chapter  9
10 Pages

The task

Second, there was the emergency system of free quarter, described earlier.5 It was suggested then that the Royalists managed to avoid this system in the opening moves of the war, although this belief is challenged by a letter from a Royalist peer6 written on the Edgehill campaign, which contains the assertion that the horse in the royal army were already starting to resort to it. By March 1643 the local soldiers in Worcestershire were definitely using the system, because the arrears in their pay resulting from the slow appearance of the local tax had made this necessary.7 By May Charles was granting the right to take free quarter to newly-commissioned colonels who lacked the money to make the initial payments to the regiments they were to raise.8 In August it became the practice of the field army on campaign.9 Thereafter, as shall be seen, it became virtually the rule in every county where there was a large number of soldiers, despite perpetual attempts to eliminate it. Occasionally these attempts were successful, such as in Shropshire in March 1644,10 but the victory was invariably temporary.