The Earl of Buckinghamshire at the Society's 20th anniversary service in Great Hampden Church

The Ship Money monument at Prestwood

The Palace of Westminster in the 17th century

Pyrton Manor, home of John Hampden's first wife

The former Lord Williams's Grammar School, Thame

The Earl of Buckinghamshire at the 350th anniversary ceremony in Thame

St Mary Magdalene church, Great Hampden

Charles I tries to arrest the Five Members in the House of Commons

John Hampden's funeral in 1643

Arthur Goodwin, Hampden's lifelong friend
Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth. Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees.

The Great Hall at Hampden House

St Mary Magdalene church and Hampden House

Hampden's regiment marching through Thame

What happened at the battle of Chalgrove?

In summary, the battle was contested by a flying column led by Prince Rupert that left the besieged City of Oxford late on 17th June 1643 and an informal collection of parliamentarian cavalry, billeted in and around Thame, and hastily assembled early on the morning of 18th June in response to news of Rupert’s raid that was still in progress.

The main engagement began when Prince Rupert, whilst in the process of escorting prisoners and looted livestock back into Royalist Oxford, chose to turn and fight his parliamentarian pursuers in a corn field not far from the village of Chalgrove. During this relatively brief engagement the royalists routed their disorganised pursuers. The parliamentarian survivors fled. Hampden was wounded at an early stage in this action. He rode off the battlefield to Thame where he died six days later.

The details of the events of 17th – 18th June 1643 remain disputed. The latest published research suggests that historians may have misunderstood the nature and importance of the battle, the number of combatants involved and even the location where Hampden received his mortal wounds. Gill and Derek Lester have set out a radical reassessment of the battle in their article reported in the Oxoniensia journal 2015.