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

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