Civil unrest and war

 With the accession of the Stuart dynasty to the English throne, the rise of Puritanism and the desire of the Parliamentarians to secure greater power at the expense of the throne, things were to change for Wormleighton Manor with the advent of the Civil War. The Spencers were Royalist supporters. Prince Rupert made Wormleighton his headquarters at the Battle of Edge Hill in 1642, which the Royalists should have won easily but were let down by a lack of discipline with their cavalry spending too much time chasing their initially fleeing enemy and allowing the Parliamentarians time to redeploy with reinforcements that arrived late in the day including cavalry commanded by Oliver Cromwell. As a measure of the family's wealth at that time, Henry Spencer loaned £10,000 to King Charles 1st which may have had something to do with his becoming Earl of Sunderland – cash for peerages was evidently as prevalent then as in the 21st Century. But Baron Spencer having acquired his Earldom on the Eighth of June 1643 was killed some three months afterwards at the Battle of Newbury fighting as a volunteer in the King's army at the age of 23 The town of Southam - some few miles to the North of Wormleighton - was a Royalist stronghold and furthermore a location for the Royal Mint during the first part of the Civil War. Banbury to the South on the other hand though at certain times in Royalist hands was basically a Parliamentarian and Puritan stronghold although it seems to have changed sides several times depending on which side had the upper hand. This part of South Warwickshire suffered an almost continuous chronicle of violence throughout the duration of the Civil War from 1642 to 1646 and not just briefly during the time of the battle of Edge Hill as is sometimes imagined. Successive armies both Royalist and Parliamentarian crossed and re-crossed the whole area several times. Thus, Wormleighton was very much on the front line although defining what was Royalist or Parliamentarian territory is difficult as things changed so frequently so there were probably lots of people who sat on the fence in terms of supporting one or other side. History has shown that there is hardly a town of any size in England that was not somehow affected by the Civil War