At the outset of the English civil war in 1642, Plymouth was a Parliamentarian stronghold. At the beginning of 1641, Royalist forces under Sir Ralph Hopton had put renewed pressure on the town, occupying surrounding towns to leave it isolated. On 21st February, however, a Parliamentarian force under Major-General James Chudleigh defeated Hopton at Modbury, in Devon, forcing the Royalists to give up on their attempt to take Plymouth and retreat.
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