester took place over a wide area around the city. In the south the action began around Powick Bridge; in the east between the river Severn and Perry Wood; in the north around Pitchcroft; and the west in St John’s and Wick fields, before moving into the streets of the city. Cromwell, attempted to encircle the city, so forcing Charles into a defensive position within its walls. To this end the Parliamentarian artillery bombarded the city from the east, whist Fleetwood was sent to attack from the south and west.

Charles’ position was a strong one, with the city protected on the west and south by the rivers Severn and Teme, and the fortifications of the city hastily reinforced. Royalist troops commanded by Montgomery were deployed on the west side of the Severn: Keith commanded those that held Powick, other under Piscotty were deployed in hedgerows facing the river confluence. Reserves were held to the rear in Wick fields, with substantial numbers within the city fortifications themselves. Leslie and his cavalry were positioned to the north in Pitchcroft meadows, from which they could be deployed on whichever front was necessary. Cromwell ordered a bridge of boats to be constructed at two points across the Severn and Teme close to their confluence. Fleetwood with some 12,000 men manoeuvred south of the Teme, on the west of the Severn. His left flank advanced to the crossing at Powick Bridge, whilst the right flank crossed the bridge of boats.

Fleetwood’s advance over the bridge at Powick was fiercely resisted. In support of Fleetwood, Cromwell led reinforcements across the pontoon from the east side of the Severn, strengthening the Parliamentary position in the southwest but severely weakening it in the east. Piscotty and his Highlanders gave ground under the fresh onslaught, retreating north toward the city. The Royalists at Powick Bridge held out longer but when they too began to retreat. As they came into the path of Piscotty’s troops fleeing from the closes the retreat rapidly became a rout.

But Charles, from his vantage point in the cathedral tower, was quick to observe the weakness in the Parliamentarian centre and right and hastily led an attack of horse and foot out from the Sidbury gate, on the city’s south eastern side. Cromwell was forced to rush back across the bridge to the aid of the right flank which was now hard pressed by Royalist troops and falling back. The Parliamentarians fought hard for several hours to regain lost ground and gradually gained the advantage.

As the Royalists began to give ground the Parliamentarians made a concentrated attack, driving them back into the city. Leslie’s cavalry would take no further part in the action despite entreaty and threats from Charles. Leslie’s failure to rally is difficult to understand but contemporary sources describe a broken man who ‘rode up and down as one amazed, or seeking to fly’. On the west Fleetwood had also gained the walls and by nightfall the fighting was through the streets of Worcester. Charles attempted to rally his troops but with the defences breached and attacks from all sides the Scots panicked and sought only to escape. Realising that all was lost Charles was persuaded to flee for his life, his army totally destroyed.



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