The governor of Carlisle wrote to the King to assure him of his and the town's continuing loyalty. Lord Ethyin in York received intelligence from his local network of agents that the small garrison of Scarborough was wavering in its support for Parliament and a strong show of force might precipitate a change of allegiance.
Lord Ethyin decided to try and exploit this and marched on Scarborough - which worked! The small garrison defected and pledged allegiance to the Crown. Ethyin was able to return to York, before Fairfax received news and could exploit the brief absence of the York garrison. Later, Cavendish march north to join Ethyin in York. Fairfax and Newcastle continued their patient training of their troops. Brereton finally moved into action once again, taking Lancaster and then beginning to besiege the long-suffering town of Preston!
The Earl of Manchester moved to London to reinforce the Earl of Essex and bring the garrison of London to well over 20,000 men. King Charles, feeling that the Parliamentary forces in the Southeast were now too strong, withdrew northward to Melton Mowbray, feeling that this position - from where he could cover London, York, Shrewsbury and Gloucester - would give him the strategic advantage and limit Parliament's options.
The contingent of Anglo-Irish regiments had reached 4000 strong and it marched to Shrewsbury to reinforce Prince Maurice, who was engaged in training his army. Waller took Hereford and then moved to besiege Gloucester. A small force of Parliamentary Foot moved from The Fens to Louth.
Hopton moved to Wells to recruit. Bedford released a contingent of his troops to sail to London to reinforce the garrison, then moved the rest of his army to Bodmin.
There was a large prisoner exchange at Christmas: the Royalists released Skippon, Foppington, F.Fairfax and Dalbier in exchange for Forth, Vasey and Goring.
Newcastle is at Newcastle with 4000 Foot & 1500 Horse
Preston is garrisoned with 1000 Foot
Cavendish and Ethyin are at York with 5000 Foot & 2250 Horse
Brereton is besieging Preston with 3000 Foot & 3000 Horse
Fairfax is at Hull with 4000 Foot & 1500 Horse
King Charles is at Melton Mowbray with 10000 Foot & 6750 Horse
Prince Maurice is at Shrewsbury with 6000 Foot & 2250 Horse
Louth is garrisoned by 2000 Foot
Hopton is at Wells with 2000 Foot & 750 Horse
Gloucester is garrisoned with 1000 Foot
Oxford is garrisoned with 1000 Foot
Essex and Manchester are at London with 21000 Foot and 6750 Horse
Massey is at Bristol with 2000 Foot
Bedford is at Bodmin with 4000 Foot & 1500 Horse
Waller is besieging Gloucester with 2000 Foot & 2250 Horse
Has King Charles' moment gone? He felt that success was too doubtful and it was better to withdraw and regroup - shades of Turnham Green? On the other hand, his central position is undoubtedly strong and crucially, it will be very difficult for the main Parliamentary force to co-operate effectively with any Covenanting army which approaches.
The moving of large forces around London has sucked away the available supplies for smaller regional operations, so there has been a lot of focus on training and small moves. However, Parliament has felt safe enough to begin some smaller operations to take Royalist strongholds on the periphery. It feels that a different phase of operations has been reached, in which small forces will only be able to operate in the more distant regions, as small forces trying to operate in Middle England will be caught and destroyed by the large central Field armies - unless they can be pinned by equally large force.
And that concludes Act I! I hope those of you following this campaign have found it interesting to follow, it has certainly been interesting to play it. I hope to resume in a few months, depending upon when I finish a Scots' Covenanter army ready for service - which in turn will depend upon when Baccus 6mm is able to finish and release all the figures for it (the Foot and Guns are released, but the Horse hasn't been done yet). Many thanks for all of the comments and interest shown so far.
Stay tuned for Act II: The Coming of the Covenanters...