Historical Account of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead. Originally published by Mackenzie and Dent, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1827.
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1585 – 1676
In the years 1588 and 1589, a plague raged at Newcastle, and carried off 1727 persons before the 1st of January, 1590.
In 1594, Thomas Boast, a Roman Catholic priest, was executed at Newcastle. (fn. 1) The plague is mentioned as being in this town in July, 1597, which visitation induced the justices of assize to adjourn the assizes and jail delivery in the counties of Durham and Northumberland.
March 22d, 1599, queen Elizabeth granted a charter to the mayor and burgesses of Newcastle. This, which is called the Great Charter, constitutes the basis of their constitution, and cost them £634, 10s.
In a special commission for the suppression of schism, dated November 24, 1599, the mayors of Hull, Chester, and Newcastle upon Tyne, for the time being; Henry Anderson and Henry Chapman, aldermen of Newcastle; John Hutton, parson of Gateshead; and William Morton, preacher of Newcastle, were appointed commissioners.
On Saturday, April 9, 1603, James I. arrived at Newcastle, (fn. 2) on his way from Scotland to take possession of the crown of England. On the Sunday, Toby Matthew, bishop of Durham, preached before him at St. Nicholas' church in that town, on the 2 Chron. xv. 1, 2. On the Wednesday following, the king set forward for Durham.
From the register of St. Nicholas' parish, it appears that Newcastle was again afflicted by the plague both in 1609 and 1610.
On April 23, 1617, king James, on his way towards Scotland, came to Newcastle upon Tyne, where he was met upon the Sand Hill by the mayor, aldermen, and sheriff; and after an oration made by the town-clerk, was presented by the mayor, in the name of the whole corporation, with a great standing bowl, to the value of an hundred jacobuses, and an hundred marks in gold: the mayor carrying the sword before him, accompanied by his brethren on their foot-cloths. On Sunday, May 4th following, his majesty, with all his nobles, dined with the mayor, when it pleased the king to be served by the mayor and aldermen. The king left the town on Monday the 5th of May. (fn. 3)
The same year, the lord president and council of the north kept their sitting in the Guild-hall of Newcastle upon Tyne; and Lord Sheffield, being then president and knight of the garter, celebrated the feast of St. George at that town.
On May 17, 1624, Lodowick, son of Esme Stuart, Duke of Lenox, in Scotland, was created Earl of Newcastle upon Tyne, and Duke of Richmond. He died without issue, and the title became extinct at his death. In the year 1625, the plague raged at Newcastle.
The title of Earl of Newcastle upon Tyne was, on March 7, 1627, revived in the person of William Cavendish, Viscount Mansfield and Baron Ogle. (fn. 4)
At Shrove-tide, in 1632, there was a riot of the apprentices of Newcastle, on account of a new lime-kiln and ballast-heap having been made without the gate of the town, called Sand Gate.
King Charles I. came to Newcastle on his way to Scotland to be crowned, on the 3d of June, 1633. He was attended by the Earls of Northumberland, Arundel, Pembroke, Southampton, Holland, the Marquis of Hamilton, Dr. Laud, bishop of London, and many other persons of distinction, who were all entertained by the magistrates and corporation of that town: the day following they dined with the mayor, Ralph Cole, who received the honour of knighthood on that occasion. On the 5th of June, the king visited Tinmouth Castle. His majesty, on his return from Scotland, came also by the way of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Newcastle was, in 1636, revisited by the plague, which it was imagined had been imported from Holland and other parts beyond the seas. It commenced its ravages at North Shields in October, 1635, and, after an intermission of some months, broke out again at Newcastle with such fury, that, between the 6th of May and the 31st of December, 5037 persons died in that town; and in Gateshead, between the 30th of May and the 17th of October the same year, 515 persons. In order to prevent the spreading of the contagion, fumigations of pitch, rosin, and frankincense were used. (fn. 5) All trade was at a stand; and there is a tradition that the streets of Newcastle were covered with grass. "The highways were unoccupied." A famine on this distressing occasion was prevented by the exertions of the magistrates.
King Charles I. had raised the Scottish prelates to the chief dignities of the state, being persuaded by policy and piety that they were the pillars of the crown. This excited the jealousy and indignation of the nobility and inferior clergy, who, supported by the people, rejected the liturgy, formed the famous Covenant, abolished episcopacy, and raised forces. In consequence of these alarming transactions, the magistrates of Newcastle, in 1638, prepared military stores for the defence and safety of the town. About £600 was ordered to be raised by a cess.
On the 5th of May, 1639, the king entered Newcastle at the head of a gallant army, and attended by all the peers of England, on his march against the Scottish Covenanters. He remained in the town twelve days, during which time he was magnificently entertained. The mayor and town's clerk were knighted by his majesty. This military armament was peculiarly shewy and splendid, but returned and was disbanded without effecting any service. (fn. 6)
This year the town's clerk's office and part of the Exchange were burnt, and several of the deeds and writings of the corporation destroyed.
In 1640, the Scottish army, consisting of 20,000 foot and 2500 horse, crossed the Borders, under the command of Lesley, a soldier of experience and abilities. Having marched through Northumberland without encountering any opposition, they encamped on the 27th of August upon Heddon Law. The king's army was commanded by the Earl of Northumberland, and consisted of 10,000 foot and 2000 horse. A detachment of 3000 foot and 1500 horse, under Lord Conway, was stationed at Stella Haugh, and protected by two breast-works and four pieces of cannon. On the following day, hostilities commenced. The Scottish cannonade drove the English from both their sconces; while a battery of nine cannon, which Lesley had raised on a hill to the east of Newburn, threw the king's horse into disorder. It being now near low water, the Presbyterian general seized this favourable juncture to order a body of horse and two regiments of foot to pass the river. The infantry, in a panic, fled up Ryton and Stella banks, while the horse that covered the retreat, after a short encounter, were dispersed; and the English suffered what Lord Clarendon emphatically called "an infamous and irreparable rout."
At a council held by Lord Conway at midnight after the defeat, it was resolved to evacuate Newcastle immediately; and the whole army had quitted the town, on its retreat to Durham, by five o'clock in the morning of Saturday the 29th of August. (fn. 7) Echard says that the governor, Sir Jacob Ashley, judging the town not tenable, sunk his ordnance in the river. On the same day, Douglas, sheriff of Teviotdale, with a trumpet and some troops of horse, entered the deserted town with great assurances of peace and protection, their intention being simply to demand justice of the king against incendiaries. But these protestations did not dissipate the consternation that prevailed. The coal-trade was entirely suspended, the shops were shut up for many days, and several families fled, leaving their houses and goods to the mercy of the enemy.
On Sunday, August 30, the Scots entered the town; and after Henderson, the celebrated Presbyterian divine, had preached before the chiefs at St. Nicholas' church, they were entertained by the mayor, Sir Nicholas Cole, Bart. at dinner. On the following day, the Scots encamped on Gateshead Hill. Their general, on Tuesday, September 1, demanded of the mayor to bake certain quantities of bread, and brew so many tuns of beer a day. Upon the mayor's refusal, the Scots supplied themselves, paying partly in money and partly in promissory notes. On the Thursday following, the sheriff of Durham, with Sir William Lampton, was summoned to appear at head-quarters in Newcastle, to consult on the best means of providing subsistence for the army. In order to prevent the destructive expedient of plunder and free quarters, the northern counties agreed to pay a contribution of £850 a day. The Scottish invaders having marched southward, the Earl of Lothian was appointed governor of Newcastle, with a garrison of 2000 men.
Early in August, 1641, the Scottish army, after lying in good quarters a twelvemonth, quitted Newcastle on its return to Scotland, after receiving a present of £300,000 from the English parliament for their "brotherly assistance." The king passed through the town on the 10th of this month, on his way to settle the government of his Scottish subjects. Having neither pleased his friends nor conciliated his enemies, the perplexed monarch returned by the same route on the 19th of November following.
When the King and the Parliament were preparing for war, both parties were extremely anxious to acquire the secure possession of Newcastle upon Tyne. An order to this effect was issued by the House of Commons on March 19, 1642; and on the 11th of June, they desired the lord admiral to send some ships of war to guard the coasts about Newcastle. But the king having appointed William Earl of Newcastle to be governor of the town, that nobleman began to discharge his office with great spirit and judgment. He ordered 600 foot and 100 horse of the train-band of Durham to reinforce the garrison, and despatched 300 men, with six pieces of ordnance, to South Shields, to make fortifications and trenches. The House, therefore, on the last day of June, ordered that two ships of war should be appointed to lie at the river's mouth, "to prevent the inconveniences that may happen by the fort therein building." (fn. 8)
The north of England, having been in a great measure exempted from the political agitations that convulsed the other parts of the kingdom, adhered steadily to the royal cause. Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland, and Westmoreland, united in a league for the king. The mayor and common council of Newcastle also sent the king a loyal address, accompanied with the loan of £700; and the Earl of Newcastle was made an honorary burgess of the town.
On the 21st of September this year, the House of Commons resolved that Sir Nicholas Cole, mayor of Newcastle upon Tyne, Sir Thomas Riddell the younger, Sir Alexander Davison, Sir John Marley, and Mr. Thomas Lydell, of that town, should be forthwith sent for as delinquents by the serjeant at arms. Another order soon followed, prohibiting the carriage of provisions and ammunition to Newcastle. This was in consequence of a small vessel having arrived in the Tyne, on October 13, with arms for a thousand men, and £10,000 in money.
In January, 1643, the queen, who was in Holland raising supplies for her royal consort, sailed for Newcastle; but being driven back in a storm, she again embarked on February 16, when, in consequence of contrary winds, she was obliged to land at Burlington-key.
In June this year, projects were agitated in both houses of parliament for taking Newcastle upon Tyne out of the hands of the royalists. An ordinance was passed for assessing the town £25 weekly. The king's friends opposed these measures; and in September, a duty of three-pence per chalder was laid upon coals. Sir John Marley at this critical time held the office of mayor, being chosen by a mandamus from the king. The governor was advanced for his services to the dignity of Marquis of Newcastle upon Tyne.
The Scottish Covenanters, being alarmed at the success of the royal arms, and flattered by the partiality which the English parliament evinced for Presbyterian doctrines, again took arms, and crossed the Tweed at Berwick on January 15, 1644. The first division consisted of 1800 foot and 3500 horse, under the command of General Lesley, who had been created Earl of Leven. Sir Thomas Glenham, with the loyalists, retreated from Alnwick to Newcastle, pursued by the Scots, who, in consequence of the snow, advanced by difficult and slow marches. On the 3d of February, the town was summoned to surrender; but the Marquis of Newcastle prepared for a resolute defence. Sandgate and other suburbs, containing in all an hundred houses, were burnt by his orders. He also ordered the firing of the coal-mines; but this was prevented by the Earl of Leven surprising all the boats and vessels. The Scots likewise succeeded in taking the fort at South Shields, which commanded the mouth of the harbour, in which service they were probably assisted by seven of the parliament's frigates that were at the same time blockading the passage by sea. They, however, failed in an attempt to storm a fort at the entrance into the Shield Field, after which they remained inactive during several days; and on Thursday the 22d of February, their main army encamped at Heddon on the Wall, leaving six regiments of foot and some troops of horse, under Major-general Sir James Lumsdail, to blockade the town on the north. On the 28th, the Earl of Leven, with his army, consisting of 15,000 men, broke up his encampment, passed the Tyne, and entered Sunderland on the 4th of March following. The Marquis of Newcastle lay at Durham, with an army of 14,000 men, and was actively employed in depriving his enemies of forage and provisions. On the 20th and the following day, there was severe skirmishing at Boldon Hill, which terminated in favour of the Scots. In June, Colonel Charles Fairfax joined the Scots, who beat back the Earl of Montross, Musgrave, and others, into Newcastle.
The Scots now marched southward, and joined Lord Fairfax in the siege of York. After the battle of Marston Moor, they returned northward to meet the Earl of Calender, who had entered England with a reserved army of 10,000 men. This army crossed the Tyne at Newburn, and encamped at Lumley Castle, while their general, the Earl of Calender, with a strong detachment, seized upon Hartlepool and Stockton, which he garrisoned. On his return, he marched to Usworth; but his advanced guard was driven back from the Windmill Hill. Next day, Lord Calender advanced with his whole army, beat his opponents from the hill, "chased them downe the Gatesyde, and hushing them along bridge, closed them within the town." (fn. 9)
On the 13th of August, 1644, Newcastle was closely invested. The Earl of Leven passed the Tyne by a bridge of keels, and established his head-quarters at Elswick, while his lieutenant, Lord Calender, remained in Gateshead; the soldiers being mostly lodged in huts. The garrison defended the bridge with great gallantry, though the Scots at length succeeded in gaining above half of it, which they fortified with earthen rampiers and artillery; but the round tower under the Moot Hall, called the Half Moon, arrested their progress in this direction, and secured the Quayside. Lord Calender, who conducted the siege on the south quarter with uncommon spirit, erected five batteries along the bank-head opposite the town, and constructed a bridge of keels below the glass-houses, which he protected by Lord Kenmure's regiment, two redoubts, and three floating guards in keels strongly moored. Having formed this convenient passage, he marched several regiments across the river, and which were employed in erecting batteries in Sandgate. The besiegers had also summoned 3000 countrymen, with spades and mattocks, to assist in carrying on the works against the town. In the mean time, the garrison used every effort to annoy the besiegers. In frequent sallies from the postern gates, they stormed the trenches of the Scots, who were kept perpetually on the alert, in order to repel these desperate attacks. (fn. 10)
On September 7, the Earl of Leven, in a letter to the mayor, aldermen, common council, and burgesses of Newcastle, entreated them to surrender the town, and stop the further effusion of Christian blood. The besieged, so far from regarding these entreaties, redoubled their exertions in support of the royal cause. The cannonade from all the Scottish batteries was therefore directed against the town with great fury. (fn. 11) Lieutenant-general Calender demolished the uppermost parts of the Carpenter's Tower; but one of his mines being discovered, he was obliged to spring it prematurely. A breach, capable of admitting ten men abreast, was also made in the wall near to St. Andrew's church, by Lieutenant-general Baillie; but this was speedily repaired with timber and rubbish, under a canvas screen. On the 3d of October, the garrison discovered and drowned two mines, and a third on the following day; "whereat the enemy," says Lithgow, "growing insolent, gave order for ringing of bells all night, to consolate (as it were) the distressed mindes of the starving commonaltie, who rather fed upon violent necessitie, than any other kinde of cherishing or comfortable reliefe."
On Monday October 14, the Earl of Leven peremptorily summoned the town to surrender, on peril of the extremities of war. The mayor, aldermen, and common council desired to know the terms on which he expected a surrender. After some further communication, commissioners were appointed to treat concerning conditions: for the town, Sir John Marley, knight and governor, Sir Nicholas Cole, knight and baronet, Sir George Baker, knight, and a secretary; for the besiegers, Sir Adam Hepburn, Sir David Hume, John Rutherford, provost of Jedburgh, and a secretary. Hostages being exchanged, these commissioners met in the town on Friday the 18th; but, after three or four hours debate, "finding the governor very high," they separated without concluding on any thing. The Earl of Leven betrayed much irritation at the rupture of this conference, and which was not allayed by the mayor sending next morning a drummer to Lord Sinclair with two letters: one contained a resolution not to give a final answer to the proposal for surrendering till next Monday; and the other was directed to be delivered by the drummer to the Earl of Leven himself, as it was strongly reported in Newcastle that he was dead. (fn. 12)
The Scots interpreted this last letter of Sir John Marley as an insult, and almost instantly began to prepare for making an assault. The four batteries appointed to batter in breach had been strengthened by cannon from the Gateshead works, and now began a furious cannonade. Parties of the forlorn hope advanced to their stations, and all the regiments stood to their arms. About three o'clock in the afternoon, the garrison, by a counter-mine, had nearly approached the chambers of two of the mines destined to blow up the walls, which being signified to the Earl of Leven, he ordered the mines endangered to be immediately fired, and afterwards to maintain the breaches whilst a general assault should be made. A little after the breaches being made, and night approaching, the rest of the mines were sprung, and the Scots rushed forwards. The garrison, which the previous night had been strengthened by the soldiers which occupied the Shield Field fort, received the assault with firmness and courage; while the cannon of the castle and the flanking towers of the walls kept up an incessant fire upon the breaches. The conflict was desperately maintained during two hours, when the Earl of Buckcleugh's and Loudon's regiments about nine o'clock forced an entrance near the Close Gate; and the Edinburgh with another regiment entered under the White Tower. The town's horse made three furious charges upon the assailants, who, provoked by such persevering resistance, set a fireboat afloat, intending to burn the ships at the Quay. They also set a house on fire at the Close Gate; but Lord Calender restrained their fury, and saved the town from destruction. The Clyddisdale regiment lost two captains and suffered severely at the breach near the Westgate. A fierce struggle was maintained at the breach near Newgate, which was assaulted by five regiments, and where lieutenant-colonel Home, Major Hepburn, and Captains Home and Corbet, were slain. Colonel Henderson, Major Moffit, and many other officers and soldiers, were killed at the breach near the Weavers' Tower, which was gallantly defended. Lord Calender's brigade mounted the breach at Sandgate, (fn. 13) where Captain Sinclair fell, and pushed forward to the Sandhill, "with flying collours and roaring Drummes." Here numerous fugitives from the walls had retired, pursued also by the western and northern brigades of Scots, where, finding themselves surrounded by exasperated enemies, they laid down their arms and called for quarters.
Two regiments of Scots were now despatched, under Lord Livingstone and Killhead, to drive those parties of the garrison from the wall that still continued to defend their stations. Pilgrim Street Gate was maintained by Captain George Errington, Lieutenant William Robson, Ensign Thomas Swan, and 180 tradesmen, who refused to parley with the Scots without, but consented to capitulate to Lieutenant-colonel Sinclair, who protected and honoured them for their bravery. Captain Cuthbert Carr, who commanded Newgate Ward, fought until surrounded by an overwhelming force. The Scots, on this occasion, had 299 killed, including 38 officers, and between 7 and 800 wounded. The besieging army was estimated at 30,000 men, while the garrison did not exceed 1500 men. (fn. 14)
Few towns taken by storm ever experienced more clemency and kindness. The Scottish officers exerted themselves in repressing disorders and protecting the houses of the opulent. "The common souldiers," says Lithgow, "being onely able to plunder the common people (although they might have justly stretched their hands further) had for the greatest part of them but small benefite, excepting only houshold stuff, as bed-cloaths, linnings, Tanned leather, calve skins, men and womens apparell, pans, pots, and plates, and such like common things." The forbearance and generosity of the officers, he calls abusing their victory "with too much undeserved mercy." In another place, this stern Presbyterian observes, "When I consider here the malicious obstinacie of Newcastle, and thereupon the storming of it, I am ravished with admiration to behold, how in the heat of bloud, and goaring slaughter, they got so soon mercie and quarters; that me thinketh there was not the like mercie showne in such a case since the deluge of the World. Nay, and (alas) showne unto an impenitent and pernicious people." (fn. 15)
When the walls were stormed, Sir John Marley, Earl Crawford, Lords Maxwell and Reed, Sir Nicholas Cole, Sir George Baker, Doctor Wishart, and other determined royalists, shut themselves up in the Castle. The next morning, being Sunday, General Lesley entered the town in triumph, and, accompanied by his chief officers, repaired to St. Nicholas' church to return thanks to God for their success. The service was performed "by that reverend Pastor Master Robert Dowglas." A heavy rain now commenced, and continuing unremittedly for three days, the Tyne was swoln to a great height, and the two keel bridges were broken down. Most of the Scottish army sought shelter within the town.
On Monday, October 21, Sir John Marley sent a spirited letter to the Earl of Leven, justifying his loyalty, acknowledging that he could not hold out long, and begging permission to withdraw to some neighbouring garrison of the king; but the incensed general insisted upon an unconditional surrender. On the following day, Sir John Marley, with about three hundred of his brave associates, including above seventy officers, engineers, and veteran soldiers, marched out of the Castle, and surrendered themselves prisoners to the Scots. The gallant mayor was almost torn in pieces by the mob, and the next day confined in the dungeon of the Castle. The Scottish noblemen who assisted in the defence of the town were sent to Edinburgh to be executed.
"Thus," says Bourne, "was the town taken from the king after an obstinate and gallant defence, and may well assume the motto bestowed upon it, 'Fortiter defendando triumphans.'" When the parliament heard of this important capture, a public thanksgiving was appointed "for the great success of the Scottish army." A pestilence at this time raged in Sandgate, Gateshead, Tynemouth, Sunderland, and many villages near Newcastle. This, with a scarcity of provisions, and the approach of winter, induced the Scottish army to spread over the neighbouring country, leaving a strong garrison in Newcastle. Detachments were quartered in Darlington, Auckland, Durham, Chester-le-Street, Morpeth, Hexham, and the adjacent places. In November, a committee of both kingdoms published a declaration, containing regulations for the coal-works, and confiscating the collieries of certain "notorious Delinquints and Malignants."
On February 10, 1645, parliament assessed Newcastle at £36, 10s. 0¾d. per month for the Scottish army.
In April, the Hon. Sir William Armyn, knight and baronet, Richard Barwicks, and Robert Fenwick, Esqrs. the parliamentary commissioners then residing at Newcastle, were each complimented with the personal freedom of the corporation. The House of Commons now watched over the safety of this important town with great anxiety. A true state of the garrison was ordered, and a commission appointed for adjusting the accounts (with others) between the Scottish army and the county of Newcastle, arising either by assessments, free quarters, billeting, or any other way. The House also ordered 500 muskets, with their furniture, and 20 barrels of gunpowder, to be furnished for the service of the town. In October, the Scottish forces that had been put into the garrisons of Newcastle, Tynemouth, &c. without the consent of parliament, were ordered by the House to be removed. The plague, at this time, appears to have been in Newcastle.
At a meeting of the common council on September 27, an order was made to disfranchise the Marquis of Newcastle, who was charged with possessing himself thereof by force of arms, and altering its ancient and lawful government. This act, in the cant of the day, was represented "as a meanes to expiate and appease the great wrath of God, which yet hanges over this poor and miserable town." (fn. 16)
King Charles, having been reduced to a condition in the last degree disastrous and melancholy, fled from Oxford, and threw himself into the protection of the Scottish army before Newark upon Trent. The generals of the Covenanters affected much surprise at his majesty's appearance; and, on the approach of the English army, they retired with their army and the royal fugitive to Newcastle upon Tyne, which they reached on Wednesday, May 13, 1646. The governor, Sir James Lumsden, made "a lane of muskets and pikes" from Gateshead, where his majesty entered, to the Earl of Leven's head-quarters, where he lodged. The fallen monarch was "also caressed with bonfires and ringing of bells, drums and trumpets and peals of ordnance, but guarded by 300 of the Scottish horse, those near him bare-headed." Proclamation was made that Papists or Delinquents should not approach the king, and that all men should yield obedience to the ordinance of parliament only. (fn. 17)
The king attempted to conciliate the Scots by an attentive behaviour to their preachers; but he soon found the impossibility of making an impression upon the Covenanting zealots. Shortly after his arrival at Newcastle, a Scotch minister boldly reproached him with his misgovernment, and, when his political sermon was done, ordered to be sung the 52d Psalm, which begins—
"Why dost thou, tyrant, boast thyself,
Thy wicked works to praise ?"
Whereupon his majesty stood up, and called for the 56th Psalm, which begins with these words:—
"Have mercy, Lord, on me I pray,
For men would me devour."
The audience, in pity to fallen majesty, waved the minister's Psalm, and sung that which the king called for. (fn. 18)
The king was very strictly guarded, and the Scottish officers treated him with distant ceremony and feigned respect. He ordered all the royal garrisons to surrender to the parliament; but he resolutely refused to assent to the terms proposed by the Scots and the parliamentary commissioners, as he apprehended they were framed to complete his abasement and ruin. (fn. 19) In the midst of his misfortunes, he was much annoyed by the importunities of Master Alexander Henderson, the apostolic minister of the Scots, who was sent from Westminster to Newcastle, to convince his majesty of the Covenant. But Charles, who excelled in cool and temperate reasoning, converted the celebrated preacher, who "fell into some distemper at Newcastle, and therefore was sent home to Scotland, where he died perfectly reconciled to the king's affairs, and an apostate from the Scots army and their proceedings." (fn. 20) The king and his train were permitted every day to go abroad, and play at goff in the Shield Field. (fn. 21)
The king, it appears, was lodged at the house now the property and residence of Major Anderson, a room in which is pointed out as having been his majesty's bedchamber. In this stood a bed of a very antique fashion, said to be the identical one upon which the unfortunate monarch passed in all probability many a restless night. There is a popular tradition, that the king attempted his escape from this house by the passage of Lort Burn, and that he had got down as far as the middle of the Side, where he was caught in his attempt to force the iron grate which still communicates with the sewer at this place. A ship was said to have been in readiness to transport him beyond sea. This project, it is added, was projected by William Murray of the Bed Chamber, and communicated to Sir Robert Murray; but being treacherously divulged before the set time, Murray's plot to carry away the king became the common discourse in the army. On the detection of this attempt, his majesty was not only deprived of his former liberty, but also of future quiet and retirement, a guard of soldiers being immediately planted at his chamber-door, both within and without. The royal prisoner was also much annoyed by the soldiers continually smoking in his presence, he having an antipathy against tobacco.
In December this year, the common council ordered an account of the corporation expenses, both with regard to the garrison, and also the court, since his majesty's arrival in Newcastle, to be drawn up and presented to their representatives in parliament.
After many discussions between the commissioners of the parliament and the Scots, it was finally agreed, that the latter should accept of £400,000 in lieu of all demands, one half to be paid instantly, and the other in two subsequent payments; and that the king, who had been retained nine months by the Scots in pledge for their arrears, should be delivered up to the parliament. On signing this convention, the House of Peers sent the Earls of Pembroke and Denbeigh and Lord Montague, and the House of Commons Sir John Holland, Sir Walter Earl, Sir James Harrington, Sir John Cook, Mr. John Crew, and Major-general Brown, to receive the king. They were accompanied by two chaplains and several private gentlemen. When the king first heard of this infamous bargain, he was playing at chess; but such was his equanimity of temper, that he continued his game without interruption, and none of the attendants could perceive that the letter he had perused had brought him news of any consequence. When the English commissioners arrived, they were received with the utmost grace and cheerfulness, and permitted to kiss his hand; and the old Earl of Pembroke was congratulated on his strength and vigour, that he was still able at such a season to perform so long and rapid a journey. On Saturday the 30th of January, 1647, the Scottish army marched out of Newcastle, when the Earl of Leven informed the commissioners of parliament that the king was in their power. No ceremony or formal delivery of his majesty's person took place; but presently Major-general Skippon, governor of the town, placed an English guard about the king's house. On Wednesday the 3d of February, the king was removed from Newcastle, and, on Saturday the 13th, reached Holmby House in Northamptonshire, where he was rigorously confined. On his journey, all remembrance of his errors seemed to be lost in compassion for his misfortunes, and his march was accompanied with tears or with acclamations. Even the warmest admirers of popular rights passed in silence. (fn. 22)
The governor of Newcastle, Major-general Skippon, being called to the army, was succeeded by Colonel Robert Lilburn. (fn. 23) The latter was presented by the common council with two silver flaggons, of the value of £20, for his many services while governor. About the close of the year, Sir Arthur Hazelrigg was appointed governor of the town. In October, mention occurs of a petition of the mayor and burgesses of Newcastle to the House of Commons, against the oppression of the soldiery under the command of his excellency Sir Thomas Fairfax, now resident here.
In January, 1648, the House of Commons made a grant of the sequestrations of the county of Newcastle upon Tyne for the relief of that county. In February, Newcastle was rated to pay the monthly sum of £9, 19s. in the ordinance to raise £20,000 a month for Ireland, by a general assessment throughout England and Wales; and in the following month, the town was ordered to pay £29, 17s. monthly for the support of the army.
The usurpations of the sectarian army, and the violences committed on the king's person, inflamed different orders of men with indignation. The English royalists again flew to arms, and the "moderate Presbyterians" in Scotland prepared to reinstate the parliament and the king in their just authority. These commotions induced the Commons to vote £5000 for repairing the fortifications of Newcastle and Tynemouth, which was followed by an order of the common council to put the town into a posture of defence. They had before undertaken to restore the works of the Shield Field Fort, in testimony of their love and due respect to the parliament. (fn. 24) A fort was also built in Sandgate, as an outwork to defend the town. In June, the corporation petitioned the parliament for £4000 a month, to pay the three regiments of foot that garrisoned the town. (fn. 25)
Early in September, (fn. 26) Lieutenant-general Cromwell passed through Newcastle in pursuit of the royalists, and to join Argyle, the chief of the "rigid Presbyterians," who hated the king. In the latter end of this month, the common council ordered every free burgess to serve the parliament, and defend the town with such arms as the mayor should appoint them.
At the annual election of the officers of the corporation on the 2d of October, a violent affray happened. "Thomas Bonner, Esq. mayor elected, coming from the Spittle to go to his dwelling-house upon the Sand-Hill, the serjeants carrying torches lighted in their hands—one Edmund Marshall threw a long stick at the said lighted torches, and struck divers of them out; and it being dark, stones, &c. were flung, &c." (fn. 27)
On the 10th of this month, the mayor, aldermen, common council, and the rest of the well-affected of the town of Newcastle upon Tyne, presented a petition to the House of Commons, requiring speedy and impartial justice to be done upon the greatest offenders and incendiaries, without which no blessing could be expected upon the treaty pending between the king and parliament. A few days after this, Cromwell returned to Newcastle at the head of his army, which rested here three days until the train came up. They are said to "have been received with very great acknowledgments of love." On the 19th, they were sumptuously feasted by the new mayor, and the next day marched to Durham.
At this time, Lieutenant-colonel Paul Hobson occurs as deputy-governor of Newcastle. In November, there was presented to his excellency Lord Fairfax, lord general at Windsor, a most remarkable petition and representation of the officers and soldiers of the garrisons of Newcastle, Hartlepool, Holy Island, and of several officers of Berwick upon Tweed, wherein they charged the king with being "the occasion of a seven years unnatural bloody war, by deserting his parliament, and the principal author, contriver, abettor, and manager of all the bloodshed, massacres, devastations, and whatever ruins have befallen, not only this kingdom, but also that of Ireland;" declaring, "that all other endeavours are to little purpose while the grand delinquent is untouched, as being not an acceptable sacrifice to the justice of God to offer him ought else, while the Agag is spared!"
At the latter end of the year 1649, mention occurs of several pirates lurking in the northern seas, and committing great depredations in the vicinity of Newcastle.
The cruel and furious fanaticism that now raged, being overcharged with various antipathies, acquired new objects of abhorrence: these were the sorcerors. The in habitants of Newcastle, who were embued with the prevailing superstition, petitioned the common council concerning witches, on the 26th of March, 1649, praying, as appears by the sequel, that persons suspected of witchcraft should be apprehended and brought to trial. In consequence of this, a person famously skilled in the science of distinguishing a true witch by proper trials and symptoms, was brought from Scotland by Thomas Shevil and Cuthbert Nicholson, two of the serjeants. On the arrival of this cunning professor, who was to be paid twenty shillings a head for all he could condemn, the magistrates sent their bellman through the town, proclaiming that "all people that would bring in any complaint against any woman for a witch, they should be sent for, and tried by the person appointed." Thirty women were accused and brought into the Town Hall, where they were publicly examined in a manner the most shockingly indecent. "The said reputed witch-finder acquainted Lieutenant-colonel Hobson, that he knew women whether they were witches or no by their looks: and when the said person was searching of a personable and good-like woman, the said colonel replied, and said, surely this woman is none, and need not be tried, but the Scotchman said she was, for the town said she was, and therefore he would try her: and presently, in sight of all the people, laid her body naked to the waist, with her cloaths over her head, by which fright and shame all her blood contracted into one part of her body, and then he ran a pin into her thigh, and then suddenly let her coats fall, and then demanded whether she had nothing of his in her body, but did not bleed? but she, being amazed, replied little; then he put his hand up her coats and pulled out the pin, and set her aside as a guilty person, and child of the devil, and fell to try others, whom he made guilty. Lieutenant-colonel Hobson, perceiving the alteration of the aforesaid woman, by her blood settling in her right parts, caused that woman to be brought again, and her clothes pulled up to her thigh, and required the Scot to run the pin into the same place, and then it gushed out of blood, and the said Scot cleared her, and said she was not a child of the devil." (fn. 28) One wizard and fourteen reputed witches belonging to Newcastle, in company with nine thieves and a witch of the county of Northumberland, were executed upon the Town Moor on the 21st of August this year. (fn. 29)
Charles II. having been acknowledged king of Scotland, and Fairfax refusing to act against the Scottish Presbyterians, Oliver Cromwell was appointed captain-general of all the forces in England. He immediately set out from London, and at Durham was met by Sir Arthur Haselrigg, governor of Newcastle, with Colonel Pride and other officers, who attended him to this town, which he entered on the 15th of July, 1650. Here he was sumptuously entertained by the governor; and, during his stay, a fast was kept, to implore God's blessing upon the army's undertaking, and a declaration was agreed upon to be dispersed in their march. Five companies, as a reinforcement, were drawn out of the garrison; and General Cromwell marched to Scotland at the head of 16,000 well disciplined soldiers.
The prudence of Lesley, the Scottish general, baffled all the arts of Cromwell, who was compelled to retreat. The Scots followed with celerity, seized all the passes, and encamped on the heights of Lammermuir. Reduced to the last extremity, Cromwell saw nothing but loss and dishonour before him. In a letter to the governor of Newcastle, he acknowledged the difficulties that surrounded him, and requested him to make every possible effort for the public good. But the absurd fanaticism of the Scots saved Cromwell; for, on the day after he had written this letter (viz. Sept. 3), they abandoned their station in spite of Lesley's remonstrances, descended into the plain near Dunbar, and were defeated with the loss of 3000 killed and 9000 taken prisoners.
Cromwell, pursuing his advantage, marched back, and seized upon Edinburgh; (fn. 30) but he sent a great number of the prisoners to Newcastle, recommending them to be treated with humanity. Sir Arthur Haselrigg, in a letter to the council of state, dated Newcastle, October 31, 1650, says, "When they came to Morpeth, the prisoners being put into a large walled garden, they eat up raw cabbages, leaves, and roots, so many as the very seed and labour at 4d. a day, was valued at £9, which cabbage (they having fasted as they themselves said near eight days) poisoned their bodies, for as they were coming from thence to Newcastle some died by the way-side: when they came to Newcastle I put them into the greatest church in the town, and the next morning when I sent them to Durham, about 140 were sick and not able to march—three died that night, and some fell down in their march from Newcastle to Durham and died.—On being told into the great cathedral church, they were counted to be no more than 3000, although Col. Fenwick wrote me that there were about 3500." Those who survived were, according to Echard, "condemned to the sugarmills, and by the English planters were transported to the West Indies."
In November this year, the common council ordered a petition to be sent to parliament, to alter the market-days in Newcastle from Saturdays and Mondays to Fridays and Tuesdays, to avoid the prophanation of the Lord's Day by travellers going or returning from the markets. Next year a bill passed the House of Commons, authorising the alteration desired.
From the Journals of the House it appears, that the garrison of Newcastle, in September, 1651, consisted of ten "companies, the governor, a store-keeper, two mates, one master gunner, three gunners, six mates, fourteen matrosses, a judge-advocate, and for the guards of the town, one of the regiments of foot of the army, 1200." In the following month, it was proposed to reduce the monthly expence of this garrison from £92, 12s. to £21, 9s. 4d.
On March 14, 1652, Mr. John Rushworth was admitted to his freedom of the corporation. (fn. 31)
The mayor and common council, on the 25th of February, 1653, sent up the following address to the Lord Protector, Cromwell, which shews how well the gentlemen of the corporation were skilled in the hypocritical language of the times:—"For his Highness the Lord Protector of the commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the dominions thereto belonging. May it please your Highness, many of the precious servants of God in these nations, over which the Lord hath set your highness, have gotten upon their watch-tower, to see if they can discover what hath been the eminent design of the Lord in these latter days; for the allwise God hath of late visibly been out of the common road of providence: his paths have been in tempests and thick darknesse, plucking up by the roots the greatest of men and the highest of powers, like cedars in Lebanon, that he might make way for the glorious bringing forth of truth and righteousness; and we question not but the Lord is fulfilling that great prophecy, Isaiah lx. 17, I will make thy officers peace and thy exactors righteousness. For when we consider how the Lord hath eminently made your highness instrumental for the breaking of the iron yoke from off the neck of these three nations, and likewise hath invested you with the supream power of this commonwealth, whereby you may be exceedingly instrumental to the Lord Jesus in the advancing of his kingdom in righteousness and peace: wee having the sence of these things with wight upon our spirits have judged it our duty to professe our great resentment of this signal mercy from the hands of our God, and do solemnly bless the Lord for setting up your highness over this great people, and shall endeavour, through the strength of Christ, to live in all humble obedience to your highness, as becometh those who are under your government and protection.—Signed in the name and by order of the common-councell of Newcastle upon Tyne, William Johnson, Mayor. Feb. 25, 1653."
In 1654, a conspiracy was entered into by the royalists throughout England, and a scheme was in agitation for surprising Newcastle, which contained stores of arms and ammunition. It was proposed to conceal the royalists in some colliers, and to land them in the night-time, when the enterprize might be executed. (fn. 32)
It is mentioned in November this year, that the mayor and burgesses were sued for near £3000, which debt the former magistrates had contracted previous to the reduction of the town. On this emergency, the common council resolved to raise the money by leasing out some of the town's lands.
In April, 1655, Newcastle was again put in a posture of defence. John Butler, Robert Johnson, James Briggs, and Thomas Errington, were appointed by the common council captains of the train-bands. Serjeants were ordered to be paid 25s. quarterly, drummers 20s. corporals 20s. and lance presadoes 8s. 6d. In the following months, orders were received from his highness the Lord Protector to form four companies of the best affected townsmen for its safety and defence. (fn. 33)
General Monk, in a despatch to the Protector, dated Dalkeith, February 26, 1657, intimates his fears that Newcastle would be surprised by the royalists, it being without a garrison and containing many disaffected inhabitants.
On the 15th of May, the Lord Protector signed a writ of privy seal for founding an university at Durham. This was obtained in consequence of a petition from the town and county of Newcastle upon Tyne, the county of Northumberland, and the city and county of Durham: but the permission appears to have been withdrawn on account of the opposition of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge; though George Fox, the founder of the Quakers, assumed to himself the consequence, and what he thought the merit, of having been the means of suppressing this institution. (fn. 34)
In December, 1657, the mayor and common council confirmed the removal of Mr. Leonard Carr from his office of alderman of Newcastle, on a charge preferred against him for abetting, &c. against the parliament. (fn. 35)
On the death of Oliver Cromwell, his son Richard was proclaimed Protector at Newcastle. The mayor, aldermen, sheriff, and the rest of the common council, complimented him on his accession, and promised to yield his highness "all due honour, love, and obedience."
On the 6th of June, 1659, a petition of the well-affected of Newcastle was presented to the House of Commons, and Sir Arthur Haselrigg was ordered to return the thanks of the House to the petitioners. On the 8th, the mayor signed an address, on behalf of the common council, to the parliament, which, on the 15th, agreed to appoint the persons named for commissioners and commission officers of the militia of Newcastle.
The well-affected, as they styled themselves, in September agreed to send a petition to parliament; but a counter-petition was adopted by the mayor, aldermen, sheriff, and the rest of the common council.
During this period of anarchy, some supported the civil tyranny of the Rump Parliament, and others the military usurpations of the army; while the royalists and Presbyterians became reconciled, and combined to establish a permanent government by the restoration of the royal family. The ambitious Lambert, who despised the authority of parliament, marched northward to oppose the advance of his rival Monk, and, in November, entered Newcastle at the head of 12,000 men, including, as was reported, 7000 of the prime of the cavalry. (fn. 36)
On January 1, 1660, General Monk crossed the Tweed at Coldstream, with six regiments of foot, and the next day was followed by four regiments of horse. His advanced guard, consisting of four troops of horse and six companies of foot, was ordered to occupy Newcastle, where Colonel Lilburn advanced with a superior force to attack this division, which, in consequence, retreated to Alnwick. But Lambert was now surrounded with inextricable difficulties: Haselrigg (fn. 37) and Morley seized Portsmouth, which, with London, and the squadron under Admiral Lawson, declared for the parliament. This compelled him to retreat from Newcastle, when his formidable army almost entirely deserted him; and Monk entered the town on the 6th of January. He was met on the road by great multitudes of people, and welcomed by loud acclamations. (fn. 38)
The inhabitants of Newcastle, during the late convulsions, had always been suspected to retain their attachment to the monarchial form of government; and now, when the restoration was effected, they displayed their joy and triumph, and received with kindness their townsmen who had suffered exile. On the 8th of August, the Marquis of Newcastle; Sir John Marley, (fn. 39) knight, sometime mayor; Sir George Baker, sometime recorder; Sir Nicholas Cole, knight and baronet; Francis Bowes, knight, sometime alderman; James Cole, Esq. sometime sheriff; Henry Marley, merchant, sometime clerk of the chamber; Henry Brabant, merchant; Jonas Cudworth, draper; Thomas Carnes, slater; and Anthony Errington, sometime one of the serjeants at mace, were restored to their former freedoms of that corporation. (fn. 40)
In June, 1665, the common council of Newcastle, to prevent the spreading of the plague, issued an order, forbidding masters of ships to bring passengers or goods into this harbour, upon pain of being stayed, or detained, for forty days; and sailors to come on shore, on pain of imprisonment.
The Right Honourable Henry Earl of Ogle, being made governor of Newcastle, was, in June, 1667, presented in person with the freedom of the corporation.
King Charles II. in violation of his engagements at Breda before his restoration, had assented to the Act of Uniformity, containing several penal clauses; and the ecclesiastics were, in general, eager to avail themselves of its authority, in order to retaliate upon their enemies, in the true spirit of party justice. In 1668, the mayor of Newcastle and five aldermen wrote to the bishop of Durham, acknowledging the receipt of his lordship's letter, with his majesty's royal letter inclosed, respecting the numerous conventicles held in the town; and assuring his lordship, that if any offenders against the late statute had not been punished, it was for want of evidence to convict them. The bishop, in reply, says, "I am sorry to hear from you, that you have had neither any information, nor any evidence given you against such unlawful assemblies in your town, when the notoriety of the fact, by their numerous meeting at your barber-chirurgeon's hall upon All Saints Day last, being Sunday the 1st of November, was such, that it was voic'd and made known to all the town and country about; notice being also taken what special Psalm, or New Rejoicing Song, they then chose and applied to themselves, as holy saints, of Bearing a double-edged sword in their hands to bind kings in chains and lords in iron bands: of which notorious and unlawful meeting both my self and divers others here at this distance were shortly after informed; and I took the best care I could thereupon to have an address made unto you, Mr. Mayor, by a special person under my episcopal jurisdiction, to desire you that you would not suffer any such scandalous and offensive meetings to be held among you, contrary to the known laws of this church and realm of England, and greatly endangering the publick peace thereof." His lordship also mentions another "numerous and unlawful meeting at one of the ringleader's houses, upon the 25th of November, wherein they appointed and kept a fast, with preaching and praying, which they held out from eight a clock in the morning till four in the evening, the work being held forth by their four chief leaders and abettors, Mr. Gilpine, Mr. Durant, Mr. Leaver, and Mr. Pringle. Of all which surely you (the Mayor) had or might have had knowledge; and if you had not, you will give me leave to say, without offence, that many of your townsmen are very backward in discovering to you and attesting their knowledge of such disorderly assemblies, and that you are very great strangers to the affairs and disturbances of your own town, the government whereof, under his majesty, is committed to your care." (fn. 41)
On July 10, 1673, an address was ordered by the mayor, recorder, aldermen, sheriff, and common council of Newcastle upon Tyne, to be presented to the king, on the discovery of a plot against his majesty's life, and that of James Duke of York. In 1675, a dreadful pestilential disease, called "the jolly rant," raged in Newcastle and its vicinity, whereof 924 persons died.