The Second English Civil War began in south Wales during the spring of 1648. On the 30th of April, Colonel John Poyer, who was to be superceded in his command as governor of Pembroke Castle, refused to leave and declared his support of the King. Poyer, along with Major General Laughorn and Colonel Powel, called for a Royalist uprising. They were soon joined by Major General Stradling, and a sizeable army was raised. They not only claimed Pembroke Castle but also Tenby Castle. Sir Nicholas Kemish took Chepstow Castle in the name of Charles. Cromwell was called upon to lead the army to Wales in order to quell the rebellion. He reached Gloucester on 8 May and entered Monmouth on the 10th. By that time, the local Parliamentary forces had actually broken the Royalist uprising, so Cromwell’s army did not encounter much resistance. Chepstow fell to Cromwell on 11 May and Pembroke surrendered by 11 July.
During the summer of 1648 a Scottish Royalist army under the command of the Duke of Hamilton marched southward into England. At Preston in Lancashire, Hamilton’s army was engaged by Cromwell’s army. Unlike most battles of the day, which lasted a few hours, the Battle of Preston began on 17 August and did not end until 25 August, eight days later. In the end, the Scottish army was defeated and Hamilton was himself captured and executed.
News of Cromwell’s victory at Preston traveled fast through the countryside, and many of the garrisons of Royalist strongholds began to surrender.
Using the defeat of Hamilton’s army as a reason to act, a group known variously as the Kirk or the Whigs, one of the more extreme Covenanter factions supporting Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyll, decided to take action to clear the Scottish Parliament of the conservative Engagers. After raising an army in the southwest Lowlands, they marched on Edinburgh in what was known as the Whiggamore Raid, and effectively succeeded in overthrowing the government. Argyll and the extremist Prebysterian Covenanters were now clearly in control of Scotland.
Oliver Cromwell, viewed by the Scottish Covenanters as the dominant power in England, was invited to visit the Scottish Parliament in its current incarnation, which invitation he accepted. It was said that he received a hero’s welcome as he entered Edinburgh. When he left, he left behind a garrison of troops under the command of Major-General Lambert.