The Civil War and the Battle of Marston Moor 1644


The Civil War and the Battle of Marston Moor 1644



The Civil War, and the resultant Commonwealth, had an enormous impact on the area - and a direct impact on the Streetgate family.

This part of Cumberland was largely Royalist - the Lamplugh family especially so.

John Lamplugh of Lamplugh Hall was a young man when war broke out; and William, his Steward, was twenty years his senior. I like to think that a father-son relationship developed as the two made their way to York.

John Lamplugh had raised a troop of infantry in 1643, becoming its Colonel, and William was appointed its captain-lieutenant. The troop were to join Newcastle's Whitecoats, and fought at Hilton, the defence of York and at Marston Moor. This was the biggest ever land battle on English soil.

According to Stuart Reid in his 'Officers and Regiments of the Royalist Army', the Captain appointed at York was Thomas Buffield (presumably someone with military experience), and the Ensign was Christopher Wright.

It seems likely that the men came from the tenements over which John Lamplugh had lordship; but quite possibly the troop also numbered men from further afield. The nearby Mines Royal was later destroyed by Cromwell, so workers from there may have been part of the troop.

The Lamplugh Standard

The Battle

The battle itself started in the evening and went well at first for the Royalist forces, with a decisive victory over Fairfax' cavalry.

But it soon turned into an overwhelming victory for the Parliamentarians, and the Whitecoats were forced into a defensive and bloody last-ditch defence in White Syke Close. It used to be said that less than fifty Royalists survived that last stand, but historians in recent years have suggested the figure was much higher. Certainly it was bloody and certainly those on the victorious side were impressed by the determination of the men at White Syke. The Lamplugh troop were probably among them.

What we do know for certain is that Colonel John Lamplugh was wounded and captured, and that William escaped, making his way back to Lamplugh. How many of the troop escaped with him isn't clear.

The Lamplugh baptism register over the next few years has only about half the entries of former years, but that's not necessarily a consequence of the battle.

The Battle of Marston Moor 1644

The Battle of Marston Moor 1644

The Consequences for Lamplugh


It is generally thought that the outlay on the Lamplugh troop and the subsequent fine (of over £300) imposed on the Lamplugh family destroyed their finances. That may be an exaggeration - the next generation was able to finance a successful Parliamentary election campaign. But it is fair to say that the Lamplughs had to scramble for money, and that one way they raised cash was by 'enfranchising' their tenants.

Enfranchisement was a processs whereby those holding customary tenancies bought out the landlord's rights (like mining and timber royalties) for an immediate lump sum. In effect it converted the tenements from long-term leaseholds into freeholds. Who organised this? William. Who benefited the most from this? William. At least two of his tenements were enfranchised.

To be fair, William hadn't had an easy time since Marston Moor. His role had been quite a prominent one and the local Roundheads were out to get him. According to family lore, they tried to arrest him, but each time he evaded them (by hiding in a field of standing corn belonging to the Lamplughs, and by hiding inside a hollow tree near to Streetgate).

He then wrote a wheedling letter to the authorities along the lines of 'It wasn't my fault - I was only doing what the lord of the manor demanded' and 'the money I've got I'm holding in trust for my children and isn't mine'. To no avail - his belongings were sequestered and put up for auction.

A candle auction (very popular at this time). William bought his belongings back at a rock-bottom price for £35 4s.

Your Petitioner having six children portions, the one three fatherless, the other three motherless, the portions given them by one Anthony Steele their grandfather, and left in your petitioner hand in trust for their use; for which your Petitioner entered bond with two neighbours for payment of the said children portions, as shall be sufficiently proved unto your worships; the most of the goods sequestrated unto the said children.

[William Dickinson to the County Standing Committee c1646]



It's possible that the impact of the battle on the lives of local families can partly explain the huge success of the Society of Friends in the area in the 1650s.