York in the Civil War

After the king left the city, York was placed in the hands of a string of royal governors, under the command of the Marquis of Newcastle from December 1642.  The city petitioned him to sort out funds for the soldiers so they could pay for their quarters.

In the following months the city was the royalist base for various operations in the north and Midlands. At this stage there was no fighting in York, but the council did pay for the treatment of wounded soldiers in the Merchant Taylors’ Hall.

The queen, Henrietta Maria, visited York in March 1643, boosting royalist troop morale, and bringing arms, food and money.  But the council’s financial woes continued at the beginning of 1644 it agreed to borrow money or to sell civic plate in order to pay for provisions for 200 soldiers in Clifford’s Tower.

The demand for cash continued until the city fell, when it was described as ‘being wearied with payments’.

Everyday life was affected in York as so much of the council’s time was taken up with military matters. Indeed the council itself was weakened by the absence of several members who supported the parliamentarians.  Meanwhile, the Marquis of Newcastle was meddling in the city’s affairs by insisting that a royalist, Edmund Cowper, be re-elected as mayor despite the council’s opposition.

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