The Battle of Hopton Heath formed part of the tussle over control of the Midlands in the English civil war. The strategically important nearby town of Lichfield had recently been taken by the Parliamentarians, and Charles I was keen to regain it, while the Parliamentarian commander, Sir John Gell, had now set his sights on Stafford. The two armies met a few miles outside Stafford. When fighting was halted by nightfall, both forces claimed victory. Most significant, however, was the fact that the Royalist commander, the Earl of Northampton, had been taken and killed in the course of the battle.