Better Begging than Fighting

The Royalist Army in exile in the war against Cromwell 1656-1660

John Barratt

Date Published :
December 2016
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Century of the Soldier
Illustration :
c 30 b/w illustrations, 8pp color plates and maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781910777725
Pages : 136
Dimensions : 9.75 X 7 inches
In stock


Cromwell’s alliance with France in 1657 opened for the English Republic and Charles II’s army in exile a new theater of war in Flanders - in addition to England’s ongoing war with Spain. It resulted in the old opponents of the Civil Wars in Britain meeting in combat once again. This book tells the story of the two armies: Charles II’s polyglot army of Irish, Scottish and English soldiers - fighting for the Stuarts for a variety of reasons - and the expeditionary force dispatched by Cromwell to assist his French allies, with the objective of securing Dunkirk as an English possession.

The book, the first detailed study in English, will relate how the two armies were raised and equipped; the commanders and their colorful personalities; and the lives of the soldiers and their campaigns - climaxing with the Battle of the Dunes and the siege of Dunkirk. It will examine the English garrison, and the later history of this and of Charles II’s 'forgotten army'. It will also look at the Spanish and French armies, with which Royalists and Republicans were allied. Full use will be made of contemporary and more modern sources - including the letters, journals and memoirs of participants on both sides. The book will be of interest to historians and students of the period, re-enactors and wargamers, and to all interested in a little-known conflict fought across an area much more familiar to English readers for its later wars.

About The Author

John Barratt is a recognised leading authority on the Royalist forces in the Civil War, and has written a large number of books on different aspects of the war .They include : “Cavaliers : the Royalist Army at War”, studies of the battles of Marston Moor and First Newbury, the Dunes (1658) and Oxford in the Civil War. He lectures regularly at venues such as the Helion Century of the Soldier Conferences and at other even ts dealing with the Civil War and the history of the Welsh Marches.


“It is an excellent introduction to a relatively obscure chapter in the history of the British Army, as well as providing a useful outline of the conduct of sieges in the immediate pre-Vauban era.”

- Casemate: Journal of the Fortress Study Group

“ … An interesting and informative book… recommended to anyone who wishes to understand more about the latter stages of the Civil War.”

- Battlefield

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