6 December

Pride’s Purge was an event that took place in December 1648, during the Second English Civil War, when troops under the command of Colonel Thomas Pride forcibly removed from the Long Parliament all those who were not supporters of the Grandees in the New Model Army and the Independents. It is arguably the only military coup d’état in English history.

Pride’s Purge was arguably the most significant political event of the English Civil War, directly leading to the execution of Charles I and thus a permanent end to hostilities between the King and Parliament. Historians argue over the extent to which this was an independent action by Pride’s regiment. Army chief Sir Thomas Fairfax and his second in command, Lieutenant-General Oliver Cromwell, stayed aloof from the proceedings. But Cromwell’s swift journey to London from Pontefract on the day of the purge implies that he may have been involved in its planning. He most certainly benefited from and supported the outcome of the purge after it had taken place.