Even though Parliamentary troops had re-entered the upper part of Pontefract town on 21st March 1645, Pontefract Castle’s garrison was sufficiently confident to make sallies on 31st March and in the early days of April.
On 3rd March 1645, Sir Marmaduke Langdale returned south from Pontefract having relieved the castle’s first siege there two days before. His 2800 strong force (2000 horse and 800 infantry) had come to Pontefract via Northampton, Melton Mowbray and Wentbridge and, after his victory at Chequerfield near the castle and chasing of the Parliamentary troops all the way back to Tadcaster, left 160 enemy dead and wounded on the field and another 140 at Ferrybridge. Over 600 prisoners were taken, including Colonels Thornton and Maleverer.
On 7th February 1645, Parliamentarian commander Lord Fairfax sent a thousand of his cavalry across the Pennines to assist in the siege of Chester with about half of these forces, under Sir Henry Constable and Colonel Sir Thomas Norcliffe, from Pontefract. Fairfax was relieved somewhat to lose such men that he could not pay for their services. However, the Pontefract besiegers were reinforced with around 250 infantry.
On 8th January 1645, Pontefract Castle’s governor, Sir Richard Lowther, sent 140 horsemen to Newark to conserve supplies of food and fuel at the besieged garrison and employ them more usefully elsewhere.
On 28th December 1644, All Saints Church, located in a strategic position next to Pontefract Castle, was taken by Parliamentary forces but its Royalist defenders climbed up into the steeple and escaped back into the castle the following day by way of the belfry rope. One of the escapees was killed whilst crossing the churchyard with their leader, Captain Walker, sustaining a wound to the thigh albeit he recovered.
Royalist Sir Marmaduke Langdale, having seized Berwick on 28th April 1648 and in anticipation of the Duke of Hamilton’s invasion of England from Scotland in support of Charles I, assembled a force of some 3,000 in Cumberland and Westmorland. The plan was to march south and link up with forces commanded by Colonel Morris who was to seize Pontefract Castle days later.
The will of executed Colonel John Morris, last Governor of Pontefract Castle, dated 8th August 1649 included: ‘…I give and bequeath in manner following, vizt. All my Lands, tenements and hereditaments which now I have, or of right ought to have, I give and bequeath to Robert Marris, my eldest sonne…….that he shall pay to his Brother Castilion, and to his sister, Marye, the Sume of Three hundred pounds a piece of good and lawfull money of England. And if it happen that my now wife shall have another child, Then my mind and Will is that my said Sonne, Robert, shall pay unto Castilion and Mary…but two hundred pounds a piece; And other two hundred pounds to that Child which shall please God, my Wife shall bring forth…..my Will is that the Third part thereof shall be unto my Wife, Marjory (Jur) Morris and the residue equallie to be divided amongst my said youngest Children……….And if the Bond of Mr Ridges be recovered, That then my Brother Edward, my Sister Elizabeth, my Sister Anne, and my Cosen Anne Burbridge, shall have out of the same bond Twentie pounds a piece…’
On 15th June 1655, administration of goods left in her husband’s will was finally granted in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury to Margery Morris, widow of Colonel John Morris, last Governor of Pontefract Castle during its third siege. Morris had been executed as a traitor six years before.
A letter from Colonel Robert Lilburne (one of the regicides who signed the death-warrant of Charles I) from York dated 3rd April 1649, referred to news of Colonel Morris, his servant Peter and Cornet Blackburn who had escaped from besieged Pontefract Castle the previous month: ‘ Morrise & 2 more (being going to ye Ile of Mann) was taken & are now att Lancastr The Scotts are of Laite much spoken off, yt they are p’pareing many forces, & speakes big words, & people begin to feare them……..I am told p’paracon is making to begin to pull down Pontefr’ some day this weeke, w’ch is glad newes to very many…’
On 6th January 1649, Cornet John Baynes wrote from York to Captain Adam Baynes in Gray’s Inn Lane, London: ‘…Pontefract Castle yet in Capacity to dispute with us a longe time. They devise new waies to p’iudice us, & doe us much harme, but att last I hope we shall pay them home for all. Many men not satisfied with the Army’s proceedings…..’