York and the Restoration of the Monarchy
1658AD - 1660AD
The death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658 was a seismic event in national politics. Several death masks were despatched around the country as evidence of his demise. His son Richard was left in charge, but a leadership crisis was inevitable. The following year, York played a role in the restoration of the monarchy.
At the end of 1659 the parliamentary hold on York was precarious. Thomas Fairfax mustered forces in support of General Monck, who was on his way south to restore the Parliament which would invite Charles II to take the throne.
Although York’s leaders were split between those who favoured a return to the monarchy and those who didn’t, Fairfax was able to take the city without force on New Year’s Day 1660. General Monck arrived in York on January 11 on his way to London.
Once the Restoration was assured, the aldermen gave the new regime their backing and elected two royalists to Parliament.
Twenty years earlier the Prince of Wales had accompanied his beleaguered father Charles I to York. When he was declared King Charles II in May 1660, the city welcomed the news ‘with the greatest expression of Joy that could be imagined’.