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Newcastle University
National Civil War Centre

Choosing Sides

Roundhead or Cavalier? Discover how people decided which side to support.

British Civil Wars > Choosing Sides

How did people choose which side to support?


Hello, I’m a Royalist and I support King Charles I. The Parliamentarians call us ‘Cavaliers’, a derogatory term coming from the Spanish word for armed horseman.

They see us Royalists as wealthy men who have fancy clothes and long hair flowing in ringlets and they think we lack morals and are prone to violence


Hello, I’m a Parliamentarian and I’m on the side of Parliament.

The Royalists call us ‘Roundheads’, a derogatory nickname given to us because many supporters of Parliament are Puritans who wear their hair short.

Turncoats: Choosing and changing sides

In this short video, historian Professor Andrew Hopper explains how people chose which side to support and why some people changed sides.


Source-based activities

All source-based activities are in a downloadable PDF format.

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Quiz: Are you a Roundhead or a Cavalier?

Take our magazine-style quiz to find out.

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