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Charles II and his Escape into Exile (ePub)

Capture the King

P&S History > British History > Tudors & Stuarts P&S History > By Century > 17th Century P&S History > Social History

By Martyn R Beardsley
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 22.2 MB (.epub)
Pages: 164
Illustrations: 32
ISBN: 9781526725738
Published: 6th December 2019


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Returning to England to try to reclaim his throne, King Charles II was defeated at the Battle of Worcester – but the battle to save his own life had only just begun. Pursued wherever he went by soldiers from the conflict as well as local militia, Charles donned peasant clothing, crudely cut his hair and tried to adopt a rustic accent. With the secret help of a succession of loyal citizens, he walked till his feet were shredded, waded rivers, coolly mixed with anti-royalists and enemy troopers – and, of course, hid in an oak tree. Never sure of who could be trusted, it was touch and go all the way to the coast and, hopefully, a boat that would take him to freedom.

Article: 'The Flight of a King'

Dorset Magazine

Reviewed by Stephen Ede-Borrett

I absolutely loved this book and also admire Beardsley’s style of trying not to add details for which there is no contemporary account (there are very few, as he openly admits but all are based on the balance of probability). ..

... The style is gentle and easy-going whilst still being full of fascinating detail; it is far beyond a simple rehash of previous narratives of the same events, something that Beardsley himself says that he wanted to avoid. Beardsley acknowledges the ‘on the ground’ expertise of Gillian Bagwell and of Lucy Griffiths, both of whose knowledge undoubtedly helped to make the book the gem that is.

I would thoroughly recommend this book on every level from history to a ripping good yarn. If this was a story of fiction it would be criticised as “unrealistic’ but it isn’t fiction and Beardsley brings it to life in an evocative and exciting way that will appeal even to many that aren’t primarily interested in the English Civil Wars.


The Pike and Shot Society

Charles II is a well-known figure in history, particularly his decadent court & many royal mistresses. Yet Charles's years in exile are often forgotten. In this book, Martyn R. Beardsley tells the incredible story of Charles's forgotten years before he became king. Easy to read and peppered with interesting (and often incredible) stories, this is a book for everyone interested in the Stuarts.

GoodReads, Constant Reader

As featured on the Royal Reviewer Vlog

Royal Reviewer

Listed in the ‘Reading Corner’

BRITAIN, April 2020

Written with all the narrative storytelling skill of a novelist, this meticulously detailed and informative history is enhanced for academia with the inclusion of two Appendices (Lord Henry Wilmot/The Penderels and Petitioners to the King), and a three page Bibliography. Certain to be an enduringly valued contribution to 17th Century English History, "Charles II and his Escape into Exile: Capture the King" is unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as community, college, and university library Historical Royal British Biographies collections.

Read the full review here

Midwest Book Review

Article: 'King's escape is brought to book' as featured by

The Chronicle (Wolverhampton) & Bridgnorth Journal, 30th January 2020 – words by Toby Neal

Article: Story of king’s daring escape and role of ‘royal oak’ told in new book as featured by

Express & Star (online & print) and Shropshire Star (print) - words by Toby Neal

A really interesting and well researched book . There are a lot of places mentioned that I have visited previously so that made it more relatable to me too.

NetGalley, Ann Jones

About Martyn R Beardsley

Martyn Beardsley writes for both children and adults, but history is his big passion. He is from Nottingham but visits the coast as often as possible, and has witnessed the Fowey lifeboat go into action on several occasions – on one of which he helped coax a troubled woman from the chilly waters of Polruan harbour. His other non-fiction works include Charles II and his Escape into Exile, and Waterloo Voices, a compilation of first-hand accounts of the famous battle.

Born on this day - Charles II

29th May 1630

Charles was the King of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1660 until his death in 1685, and had been King of Scotland from 1649 until he was deposed in 1651. His father, Charles I, was executed at the height of the English Civil War in 1649, after which the younger Charles fled to Europe.

King Charles II of England spends a day hiding in an oak tree during his escape after losing the Battle of Worcester

6th September 1651

King Charles II of England spends a day hiding in an oak tree during his escape after losing the Battle of Worcester

English parliament declares Charles Stuart to be King Charles II of England

8th May 1660

English parliament declares Charles Stuart to be King Charles II of England

Charles II returns from exile

29th May 1660

On his 30th birthday Charles II returns to London from exile in the Netherlands to claim the English throne after the Puritan Commonwealth comes to an end

Death of Charles II

6th February 1685

Charles II died on 6 February 1685. He was 54 years old.

View all events View all anniversaries

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