This essay challenges the established interpretation of the political allegiances of the miners of north-west Derbyshire. It shows that, far from being dominated by parliamentarian and puritan ideas in 1642, the miners were deeply divided in their response to the war. Both the king and the parliament were able to recruit troops from amongst the miners throughout the first civil war. From this, a broader critique of recent historical work on popular politics and popular allegiances before and during the English Revolution is mounted. It is argued that ‘post-revisionist’ and Marxian historians have deployed overly schematic and deterministic models of allegiance which frequently fail to reflect the complexity of popular responses to war and revolution in England in the 1640s.