Cromwell to Queen Anne – 1646 to 1714
The Battle of Marston Moor near York in July 1644 was a turning point in the Civil War. By the end of October the Royalist strongholds of York and Newcastle were taken by Parliamentarian forces and the Royalist hold on the North was ended. When Charles finally surrendered in 1646, Newcastle was his first place of imprisonment. He would be executed in London three years later. Parliament ruled the country until 1660 when the Stuart monarchy returned. The Stuarts ruled until the death of Queen Anne in 1714.
May 13 1645 – Civil war continues
Despite the great victory for the Parliamentarians at Marston Moor in 1644, the civil war battles raged on across Britain and Ireland during 1645 but with the Parliamentarians continuously in the ascendancy. One of the great Parliamentarian victories came at Naseby in Northamptonshire on June 14. North of the border the Scottish Covenanters defeated the Royalists at Philiphaugh in Tweeddale on September 13.
May 9 1646 – Charles surrenders
With everything all but lost for the Royalists, King Charles departed from his war base at Oxford on April 27. It was clear that Oxford was about to fall to the Parliamentarians. On May 9, the king handed himself over to the mercy of a Scottish army encamped at Southwell near Newark.
May 13 1646 – Charles imprisoned at Newcastle
After King Charles surrendered to the Scots he was brought north to Newcastle as their prisoner on May 13. The streets of Gateshead and Newcastle were lined with muskets as he entered the town and despite his imprisonment he received a warm reception with the sounding of trumpets, the lighting of bonfires and the playing of drums and bells.
May 1646 – Feb 1647 – Charles prisoner at Newcastle
Charles was imprisoned at Newcastle for just under ten months, a considerable period of time. His place of imprisonment was ‘Newe House’ (Anderson Place), a grand home in pleasant grounds enclosed within the town walls. It lay to the west of Pilgrim Street, where much later in the nineteenth century the Grainger developments such as Grey Street and Grainger Street would be built. The house was shared with General Leslie, the Scottish commander who held Charles prisoner here and used the house as a headquarters. The king’s children and attendants were also present.
May 1646 – Feb 1647 – King plays golf at Newcastle
Although guarded at times by around three hundred horsemen, the king was given much reasonable liberty within the town walls. He was even allowed time to play golf or ‘goff’ as he called it, in the fields at Shield Field just outside the town walls to the east. While indoors he enjoyed games of chess.
May 1646 – Feb 1647 – Propositions of Newcastle
Despite the leisure pursuits at Newcastle, the king still had political pressures to deal with during his imprisonment. England’s Parliament offered him terms to consider for making peace called ‘the Propositions of Newcastle’ but he could not agree to terms that limited his powers. Scottish clerics were also pressuring him to accept Presbyterianism but he was determined to retain the Anglican faith.
Feb 1647 – Scots leave as King handed over
Parliamentarian Commissioners agree a price of £200,000 with the Scots for the handing over of the king in January. This is paid on January 28, when the Scots hand the king over to the Commissioners who arrive at Newcastle from London. The Scots then depart and return to their home country ending several years of their occupancy and presence in the north. Charles is held by the Commissioners at Newcastle until February 3rd when they leave, taking the king with them. He will be imprisoned at Holdenby House in Northamptonshire.
1647 – Sir Arthur Haselrig controls the North
Following the handing over of King Charles and the departure of the Scots who had controlled Northumberland and Durham, control of the North is transferred to a new Parliamentarian governor, Sir Arthur Haselrig. The Governor’s control of Durham had been stripped from Thomas Morton, the Bishop of Durham who was accused of High Treason by Parliament.
Oct 1648 – Royalist Rising
A Royalist rising takes hold in Scotland and the North, notably Northumberland. Raby is besieged and Berwick captured. Cromwell retakes Berwick on October 18 and visits Newcastle (Oct 19-22), Durham (Oct 20) and Barnard Castle (reputedly Blagraves House) on (Oct 24) as he pursues the Royalist rebels.
1648 – Tynemouth besieged
Sir Arthur Haselrig had installed a garrison at Tynemouth Castle under the governorship of Henry Lilburne, a Parliamentarian who switches his allegiance and joins the Royalist rising to support King Charles. Haselrig besieges Tynemouth and Lilburne is captured. Lilburne’s head is cut off and displayed outside the castle walls on a pole.
Jan 30 1649 – King Charles executed
King Charles is accused of treason and beheaded in London on Cromwell’s orders. Cromwell abolishes the monarchy and becomes parliamentary ruler of England.
Feb 5 1649 – Scots proclaim Charles II
The Scots, even those with Parliamentarian sympathies are infuriated by the execution of Charles I. He was their king too – and he has been executed by the English. At Edinburgh, the Scots proclaim King Charles’ son, King Charles II as the rightful King of England, Scotland and Ireland, though Charles is currently in exile in Europe.
March 1649 – Office of King abolished
The English Parliament abolish the office of king and abolish the House of Lords too.
Mar 26, 1649 – Newcastle witch trials
On March 26, 1649 some twenty-seven, out of 30, suspected witches were found guilty of witchcraft at Newcastle. Fourteen were executed on the Town Moor. A man by the name of Matthew Bulmer accused of being a shape-shifting wizard (he could apparently transform into a black cat called Vinegar) was executed and burned. In this era of witch-fearing hysteria Newcastle town council requested the suspected witches be brought to trial, so the town’s magistrates sent for Scottish witch-finder or, ‘witch-pricker’ Cuthbert Nicholson. John the Bellman, who was responsible for delivering news and making proclamations to Newcastle’s populace, invited people to report anyone suspected of being a witch. Thirty women were brought to the Town Hall and stripped to their waist. Nicholson then pushed a pin into their skin. It was a simple, if rather dubious process. If they did not bleed they were declared witches. Nicholson, who is thought to have used a retractable pin, was later executed in Scotland for trickery. He confessed responsibility for the deaths of 220 women. He had been paid 20 shillings for each witch that he captured.
1649 – Ayre’s Quay
Robert Ayre builds a quay in Sunderland. The Ayre family have lived in the area since the 1300s.
Mar 28, 1649 – Leveller Lilburne imprisoned
Colonel John Lilburne, founder of ‘the Levellers’ political movement, is imprisoned by Cromwell. Lilburne’s family are important Sunderland merchants – his uncle is mayor. Lilburne, once a friend of Cromwell, now criticises the Crowmell’s reforms as not radical enough. Lilburne has much support among Cromwell’s New Model Army and is seen by Cromwell as a dangerous threat. It is the fourth time this active pamphleteer has been arrested.
1649 May 2 – Durham Castle sold
The castle at Durham, formerly belonging to the Bishop of Durham is sold to Thomas Andrews, the Lord Mayor of London for £1,267. Much confiscated property and lands will be sold off and redistributed in the aftermath of the Civil War.
1649 May 29 – ‘Commonwealth’
Oliver Cromwell’s Parliament proclaims England a ‘Commonwealth’ or a free state.
Aug 15 1649 – Cromwell invades Ireland
Cromwell invades Ireland to quell a Royalist rising there.
Sept 21 1649 – Gateshead sold
Gateshead and all its tolls are sold to a Thomas Redger for £2559 along with Frankland Wood, Park and Colliery and meadows in Durham Moor all near Durham City.
1649 – Pilgrim Street is ‘longest and fairest’
Gray’s Chorographia describes Newcastle’s Pilgrim Street as ‘the longest and fairest street in the town’.
March 11 1650 – Cromwell’s college
Cromwell suggests, in a letter, that a college at Durham “would be a matter of great importance to promoting learning and piety in these rude and ignorant partes”. Cromwell will sign a writ of privy seal for a university at Durham but it is suppressed after objections from Oxford and Cambridge in 1657.
July 3 1650 – Charles arrives in Scotland
Charles (King Charles II) lands in Scotland on return from exile in Europe.
July 14 1650 – Cromwell arrives in Durham
Oliver Cromwell arrives in Durham with an army intending to challenge the Scots and he is greeted and entertained by the Northumberland and Durham governor, Sir Arthur Haselrig. From here Cromwell heads north and is at Berwick by July 25.
Sept 3, 1650 – Battle of Dunbar
After months of pursuit, a battle is engaged between Cromwell and the Scots under the leadership of General David Leslie. The battle takes place at Dunbar near the coast in the Scottish Borders to the north of Berwick. Scots outnumber English by two to one, but Cromwell launches a surprise attack and defeats them. Cromwell then seizes much of the Scottish lowlands area.
Sep 1650 – Scots prisoners at Newcastle
At least 3,000 Scots taken prisoner by Cromwell’s forces at Dunbar are brought into the North East. As the English army heads south, the prisoners are held in a walled garden at Morpeth where they are so starved, they eat leaves and raw cabbages. On the journey to Newcastle some die by the wayside. At Newcastle, they are held at the greatest church there (presumably St Nicholas).
Sep 1650 – Scots prisoners at Durham
As Cromwell’s army head south from Newcastle to Durham at least 140 of the 3,000 or so Scottish prisoners prisoners are found to be sick. Several die on the journey to Durham. At Durham the prisoners are held in the cathedral, which the supporters of Cromwell do not see as a particularly sacred place. The Scots are desperately cold and starving. Much of the the cathedral woodwork is destroyed by prisoners for firewood, though a clock featuring the sacred Scottish thistle is spared. Tombs are defaced, the prisoners desperate to leave their mark with graffiti some of which can still be seen today. Centuries later in 2015, a mass grave on Palace Green between the cathedral and Durham castle is investigated. Being nothing more than a pit in which the bodies of up to 28 people were thrown, it was identified as that of the Scottish soldiers who had perished during their imprisonment in the cathedral.
Dec 24 1650 – Edinburgh surrenders
Edinburgh Castle surrenders to the army of Oliver Cromwell. The English parliament declares that Scotland will be incorporated into England.
Jan 1 1651 – Charles crowned at Scone
Charles II is crowned at Scone, in Perthshire, the traditional place of coronation for the Scottish kings.
August 5 1651 – Charles defeated in England
The newly crowned (in Scotland at least) King Charles II enters England from the North West via Penrith and Kendal with a Royalist army hoping to gather further support. However he is defeated at the battle of Worcester by Cromwell’s men, who had also passed south from Scotland and defeated Charles at the battle of Worcester on September 3. The would-be king goes into hiding and is subsequently smuggled out of the country.
1652 – Stockton Castle destroyed
Cromwell orders the destruction of Stockton Castle It was a residence of the Bishop of Durham and had served as a Royalist stronghold during the Civil War.
Jan 1652 – Witches executed
These are superstitious and religiously fearful times. At Durham City, a Frances Adamson and another by the name of Powle are executed for witchcraft.
June 5 1653 – First MPs for Durham
Durham County and City, for so long dominated by the Prince Bishops, send their first MPs to Parliament. For the county the MP this year is Henry Davison and next year it is Robert and George Lilburne. In 1656 the city elects Thomas Lilburne of Offerton and James Clavering of Axwell in 1656. The Durham MPs are abolished when the monarchy returns.
July 20 1655 – Newcastle objects to market
Newcastle attempts to petition Parliament to prevent the development of a market at North Shields which they see as a threat to their trade.
Sep 3 1658 – Cromwell dead
On September 3, 1658, Oliver Cromwell, ‘the Lord Protector’ of England dies and is succeeded by his son, Richard, who proves to be a weak and ineffective leader.
May 1659 – Richard Cromwell resigns
Oliver Cromwell’s son Richard Cromwell resigns as Lord Protector. The country is left in a state of uncertainty and there are widespread calls to bring back the monarchy.
June 11 1659 – Berwick Fire
Thirty-nine houses are destroyed in a fire at Berwick upon Tweed.
Jan 1660 – Monck marches south from Coldstream
On January 6, General George Monck, the English 1st Duke of Abermarle, hoping to restore order in England crossed the Tweed from Coldstream in Scotland. A former close confidant of Oliver Cromwell, he receives the support of General Fairfax. Monck leads his troops south, heading to London. On his journey south he is greeted and warmly welcomed by the people of Newcastle on January 6. At Newcastle he had hoped to engage with the army of his opponent General Lambert who had been stationed around Newcastle in November but Lambert had departed long before Monck arrived. A section of Monck’s army will come to be known as the ‘Coldstream Guards’. On February 3rd Monck arrives in London.
Apr 4 1660 – Charles makes declaration
Charles II, from his exile in the Netherlands makes the ‘Declaration of Breda’, a statement designed to heal the wounds with his kingdom agreeing to liberty of conscience, amnesty, settlement of land claims and back pay for the army.
May 29 1660 – Monarchy restored
General Monck, whose troops are occupying London and hoping to restore order, demands ‘a free Parliament’. The present parliament is known as ‘The Rump Parliament’ as it had been purged of those members who were sympathetic to the monarchy prior to the vote on the late king’s execution. General Lambert, whose authority was now crumbling, had attempted to install an alternative parliament that excluded the Rump members. Monck, whose authority is respected detected the potential for division and anarchy and arrived in London to restore order. After Charles recent declaration is read in front of a full parliament that included the House of Lords. On May 1, parliament voted to restore the monarchy ‘The Restoration’. After landing at Dover on May 25, the new king entered London on May 29.
Nov 1660 – Haselrig reign ends
Arthur Haselrig, the Governor of Northumbeland and Durham gives up his regiments in the two counties to General Monck and surrenders his rule of Berwick, Tynemouth and Newcastle on condition that his life and his estate are preserved, which is agreed.
1660 – Bishopric of Durham restored
The Bishopric of Durham that was abolished during the era of Cromwellian rule is restored, the first post-restoration Bishop is John Cosin who succeeds the previous bishop Thomas Morton, who was deprived of his see in 1647. In 1666 he establishes the alms houses that bear his name on Durham’s Palace Green.
April 23 1661 – CHARLES II finally crowned
King Charles II, who was restored as king last year is finally crowned King at Westminster Abbey. He would have ascended to the throne by right following the execution of his father in 1649, but the monarchy was deposed. Charles had, however, been crowned King of Scotland at Scone in January 1651. The era that follows King Charles ascendancy is called ‘The Restoration period’.
1662 – Parliament petitioned over mines
A petition is handed to parliament by 2,000 pitmen regarding mine ventilation, following the deaths of many miners due to underground gas.
June 1665 – Plague on Tyne and Wear
A plague is ravaging at Gateshead and Sunderland and Newcastle introduces measures to shipping threating to detain ships for 40 days and imprison sailors who come ashore.
1669 – Croft spa
A small spa opens at Croft on Tees near Darlington. The village overlooks the Tees and is the site of a bridge linking Yorkshire and County Durham.
1669 – Sleepwalker falls to death in Bedlington
A sleepwalking sufferer called Cuthbert Watson fell to his death after climbing a buttress of Bedlington church in the middle of the night. He woke from his slumber and fell after a passer by spotted him and called out his name.
1672 – Clifford’s Fort
Clifford’s Fort is built at North Shields as a coastal defence during the Anglo-Dutch wars. It is on the site of an earlier fort destroyed during the Civil War.
1673 – Stormy seas
Around 40 ships are destroyed in storms off the North-East coast this year.
1675 – Jolly Rant
A pestilent disease called the ‘Jolly Rant’ kills 924 people in Newcastle.
June 1675 – MPs for Durham
Durham gets MPs once again. There had been MPs briefly in the 1650s during the break with the monarchy but MPs now become a permanent aspect of democracy in the County and City previously unrepresented by MPs. John Tempest of the Isle and Sir Thomas Vane of Raby become the County MPs, though Sir Thomas dies two days later of small pox and is replaced by his brother Christopher. In 1678, the city of Durham also elects MPs, the first being Sir Ralph Cole of Brancepeth and John Parkhurst of Catesby, Northamptonshire.
1676 – Pier at Seaton Sluice
Sir Ralph Delaval constructs a small pier at Seaton at the mouth of the Seaton Burn and will subsequently build sluice gates on the burn to maintain high water in the haven at low tide
1677 – Port at Cullercoats
A small port is developed at Cullercoats by John Dove, a Quaker dissenter and Henry Hudson. They had opened coal mines in the neighbourhood at Whitley (Whitley Bay) and Cullercoats. It was officially recognised as a port by Newcastle thanks to the encouragement of one its investors, Lady Percy. The port would close in the 1720s after the coal had been fully worked.
1681 – Holy Jesus Hospital
The Holy Jesus Hospital is constructed in Newcastle on the site of an Augustinian Friary.
August 1684 – Brass farm murderer hanged
Andrew Mills, a farm hand who claimed to hear voices and took the lives of three young members of the Brass family in a particularly brutal fashion at a farm near Spennymoor in the January of 1683 is hanged at Durham and then gibbeted at Ferryhill.
Feb 6 1685 – KING JAMES II
King James II ascends to the throne following the death of his brother, Charles II. James is openly Roman Catholic and begins to pack parliament with Catholic supporters.
June 1685 – West Country rebellion
The Duke of Monmouth, a Protestant and illegitimate son of King Charles II who had been in exile in Holland, arrives in the West Country and plots a rebellion against the new king, hoping to take the crown. He is defeated at the Battle of Sedgemoor by John Churchill and executed in London in July.
June 10 – The ‘Old Pretender’ born
King James II’s queen, Mary of Modena, gives birth to a son, James Stuart, who will come to be a focus for the Jacobite cause in 1715 as the ‘Old Pretender’. Mary of Modena is the King James’s second wife. His first wife, Anne, who died before he became king, was the mother of Mary and Anne who will be future Queens of Great Britain.
1687 – James continues to promote Catholicism
Throughout 1686 and 1687, King James II continued to reinstate Catholic dominance in Parliament and the military. He appoints Catholic peers; suspends penal laws against Catholics; receives a papal ambassador at Windsor and attempts to expel Fellows at Oxford’s Magdalen College for failing to catholicize. He even imprisons bishops, including the Archbishop of Canterbury who oppose his Catholic-focused reforms. The king’s policies are both arrogant and dangerous as Great Britain is mostly Protestant.
Jun 20 1688 – Lumley one of ‘the immortal seven’
Seven influential peers of both Tory and Whig persuasion, who are disillusioned with King James II send a letter in a risky, potentially treasonable request to William Prince of Orange in the Netherlands inviting him to ‘defend the liberties of England’ against James II. William, a Protestant is married to James’ daughter, Mary who is also Protestant. The ‘Immortal Seven’ who send the letter include Richard, Viscount Lumley, the Baron of Lumley Castle. He is influential man who will secure the support of Newcastle for William. The letter which is virtually a request to depose the king was also signed by the Earl of Danby; Earl of Shrewsbury; Earl of Devonshire; Bishop of London (Henry Compton); Edward Russell and Henry Syndey.
Nov-Dec 1688 – ‘The Glorious Revolution’
Having accepted the invitation from Lumley and the other six signatories known as the ‘Immortal Seven’, William Prince of Orange invades England with an army of 14,352 men, landing at Brixham near Torbay on November 5. His army includes 3,000 Swiss and 200 men from Surinam. King James and his queen are forced to flee to France, particularly as the king’s chief military commander, John Churchill, switched allegiance to William. In January 1689, Parliament subsequently declares Kings James’s acts as illegal and agree that he has abdicated. In February James’s daughter Mary, who is William of Orange’s wife arrives in London and the two are proclaimed joint King and Queen. The whole series of events comes to be known as the ‘Glorious Revolution’ because in England it was a relatively bloodless revolution in England -though this will not be so in Scotland and Ireland.
1689 – KING WILLIAM III & MARY II
Dutchman William of Orange becomes King of Britain in joint rule with his wife Queen Mary II after the Catholic King James II was ousted in ‘The Glorious Revolution’. Queen Mary, the joint ruler is King James’s daughter but staunchly Protestant. In Newcastle, a celebratory mob forcefully remove a copper statue of King James II in Sandhill and throw it into the River Tyne.
1690 – South Shields glass making
Glass making is established in South Shields by John Cookson.
1691 – Crowley Works
Quaker, Ambrose Crowley opens a nail making works at Winlaton in the Derwent valley to the south west of Gateshead.
1693 – Thomas Allan’s Wagonway
Thomas Allan develops a wooden wagonway from his collieries in the Allan’s Flatt area between Pelton and Chester-le-Street to the River Wear.
Aug 26 1691 – Duck dies
John Duck, a former Mayor of Durham City known as Durham’s Dick Whittington has died. A butcher by trade, he had owned a coal mine at Rainton known as ‘Duck’s Main’ and had established a hospital at Great Lumley.
1694 Newcastle stops port development at Jarrow
The town of Newcastle takes the Dean and Chapter of Durham to court for establishing wharves at Jarrow Slake and Westoe near South Shields. For centuries Newcastle has claimed all rights to port developments along the Tyne. Newcastle wins it claim.
Dec 28 1694 – The Queen is dead, long live the King
Queen Mary II, a Stuart, who has ruled jointly with her Dutch husband, William III (William of Orange) dies at Kensington Palace. He will continue to rule alone.
1697 – MP beheaded
Northumberland MP Sir John Fenwick, is beheaded at Tower Hill, London for plotting against King William. He later gets posthumous revenge (see 1702)
1698 – Sunday School for Stockton
Britain’s first Sunday School is established in Finkle Street, Stockton.
April 23, 1699 – Five inch hail
Hail stones five inches in diameter fall on Durham and the surrounding area.
1700 – Castle Howard
Castle Howard is being built in Yorkshire by John Vanbrugh on the site of Henderskelfe Castle which recently burnt down.
1701 – Keelmen’s Hospital
The impressive Keelmen’s hospital paid for by the Newcastle keelmen to care for their sick and elderly has opened in Newcastle.
Mar 8 1702 – King dies after horse accident
William III dies after falling from a horse called Sorrel which had once belonged to an opponent, the executed Northumberland MP, John Fenwick.
Mar 8 1702 – QUEEN ANNE
Anne becomes Queen, following the death of King William III at Kensington Palace. Anne’s sister, Mary, who had reigned jointly with William, had passed away in December 1694.
Oct 3 1705 – Thirty-one dead at Gateshead Colliery
Thirty-one lives are lost in a mine explosion at Gateshead Colliery.
1706 – Daniel Defoe moves to Gateshead
Robinson Crusoe author took up lodgings on the riverside at Hillgate, Gateshead where he resided from 1706 to 1710.
Dec 1706 – 148-year-old man
A man named George Peacock of Aislaby in the County of Durham allegedly died at the age of 148 years this year and was buried at Sadberge.
Aug 18 1708 – Colliery disaster at Fatfield
Sixty-nine lives are lost in a mine explosion at Fatfield Colliery near Washington.
1709 – Plessey wagonway
A wooden wagonway for the transportation of coal opens in the Plessey area of south east Northumberland.
1709 – Keelmen strike
The Newcastle keelmen strike in what is described as a ‘mutiny’. They bring the coal trade, which is reliant on their transportation of coal along the river to collier ships, to a stand still.
1710 – Colliery disaster at Bensham
A colliery explosion at Bensham near Gateshead claimed the lives of at least 70 people though the details and date of this incident are not clear.
1711 – Newcastle Courant
A thrice weekly newspaper called The Newcastle Courant is launched at Newcastle, established by John White. At this time it is the only newspaper north of the Trent.
1712 – Stockton parish
Stockton, an agricultural port, gains independent parish status. It was previously part of Norton.
Aug 1 1714 – Queen Anne dies
Queen Anne dies. She is the last of the Stuart line and is succeeded by George I, a German Protestant of the House of Hanover. King George’s grandmother was Elizabeth, a sister of King Charles I, the king who was beheaded in 1649.