The first English Civil War began in 1642 between Parliamentarians (the Roundheads) and Royalists (the Cavaliers) after hostilities between Charles I and the Long Parliament and its supporters reached breaking point.
The country slowly separated into factions, with northern and rural areas remaining predominantly Royalist and major towns and cities generally belonging to Parliament. A series of battles fought between Cromwell’s New Model Army and Charles’s forces saw the Royalists slowly lose control until the eventual imprisonment of the king.
The war began again when Charles escaped and made an alliance with the Scots, who then invaded England. However, the Scots and Royalist forces were again defeated by Oliver Cromwell, and the newly formed Rump Parliament saw King Charles I tried for treason and then beheaded in 1649.
This image is taken from ‘The Malignants trecherous and bloody plot against the Parliament and Citty of London which was by God’s providence happily prevented May 31, 1643’. The engraved scenes only portray this one episode – in May 1643 – not the entire Civil War. An engraving describing the plot is followed by some verses addressed to the Malignants.