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The Civil War And Bradford.

The Earl Of Newcastle arrived in Yorkshire with a force of 8 to 9,000 men in 1642. His main target was to take Bradford from parliamentarian hands. The people of Bradford were not real soldiers they were just ordinary people who wanted to save their town from attack .They barricaded the city and waited to see what the Earl of Newcastle would do. The Earls army advanced slowly but each time they tried to attack the city they were beaten back by musket fire from buildings on the outskirts of Bradford.

The Earl however had another problem the Queen had arrived in Yorkshire and needed a safe escort to the king who was in Oxford so the Earl had to give up some of his men to guard the Queen. 7,000 men were sent with the Queen to Oxford.

With his army weakened the Earl now had to face Thomas Fairfax and his parliamentarian army who had arrived from Halifax to help the people of Bradford. On June 30th 1642 the Battle of Adwalton Moor took place, the royalists out numbered the parliamentarians and defeated Fairfax's' men. The Earl of Newcastle now turned towards Bradford ,he made his headquarters at Bolling Hall and his army surrounded the town. There is a story that while the Earl was at Bolling hall he was visited by a ghost who told him not to harm the people of Bradford this may have been the reason why very few of the people of Bradford were harmed when the Earls men finally entered the town.

An eye witness Joseph Lister tells us what it was like in Bradford at this time. He "found few people left, but most of them scattered and fled away. I lodged in a cellar that night, but oh what a change was made in the town ....nothing was left to eat or drink, or lodge upon, the streets being full of chaff and feathers, and meal, the enemies having emptied all the town of what was worth carrying away, and were now encamped near Bowling hall, and there kept fair and sold the things that would sell."

At this point historians think the Earl should have marched south to help the King but he did not do this. Instead he stayed at Bolling Hall until July sending messages to enemy garrisons to surrender to him. At the end of 1643 he sent his army to Hull where he wasted men trying to defeat the parliamentarians. The Earl was finally beaten in 1644 when the Scots invaded from the North and Bradford was once more in parliamentarian hands. If The Earl had marched South to help the King it might have changed the outcome of the whole civil war.

Click here to try a vocabulary activity on Bradford in the Civil War.

  The Civil War - Bradford in the Civil War, Family life during the Civil War, Battles of the Civil war, Civil war links







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