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ruri. College Library,
Nov. 14, 801,
(The rights of translation and of reproduction are reserved.)
I DEDICATE THIS BOOK
TO THE REVERED MEMORY OF MY FATHER,
My father still—I know not why,
I see thee on the shining meads
CASTLE OF KNARESBURGH.
The most interesting as well as the most important epoch in the Civil War was that which commenced with the arrival of the Scots on the banks of the Ouse, culminated in the battle of Marston Moor, and terminated with the fall of York. The great victory which decided on Marston fields the issue of the war was a yeoman's victory, in which the individual skill or genius of commanders played an insignificant part. Indeed, so little did its leaders rule the strife when once begun, that modern historians have found it impossible to follow with precision the movements of the tide of battle as it ebbed and flowed from one part of the field to another. What, however, was abundantly manifested on every part of the huge chess-board of Marston Moor was the indomitable courage of the race and the honest belief in the goodness of their cause, whether men fought under the banner of the Cavalier prince, or side by side with their hereditary enemies from the North.
“The Castle of Knaresburgh” is an attempt to describe the chief historic incidents of this epoch from the standpoint of the Yorkshire yeoman of two centuries ago. The characters are drawn from the ranks of those to whom the victory was due; and the
scenes are laid chiefly in and about Knaresburgh, a neighbourhood teeming with history and romance. The relief of York and the battle of Marston Moor claim a few words of explanation beyond what is accorded to them in the narrative. The former event, the result of one of the most brilliant pieces of strategy in the Civil War, is left unexplained by all modern writers, notwithstanding that the display of generalship in the movement was more remarkable than any exhibited by the leaders on either side in the great battle of Marston Moor. For, although the united Parliamentarian and Scottish armies besieging York exceeded in numbers the combined forces of Prince Rupert and the garrison, the city was relieved without the loss of a soldier or a beast of burden, and this was done, notwithstanding the important fact that the beleaguering force had been in possession of the ground for six weeks, and was well aware of the purpose for which the Royalist army was being mustered in Lancashire. The key to the success of the effort at relief lay in the position of Knaresburgh as a stronghold in regard to York and the river Ouse. army coming from the west to York with a view to its relief three main roads lay open, if the attack was to fall on the most accessible and vulnerable part of the besieging force; the more southerly road by Tadcaster, the west road by Wetherby, and the north-west road by Knaresburgh. Prince Rupert chose none of these, but, having reached Knaresburgh on Sunday afternoon (June 30), and stayed there long enough for the news of his arrival to be carried to the besiegers and induce in them a belief that his attack would be made by the road from Knaresburgh, he marched due north to Boroughbridge, crossed the river early on Monday, and by keeping well to the