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Two Lives During the English Civil War

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Two Lives During the English Civil War
Leonaur Original
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Author(s): William Blundell & Joseph Lister
Date Published: 2010/07
Page Count: 252
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-089-1
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-090-7

The Royalist and the Parliamentarian

These two comparatively short pieces have been brought together by the Leonaur Editors in the interests of good value and also because it may be improbable that they would achieve publication singly in modern times. They each give the reader an insight into the life of English people—each one with political sympathies opposed to the other—during the time of social upheaval and conflict which was the English Civil War of the mid-seventeenth century. These are very personal documents which reflect and comment upon the great events which were unfolding and upon the more immediate effect these had on the lives of ordinary people. Perhaps most significant are those passages—perhaps peculiar to a house divided—that reveal how every day life carried on against a backdrop of war. Available in soft cover and hard cover with dust jacket.

At last a little army was formed, and got to the works and Gentries, but Sir Thomas Fairfax was forced another way, and so got to Halifax, with those few horse he had left, and he came to Bradford the next day; whose coming did greatly hearten the soldiers in the town; but alas! their joy was but short, the enemies were encamped at Bowling-Hall, so near the town on that side of it, that they planted some of their guns against the town, and some against the steeple, and gave it many a sad shake. The townsmen had hung wool-packs at the side of the steeple, and they cut the cords with their spiteful shot, and shouted full loudly when the pack fell down.<br>
But on the Lord’s-Day morning they beat a drum for a parley, and all that day (during the parley) they spent in removing their guns, just against the heart of the town, and into the mouth of it, into that end of the town called Good-Man-End, and also brought their army, both horse and foot, round about the town, no way being left of making their escape, and but few men in the town, and most of the arms and ammunition, being either lost, or left at Adwalton, and no match but what was made of untwisted cords dipped in oil.<br>
And about the going down of the sun, the parley broke up, and off goes their guns, before the inhabitants were aware; and at the first shot they killed three men sitting on a bench, and all that night it was almost as light as day, with so many guns firing continually. So in the dead of the night the captains were called, and a council sat to resolve what was best to be done; it was presently resolved that the soldiers should be told they must all shift for themselves, only the officers were resolved to make a desperate adventure of breaking through the enemies’ army, at the upper end of the town, and all that were willing might forthwith repair thither.<br>
But because my Lord had no garrison nearer than Hull, and no use could be made of their arms for want of match, and powder, he would not command the soldiers to go along with him, but leave them to their own choice, what to do, for he saw they could no longer keep the town, and so they did, and broke through, and made their way by dint of sword, and so got away towards Hull. And among the rest my godly master, Mr. Sharp, was one that broke through, and yet, he having no mind to go so far as Hull, he then left the army, and took toward Lancashire, and got that day to a town called Coln, where he stayed some time.<br>
But oh! what a night and morning was that in which Bradford was taken! what weeping, and wringing of hands! none expecting to live any longer than till the enemies came into the town, the Earl of Newcastle having charged his men to kill all, man, woman, and child, in the town, and to give them all Bradford quarter, for the brave Earl of Newport’s sake. However, God so ordered it, that before the town was taken, the Earl gave a different order, (viz.) that quarter should be given to all the townsmen.<br>
It was generally reported that something came on the Lord’s Day night, and pulled the clothes off his bed several times, and cried out with a lamentable voice, “pity poor Bradford!” that then he sent out his orders that neither man, woman, nor child, should be killed in the town; and that then the apparition which had so disturbed him, left him, and went away; but this I assert not as a certain truth; but this is true, that they slew very few in the town. Some desperate fellows wounded several persons, that died of their wounds afterwards; but I think not more than half a score were slain; and that was a wonder, considering what hatred and rage they came with against us. But we were all beholden to God, who tied their hands, and saved our lives.<br>
My master being gone, I sought for my mother, and having found her, she, and I, and my sister, walked in the street, not knowing what to do, or which way to take. And as we walked up the street, we met a young gentleman (called David Clarkson) leading a horse.11 My mother asked him where he had been with that horse. Says he, “I made an essay to go with my brother Sharp, and the army, who broke through the enemies leaguer; but the charge was so hot I came back again, and now I know not what to do.”<br>
Then I answered, and said, “pray mother, give me leave to go with David, for I think I can lead him a safe way;” for being born in that town, I knew all the bye-ways about it.<br>
David also desired her to let me go with him, so she begged a blessing on me, and sent me away, not knowing where we could be safe. So away we went, and I led him to a place called the Sill-bridge, where a foot company was standing; yet I think they did not see us, so we ran on the right hand of them, and then waded over the water, and hearing a party of horse come down the lane, towards the town, we laid us down in the side of the corn, and they perceived us not. It being about daybreak, we staid here as long as we durst for being discovered, it beginning to be light.