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Civil War Tracts

The Archives holds over forty bound copies of Civil War Tracts, published between 1642 and 1648, and documenting the events, conflicts and politics of this turbulent period.

They represent a subset of the celebrated Thomason Collection of Civil War Tracts, now bound into approximately 2,000 volumes and housed at the British Library’s main St Pancras site.

Our collection includes various petitions to King Charles by the inhabitants of Lincoln, ordinances of the Lords and Commons putting cities, including Lincoln, into postures of defence, and various ‘true relations’ of battles and military action.

One such is ‘A true relation of the late fight betweene the Right Honorable the Earle of Manchesters forces and the Marquesse of Newcastles forces on Wednesday 11th October 1643, the battaile being neere Horncastle in Lincolnshire’ (see Foster Library; 7-LCL/1/17)

This was the Battle of Winceby, which lasted barely half an hour. It was a lesser known battle of the civil war, with fewer than 6000 troops involved, but notable in that it was the first nationally important victory for Oliver Cromwell, and the first in which he fought side by side with Sir Thomas Fairfax.

The parliamentarian Eastern Association Army swiftly defeated the royalist cavalry and dragoons, resulting in the fall of the county to parliament and an end to royalist ascendancy.

The account vividly sets out the preliminary movements of the Earle of Manchester’s various forces, the settling on the high ground adjacent to Bolingbroke, the surprise when the opposing sides unexpectedly met and the resolve with which battle was given:

’ Collonell Cromwell fell with resolution upon the enemy, immediately after their Dragooneers had given him the first volley, yet they were so nimble, as within halfe pistoll shot they gave home another; his horse was killed under him at the first charge and fell downe upon him, as he rose he was knock’d downe againe by the Gentleman that charged him, who we conceive was Sir Ingram Hopton; but afterward he recovered a poore horse in a Soldiers hand and mounted himselfe againe. Truly this charge was so home given that the enemy stood not another but were driven backe upon their owne body that was to second them, and put them into disorder, our men charged all in with him , and then they ranne for it, leaving all their Dragoneers which were now on foot behind them. Our men pursued them, and did execution on them about five miles, all the way being strewed with broken armes, dead men and horses.’

You can find out more about the Battle of Winceby, and also about the Thomason collection, by following these links:

http://www.battlefieldsofbritain.co.uk/battle_winceby_1643.html (Lincs to the Past cannot be responsible for the content of external websites)

http://www.battlefieldstrust.com/resource-centre/civil-war/battleview.asp?BattleFieldId=48 (Lincs to the Past cannot be responsible for the content of external websites)

http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelprestype/prbooks/thomason/thomasoncivilwar.html (Lincs to the Past cannot be responsible for the content of external websites)

The Civil War Tracts are just some of the published items held by the Canon Foster library, one of the largest local record offices with over 30,000 printed volumes, chiefly of general and local history. Its primary purpose is to provide information to readers and staff to supplement their research and assist in the interpretation, use and care of the documents.

The Foster Library provides a comprehensive collection of reference books and periodicals relating to Lincolnshire, adjacent counties and the ancient Diocese of Lincoln. The library holds many journals, calendars, newspapers, marriage indexes, annual reports, directories, names indexes and theses.

Customer Notice: Viewing images and Online Ordering

As of January 2021, Adobe Flash Player is no longer supported and therefore browsers are disabling and blocking the software for security reasons. Lincs to the Past can still be used as a catalogue to search our collections for documents of interest, but you will be unable to browse through our digital image collections or view photographs. We are aware of this issue, and work is underway to make the contents of Lincs to the Past available by other means. We aim to complete this project during Summer 2021.



Thousands of object records are still available to view on the website and images can be ordered offline. For instructions on how to place an order please visit the 'Buy Images' page. Please do not use the online ordering system. For any queries about ordering digital images please email archive.copies@lincolnshire.gov.uk

Members of Lincolnshire Libraries can access a number of online resources that may be of use. For more information please visit Lincolnshire Libraries. We apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused.







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Last updated: 16 February 2017

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