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IN the twenty-third volume of the Yorkshire
ArchcBological Journal there is a hst, care-
fully compiled by the late Mr. J. W. Clay, of
the Yorkshire gentry who took part on one
side or the other in the Civil War of the seven-
teenth century. It shows how the great
Yorkshire families were divided in opinion.
Fathers took one side ; sons another ; brothers
were separated ; kinsmen went into opposite
camps. Ferdinando, the second Lord Fairfax,
was opposed by his brother-in-law. Sir George
Wentworth ; Thomas, the third, fought with
his cousin, Lord Belasyse, at Selby. The Saviles,
the Stricklands, the Constables all split up ;
Hutchinson of Wykeham disinherited his own
son for adherence to the Royalist party ; Sir
Richard Mauleverer, a staunch Royalist, was
son of the Sir Thomas Mauleverer who was one
of the six Yorkshire gentlemen who actually
signed the warrant for the execution of Charles



the First ; Sir Hugh Cholmley, a turncoat,
was besieged at Scarborough by his brother,
Sir Henry. Mr. Clay's Ust shows, however,
that most of the Yorkshire gentry followed
the King ; the old, honoured names of Yorkshire
are mostly on the King's side. Anne, Armytage,
Ayscough, Belasyse, Calverley, Clapham,
Constable, Conyers, Cooke, Danby, Eure, Gower,
Hildyard, Ingram, Langdale, Lawson, Leigh,
Mallory, Metham, Monckton, Nevile, Norton,
Palmer, Pennyman, Pilkington, Portington,
Ramsden, Reresby, Rockley, Savile, Scrope,
Slingsby, Stapleton, Swale, Tancred, Tempest,
Vavasour, Warton, Wentworth, Wortley, Wyvile,
Yarborough — these were all King's men. There
were honoured names on the other side — Alured,
Beckwith, Bosvile, Bright, Chaloner, Cholmley,
Constable, Danvers, Fairfax, Goodricke, Hotham,
Lambert, Lister, Sheffield, Strickland, Thoresby,
Wharton, Wilson — but the Parliament men
were numerically weak in comparison with the
Cavaliers. What they lacked in numbers,
however, they certainly made up in moral
strength ; the third Lord Fairfax, for example,
was equal in point of influence to the combined
effort of all his Royalist neighbours, perhaps
because his Parliamentarian sympathies never
passed beyond a fixed point. When it was
determined to bring the King to trial, Fairfax



and fourteen other Yorkshiremen were included
in the Hst of appointed judges ; Fairfax carefully
kept aloof from any meeting of the tribunal ;
so, too, did General Lambert, Colonel Overton,
Francis Lawless, Godfrey Bosvile, James
Chaloner, Sir Richard Darley, and Thomas
Lister. John Anlaby made one appearance as
Judge. Sir John Danvers, Sir Thomas Mauleverer,
Sir WiUiam Constable, Sir John Bourchier, John
Alured, and Thomas Chaloner were present when
Bradshaw pronounced sentence, and all signed
the warrant for the King's execution. And
had these Yorkshire rebels not been dead — or,
in the case of Thomas Chaloner, fled overseas —
when Charles the Second came to the throne,
they would have climbed the scaffold in myriads.
Amongst the Royalist gentry Mr. Clay mentions
one Samuel Drake, a Doctor of Divinity, who,
after the downfall of the Commonwealth, became
Vicar of Pontefract. But beyond mentioning
his name he does not particularize Samuel's
father, Nathan — a much more important person.
Many of the men who took part in the Civil
War committed their memories and impressions
to paper : Fairfax wrote at least two import-
ant memoranda ; Sir Henry SUngsby wrote a
memoir; Captain John Hodgson, whom Carlyle
calls " pudding-headed," thereby showing his
ignorance of the West-Riding character and tem-



perament, set down his recollections of various
doings : Sir Hugh Cholmley's experiences caused
him to turn historian ; many lesser-known folk,
anonymously, or under mere initials or fanci-
ful pseudonyms, wrote pamphlets and tracts,
now dear to the heart of the collector.
But of all this contemporary, or nearly con-
temporary, literature nothing is quite so good
as the Diary which Nathan Drake kept during
the siege of Pontefract Castle in 1644-45. His
son, the Samuel included by Mr. Clay amongst
his list of the Yorkshire Royalist Gentry, was
in that siege, too : it was his share in the
defence of Pontefract, no doubt, which got
him his subsequent preferments. Nathan
Drake, so far as we know, never got any prefer-
ment ; he would appear to have been one of
those modest men who are content to let duty
be its own recompense. And all we know of
him in connection with the siege which he
chronicled is that he was one of a numerous
body of Gentlemen Volunteers which held
Pontefract for the King in the early days of
the war ; that he had no military rank ; and
that he never once mentions his own exploits
throughout his account. Such biographical
details as one may gain of him are scanty. He
was born in or near Halifax, and baptized in
that parish, in 1587 — the date of the baptism



is December 17th. He came of an old family
of West Yorkshire yeomen, and is said to have
had a small estate in the neighbourhood of
Halifax, of which he was eventually deprived
because of his adherence to the Royalist cause.
His connection with Pontefract, with which
town his family was afterwards so intimately
associated, seems to have arisen through his
marriage with Elizabeth Higgins, a native of
the borough. There is no entry of the marriage
in the Pontefract register, but it is believed to
have been solemnized there. And he was either
living in or near Pontefract in 1644 or he came
to the town with the special intention of joining
in the defence of the Castle against its Parlia-
mentary besiegers.

The sieges of Pontefract Castle during the
Civil War are sometimes reckoned as two,
sometimes as three ; they were two, if we
reckon the first and second as one. In that
case the first began on Christmas Day, 1644,
was raised on March 6, 1645 ; began again a
fortnight later, and came to an end on July 19th.
The first half ended in favour of the defenders,
who were ably commanded by Sir William
Lowther ; the second resulted in their surrender
to General Poyntz through failure of supplies.
Drake was in the Castle from beginning to end ;
whatever good he may or may not have been



as a military man, he was assuredly a close
observer, and had a keen eye for small effects,
and his Diary helps us to form a very realistic
idea of what a seventeenth-century beleaguer-
ment was like. Probably he only wrote it for
his own amusement, or for the refreshing of
his memory at some future period, or for the
reading of his family circle. The original MS.,
a foolscap folio of thirty-two pages, written
in double columns on both sides of the paper,
with from sixty-five to seventy lines in each
column, and enclosed in a wrapper made out of
some legal document, bears a title which was
inserted at a much later date by Francis Drake,
first Fothergill Lecturer at Pontefract, himself
the great-great-grandson of the Diarist, though
he erroneously describes his kinsmanship as
being a degree nearer : —


A journal of the siege of Pontefract Castle,
kept by Nathan Drake, a Gentleman Volunteer
in it. I desire that this MS., in my Great
Grand Fathers own Hand-Writing, may never
go out of the family. Francis Drake.

A copy of the Diary appears to have been
made by this Francis Drake's grandfather,
another Francis (the eldest son of Francis, son
of Nathan, by his second marriage), who became



famous as the author of Eboracum, but it is

neither accurate nor complete, and some portions

of it were evidently written by a person who

was unable to decipher the original. There

is a facsimile of a portion of Nathan Drake's

original manuscript in the late Richard Holmes's

book, The Sieges of Pontefract Castle. In that

work Holmes gives numerous extracts from the

Diary. But in 1861 the entire work was

published by the Surtees Society (Volume

XXXVH), for whom it had been carefully edited

by Mr. W. H. D. Longstaffe, and it is now well

known to most students of North Country

history. It shows that Nathan Drake possessed

an orderly and precise mind, and had a great

love of statistics. He gives first of all various

small memoranda and tabulations, and a preface

describing the events which took place between

the battle of Marston Moor and the beginning

of the siege. Then comes a summary of the

losses on both sides. This is followed by a list

of the Gentlemen Volunteers who took service

in Pontefract Castle under Sir William Lowther.

Another list gives the names of the Four Divisions

of the Garrison ; another those of the Ten

Aldermen of Pontefract who remained true to

their Sovereign. Then comes a list of the

Roman Catholic Gentlemen who fought for the

King at Pontefract ; finally, with some other

17 B


memoranda, the Diarist tells us how many shot
were played on the Castle by the enemy. And
as to the actual nature and wording of the
Diary, the following extracts, taken from the
Surtees reprint, will give us an excellent idea : —

25 December 1644. Uppon Christmas Day, Ponte-
fract Castle was beseeged and the towne taken that
day by the beseegers, and the beseeged played 3
cannon against them.


January 16 1645. The enemy brought into the
Markitt place in Pomfret 6 peese of cannon the same
which had beene at Hemslay and Knaresbrough before,
one carrying a bullitt of 42 li. weight, another 36 li.,
2 other 24 li., a pese, and the least 9 li. We hearing
they would plant them against Piper tower and be-
twixt that and the Round tower where there was a
hollow place all the way downe to the well, the gentle-
men and souldyers fell all upon carrying of earth and
rubbish and so filled up the place in a little space, and
we rammed up the way that passes through Piper
tower with earth 4 or 5 yeardes thick.


January 19 1645. 286 cannon. This Day, Sunday,
about 9 of the clock was Piper tower beaten downe
ther having been 78 shott made that morning before
it fell, by which fall a breach was to be made into



the Castle wall and by which fall 2 brothers of the
Halfpeny howse was killd and 3 or 4 much hurt but
they are all againe since recovred and 27 of the beseegers
men blowne up with their owne powder by a shott
from the castle which hitt their match and so struck
fire into the powder.


April 6 1645. The enemy basely stayed all wine
coming to the castle for serving of the Communion
upon Easter Day, although Forbus (their Governor)
(Colonel Forbes, the Parliamentary Commander) had
graunted proteckton for the same, and one Browne of
Wakefield said if it were for our damnation we should
have it, but not for our salvation. But that day,
being Easter Day (the 6th Aprill) which was prepared
for the health of our soules, was prepared for the
liberties of our bodyes, for, after sermond done at 11
of the clock the Governor gave strict command that
all men should presently be in armes, which was as
willingly done both with horse and foot. Then, after
a little delibration, orders being agreed upon, Captin
Washington and Captin Beale commanded the horse.
Capt. Munro with musqueteers did sally out of Swillin-
ton tower up into North-gate. Captin Flood with
50 musquteers sallyed forth of the Lower gate and so
up by the Haulpeny howse and fell upon their trenches.
Then there was 50 gentlemen volunteres whereof one
haulph did second Munroe's musquetears and the
other haulph Capt. Flood's. The gentlemen weare
chosen out from the 4 colonells within the Castle,
viz. : — Sr. Richard Hutton, 12 gentlemen commanded
by Capt. Croft : Sir George Wintworth 10 commanded



by Leitnt. Warde : Sr. John Romsden lo, commanded
by Capt. Benson ; and Sr. Jarvis Cuttler lo, commanded
by Capt. Oglebie. These resolute spirittes (having
received orders) cherefully passed upon their service,
entred their trenches, gave a long and strong allarum,
and returned with honour. Our cannonears allso
plaid their parte bravelie and did good execution
in the Markit place and other places in the towne.
We killed in that sally 26 men or more, tooke one
prisoner, and divers muskittes and swordes and drummes
and we had 2 men killd and 2 men wounded and we
shott 26 cannon wherewith is supposed could be no
lesse than 100 men killd. But we lett them not rest
then, for the same night, about 10 of the clock, Captin
Smith, Capt. Ratcliffe, and Leiutenant Wheatlay, with
100 musquetears fell upon Northgate and so into the
midle streats of the towne (above their trenches) gave
fearce fire amongst them and did bloody execution
for allmost one hower, where was very many of the
beseegers killd, and we had but one man killd (his
name was quartermr. Dawson) and one, a common
souldger, was wounded, and we shott of 6 cannon
then, where the enemyes powder was sett on fire at
Mr. Lunnes and about 20 men burnt, but few of them
likely to live.

May II 1645. Sunday. We had 2 learned sermonds,
the one by Doctor Bradlay, the other by Mr. Oley
(as we have every Sunday 2). The Lord give us grace
to follow them. We killd 2 of the enemyes from the
Round tower. This day allso we had one of our men
was looking out of a porthole on the Round tower



(a wright by trade) and seldom using to come thether,
but he was shott thorow the arme, and though at a
weekes end full of payne yet there is no signe of his
death. We had allso a boy about 9 yeares of age
(as he was getting of greene sawse without Swillington
tower) was dangerously shott in the belly from their
works at Munkhill. This night, also, a gentleman of
ours was talking with one of the enemyes officers
upon the Round tower, conditioning that neither
side should shoot, but yett one of the enemies souldyers,
contrary to conditions, shott in at the poarthole side,
where the buUitt grased upon the side, and so hitt
the gentleman upon the buckle of his girdle and burst
it, but (praised be God) did not so much appeare as
the very show of a hurt.


May 24 1645. This morning about 3 a clock the
enemy gave fire as though they would have entred
the castle presently, upon what reasons we know not,
unlesse they were greeved at the bonefires upon the
Round tower that night, for they shott most at that
place. About 10 a clock, a woman which was gathring
of pott herbes was shott by the enemy into the thigh,
but not dangerous of death. About that time our
iron gunne shott once into the towne, but what execu-
tion it did is not knowne. About 4 or 5 in the after-
noone, 4 of our men went downe to the Low Church
(where the enemy was) and as soon as the enemy
espied, they fled all away but one (who was supposed
to be a leiutenant). He stayd behind, and threw
stones so fast that our men could not enter in of a good



time, but at length one Thorn. Lowther, a man who,
if his judgment had beene according to his vallor,
was as sufficient as most men, he boldly entred upon
the leiutenant, and without one question had brought
him along with him, had he not beene unfortunately
shot by the enemy at that instant thorough the boane
of his legg, which the enemy espying runne in all hast
to catch him, but our men (with much labour) brought
him offe into the Castle, where he had his legg presently
cutt off, and now recovers very fast againe.


June 5 1645. This morning there was a boy (who
was prentice with Mr, Richard Stubbs, but now in
the Castle) he went forth to get some grasse for the
Castle's use (for the horseyes and cattell) but was
shot thorow the arme and parte of the shoulder, but
recovers pretty well againe, and walkes up and downe
the Castle yeardes : and this day we killd an ensine
of the enemies, and shott another man of theires,
but they gott him into the workes. There was great
shooting all this day, and towardes night Will, Ingrame
shott the greate iron gunne 3 times into one of the
enemies new works under Baghill, and was thought
did very great execution. At the releeving of the
watch the muskittes and forelockes on both sides
spared not any powder, when we killd one of the
enemyes men at the Primrose Close under Bagghill
and shot another upon the topp of Baghill. This
night the enemy stole some hides againe out of Peeter
Redman tanpittes.



What Nathan Drake did with himself after
the surrender in 1645 is not clear. He does not
appear to have taken any part in the siege of
1648-49, made remarkable by the doings of
Colonel John Morris, but there is some evidence
that between the final capitulation and dis-
mantling of the Castle and 1658 he was living
on the outskirts of the old borough, at Spital
Hardwick. On December 2, 1658, he made
his will ; six days later he died. There is an
entry in the Church Books of Pontefract : —

Dec. 8th, 1658. Nathan Drake, yeoman, aged above
71, departed this life, and his corps was interred in
the parish church of Pontefract, the nineth day of
the same moneth.

Fourteen years later his widow died and was
laid beside him.

From the marriage of Nathan Drake and
Elizabeth Higgins arose a curious connection
between the Drake family and the vicarage of
Pontefract : —

I. Samuel Drake, only son of Nathan, was
born in 162 i.

He became Fellow of St. John's College,
Cambridge, in his 17th year. He was
deprived of his Fellowship on the outbreak
of the Civil War. He took sides with the



King, and served in the siege of Newark.
He was also present- — as one of the garrison
— at the siege of Pontefract.

Having been ordained, he exercised his
ministry, under the Puritan regime, at South
Kirkby, a few miles south of Pontefract.
In the Lansdowne MSS., in the British
Museum, in a report made for the Long
Parliament, there is a reference to him.
" South Kirkby. Mr. Sam. Drake, a
painfull preaching minister, is Vic." His
orders, however, appear to have been
derived from episcopal authority. He
married the daughter of one Abbott, some-
time Town Clerk of Pontefract.

He became Vicar of Pontefract in April
1661. He received the degree of D.D.,
from Cambridge University in 1662 — by
Royal Letters Patent ; a reward, no doubt,
for his own and his father's loyalty.

In 1670 he became Prebendary of South-
well, and was given the Rectory of Hands-
worth, near Sheffield, a year later, holding
it in conjunction with his Vicarage. He
was also Rural Dean of Pontefract, He
died in 1678, was buried in All Saints,
Pontefract, and was at once succeeded as
Vicar by his son,
II. Francis Drake, who, if the baptismal



register of South Kirkby, where he was
born, is correct, was at that time only 24
years of age. He, in 1688, was collated
to the Prebendary of Warthill in York

He died and was buried at Pontefract

in 1713, and was succeeded as Vicar by

his son,

HI. John Drake, who was born at York in

1678 and baptized at St. Mary, Bishophill.

He, too, was a Prebend of York Minster
(Holme Archiepiscopi). He held the
Rectory of Kirk Smeaton as well as the
Vicarage of Pontefract.

He died in 1742.

Thus there were three Drakes who held the
Vicarage of Pontefract in immediate succession.
But there was a still further curious connection
between the town and the family. Early in
the seventeenth century there was living in
Pontefract one Dr. Marmaduke Fothergill, a
well-to-do man who owned a good deal of
property which had once belonged to the Domini-
cans. He was a High Churchman, a non-juror
into the bargain, and he felt considerable scruples
about his possession of these lands, once given
to the Black Friars, on the site of whose convent
his own house stood. And in 1716 he formally



conveyed his estate — or some of it — to the
Archbishop of York, in trust to maintain a
Catechist at Pontefract : the trust was not
to come into being until his own and his widow's
death. Fothergill himself died in 1731 ; the
widow lived until 1753. By her will she
nominated as the first catechist, or, as he came
to be called, Fothergill Lecturer,

I. Francis Drake, D.D.

He was the grandson of Francis Drake,
formerly Vicar ; the son of Francis Drake,
M.D., of York, author of Eboracum. He
was Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford.
He was sometime Curate of Darrington,
Vicar of Womersley, Vicar of St. Mary,
Beverley, and Rector of Winestead in
Holderness. He was succeeded in the
Fothergill Lectureship by his son,
IL Francis Drake, and he by his son,
in. Francis Drake, who, in 1821 exchanged
the Lectureship for the living of Frodingham,
and thus terminated the connection between
the Drake family and the parish of Ponte-
fract which had existed for one hundred
and sixty years.

In Mr. W. H. D. Longstaffe's Introduction to
the Surtees reprint of Nathan Drake's siege



journal there is a curious reference to the cele-
brated Dr. Nathaniel Johnston, of Pontefract,
from which it appears that the Drakes of later
generations treasured a certain parchment
memorandum, probably copied from an older
one, inscribed as follows: — "Samuel Drake,
Vicar of Pomfret. D.D. of St. John's College,
Cambridge, created by a Royal deplomacy for
his own and his father's loyalty to King Charles
the First, and bravery in the sieges of Newark
and Pomfret Castles : collated to a Prebendal
Stall in the Metropolitical Church of York and
Collegiate Church of Southwell ; died in the
year 1679, being poisoned by his physician
Dr. Johnson of Pomfret, for the sake of some
valuable books in which he had privately and
most vilainously inserted his name, and as
impudently demanded, but (on the cheat being
detected) he did not get them. . . ." Here
is a mystery which will never be solved. Did
Samuel Johnston poison Samuel Drake, or was
he wrongfully accused by the Drake family ?
Concerning Johnston there are many strange
stories in the Pontefract chronicles. He was
well known in the place in the last half of the
seventeenth century. He is said to have
embezzled £1,500 which had been collected, after
the Restoration, for the purpose of effecting
much needed repairs in All Saints' Church, to



the fabric of which great damage was done at
the time of the siege. He figures a good deal
in Ralph Thoresby's Diaries and correspondence,
and both Thoresby and Abraham de la Pryme
record that he died in very sad circumstances,
having " been forced to skulk a great many
years." His vast collections of manuscripts were
advertised in the Gazette of March 27, 1707,
and fortunately fell into the hands of the Frank
family. Some of his treasures had doubtless
been secured by unscrupulous means — but did
he really poison Samuel Drake ?





AT some time during Trinity Term, in 1703,
two London booksellers, H. Play ford, of
Temple Change, and G. Sawbridge, of
Little Britain, published a re-issue of a work
which had been selling extensively ever since

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Online LibraryJ. S. (Joseph Smith) FletcherYorkshiremen of the restoration → online text (page 1 of 12)