The sieges of civil-war Liverpool

English: 'Cromwell's soldiers breaking into th...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The English Civil War broke over Liverpool in May 1643, when Parliamentarian Colonel Assheton took the town and penned the Royalists up in Liverpool castle before driving them out of town with the loss of 300 prisoners and 80 dead. There were 1,000 Parliamentarian horse and foot soldiery in Liverpool under the authority of Colonel John Moore; Parliament meanwhile sequestered the tithes of the parish of Walton, which then included Liverpool.

With Liverpool in Roundhead hands, the King lost his supply route from his Lords Lieutenant, the Stanleys, in Ireland. Plans to attack by sea from Chester were made and abandoned; in February 1644 Lord Byron (an ancestor of the poet) was despatched by the Crown to attack Liverpool, but was defeated at Nantwich. In June the same year, having captured Bolton, Prince Rupert descended on Liverpool with a force of 10,000 men and declared that it would be an easy matter to take the town. Liverpool was stronger than he realised, protected by water, fortifications and Colonel Moore’s defenders. It took Rupert a week and cost him 1,500 men; his forces fought from trenches dug in Lime Street and finally stormed the castle at night.

Later that year the Roundheads besieged Liverpool again, with Major-General Meldrum’s forces on land, and Colonel Moore’s blockade of the river. After a dreadful three months, the castle was surrendered by the Cavaliers to Cromwell’s forces when soldiers betrayed their officers.

A sum of £20 was given to widows and orphans of those killed in the siege, and in 1645 £10,000 and 500 tons of timber were taken from the estates of Derby, Sefton and other royalists to compensate the citizens of Liverpool for losses during the siege.

Once the monarchy was restored in 1660, the castle of Liverpool was destroyed by order of Charles II.


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