Civil War

York in Civil War

York was a key city in the Civil War (which lasted from 1640 to 1651) and was initially very pro-Monarchy. King Charles situated himself in York in 1640, and demands were sent to him in York asking him to negotiate. He agreed to do so provided that the Scottish troops did not continue their progress.

In March 1642, King Charles returned to York, where he established the royal court, and in May 1642, he ordered the law courts to be moved to the city, although Parliament contested this. In December 1642 an attack by the Parliamentarians on the city failed when it was resisted by the Earl of Newcastle.

The Royalists and their supporters however found themselves besieged in the city when the Parliamentarian Sir Thomas Fairfax joined with the Scottish army in attacking York. In 1644, the city was relieved by the Royalists on 1st July, led by Prince Rupert.

The next day what was to become known as the Battle of Marston Moor took place, when Prince Rupert attacked the Parliamentary forces, despite being out-numbered. The Royalists lost badly, with over four thousand killed compared to three hundred on the Parliamentary side.

The loss of this battle proved to be crucial, it meant that the north of England had been lost, which had implications for their ability to access their areas of support in the area, as well as blocking off key trade and information routes. The battle was also a key moment for Oliver Cromwell, who was to become Lord Protector, who was seen to be a competent and effective commander at Marston Moor.


15/01/1642 Edmund Cooper elected Lord Mayor of York

17/01/1642 King Charles I comes to York

20/01/1642 King Charles I knights Edmund Cooper

16/08/1642 King Charles I leaves York

22/08/1642 King Charles I raises his standard at Nottingham, start of the Civil War

02/09/1642 Repairs and strengthening of York city walls begins

20/09/1642 Lord Fairfax begins raising a Parliamentary army

15/01/1643 Edmund Cooper is re-elected at the Lord Mayor of York on the insistence of the Earl of Newcastle

08/03/1643 The Queen enters York with 500 wagons of munitions

04/06/1643 The Queen leaves York for Oxford

27/10/1643 King Charles I creates the Earl of Newcastle as a Marquis

15/01/1644 Edmund Cooper is again re-elected as the Lord Mayor of York, against the wishes of the Common Council and the residents of York

11/4/1644 The storming of Selby takes place

16/04/1644 Newcastle’s army enters York

21/04/1644 Leven and Fairfax take up siege positions outside York

08/06/1644 The suburbs of York are attacked, Fairfax fails in his attempt to mine Walmgate Bar

16/06/1644 Mine explodes under St. Mary’s Tower

30/06/1644 Prince Rupert’s relieving army arrives at Knaresborough

01/07/1644 Rupert’s army reaches York

02/07/1644 The Battle of Marston Moor takes place

03/07/1644 Royalist leaders flee York

04/07/1644 Parliamentary armies resume siege

16/07/1644 York surrenders, Royalist garrison marched out, Parliamentary army marched in and half a service in York Minster

18/07/1644 Parliamentary army leaves York, Lord Fairfax is put in control of the city

03/09/1644 Edmund Cooper is deposed and replaced as Lord Mayor of York by Thomas Hoyle

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