Hull 1643 - 1702

1643, 2nd of September, Earl Fairfax now the Marquis of Newcastle, having made himself master of Gainsborough and Lincoln, and driven Sir Thomas Fairfax out of Beverley with great slaughter, appeared before the walls and commenced the Second Siege of Hull. The royal army consisted of about 4,000 horse and 12,000 foot and began their operations against the place by cutting off its supplies of fresh water, and of provisions.  Coming up against incessant fire from the walls, the besiegers erected several batteries, which immediately opened upon the town  but the cannon from the blockhouses, and the forts on the banks of the river Hull, near the ruins of the Charter House, devastated the camps of the besiegers. On one of the batteries erected by the royalists, were placed two brass canons, which shot heated balls of 36 lbs. weight. The Governor put two similar canons on the Charter House battery, and he demolished the royalist canons. On the 9th of September about 400 horse and foot made a sally, and attacked the royalists in the village of Anlaby, but they were soon repulsed, and pursued almost to the gates of the town. On the 14th of September, Lord Fairfax, under an apprehension that the fortress was in danger of being reduced, ordered the banks of the Humber to be cut, to overflow the country, and the neighborhood being thus laid under water, the royalists were obliged to abandon all their works, except those erected on the banks of the river.

On the 16th of the same month, an artilleryman, who went into the artillery room with a lighted match to fetch some cartridges, set alight some hand grenades. A great part of the North Blockhouse was blown up, and killed him and four other persons. In a room adjoining were ten barrels of gunpowder, which could have gone up and the whole place would have been destroyed, with above 300 men, who were stationed in it.

Sir Thomas Fairfax crossed the Humber with twenty troops of horse, and joined Cromwell's force in Lincolnshire. On the 28th of September, the Marquis of Newcastle's magazine at Cottingham was blown up, and considerable damage was done to the village, and several people were killed.

Lord Fairfax and Sir John Meldrum made a last ditched effort, and managed to knock out the Marquis's forts and batteries. The Marquis called a council of war, in which it was decided to raise the siege and the same night, the Marquis retreated with the greater part of his army to York; and in order to prevent a pursuit, he cut open the canals, destroyed the bridges, and broke up the roads in the line of his retreat.

And thus ended the second siege of Hull, after having lasted from the 2nd of September to the 11th of October, inclusive.

The royalists being now withdrawn from the town, the gates were again thrown open, the bridges let down, and everything resumed its former appearance. The walls of the town and the other fortifications were repaired, and several additional works begun for the greater security of the place, in case of another siege.

During the summer of 1644, the Parliamentarians had been besieging York , which was defended by the Marquess of Newcastle. Prince Rupert had gathered an army which marched through the northwest of England, gathering reinforcements and fresh recruits on the way, and across the Pennines to relieve the city. The convergence of these forces made the ensuing battle the largest of the Civil Wars.

On 1 July, Rupert relieve the city and the next day, he sought battle with them but was dissuaded, having been outnumbered. Both sides gathered their full strength on Marston Moor, an expanse of wild meadow west of York. After a confused fight lasting two hours, Parliamentarian cavalry under Oliver Cromwell routed the Royalist cavalry from the field and annihilated the remaining Royalist infantry.

After their defeat the Royalists effectively abandoned the north of England.

The Independents, having now a majority in parliament, voted the liturgy of the Church of England an abomination, and it was abolished in 1645. The fanatical soldiers entered tho churches, seized all the Common-prayer books, and burnt them. The soldiers quartered at Hull also made a bon-fire in the Market-place, and burnt the prayer books from " all popeish superstitions. The two houses of parliament ordered that there should be a constant garrison kept at Hull, and that Sir Thomas Fairfax should be the Governor, with authority to punish all offenders according to justice, as he should see fit.

In 1646, after a series of defeats, the royal army was disbanded; and the unfortunate Monarch, despairing of a reconciliation with his enemies, and finding his personal safety insecure, voluntarily placed himself under the protection of the Scottish forces, then at Newark-upon-Trent. The Lords and Commons immediately joined in a vote, unprecedented in history, "That the person of the King shall be disposed of as both Houses of Parliament should think fit."

The Scots then delivered up the King, and he was detained as a captive. The House of Commons declared that it was high treason for the King to levy war against the parliament and on the 20th of January, 1649, the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, was arraigned in Westminster Hall, before certain Commissioners, and charged with being a " tyrant, traitor, murderer, and a public and implacable enemy to the commonwealth of England." On the 30th of January ten days after his arraignment Charles I was beheaded.

After his death the monarchy of England was temporarily abolished. During the contest between the King and the parliament, the charters of Hull were often violated, and in 1646 Parliament demanded them from the Corporation, however they evaded the request.

In 1647 the merchants of Hull sustained losses at sea by pirates, to the amount of £20,000., which induced several of them to enter into an agreement to defend each other in their voyages to Dantzic, and other places where their commerce extended.

When Oliver Cromwell was proclaimed Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, the inhabitants of Hull presented him with a dutiful address, "humbly acknowledged their thankfulness to God, in whose guidance  are the hearts of Princes, that he had made him the ruler over them." This address was very soon followed by another, thanking his Highness for promising to govern them according to the laws of the land, of which they had been for a considerable time deprived. Both were very graciously received by the Protector, who, in returning his thanks on the occasion, promised to use his utmost endeavors for the prosperity of the nation in general, and the town of Hull in particular.

In 1657 the Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses, presented a petition to the Lord Protector, representing that there were then in the town of Hull above 200 forsaken soldiers' wives and widows, and 400 of their children, all poor and in great distress. They requested "that he would grant them an order to lay a tax upon cloth and lead towards their maintenance; and that the allowance of £200. a year, formerly granted to the two ministers of Holy Trinity and St. Mary's Churches in this town, might be constantly and faithfully paid. Cromwell, in reply, told them, "that as to their first request, it was not in his power to grant it without an Act of Parliament; but as for the second he would take particular care that it should be duly and faithfully paid." But it appears that little faith could be placed at this period in persons in high places; for this promise, like many others of a similar character, was never fulfilled.

On the 8th of May, 1660, Charles II. was proclaimed in London, with great rejoicings, as the rightful Sovereign of the kingdom of England. On this occasion Hull followed the current of the rest of the kingdom, and united in the expression of that general joy.  On the 17th of May his Majesty was proclaimed at Hull with much ceremony. The bells rung out their merriest peals; the cannons thundered from the walls and garrison. On the 29th of the same month, the day on which he made his public entry into London, the people of Hull were again profuse in their expressions of loyalty. A gallows was erected in the Marketplace, from which they suspended the arms of the late Commonwealth, together with the effigies of Oliver Cromwell and Judge Bradshaw; and after hanging there most of the day, they were taken down, put on a sledge, and drawn through the town; after which they were burnt in the presence of the soldiers under arms and a great multitude of the people.

The corporation said they were sorry for refusing entrance to his father and basically blamed the Parliament.

Charles now bestowed a signal testimony of his royal favor upon Hull, on account of the recent loyalty it had displayed. By a charter dated December 3rd, 1661, his Majesty not only ratified and confirmed all the former charters granted to them, but he added many new privileges which the burgesses had not hitherto enjoyed.

A visitor to Hull made the following observations. Hull is fenced with a strong brick wall and a double ditch, with an high earth-work between them. There is a Water-house which provides the whole town with fresh water. The water is drawn up by horses into two cisterns, by a new type of device which had not before observed.There is a Free-school, over which are two rooms; one, in which the Merchants have their feasts; another with seats where they meet to confer.

In 1666, James Duke of York and his Duchess, visited Hull, and were well received.

On the 3rd of January, 1669, General and Admiral, George Monk, Duke of Albemarle, died. He was the principal person in effecting the restoration of Charles II and had been High Steward of Kingston-upon-Hull since 1661.

In 1675 copper tokens were issued in Hull by W. Wilberfoss and other tradesmen.

When the Duke of Monmouth was deprived of his offices in 1682, the Earl of Plymouth was made High Steward and Governor of Hull.

In 1683 the King intimidated the different Corporations of the realm into a surrender of their charters, in order to gain an ascendency over the kingdom, as well as to extort money for the renewal of the charters. The Corporation, seeing how futile it would be to contend it, immediately surrendered the charter into the King's hands. The people of Hull had paid tonnage and poundage in the reign of Charles I., without reluctance, and the King, upon the payment of the required consideration, renewed the charter to the entire satisfaction of the burgesses.

1685, Charles II was suddenly seized with an apoplectic fit, of which he died, in the 25th year of his reign, and the 55th of his age.

James, Duke of York, was proclaimed in Hull, under the title of King James II.,  He was not welcomed on account of his known attachment to the Catholic faith, and it was generally believed that the King's intention was to introduce the Catholic religion.

The Earl of Plymouth died November 3, 1688, and Marmaduke, second Lord Langdale, succeeded him as Governor; and Lord Henry Dover as High Steward of Hull.

On the 5th of November, the Prince of Orange landed 15,000 troops on the Devonshire coast. The town and garrison of Hull remained in the possession of the Catholic party, who were in favour of James, until the 3rd of December, when Lord Langdale was seized in his quarters by a organised party of men who were anti catholic. The Catholic officers and soldiers whom he found and the town, fort, and citadel, were secured. The anniversary of this event was long celebrated at Hull by the name of " The Town-taking Day."

The unhappy Monarch, finding that he could no longer govern in the manner he wished, resolved to abandon a nation where he was hated, and where perhaps it was unsafe for him to remain much longer. He first sent off the Queen and the infant Prince, and soon after embarked himself for France.

The throne was now declared vacant, and the affairs of the kingdom being in great confusion, the Prince of Orange issued directions to the nation for choosing members to serve it in a parliament appointed to assemble at Westminster, on the 22nd of January, 1689. The election for this borough took place on the 10th of January, when John Eamsden and William Gee, Esqrs., were chosen without opposition. This assembly is called in history the " Convention Parliament." After prescribing to the Prince of Orange the terms by which he was to govern, and determining the disputed limits between the King and the people, the parliament, as the representatives of the nation, chose him for their King, jointly with his royal consort Mary, daughter to the fugitive Monarch.

Lord Langdale was replaced with Sir John Hotham, a descendant of the Governor who was beheaded by Cromwell's parliament, but being very old died soon after, and was succeeded by the Duke of Leeds.

In 1698, an Act of Parliament was obtained for erecting workhouses and houses of correction in Hull, for the better maintenance and employment of the poor. Under the authority of this Act the Corporation obtained a grant of an old building in Whitefriargate, called the Cloth Hall, they pulled it down, and erected a large building called Charity Hall, on its site, and used  it as a workhouse, or house of industry.

In the space of a few years the poor were so greatly increased that the yearly funds they empowered to raise, fell far short of the sum required, so they were obliged to have recourse to parliament for another Act in 1709.

Along side of this increase in the numbers of poor people, trade boomed in Hull and exports of grain and wool continued to flourish, as did imports from Scandinavia.

Shipbuilding also boomed.