On 20 July 1643 Lord Willoughby of Parham captured Gainsborough in Lincolnshire for the Parliament Roundheads from the Earl of Kingston in a night attack. The Earl was later killed by a cannon ball from his own men as he was being taken as prisoner down the river. Gainsborough was important for communications with the south and so Lord Newcastle sent Sir Charles Cavendish to retake it. Parliament, also knowing of Gainsborough’s strategic significance sent Sir John Meldrum to assist Cromwell in relieving and reinforcing the town.
The Royalists tried to retake the town on 28 July 1643 from the south east and took their stand on Foxby Hill, but despite the hill being steep and sandy they were routed by the Parliamentary assault, with a disciplined charge from Cromwell’s own “Ironsides”. The Royalists were driven down into the flat marshy land of the river Trent, where Cavendish was killed among some 300 others.
Though it was a Parliamentary victory, by the 30th Newcastle’s army had arrived at Grantham, defeated Parliament and retook the town. Parliament was driven back and out of Lincolnshire altogether.