Home The Club Trips & Information Members Interests Business Minutes Guest Speakers

Phil Philo – Turning the North East Upside Down

Phil Philo has lived in Redcar for 25 years. He is the Senior Curator at the Captain Cook Museum and the Dorman Museum. Before he joined the Dorman, he worked at Gunnersbury Park and Kirkleatham Museums. He is currently working on an exhibition, planned for 2017-18, at the Dorman Museum covering the Civil War.

He gave a talk on the important part the North East played in the Civil War. Phil explained that there were 3 civil wars between 1642 and 1651as well as the Bishops’ War of 1639-40. Over the period, as many people died as were lost in the First World War. Deaths were from disease and crop failures as well as in battle. The country really was turned upside down.

The North East was a buffer zone between the English and the Scots. Much of the area was loyal to the King because of traditional alliances and allegiances as well as religion. Further south, Leeds, Hull and Grimsby were more Protestant.

Charles 1st got rid of Parliament, raised taxes and appeared to try to raise a standing army. He wanted to impose his religious views on the Scots who rebelled and raised a very effective army. Both William and James Pennyman from Marske fought for the King. The Pennyman’s regiment fought against the Scots at Berwick in the Bishops’ War. In the second war, Charles was pushed back to Newburn and his army fled south. A truce was declared with the boundary between the armies being the river Tees.

William’s regiment fought mainly in the Midlands including at Edgehill and Marlborough in 1642. He became the first Governor of Oxford, but died in the following winter.

Queen Henrietta Maria sold the Crown Jewels to raise money to buy arms. She had planned to land these at Tynemouth, but her fleet was blown off course and attacked by Protestants. She landed at Bridlington and managed to deliver the shipment to York.

More arms were landed at Tynemouth, but their movement south was blocked by the Parliamentarians at the bridge over the Tees at Piercebridge on 1st December 1642. They were hugely outnumbered by the Royalists and routed, with the King’s forces arriving in York on 3rd December. They did however lose 3 colonels in the battle.

There was a lot of activity in the region, especially troop movements. There were devastating effects of men being away, dying and wounded. Disease was rife – 21 people died in Egglescliffe in 1644 from plague. Food and accommodation were required by several armies. The situation was made worse by fines and confiscation.

Sir Hugh Cholmeley was initially on the side of the parliamentarians, threatening the King’s forces at York from his base at Scarborough Castle. He led his forces from Malton across the Moors to the south side of Guisborough. Following the horror of the Battle of Guisborough on 16th January 1643 and of the fate of his opponent, Slingsby, he changed sides and fought for the Royalists in the hope of bringing the war to an early end.

On 3rd February 1643, a battle was fought over part of the still-existing bridge at Yarm. The Royalists were victorious. Soon afterwards, the Covenantors from Scotland joined the Parliamentarians and defeated the Royalists in the decisive battle of Marston Moor. Scarborough Castle was then destroyed using a 60lb cannon.

There was no time for questions, but Phil will be happy to reply if Members wish to contact him at   phil-philo@middlesbrough.gov.uk or 01642 358101 (Dorman museum)