English Civil War History

English Civil War 1641-1648

In the lead up to this breakdown of order, Parliament abolished many royal prerogatives and ordered the execution of Lord Strafford, Chief Adviser to Charles I.

A statement of abuses by Charles I known as the ‘Grand Remonstrance’and reforms of the Long Parliament were published appealing for support against the King by a parliament already split into Royalist and Parliamentary factions.

Pontefract Castle

Significant battles were :- 1642 – Edgehill, 1643 – Newbury Royalists defeated, 1644 – Marston Moor Parliamentary forces led by the victorious Cromwell  leading to the collapse of the Royalist stronghold of York, 1645 – New Model Army created, 1645 – Naseby brings Cromwell and his Ironsides (Cavalry) in the ascendancy, 1648 – Preston the final battle. In total these actions cost the lives of one in ten of the adult male population of this country.

At the siege of Sandal Castle in 1644/45, Fairfax the Parliamentary leader entrusted the seige to Sir John Savile entrenched at New Hall with his troopsl.   In an account of the siege, Nathan Drake, gentleman volunteer and royalist wrote – ‘Sir John Saivell with his hipocriticall and trecherous rebells beat their drummes to praiers and being singing of psalms before sermon.

Colonel Bonivant Governor of the castle for the king caused his drummers to beat to praiers so the besiegers thought they was secure. But our men, after they had dedicated themselves to God with upright hartes in brief manner to arms fell upon them’.   They suddenly threw open the gates and made two gallant sallies and fell upon the Roundheads who taken by surprise, were totally defeated with a loss of 42 men killed and over 50 taken prisoner including one Captain and a substantial amount of arms.

Sir John Savile, so dejected at this reverse ‘pack’t up bag and baggage, raised the seige and retired to Pontefract.
Sandal Castle finally surrendered to the Parliamentarians in October 1645

Source : Thoresby, History of Methley /JW Walker, Wakefield its History and People

English Civil War History

1672 – Petition by Old Soldiers of Methley for Payment for Past Services

This is a document held at the West Yorks Archives Wakefield written on behalf of 11 men of Methley who did service for the Royalist cause 1642 – 1650.   It identifies the men and  the battles they were involved in.
Richard Freeman                                              Richard Glover
William Glover                                                 Christopher Gale
Mathew Emerson                                            Richard Burton
John Crossley                                                  Nicholas Scott
John Amershon                                                William Nunnes
Richard Shuttleworth

The Archives record that the petition was made in 1672 which poses the question, why then, given that the last uprisings were put down in 1648.   Why then the delay of nearly 25 years before making this request?

Methley was divided during this period (as many places were).  For the King, Roger Hollings found himself in court answering a charge of slander in that he called John Savile Esq. a‘traytor’ and that  he hoped to see him hanged and added that many a hinester man had been hanged. Roger Hollings must have survived his outburst against the Lord of the Manor because he was buried in Methley Church in 1661.

The outburst by Roger Hollings in favour of the monarchy and against the lord of the Manor suggests a a split in the village.     I think it hardly likely that Roger Hollings would have been so bold had he  been the sole royalist supporter in the village, therefore there would have been others behind him despite the fact that Sir John Savile had taken men to arms under the command of Fairfax for the Parliamentary  cause.

After the battle of Naseby in 1645 and smaller uprisings in 1648 it would be hard to imagine the Lord of the Manor and his supporters shaking hands with, or throwing their arms round the Royalist camp in the village – relations would be extremely strained.   Perhaps a review of the Manor Book of this time could throw light on the subject.

So, here we had a village made up with Parliamentary and Royalist antagonists and a bigger majority of people who did not take sides  . Despite the Parliamentarians coming out on top and no doubt pushing their  weight about I don’t think it took long for the great majority of the population to become disillusioned with the more strict puritanical values being imposed with little or no recreation.

Older people would still remember stories of how during the reformation the many altars in the church had been pulled down and would view this puritanism as a continuing progression.

Now there is another  shift in public opinion throughout the country, firstly a dislike of the excesses of the Charles I government and support for a more orderly lifestyle.   Then this change of heart as people became disillusioned  by the social strictures leading to the Restoration of Charles II and a return to hunting, music and the maypole.

It is as a result of these social changes that I suspect the ‘old soldiers’ on advice held back their petition for payment for past services until old resentments had healed.

English Civil War History

Rogerthorpe Manor – Badsworth

Samuel Saltenstal who in 1610 started to build the house which later was to become known as Rogerthorpe Manor.
The Manor was passed to his son, Samuel Jnr. who married the daughter of John Flower of Methley.
It was then passed on to his son (also Samuel) who married the daughter of John Shann also of Methley.

This Samuel was recorded as abiding there throughout the English Civil War.  During which time their assets were seized by the County Commissioners in 1648 but appear to have been returned intact.

This Samuel was also recorded  as living at Rogerthorpe Manor at the time of the Great Fire of London (1666).