SIEGE OF BRADFORD

Sir John Goodricke seventh but eldest surviving son of  Sir Henry Goodricke by his wife Jane, daughter of Sir John Savile, Knight, succeeded his father 22nd July 1641. He was born 20th April 1617, and was created a Baronet 14th August 1641. He was educated at Aberdeen, as was also his brother Savile, their father considering the discipline there stricter than in the English colleges. At the age of nineteen he was sent to France, where he remained a year and a half, returning home in 1638, when he received a commission as captain of a foot company in Lord Fairfax's regiment. He proclaimed at an early age his devotion to the Royal cause, for I found a letter from him to Mr. Thomas Livingstone, in London, written in January 1639, ordering a buff suit and other necessaries, and inquiring the price of a complete suit of armour, as he "intends to attend his Majesty this summer in arms as a private gentleman, if not as a captain. He says "I am not ignorant that you make profession of arms, as well as of other arts; which moves me, being likewise myself entered into the same list, to desire your opinion in the choice and price of a complete armour for a captain of a foot company. This is my request to you as you are a soldier, and for the fitting them to my body, none can do it better than yourself. As for the other things, which my mother mentioned in her letter to you, I leave the ordering of them to your own discretion, that which cannot err in making them handsome and fashionable. Yet thus far let me advise you, that as you tender the Honour of your military profession, you send them down against the 12th February next, and together with them the price of the arms. "This letter dated 12th January 1639". On 7th October, 1641, he married, at Trinity Church, Micklegate, York, Catherine, daughter and co-heiress of Stephen Norcliffe, of York, Esquire, counsellor-at-law, who had just attained her majority,  and on 24th October in the following year his son and heir, Henry, was born. The civil war had now broken out, and Sir John immediately took up arms in the cause of the King. He commanded a troop of horse under the Earl of Newcastle, which he led at the attack of Bradford, then in the hands of the Parliamentarians, 18th December 1642. In this siege he was seriously wounded, and his horse killed under him by a scythe an eyewitness account follows .

 

SIEGE OF BRADFORD

An extract from a very fascinating account by an eyewitness (Joseph Lister), of the siege of Bradford, some of the words have been changed to make it more readable the account remains as factual as the original, for historical interest. Accordingly, on the 18th of December, being Sunday, the Earl of Newcastle sent the main body of his army out from Leeds, this consisted of five troops of horse, six troops of dragoons, and two hundred foot solders. Commanded by Colonel Goring, Colonel Evans, Sir William Savile, and Sir John Goodricke. Intending with these troops to surprise the town while the inhabitants were attending the church service; but the scouts returned having been spotted, warning the town of the impending approach of the Royalist troops. The congregation frightened and confused hurriedly sought refuge where they thought they would be safest some took flight immediately. When some order returned gathering there thoughts every man was ordered to his post armed with such weapons provided for these uncertain times. Now with all the church and steeple secured in the best manner they possibly could, being determined and relying upon some Divine assistance to defend it, to the very last extreme, they waited. As they watched the troops approached with the sound of warlike music, and their streamers flying in the air a tremendous sight! Enough to make the stoutest heart tremble! To shake the nerves, and loose the joints of every beholder! Amazing to see the different effects it had upon others, some who were fired with rage, even to madness; and filled with revenge. They then advanced nearer, and set down in Barker-end, not above three hundred yards above the church, where they raised a battery chiefly against the steeple, intending, if possible, to erase it to the ground. They feared that the greatest casualties would come from this point as marksman had been placed therein, rightly so ten or twelve of the best being in that part of the steeple judged to cause the enemy most harm and annoyance. Others were in and about the church, and every pass leading in and out were covered, also those into the town were guarded in the best way possible for this little army of civilians taking up arms, in comparison to the number of professional soldiers the odds were over whelming. Upwards of two thousand well armed men, with artillery peaces. Each party settled in this position, the royalists began to firing with great fury upon the church, especially against the steeple. In a small space of time, they discharged their great guns seventeen times. One of the defenders men, with a fowling piece, from off the steeple, killed one of their cannoneers, and instantly all, with the greatest courage and resolution, charged out of the town to set upon the royalists. Who expected rather a speedy surrender, they were taken by complete surprise expecting little or no resistance.

 

 This unsettled the royalists so much, that they were at a loss as to what course of action to take, but perceiving how advantageous the steeple was and how they were compromised by the fire from this commanding position, they found cover from some houses and a barn nearer the church, this proved to be most convenient for the shelter of their men. And so they brought their cannon nearer the church from this cover. It was from here that they sent out Sir John Goodricke' s troop of horse, who encompassed the town, and some little villages on the side of it, feelings running high they robbed and bullied a woman, and killed two unarmed men as they passed by. And so coming within sight of the town's sentinel, at the west end, they were fired upon, two or three of troops horses were wounded one of which, was only slightly hurt, was brought into the town. And after a short time, partly by the effective fire from the town, and partly by the approach of some club men from Bingley, they were forced to return to the main party at the houses and barn nearer the church.

 

In the mean time, their cannon had been removed so as to place them more conveniently to play upon the town, especially upon the part called Kirkgate, this area was used to get reinforcements to relieve the towns defenders, and offered most resistance. Those upon the steeple, caused great havoc and confusion among the enemy, for when any buff or scarlet coat appeared within their reach, they had two or three guns aimed from one hole, and all discharged at once at them, and generally with success, this greatly deterred the rest from relieving or replacing their men, which were in the houses; this continued until noon about this time reinforcements arrived for the towns people from Halifax, who immediately were put into service, some in the church, others in the lanes near the houses where the enemy lodged, those in the church and lanes kept the houses in play, and those on the steeple hindered the enemy from relieving those in the houses. The royalists who had the advantage of the church being a large target and the houses they sheltered in quite small, made their assault more secure, and the defence of the town more dangerous; the defenders of the town realizing this was becoming costly in men and ammunition, they therefore resolved to win or lose all at once, by a general assault. Watching an opportunity between the discharge and charging again of the royalist cannon, the defenders ran forward from the church, quickly followed by others from the lanes, rushed up to the houses, burst open the doors, killing all that resisted, and took those that yielded prisoner, the rest fled into the field adjoining, where some of the townsmen followed, (the greatest part of them being employed in conveying the men and ammunition, which the enemy had left behind them) and in the field the skirmish grew hotter than ever. The townsmen broke rank though they had been taught to stand together. But this disorder proved very advantageous to them, for mixing themselves with the enemy, they thereby fought securely, even in the mouth of the enemy's cannon both placed in the field above them, the royalists not daring to discharge their cannon for fear of hitting there own men; otherwise, the royalists had ten to one rifle men, and might have cut them all off in an instant. The townsmen fire their muskets and after used them as clubs. The royalist commanders being exasperated at the cowardice of their common soldiers, gathered greater courage themselves, but they were well paid for it, for the townsmen scythes and clubs now and then reached them, the townsmen picked out the leaders. One, in a scarlet coat, (said to be Colonel Goring himself,) the club-men had got hold of him, and were overpowering him, but a party of royalist horse, fearing the loss of such a man, became more courageous than they intended, jumping over a hedge, came full gallop to his assistance forcing the club-men to give a little ground, but they quickly recovered themselves though they lost their man fought even harder and with greater courage. Neither would give nor take quarter, not through cruelty, but ignorance, as the royalists themselves afterwards confessed and, in the end, forced both man and horse out of the field. Yet they could not hold it for long, for now being separated from the royalists musketeers were at liberty to play upon the club men. And now, indeed, they rained lead among them, forcing them to retreat to the next hedge for shelter, and so hindered them from pursuing their men and their ordnance. Also, all this time, firing upon the town and steeple, nevertheless, that which was fired against the steeple did it no harm-that intended to scour Kirkgate, though planted in the most advantageous place, though the streets were continually crowded with people, and though the bullets did hit some of the houses, and some whistled through the streets, nobody was hurt which was nothing short of the wonderful goodness of the Almighty, in protecting the lives of the inhabitants in such a surprising and miraculous manner.

 

One circumstance somewhat remarkable cannot be omitted. During the heat of this action, a stout young officer (said to be the Earl of Newport's son) headed a company of foot, came down the field on the left side of the high-road, under cover of a thick hedge, intending to force a passage through a house and so surprise the church. He (the officer) being too sanguine, pushed on little too fast before his men, fell into an ambuscade; being cut off from his men, and seeing no way to escape, begged for quarter, but was answered by one Ralph Atkinson, saying he would give him Bradford quarter!  And immediately slew him. His men, understanding what had happened, and struck with astonishment at the loss of their leader, fled with the greatest precipitation hotly pursued by a party of club men, who slew some of them. Now whole body of the royalists begun to retreat, for they had sent off their baggage before; and thus, the terror of the Lord, and our men falling upon them, away they went, using their feet better than their hands, and about fifty of our musketeers and club men after them. The courage of these men, did astonish the royalist enemy, who said afterwards, no fifty men in the world, except they were mad or drunk, would have pursued a thousand. Our men, indeed, shot and fought, as if they had been mad, and the enemy truly fell as if they had been drunk some discharged ten, some twelve times in the pursuit. And having the whole body of the enemy in flight, it may easily be imagined what good execution was done. In a mile and a half pursuit, they were on there heals and they would have followed them all the way up to the moor, but fearing to be cut of by the horse, they retreated, so weary after eight hours' fight, for this is how long it lasted that they could scarcely return to the town.

 

One thing I cannot omit. A hearty Roundhead left by his comrades, and surrounded by three of the enemy's horse, discharged his musket upon one, struck down another's horse with the butt-end of it, broke a third's sword, beating all three, and put them to flight.

 There was slain in this notable and remarkable skirmish, the Earl of Newport's son, by Atkinson, who took great store of gold out of his pockets, a gold ring, etc., but, it is said upon a serious reflection, he greatly lamented so rash an action Captain Binas was carried away to Leeds and died of his wounds three days after. Their wounded were Sir John Goodricke, whose horse was killed with a scythe, Colonel Goring, general of the horse, and about a hundred common soldiers. Of Roundhead s, not above three at most fell by the enemy, and about twelve wounded, all curable except two, There were also taken prisoners of the enemy, Sergeant-Major Crew, twenty-six common soldiers, about ten horses, one hundred and eighty pounds (weight) of powder, and about forty muskets, thus, the roundhead wants were supplied out of the royalists store, leaving the towns folk a much better stock of arms and ammunition, than they had at the outset.

 

 

Soon after this event Sir John was made a prisoner, and his estate sequestered. The Hall at Hunsingore, one of his seats, is said to have been entirely destroyed during the Civil War. Sir John was confined first at Manchester, and a very interesting relic of him at this period still exists at Ribston, it is a French Bible, printed in 1622, which his mother sent to him. It contains a letter to him on the flyleaf,  as follows:-

 "Son John,

I have sent you to Manchester your father's French Bible a Jewel to which you are no stranger. This book was the delightful study of his freedom and trust it may be the profitable delight of your confinement by the assistance of God's most Holy Spirit is the hearty desire and shall be the humble prayers of  Your loving mother Jane Goodrick."

Post PS.-

"What you find written of your worthy Father's hand be careful to preserve, for I part not willingly with any of his manuscripts." (The rest is illegible.)           Sir John has added the following:-

"This Bible I bought at Tours in France Anno Dom 1638, and brought it with me into England as a present to my Father, after whose death it was sent to me by my mother, being Prisoner of War in Manchester, as the best companion in solitude, I have found by experience that The Bible is most profitably read when a man reads it in his mother tongue, however he understands it in foreign languages and (as the food we are accustomed to) is soonest digested into solid nourishment."

 

Sir John was afterwards removed to the Tower of London, where he was kept a prisoner for three years, during which time his young wife died. It has been stated that he escaped from the Tower and fled to France, where he remained until the Restoration. In the early part of November 1645 he addressed the following petition to the House of Commons:-

 

"To the honourable House of Commons in Parliament assembled.

The humble Petition of Sir John Goodricke, Knt. and Baronet humbly sheweth, that you petitioner having been a Prisoner of War these three years' remains committed to the Tower of London by Order from this honourable house to the great impairment of his health, by so long and tedious a restraint, his whole estate being, sequestered.

 

The Petitioner, therefore, humbly prayeth, that it will please this honourable house to admit him to his Composition and Liberty to attend the same he giving good security. Never hereafter to act or do anything to the prejudice of the State. And your petitioner shall daily pray, etc.            John Goodricke."

 

" December 30th, 1645.

This is the Petition of Sir John Goodricke delivered into my hands about the beginning of November last; though it waited for an opportunity to be presented to The House until the 22nd of December instant.   Phillip Stapelton."

 

This Petition was duly presented to the House of Commons, and the following order was made Die Lune, 22nd December 1645.

"Ordered (upon the Question) by the Commons Assembled in Parliament that it be referred to the Committee at Goldsmiths Hall to compound with Sir John Goodricke, and to consider of and examine the losses sustained by Mr. Stockdale. And to report to the House both the Composition and Losses of the said Mr. Stockdale.

H. Elsinge, Cler. Parl. D. Coin."

 

Sir John took the National Covenant at Westminster on 29th December, 1645, and petitioned the Committee for Compounding with Delinquents as follows:-

 

"To the right Honourable the Committee for Compounding with Delinquents at Goldsmiths Hall.

The humble Petition of Sir John Goodricke, Knt. and Baronet. Sheweth, whereas the  petitioner is sequestered by order from the Committee at York, and the petitioner being at this present prisoner in the Tower. And hath (by order from The Honourable House of Parliament) Liberty to Correspond. He therefore humbly prayeth that the Committee at York may be desired to certify the value of his estate. And what interest he hath in the Land sequestered together with what charge do lye upon or is issuing out of the same.

And the petitioner shall pray, etc.       John Goodricke."

 

On 2nd February 1645, the Committee for the West Riding of York certified to the Estate of Sir John; and as these papers are full of interest, I give copies of them here. A further certificate follows them by Sir John himself:-

 

20th February 1645.

 

"To the Honourable the Committee at Goldsmiths Hall, London. For Compounding with Delinquents.

The Certificate of the Committee for the West Ridinge of the county of York.

According to the Order of the fifth of January last whereby we are required to send a just and true picture of all the estate real and personal, and yearly revenue of Sir John Goodricke knight and Baronet: we having used our best endeavours to inform ourselves touching the points in the said order, do certify to cash particulars as follow here with:-

 

"A particular of the estate of Sir John Goodricke in the West Riding as it was in the times before this unnatural war, being upon rack and in present possession. The Manor of Hunsingore, in the parish of Hunsingore with the lands and tithes. Thereto belonging of the yearly value of   £196.07s.06d, his Lands in Cattail Magna in parochia de Hunsingore, predict p. Anne,    £190.04s.00d,  his lands in Ribston Magna and Walshford in Parochia predict p Annu,  £150.11s.00d,  his lands in Ribston parua in Parochia de Spoforth p. Ann, £45.00s.00d,   Ribston Park in parochia de Hunsingor predict p. Anne, £24.00s.00d,  his land in Widdington in parochia de Nunn Munketon p. Anna, £45.00s.00d.  free rents in Grewellthorpe in pochia de Kirkebie Matzerd, 17s.02d.   Total £651.19s.08d.                                                                                              

 

 

The lands mentioned as they are now of p'sente value yearly and so let. £532.16s.04d. Lands in Revenue and to descends to & John Goodricke. Viz.: - The Capital Messuage of Ribston magna and Pte of the demesnes, together with the Tithes of those  Demesne grounds and a water come mime in Hunsingor, with the appurtenances being the La. Goodricke his mother's jointure before this unnatural war, of value £220.00s00d.

The particulars above mentioned are certified unto us by Richard Roundell, Edmund Birte, Thorna.s Wescoc, George Nayler, Richard Pickerd, Thomas Lewis and William Burton, sequestrators for the weapenmake of Claroc who do also certify that they do not know yet the said Sir John Goodricke bath any lands in present possession, reversion, or expectance win min the said weapentake, other then these already mentioned, nor any other personnel estate then what is already accounted for and paid into this Committee amounting to £22.17s.04d, after a 5th taken out and allowed to Sir John Goodricke's child. Edw. Rodes, Ro. Barwicke, Jo. Farrer, 'Tho. St. Nicholas. Jo. Bright."         

 

The final document of importance in connection with Sir John Goodricke's composition is the order of the Houses of Parliament " for taking off the sequestration" of his estate, which was read in the House of Lords on 25th August, 1646, and " Agreed to."

 

Sir John appears at this time to have retired to his home, and was living there in November 1650. About 1653 he married his second wife, who was Elizabeth, widow of William, third Viscount Fairfax, of Gilling, co. York, and daughter of Alexander Smith, of Sutton, co. Suffolk, Esq.; and by her had an only son, John, born 16th October, 1654, who eventually succeeded as third Baronet. At the time of her marriage to Sir John Goodricke the Lady Fairfax had an only daughter, Catherine, afterwards wife of Benjamin Mildmay, Lord Fitzwalter; her two sons, Thomas, who was the fourth Viscount Fairfax, and William, having died in infancy. At the Restoration Sir John was elected one of the Knights of the Shire for co. York, and served as a Deputy Lieutenant.

 

It is a circumstance worthy of note here that during the Civil War Sir John's uncle, Colonel William Goodricke, and his cousins, Major William and Captain Henry Goodricke, were all officers in the parliamentary army. As is well known, family divisions of this nature were by no means uncommon in these troublesome times, but happily in this case the bonds of union between Sir John and his relatives were not broken or disturbed by the divergence in their political opinions. Sir John died in 1670, his will bearing date 19th September, 1669, being proved at York 25th November in the following year 1670. His widow survived until 1692, and resided at Moulsham Hall, co. Essex. Her will, dated 4th June 1692, signed "Elizabeth Fairfax," was proved in London on 15th September in the same year.

It is circumstance worthy of note here that during the Civil War Sir John`s uncle, Colonel William Goodricke and his cousins, Major William and Captain Henry Goodricke, were all officers in the Parliamentary army. As is well known, family divisions of this nature were by no means uncommon in these troublous times, but happily in this case the bonds of union between the family were not broken or disturbed by the divergence in their political opinions.