Roundheads were supporters of the Parliament of England during the English Civil War (1641–1652). Also known as Parliamentarians, they fought against King Charles I of England and his supporters, known as the Cavaliers or Royalists, who claimed rule by absolute monarchy and the principle of the 'divine right of kings'.[1] The goal of the Roundhead party was to give the Parliament supreme control over executive administration of the country/kingdom.[2]

John Pettie Puritan Roundhead
A Roundhead by John Pettie
Lord ProtectorOliver Cromwell (1653–1658)
Richard Cromwell (1659)
LeadersOliver Cromwell
Richard Cromwell
John Bradshaw
Thomas Fairfax
(and others)
Succeeded byWhigs


Most Roundheads sought constitutional monarchy in place of the absolutist monarchy sought by Charles[3]. However, at the end of the English Civil War in 1649, public antipathy towards the king was high enough to allow republican leaders such as Oliver Cromwell to abolish the monarchy completely and establish the Commonwealth of England.

The Roundhead commander-in-chief of the first Civil War, Thomas Fairfax, remained a supporter of constitutional monarchy, as did many other Roundhead leaders such as Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester and Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex; however, this party was outmanoeuvred by the more politically-adept Cromwell and his radicals, who had the backing of the New Model Army and took advantage of Charles' perceived betrayal of England by allying with the Scottish against Parliament.[4][5][6]

England's many Puritans and Presbyterians were almost invariably Roundhead supporters, as were many smaller religious groups such as the Independents. However many Roundheads were members of the Church of England, as were many Cavaliers.

Roundhead political factions included the proto-anarchist Diggers, the diverse group known as the Levellers and the apocalyptic Christian movement of the Fifth Monarchists.

Origins and background

William Frederick Yeames - And when did you last see your father? - Google Art Project
A Roundhead inquisitor asks a son of a Cavalier, "And when did you last see your father?" — William Frederick Yeames (1878).

Some Puritans, but by no means all, wore their hair closely cropped round the head or flat and there was thus an obvious contrast between them and the men of courtly fashion, who wore long ringlets.[7]

During the war and for a time afterwards, Roundhead was a term of derision[7]—in the New Model Army it was a punishable offence to call a fellow soldier a Roundhead.[8] This contrasted with the term "Cavalier" to describe supporters of the Royalist cause. Cavalier also started out as a pejorative term—the first proponents used it to compare members of the Royalist party with Spanish Caballeros who had abused Dutch Protestants during the reign of Elizabeth I—but unlike Roundhead, Cavalier was embraced by those who were the target of the epithet and used by them to describe themselves.[8]

"Roundheads" appears to have been first used as a term of derision toward the end of 1641, when the debates in Parliament in the Clergy Act 1640 were causing riots at Westminster. The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition quotes a contemporary authority's description of the crowd gathered there: "They had the hair of their heads very few of them longer than their ears, whereupon it came to pass that those who usually with their cries attended at Westminster were by a nickname called Roundheads".[7] The demonstrators included London apprentices and Roundhead was a term of derision for them because the regulations to which they had agreed included a provision for closely cropped hair.[8]

According to John Rushworth the word was first used on 27 December 1641 by a disbanded officer named David Hide. During a riot, Hide is reported to have drawn his sword and said he would "cut the throat of those round-headed dogs that bawled against bishops".[9]

However, Richard Baxter ascribes the origin of the term to a remark made by Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I, at the trial of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, earlier that year. Referring to John Pym, she asked who the roundheaded man was.[7] The principal advisor to Charles II, Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, remarked on the matter, "and from those contestations the two terms of Roundhead and Cavalier grew to be received in discourse, ... they who were looked upon as servants to the king being then called Cavaliers, and the other of the rabble contemned and despised under the name of Roundheads."[10]

Ironically, after Anglican Archbishop William Laud made a statute in 1636 instructing all clergy to wear short hair, many Puritans rebelled to show their contempt for his authority and began to grow their hair even longer (as can be seen on their portraits)[11] though they continued to be known as Roundheads. The longer hair was more common among the "Independent" and "high ranking" Puritans (which included Cromwell), especially toward the end of the Protectorate, while the "Presbyterian" (i.e., non-Independent) faction, and the military rank-and-file, continued to abhor long hair. By the end of this period some Independent Puritans were again derisively using the term Roundhead to refer to the Presbyterian Puritans.[12]

Roundhead remained in use to describe those with republican tendencies up until the Exclusion Crisis of 1678–1681; the term was then superseded by "Whig", initially another term with pejorative connotations. Likewise during the Exclusion Bill crisis, the term Cavalier was replaced with "Tory", an Irish term introduced by their opponents, and also initially a pejorative term.[13]


  1. ^ Roberts 2006,
  2. ^ Macaulay 1856, p. 105.
  3. ^ Krowke, André. "Monarchy versus Parliament: England in the 17th century".
  4. ^ Dr. Laura Stewart. "Oliver Cromwell: a Scottish perspective". The Cromwell Association.
  5. ^ Plant, David (November 2008). "The Engagement, 1647-8". BCW Project.
  6. ^ Professor John Morrill (February 2011). "Oliver Cromwell". BBC.
  7. ^ a b c d Anonymous 1911.
  8. ^ a b c Worden 2009, p. 2.
  9. ^ Anonymous 1911 cites Rushworth Historical Collections
  10. ^ Anonymous 1911 cites Clarendon History of the Rebellion, volume IV. page 121.
  11. ^ Hunt 2010, p. 5
  12. ^ Hanbury 1844, pp. 118, 635.
  13. ^ Worden 2009, p. 4.


  • Macaulay, Thomas Babington (1856). The History of England from the Accession of James II. 1. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 105. ISBN 0-543-93129-3.
  • Hanbury, Benjamin (1844). Historical Memorials Relating to the Independents Or Congregationalists: From Their Rise to the Restoration of the Monarchy. 3. pp. 118, 635.
  • Hunt, John (2010) [1870]. Religious Thought in England, from the Reformation to the End of Last Century; A Contribution to the History of Theology. 2. General Books LLC. p. 5. ISBN 1-150-98096-6.
  • Roberts, Chris (2006). Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind Rhyme. Thorndike Press. ISBN 0-7862-8517-6.
  • Worden, Blair (2009). The English Civil Wars 1640–1660. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-100694-3.


Attila the Stockbroker

John Baine (born 21 October 1957), better known by his stage name Attila the Stockbroker, is a punk poet, multi instrumentalist musician and songwriter. He performs solo and as the leader of the band Barnstormer 1649, who combine early music and punk. He describes himself as a "sharp tongued, high energy social surrealist poet and songwriter." He has performed over 3,300 concerts, published eight books of poems and an autobiography (which itself has 38 poems in it) and released over forty recordings (albums and singles).

Battle of Stourbridge Heath

The Battle of Stourbridge Heath (26 March 1644) was a skirmish that took place during the English Civil War, in which a Roundhead contingent under the command of Colonel "Tinker" Fox was defeated by a larger Cavalier force under the command of Sir Gilbert Gerard, Governor of Worcester.

Battle of the Thames

The Battle of the Thames, also known as the Battle of Moraviantown, was a decisive American victory in the War of 1812 against Great Britain and its Indian allies in Tecumseh's Confederacy. It took place on October 5, 1813 in Upper Canada, near Chatham. The British lost control of Southwestern Ontario as a result of the battle; Tecumseh was killed and his Confederacy largely fell apart.

British troops under Major General Henry Procter had occupied Detroit until the United States Navy gained control of Lake Erie, depriving them of their supplies. Procter was forced to retreat north up the Thames River to Moraviantown, followed by the tribal confederacy under Shawnee leader Tecumseh and war chief Roundhead who were his allies. American infantry and cavalry under Major General William Henry Harrison drove off the British and then defeated the Indians, who were demoralized by the deaths of Tecumseh and Roundhead in action. American control was re-established in the Detroit area, the tribal confederacy collapsed, and Procter was court-martialled for his poor leadership.

Big Shrimpin'

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Cynoglossus dispar

Cynoglossus dispar, commonly known as the Roundhead tonguesole is a species of tonguefish. It is commonly found in the Indian Ocean, particularly off the coast of India, and Pakistan.

Edmund Dunch (Roundhead)

Edmund Dunch (1602–1678) was an English Member of Parliament who supported the Parliamentary cause before and during the English Civil War. During the Interregnum he sat as a member of parliament. In 1659, after the Protectorate and before the Restoration, regaining his seat in the Rump he also sat in Committee of Safety. After the restoration of the monarchy he was not exempted under the Act of Pardon and Oblivion but the titles granted to him under the Protectorate were not recognised under the restored monarchy of Charles II.

Edmund Prideaux (Roundhead)

Edmund Prideaux (died 1659) of Forde Abbey, Thorncombe, Devon, was an English lawyer and Member of Parliament, who supported the Parliamentary cause during the Civil War. He was briefly solicitor-general but chose to resign rather than participate in the regicide of King Charles I and was afterwards attorney-general which position he held until he died. During the Civil War and for most of the First Commonwealth he ran the postal service for Parliament.

Edward Hungerford (Roundhead)

Sir Edward Hungerford (1596–1648) of Corsham, Wiltshire and of Farleigh Castle in Wiltshire (now Somerset), Member of Parliament, was a Parliamentarian commander during the English Civil War. He occupied and plundered Salisbury in 1643, and took Wardour and Farleigh castles.

Holden, Ohio

Holden is an unincorporated community on the border of Wayne Township in Auglaize County and Roundhead Township in Hardin County, in the U.S. state of Ohio.

John Bingham (Roundhead)

John Bingham (1615–1673) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1645 and 1659. He served in the Parliamentary army in the English Civil War.

Bingham was the son of Richard Bingham, of Bingham's Melcombe, Dorset and his wife Jane Hopton, daughter of Sir Arthur Hopton. He matriculated at Brasenose College, Oxford on 9 December 1631, aged 18. He was a student of the Middle Temple in 1632.In the Civil War, Bingham was colonel of a regiment of the parliamentary army and Bingham's Melcombe was used as the headquarters of the local parliamentary forces. He was governor of Poole, and took part in the siege of Corfe Castle. He was elected Member of Parliament for Shaftesbury in 1645 in the Long Parliament and survived Pride's Purge to serve in the Rump Parliament. He was nominated MP for Dorset in 1653 for the Barebones Parliament and elected MP for Dorset in 1654, 1656 and 1658 for the First, Second and Third Protectorate Parliaments.

He was Governor of Guernsey from 1651 to 1660.

Bingham married firstly Frances Trenchard, daughter of John Trenchard, and secondly Jane Norwood of Gloucestershire. He had no male heir and was succeeded by his nephew Richard.

John Clark (Roundhead)

John Clark (fl 1650s) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons for various constituencies between 1653 and 1659. He was a colonel in the Parliamentary army.

John Hutchinson (Roundhead)

Colonel John Hutchinson (1615–1664) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons of England from 1648 to 1653 and in 1660. He was one of the Puritan leaders, and fought in the parliamentary army in the English Civil War. As a member of the high court of justice in 1649 he was 13th of 59 Commissioners to sign the death-warrant of King Charles I. Although he avoided the fate of some of the other regicides executed after the Restoration, he was exempted from the general pardon, only to the extent that he could not hold a public office. In 1663, he was accused of involvement in the Farnley Wood Plot, was incarcerated and died in prison.

He invested very successfully in buying paintings from the art collection of Charles I after his execution, spending very large amounts relative to his wealth. After a few years he resold them for substantial profits.


The longfins, also known as roundheads or spiny basslets, are a family, Plesiopidae, which were formerly placed in the order Perciformes but are now regarded as being incertae sedis in the subseries Ovalentaria in the clade Percomorpha. They are elongated fishes, found in the Indian Ocean and western Pacific Ocean.

Nathaniel Fiennes

Nathaniel Fiennes (c. 1608 – 16 December 1669) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1640 and 1659. He was an officer in the Parliamentary army during the English Civil War and an active supporter of the republican cause during the Interregnum.

Ohio State Route 235

State Route 235 (SR 235) is a 133.2-mile-long (214.4 km) north–south state highway in the western portion of the U.S. state of Ohio. Its southern terminus is at US 68 near the small town of Oldtown just north of Xenia, and its northern terminus is at State Route 65 at the Maumee River nearly 5 miles (8.0 km) east of Grand Rapids.

Prior to late 1968, it was numbered State Route 69, but was renumbered 235. There are a number of urban legends pertaining to why this renumbering occurred. One is that the number 69 has certain sexual meanings in popular culture, and the signs kept getting stolen. (There were actually numerous cases of people stealing the signs for this route.) Another was that it was too close to Interstate 69 (less than 70 miles (110 km) in some areas) and the state decided to avoid the confusion.

Roundhead, Ohio

Roundhead is an unincorporated community in southeastern Roundhead Township, Hardin County, Ohio, United States. Although it is unincorporated, it has a post office, with the ZIP code of 43346. Located at an altitude of 1,004 feet (306 m), it sits at the intersection of State Routes 117, 235, and 385, 2¾ mile (4½ km) north of the northeast corner of Indian Lake and 13 miles (24 km) southwest of the city of Kenton, the county seat of Hardin County. Despite Roundhead's proximity to Indian Lake and the Great Miami River, which flows out of it to the Ohio River at Cincinnati, the community is drained by the headwaters of the Scioto River, which meets the Ohio River at Portsmouth.

Roundhead (Wyandot)

Roundhead (c. 1760 – October 5, 1813), also known as Bark Carrier, Round Head, Stayeghtha, and Stiahta, was a Native American chief of the Wyandot tribe. He was a strong member of Tecumseh's Confederacy against the United States during the War of 1812 and died alongside Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames.

Roundhead Studios

Roundhead Studios is an Auckland-based sound recording studio owned by singer-songwriter Neil Finn. It was officially opened in June 2007, however by the time of its opening, several international artists had already used it whilst the studio was either in construction or receiving finishing touches.

Artists who have used the facility include Australian band Augie March, US rapper Kanye West, British Indie Rock band Foals, and a range of New Zealand based artists, including Finn's son Liam Finn, Herriot Row, Eddie Rayner, Goldenhorse, Jan Hellriegel, the Topp Twins and Tim Finn. On 13 July 2007, Neil Finn brought his band Crowded House in and performed a set of songs live to New Zealand radio. Roundhead was also the recording location for 2009 Oxfam charity album "The Sun Came Out", featuring members of Wilco, Johnny Marr, KT Tunstall, Phil Selway, Ed O'Brien, Sebastian Steinberg and local artists Don McGlashan, Bic Runga and Neil Finn. After recording for "The Sun Came Out", members of Wilco took up residency at Roundhead to record the foundation tracks for their seventh studio album, Wilco (The Album).

Roundhead has two main studio spaces. The A Studio features a Neve console which was originally built for The Who. This console was previously located at Bearsville Studios in upstate New York. Both vintage analogue equipment and modern digital recording equipment is available.Roundhead was also the name given to Neil Finn's previous home studio in Parnell, utilised by New Zealand bands including Garageland and The Stereo Bus in the late 1990s.

The name and logo for Roundhead Studios refer to the Round Head period of prehistoric art.

Roundhead Township, Hardin County, Ohio

Roundhead Township is one of the fifteen townships of Hardin County, Ohio, United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 720.

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