At the start of the British Civil Wars, both the Cavaliers and the Roundheads had to convince people to take up arms and fight for them.
In July 1642 Henry Pierrepont, Lord Newark, made a speech to the Newark ‘Trained Bands’. The trained bands were local men who were supposed to meet regularly to practise using weapons so they were ready to fight in a war. In fact, they were often poorly trained and equipped. This local militia (a military force raised from ordinary local people) was the only army available at the beginning of the war.
1) Read and/or listen to Lord Newark’s speech
What features does it contain that makes it a rousing (exciting) speech?
Click on the different parts of the speech for some ideas.
“Gentlemen and all my good County-men.
These Noble Gentlemen and I have, as directed by virtue of His Majesty’s Commission of Array, called you together to acquaint you with the grounds and reasons of why we are here – which are the defence of His most sacred Person (the King), as well as the defence of your Liberty, Laws, Religion and the just privileges of both Houses of Parliament…
I hope, as also I am sure your Majesty most heartily wishes , that this is the furthest that you need to journey and that you need not travel to other Counties; but if an urgent or necessary occasion arises that requires you to travel further afield, I will accompany you and ensure that none of you shall face any hazard that I will not face myself; your troubles and dangers will also be mine and we will share in any fortunes; and I shall care for every one of you as I would care for myself.
I would have been glad to have found such zeal and readiness to serve the King anywhere, but rejoice much more to have found such support here, among you my County-men, in this place – my birthplace and where I have my roots.
You could question why it was felt necessary to seek your obedience and loyalty to your Prince, when indeed doing so would be a waste of time as I already see in your hearts such obedience and loyalty to him that reflects on your good manner and nature. So gracious is our Prince, unrivalled in Royal virtues, that I would be reckless in thinking any arguments could be more convincing and of greater worth to you than those I have already stated, namely; your religion, the safety and preservation of your Prince, the maintenance of your Laws and Freedoms and all that is dear and near to you – to these I also add, the faithful keeping of those religious Oaths and Promises that you have taken, as without obedience of these nothing else has any value or worth either under Heaven or in Heaven itself…
I have nothing more to trouble you with and you may all now depart to your own homes where I pray to God you may happily live and enjoy the rightful benefits afforded to you in previous times as well as the goodness His Majesty has bestowed upon you now and is ready to bestow upon you more in the future“.
2) Now it’s your turn…
Have a go at writing your own rousing speech to persuade people to fight for either the King or Parliament. Make sure it contains some of the same features as Lord Newark’s speech.
You may wish to download or print this writing frame to help you.