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.

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