Last week a reader asked: What happened in Huddersfield during the English Civil War?

This question drew the most online votes in our #AskExaminer feature which gives readers the chance to ask any question on any local topic.

A great deal happened in the West Riding during the Civil War - armed conflicts between Parliamentarians and Royalists between 1642 and 1651 - including the Battle of Adwalton Moor, near Bradford, which in 1643 consolidated Royalist control of Yorkshire.

To unpick Huddersfield’s role, we have turned to ‘Huddersfield - A Most Handsome Town’, which states that the local gentry were, as can be expected, Royalist.

Sir John Kaye of Woodsome was colonel of a cavalry regiment while Sir John Ramsden (1594-1646) was a Royalist colonel.

Period re-enactment at Oakwell Hall, Birstall, by members of the English Civil War Society. Alan Slater as Major Robert Mallory

The role of knights is well documented but what happened to other folk is less well known.

A document from the era states that the people of Holmfirth ‘set forth a hundred musqueteers for the Parliament service’; they paid for it later when more than 30 houses were burnt down by Royalist forces.

Huddersfield-based historian Dr John Rumsby says there would have been a great deal of tension in Huddersfield as the aristocracy and gentry lined up with the King while others, including tradesmen and clothiers, were more likely to be Parliamentarians, or at least sympathetic to nonconformism.

“The nearest actual battle was at Adwalton Moor, not far from Oakwell Hall. There is a display at Tolson Museum with a breastplate worn by a local officer at the siege of Pontefract, and a couple of swords of the period - originally from Woodsome Hall - as well as a coin hoard of the period.”

Woodsome Hall

June 30 1643 saw the Battle of Adwalton Moor when the resistance of Parliament’s outnumbered Northern army was finally broken. Around 10,000 Royalists faced 4,000 Parliamentarians. Large numbers of Royalist pikemen forced the enemy back and cavalry completed the victory.

A handful of skirmishes took place around Huddersfield, including on January 4 1643 when about 500 Parliamentarians ventured into Emley and took Michael Green, the Constable, prisoner, only to release him two days later. Seventeen days later, 1,000 Parliamentarian soldiers raided Kirkby Grange at Emley where they took horses and money.

In January 1644, Parliamentarian soldiers went in the night to the vicarage at Kirkburton where they carried off the Rev Gamaliel Whitaker to Manchester “where he died in a month of grief and ill usage.”

Tradition states that the Vicar’s wife, Hester, was shot dead - possibly by accident - as she descended the staircase.

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