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Bradford During the English Civil War


The people of the mainly pro-Parliament Bradford suffered a great deal during the English Civil War. They spent much of the War either being attacked by the Royalists, living in fear of being attacked, or feeling compelled to leave the town, fearing heavy fighting.

Royalists were keen to suppress any sign of rebellion, and it was common knowledge that Bradford, with many inhabitants having Puritan leanings, would be more likely to follow the Parliamentary cause than that of King Charles I.

The popularity of the Royalists cause was not helped by how they treated the population of Bradford during the English Civil War. Many civilians left Bradford in 1642 fearing a backlash from Royalist troops. Luckily, for the then town of Bradford, the Royalist troops were required elsewhere in Yorkshire, and so a full scale bloody assault was averted.

First Attack on Bradford

The people that remained in Bradford soon fortified the town, fearing that the Royalists troops would be back. This news, however, soon got back to the Royalists, who sent troops back to Bradford.

The people of Bradford were ill equipped to fight the Royalist army, and even boys were used to defend the town. Bradford also called on men from surrounding areas to come to the town's aid. Not only were the Royalists better equipped, even having cannon, the fighting men of Bradford were outnumbered by more than two to one.

On October 23rd, 1642, an attack began, but a combination of snowfall, strong winds, and the combative nature of the defenders of the town left the Royalists with little stomach to persist with the assault.

Sieges of Bradford

Later in that year, Leeds was taken by the Royalists, and in December the supporters of the King again turned their attentions to Bradford, under the command of Sir William Saville. Up against a larger force than for the earlier attack, Bradford still refused to wilt when under siege, in what turned out to be the first major English Civil war battle in Yorkshire.

In July, 1643 the second siege of Bradford began, but because of the success of the Royalists at the battle of Adwalton Moor a few miles from Bradford, the portents were poor for Bradford this time. The Royalists seized the town fairly easily, and took whatever they found to be of value.

Royalists Defeated

In March of 1644, the tide had turned in favour of the Parliamentary forces, who took Bradford from the Royalists. Despite a fierce attack to try and regain the town, the Royalists finally had to admit defeat. Royalists were still strong in other areas of Yorkshire, but Bradford was finally at peace.

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ENGLISH CIVIL WAR BOOKS available from - in association with

The English Civil War Author: Diane Purkiss The English Civil War
Author: Diane Purkiss
1841766046 English Civil War Fortifications 1642-51
Author: Peter Harrington, Donato Spedaliere
Decisive Battles of the English Civil War Decisive Battles of the English Civil War
Author: Malcolm Wanklyn
1902201132 The English Civil War Part II
Author: Jeremy Deller
1841764175 The English Civil Wars 1642-1651
Author: Peter Gaunt
019822141X The Causes of the English Civil War
Author: Conrad Russell


The First English Civil War

23 September, Battle of Powick Bridge.
23 October, Battle of Edgehill
12 November, Battle of Brentford.

19 March, Battle of Hopton Heath
Battle of Seacroft Moor
Battle of Stratton
18 June, Battle of Chalgrove Field
30 June, Battle of Adwalton Moor
5 July, Battle of Lansdowne (or Lansdown)
13 July, Battle of Roundway Down
20 September, First Battle of Newbury
11 October, Battle of Winceby

26 January, Battle of Nantwich
29 March, Battle of Cheriton
29 June, Battle of Cropredy Bridge
2 July, Battle of Marston Moor
27 October, Second Battle of Newbury
13 September, Second Battle of Aberdeen

9 May, Battle of Auldearn
16 June, Battle of Naseby
2 July, Battle of Alford
15 August, Battle of Kilsyth
13 September, Battle of Philiphaugh
24 September, Battle of Rowton Heath

16 February, Battle of Torrington
21 March, Battle of Stow-on-the-Wold

The Second English Civil War

8 May, Battle of St. Fagans
24 June, Battle of Maidstone
17-19 August, Battle of Preston

The Third English Civil War

1 December, Battle of Hieton
3 September, Battle of Dunbar

20 July, Battle of Inverkeithing
25 August, Battle of Wigan Lane
3 September, Battle of Worcester

ENGLISH CIVIL WAR BOOKS available from - in association with

The Causes of the English Civil War: The Ford Lectures Delivered in the University of Oxford, 1987-1988 (Ford Lectures)
Conrad Russell; Paperback
Essential Histories 58: The English Civil Wars 1642-1651
Peter Gaunt; Paperback

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