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King Charles I Outbreak of War and Repairs to the Castle[ edit ] Maintenance and repair of the castle was vital to the success of the Royalists plans owing to the fact that the Royal Headquarters were in Oxford which made the defence of Wallingford which controlled the area to the south especially strategically important. In August Colonel Blagge was granted Warrants from the king and Prince Rupert to collect taxes from Reading and other local towns in order to proceed with the repairs. The Parliamentary army was 16, strong and laid siege to Reading using cannons. Reading was unable to hold out long enough for the King and prince Rupert to arrive and break the siege and surrendered on the 27 April with "the garrison joining the royal army and together they retreated through Wallingford back to Oxford". High words followed; the commissioners feared they might have their throats cut by the garrison, and gladly took their leave of the 'proud governour. It is also therefor the last time that any British King and Queen stayed at the castle together owing to its destruction at the end of the war. The garrison retreated to Wallingford. They were to late and by the time they reached Wallingford they found the Royalists had already advanced to Oxford with the Castle blocking their path. It was this annoyance of missing an opportunity to catch the King that led to Cromwell forming his New Model Army. However, finding that the fortifications exceded his expectations he retreated quickly to Reading. By this point only Wallingford, Faringdon and Donnington were the only strongholds still loyal to the King in the county of Berkshire The King held up at Oxford for the winter with the intention of riding south to relieve and retake positions in Berkshire. But the failure of reinforcements to arrive from the west and the iminant threat of siege by General Fairfax forced him to flee north. The siege of Wallingford began on 4 May by General Fairfax , the parliamentarians laid siege to Oxford on May General Thomas Fairfax Now only Wallingford remained, its garrison faithfully holding the town and castle for the King under the leadership of Colonel Blagge. However his position was now impossible with the town being blockaded on all sides. It was only a matter of time but still Blagge held that he would not surrender without the Kings order and even theatened to set fire to the town during a full assault. The council resolved to draw up preferential terms for Wallingford's surrender. Initially Blagge refuesed even these with the same answer that he would need the Kings consent to surrender the town. However by July with the Kings surrender to the Scotch Army and with Wallingford now the only stronghold in Berkshire still loyal to the crown he knew that there would be no relief or reinforcements. The blockade had over time also been tightened and with the prospect of desertion and mutiny from his starving soldiers Blagge was forced to reopen negotiations. The terms of the Blagges surrender were drawn up on 22 July , Fairfax respected Blagge as a fellow soldier firstly for his work in resurrecting the castle for the war and secondly for the manor in which he refused to take the easy option and surrender but held out for as long as possible, this respect meant that Fairfax still granted Blagge the original favourable terms of surrender he was initially offered, even though the situation had long changed. Blagge and his garrison would then be allowed to march out of the town with full honours and would be allowed to leave with with their horses, arms and baggage. They would then be permitted to march 10 miles out of the town before disbanding. Blagge was however forced in the end to surrender the castle to Fairfax early on the 27th after a mutiny broke out within the garrison, Fairfax sent a regiment into the town to restore order and the garrison's exit was made unimpeaded. Only two castles now remained supporting the royalist cause Raglan and Pendennis and they would both fall by August. A new governor Evelyn was installed, although he petitioned for the immediate slight of the castle, parliament instead decided to use it for the imprisonment of Presbyterian prisoners after the Prides Purge. Slight of The Castle[ edit ] Oliver Cromwell Continued turmoil, unrest in the country and a fear that the residents of Wallingford were still loyal to the crown caused Oliver Cromwell to fear that Wallingford Castle could again be fortifed against him in a furture uprising. On 17 November the Council of State decided that Wallingford Castle should be "forthwith demolished and the workes thereto belonging effectually slighted.
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