King Charles I Flees London 10 January 1642

The Five Members Indictment

On 4 January 1642, King Charles ordered the issuance of an indictment of treason against the “five members” of parliament. The members were John Hampden, Sir Arthur Hasilrige (multiple spellings), Denzil Holles, John Pym and William Strode. John Hampden died at the Battle of Chalgrove the very next year. Battlefield Biker favorite, Sir Arthur Hasilrige, fought throughout the war with his regiment of cuirassiers, or “lobster” cavalry.” Denzil Holles fought at the Battle of Edgehill, but was later a leading proponent of a negotiated settlement of the war. John Pym was the driving force in Parliament to curb the King’s powers, but died two years later of cancer. William Strode, after being imprisoned for eleven years at the King’s behest, was probably only second in vociferousness in the war party to Pym.

King Charles I Flees London

On 10 January 1642, King Charles I had to leave London as the unrest against him grew. He had recently tried to arrest five members of parliament on treason charges, but failed. His coach had been surrounded by a mob when he had demanded that those who were sheltering the five members should give them up. This was enough to scare Charles and his Queen, Henrietta, into leaving London. They first decamped to Hampton Court, then Windsor Castle and finally to Oxford to set up an alternative government to the Parliament in London. Parliament was busy activating its militias, called the “Trained Bands.” Although there were some attempts at reconciliation, the train of events leading to the English Civil War was already underway.

King Charles I Flees London Motorcycle Ride

I’m sure it was faster for King Charles I by horse and carriage, but if you don’t mind fighting London traffic, you can retrace the royal route to exile. Start in Whitehall, then to Hampton court, then to Windsor, then to Oxford. I’m not joking about London traffic. I recommend taking this ride in the mid summer and starting in London very early in the morning, say 5AM. You will have plenty of daylight in the summer and you can avoid the atrocious London traffic. Once you are in Windsor at 6:30-7:00AM, stop for a Full English Breakfast while the rush hour passes. Then take the ride through the English countryside on the way to Oxford. The area around Henley-on-Thames is especially beautiful. Check out the Battle of Chalgrove and the ride around the Oxfordshire countryside.


  1. gtdalgleish

    I’ve just watched Charles 1st – Downfall of a King part 3, shown early December last year. His journey from Whitehall to Hampton Court was by Royal Barge according to the narrator, rather than carriage. I’ve heard that travel by river was rather more comfortable than by whatever roads there were. Is there an attachment so your motorbike can travel on water?

    • tjlinzy

      Unfortunately no, but ridden many ferries while biking throughout Europe.

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