After the Siege

Micklegate bar - where the Parliamentary army entered the city

In July of 1644 York was in a state of confusion after the royalists were routed at Marston Moor.  Soldiers, some wounded, thronged the road up to Micklegate Bar, while many citizens were leaving the city, to escape a renewed siege.

The defeated army was readmitted the next morning.  Newcastle and Rupert left York and the siege resumed on July 4 with ‘not 500 fighting men left in the town’.  A week later, with the besiegers ready to storm the city, word was sent out that the garrison sought negotiations.

On July 16, the articles of surrender were agreed.  Micklegate Bar gates were opened and the victorious parliamentarian army were allowed into the city.  Fairfax was named governor of York and was presented with ‘sack and French wine’ nine days later. 

On conquering the city Sir Thomas Fairfax proclaimed there was to be no ransacking or destruction of the city’s churches and the Minster’s stained glass was untouched.

The defeated army was allowed to leave and the victors entered York, now a parliamentary stronghold, and gave thanks at a Minster service.

The archbishop had fled to Wales.  For the next 16 years, until the Restoration of Charles II, the Minster belonged to the people of York, a situation which has never occurred before or since.

York’s royalist mayor and six royalist aldermen were removed and replaced by parliamentarians. The new mayor, Thomas Hoyle, was a leading Puritan but a troubled man who later killed himself on the first anniversary of the king’s execution.

At the end of 1646, at a ceremony in the inner council chamber behind the Guildhall, the £200,000 ransom money demanded by the Scots for the return of the person of the king was counted out.

The Council in the North was abolished, replaced by a county committee which used York as its administrative and tax-gathering centre.

York was a fortress and military headquarters of national importance for more than 1500 years.  The end of the civil war marked the end of this role for the city.

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