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Part 10

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[Part 10]

The Business of Yorkshire - Part 10.

2nd July 1644.

Battle of Marston Moor.

The battle was closely fought and could have been a Royalist victory but in the end Parliament triumphed and inflicted a crushing defeat on the Royalists in the north and broke their army in the region leaving the Parliamentarians dominant.

Sir Thomas Fairfax was again in the thick of the fighting and wounded.

Although his inexperienced cavalry on the left flank was broken by Goring’s opposing cavalry Sir Thomas remained on the field and played a major role in the battle and his courage never in doubt. Some say his was the deciding influence on the events which turned the battle in the favour of the Parliamentarians although credit is usually given to Cromwell and to a lesser degree David Leslie.

What remained of the Royalist army fled back to York.

The Marquis of Newcastle abandoned the Royalist cause, fleeing to Scarborough and sailed for exile on the continent with his family and household.

Prince Rupert, with his reputation of invincibility now in ruins, fled with his remaining cavalry back across the Pennines to Lancashire later to rejoin the King at Oxford.  He left Sir Thomas Glenham at York with 1,500 men from the garrison plus numerous stragglers to hold the city for as long as possible.

4th July 1644 - The Allies resumed their siege. Lenient terms of surrender were offered by the Allies which were eventually accepted by Glenham.

14th July 1644 - Glenham and as many defenders who wished to continue the fight on marched out of York and headed for the nearest Royalist garrison at Skipton.

On conclusion of the siege the Scots army headed back north to lay siege to Newcastle and Carlisle whilst Lord Fairfax, Sir Thomas and Colonel Lambert remained in Yorkshire to deal with the remaining Royalist garrisons, some of whom held out for several months.

It was a long process but one by one the Yorkshire Royalist strongholds of Scarborough, Pontefract, Helmsley, Knaresborough and Skipton fell, the later being the last to surrender in December 1645.

Sir Thomas with 100 troopers headed for Scarborough which surrendered before he arrived. He then rode to Helmsley and began a siege of the castle occupied by the Duchess of Buckingham. Here he was seriously wounded by a musket ball which broke his arm and shoulder. He was taken to York and for a time he was extremely ill but recovered. At the end of the year he set off once again for Pontefract where he and Colonel Lambert began a siege of the Royalist held castle. Sir Thomas was slightly wounded by a musket ball once again.

Like all Royalist strongholds in the north Pontefract was to eventually fall after putting up brave resistance.  

The Royalist resistance at Skipton was particularly notable. Under the command of Colonel Sir John Mallory a vigourous and energetic defence was mounted and raids as far south as Keighley were undertaken. The castle finally surrendered after its second siege to Parliamentary forces under the command of Colonel Richard Thornton.

So ended the First Civil War in Yorkshire.

David W Fell


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