1642

28th. February Monday
The struggle between the King and the Parliament was drawing to a point when the arbitration of the sword alone was possible. The people of Manchester, led by Heyrick, the warden, made their “Protestation,” 28th Feb., in the form drawn up by the Long Parliament in May, 1641. The list of names appended is found in the Palatine Note-book, vol. i., p. 80. The original is amongst the MSS. of the House of Lords. The King left London for York, where he was joined by many of the nobility. King and Parliament each tried to secure the counties to their side.(7)

1642
The memorable petition in favour of peace was drawn up by Richard Heyrick, warden of Manchester, and presented by him and James Bradshawe as a deputation to Charles I., at York. It was signed by sixty-four knights and esquires, fifty-five divines, seven hundred and forty gentlemen, and about seven thousand freeholders and others. Amongst the deputation was the afterwards celebrated John Bradshaw, president of the High Court of Justice. The King, in his reply, given 6th June, declared himself equally opposed to Popish superstitions on the one side, and to schismatical innovation and confusion on the other. Upon this evasive reply the town of Manchester declared in favour of the Parliament. The solemn League and Covenant was subscribed to by the Puritans in Manchester, at whose head was Warden Heyrick, who was also the head of thirty gentlemen appointed to superintend the fortifications of the town against the King’s troops. The parties divided themselves at the county meeting on Preston Moor. There Sir John Girlington read the king’s “Commission of Array,” addressed to him as High Sheriff of Lancashire. James, Lord Strange, son and heir apparent of William, Earl of Derby, was by the king appointed one of the commissioners, and lord-lieutenant of the counties of Lancaster and Chester, to put it into execution. Whilst the High Sheriff seized the magazine at Preston, Lord Strange did the same at Liverpool. Alexander Rigby, as Commissioner for the Parliament, hurried to Manchester to prevent the same accident there. The townspeople asked for its removal to a place of safety, and when Sir A. Radcliffe and Thomas Prestwich came to seize for the King the ten barrels of gunpowder, which were stored in a room of the college, they found that it had been removed by Assheton, of Middleton. Lord Strange marched upon the town and demanded the military stores, which were refused. The train bands turned out to protect them, and Lord Strange’s proposal that the stores should he placed under the charge of magistrates of both parties was refused, and he retired. The king now ordered that part of the ammunition should go to Bury, part to Rochdale, and that part should remain at Manchester. To allay the feeling of the Protestants he announced that no recusants should serve in his army. This proclamation was read at the Cross in Manchester, and Lord Strange then withdrew to Bury. At this point there is said to have happened an affray between his men and the townspeople, but the narrative is very confused and doubtful. The Parliamentarians refused the offered terms, but some of the inhabitants offered to purchase an equal amount for the royal service, and invited Lord Strange to a banquet. He came with a great retinue as lord-lieutenant and accompanied by the high sheriff, who read the king’s proclamation of array. The Royalists paraded the streets, exclaiming, “The town’s our own.” The Parliamentarians armed the pikemen and musketeers for fear of an attack. Whilst Lord Strange was at dinner, Captains Holcroft and Birch, firm Parliamentarians, with their forces entered the town, and beat to arms. A skirmish ensued, and Richard Perceval, a linen weaver, of Kirkmanshulme, was slain. This is believed to have been the first blood shed in the CIvil War, which may be said to have begun at Manchester 15th July. Lord Strange withdrew into Cheshire. These events, perhaps, decided the king to give up his intention of raising his standard in Lancashire, but the selection of Nottingham gave great umbrage to our local gentry. Lord Strange’s action at Manchester led to his impeachment for high treason 14th September. In spite of the King’s proclamation Lord Strange enlisted many Roman Catholics, and with the men so raised intended to revenge himself for his previous defeat at Manchester. The burgesses on their side were not idle, but put themselves in a posture of defence. The military operations of Manchester were under the direction of Lieut.-Colonel John Rosworm, a German soldier of experience, whom Lord Strange vainly desired to gain over. The town’s forces were under the command of Captain Ratcliffe, of Pool Fold, and 150 auxiliaries furnished by the Asshetons, of Middleton, were commanded by Captain Bradshawe. As early as 22nd September the town was threatened by the Royalists, and Manchester was formally besieged by Lord Strange and Lord Molineux, on Sunday, Sept. 25, with an army consisting of 4,000 foot, 200 dragoons, 100 light horse, and seven pieces of cannon. After a struggle of some days the besiegers abandoned the attempt, with the loss of 200 men, the besieged having lost only four killed and four wounded. Lord Strange’s various proposals for disarming the burgesses were all rejected by them, and Lord Strange’s artillery was answered by galling musketry fire from the Roundheads stationed in and about the churchyard. The Rev. William Bourne, the venerable Puritan minister, greatly encouraged the defenders. The houses, however, were much damaged, and great plunder was said to have been carried away by the Royalists. The town was immediately more completely fortified. Salford remained royalist. Alport Lodge was the headquarters of the Earl of Derby during the siege. Alport Park and Over Alport contained 95 acres, and comprised all the land between Irwell and Tib, and between Medlock and Quay Street. (There is a notice of it by Sir Oswald Mosley in Palatine Note-book, vol. i., p. 120.) Captain Standish, of Duxbury, a Royalist, was killed by a bullet from the tower of the Collegiate Church, whilst looking out of the door of Robert Widdow’s house, in Salford, Sept. 29, upon which his soldiers ran away. Another royalist loss was Colonel Cutbert Clifton “slain at Manchester.” (Challoner’s Missionary Priests.) According to a notice of later date, Lawrence Holker, a Royalist, was imprisoned at Manchester during the siege, and his estates were sequestered. (Gentleman’s Magazine, 1793, p. 1059.) Lord Strange, by the death of his father, was now Earl of Derby. The resistance of Manchester had disheartened him, and he was probably not sure whether his Lancashire tenantry, whom he had recruited, would fight against the townsmen, with whom they would have many common sympathies. On October 1, after an exchange of prisoners, be raised the siege and withdrew.(7)

1642
Parliament prohibited the feoffees of Manchester Grammar School from renewing a lease of the town’s mills to Mr. Prestwiche, on the ground that he was a Royalist. Early in November new fortifications were added to the town. Under the Speaker’s warrant, four pieces of brass ordnance, commanded by Ralph Assheton, were ordered for its protection. The garrison was felt as a disagreeable tax upon the persons of the Puritans, and it was presently determined that the estates of the “delinquents” were the most proper treasury wherefrom to defray the charge of its maintenance. They were taxed accordingly. Sir Alexander Radcliffe, knight, of Ordsall, who had been an active loyalist at the siege of Manchester, was taken prisoner in Essex, and committed to the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms, November 2, and sent to the Tower, November 9. Sir Cecil Trafford, who was styled an Arch-papist, fell into the hands of the Parliamentarians at Manchester, December 2. Two companies of the Manchester Regiment embarked in “foreign” service, and marched to Wigan, where they suffered a defeat by the Royalists. Acting upon Rosworm’s advice, they determined to recover their reputation, and at the battle of Chowbent the Manchester Regiment obtained “a splendid victory” over the Royalists, December 24.(7)

1642
The siege of Manchester was an important event in the great struggle between the King and the Parliament. The successful defence made by townspeople encouraged the resistance of the Puritans and gave them heart for what seemed an unequal contest. The decided adherence of the people of Manchester to the parliamentary side caused it to be said—” That had not this town stood firmly to the king and parliament, the whole country would have been brought into subjection to the oppression and violence, of the cavaliers.” Throughout the Civil War the Manchester train bands acted a conspicuous part. In a publication bearing the title of Jehova Jireh, God in the Mount; or, England’s Parliamentary Chronicle, the Parliamentarians of Manchester are eulogised “as the honest-hearted and most courageous Manchesterians; the principal men in the kingdom, next to the most famous and renowned citie of London, that fight most prosperously for God and true religion.” The details of the siege of Manchester, a very small affair if judged by modern military ideas, are given in Dr. George Ormerod’s Memorials of the Civil War in Lancashire, published by the Chetham Society, which includes the narrative of Col. Rosworm, entitled Good Service Ill-rewarded; in which he complains with much bitterness that the Manchester Puritans did not pay him according to their contract. Palmer’s Siege of Manchester; Hibbert Ware’s Foundations, and Beamont’s Civil War in Lancashire, published by the Chetham Society, contain many particulars of interest, mainly from parliamentary writers. Several curious pamphlets appeared this year relating to Manchester. The best known are Manchester’s Joy for Derby’s Overthrow, and Lancashire’s Valley of Achor [by John Angier],giving an account of the sieges of Manchester, Bolton, &c. A number of the contemporary tracts are preserved in the Manchester Free Library, and in the Chetham Library, as well as in the Thomasson collection in the British Museum.(7)