This Day in History: 1648-10-28

A letter dated 28th October 1648 from York gave a graphic account of the siege and the Royalist activities at Pontefract Castle: ‘….They are very strong in Pontefract Castle, and go where they list; they are some 500 foot, and 140 horse; some 30 of them ride armed cap-a-pe. They are desperate men, and fall often on our guards; they have wounded Capt. Clayton…they have fallen on Major Ivers, wounded his lieutenant dangerously, killed ten on the place, took both horse and men, fell upon Capt. Greathead….They have since I came from London taken at least 200 head of cattle, above 100 oxen frm grasiers. They sound a parley for a cessation, and make a fair of their horses near the castle, and sell them to Sir Henry Cholmley’s troopers and in the cessation they drink to one another. …..They have and do take much salt, corn, beasts and horses from the country; they prepare for a better siege; ‘or this day Lieut.-General Cromwell is expected to come with forces to block them up…’ The tenet of this letter reflects very much feelings amongst many Parliamentarians that Colonel Cholmley was conducting the siege inadequately albeit his militia forces were mostly raw and untrained, with the castle’s major besieging forces having been re-assigned to assist Cromwell and Lambert in Lancashire.