Leeds nostalgia: The battle for Leeds in 1643

Middleton pic 12 - Sir Thomas Fairfax, a Parliamentarian General in the English Civil War, is an ancestor of Kate Middletons fathers family.
Middleton pic 12 - Sir Thomas Fairfax, a Parliamentarian General in the English Civil War, is an ancestor of Kate Middletons fathers family.
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Today (January 23) marks an auspicious anniversary for Leeds because 374 years ago on this day, it was stormed by Parliamentary forces during the English Civil War.

Indeed, a battle took place, during which some 40 men died, including one of the vanquished Royalist commanders, Sergeant Major Beaumont, who drowned trying to flee across the River Aire, much to the amusement of the attackers.

the colours are paraded before the riders

Seven horse riders were joined by local riders as they finished their week-long journey from Liverpool to Marston Moor tracing the historic route taken by Prince Rupert during the English Civil War. The ride was in support of the Army Benevolent Fund.
Photo by Chris Barker , Army Press Office York.
Crown copyright 2005
 further info tel: 01904 662233

the colours are paraded before the riders Seven horse riders were joined by local riders as they finished their week-long journey from Liverpool to Marston Moor tracing the historic route taken by Prince Rupert during the English Civil War. The ride was in support of the Army Benevolent Fund. Photo by Chris Barker , Army Press Office York. Crown copyright 2005 further info tel: 01904 662233

Indeed, Sir William Savile, leader of the Royalist forces, only narrowly escaped the same fate himself, after he was forced to swim the river to secure his own escape.

It was snowing that day and Fairfax mustered his forces on Woorhouse Moor, from there issuing a demand to the Royalists for them to give up the town.

They refused.

Savile sent a curt note back saying he was “not used to give answer to such frivolous demands.”

This incensed Fairfax, who decided to split his attacking forces, one on each side of the river, with him leading one of the columns.

He noted: “On the morning, I marched from Bradford with six troops of horse and three companies of dragoons and almost 1,000 muskets and 2,000 clubmen... we marched to Woodhouse Moor and I dispatched Sir William Savile with a written requirement for the town to be delivered to me, to which Sir William disdainfully answered immediately.”

During the ensuing battle, the Royalists held their attackers off for three hours but were eventually overcome, their leader fled.

That day, the Parliamentarians took 450 prisoners, two cannon and a store of weapons and ammunition in what was a strategically important victory.

Leeds nostalgia: November 1947: Country braced for three more years of rationing as Princess Elizabeth marries