The next instalment of the Civil War Campaign.
19th March 1642
No longer safe in London, Charles I had moved North and set up his court in York. His intention was to enter the Town of Hull and secure the arsenal there for his gathering forces. Parliament had already secured the town by appointing Sir John Hotham as governor the previous month, with strict instructions not to let the Town and its citadel containing large quantities of ordnance, fall into Royalist hands.
The Earl of Newcastle lit his clay pipe and settled back in his chair blowing a cloud of tobacco smoke into the air. He turned to the other person in the room, Bartholomew Walsh, the Governor of York, sat on an identical chair, trying to hide his distaste as the smoke wafted in his direction.
'Does my tobacco smoke bother you Mister Walsh? Asked the Earl, sucking in another lung full of smoke.
'Oh no sir,' Bartholomew lied. 'I personally take snuff, as I find smoking a pipe too harsh a taste and to be frank it makes me cough.' He could already feel a tickle at the back of his throat. The Earl had arrived in York that morning with the King, since which time Bartholomew had barely sat down, with so much to organise and oversee. Quarters for the Royal Family and Courtiers, billeting areas for the troops who had accompanied the royal party. York was now the de facto capital of the country, well the Royalist half of the country.
'We are going to need a great many men for the inevitable war to come,' said the earl, looking up at the many portraits of former city dignitaries, that lined the upper walls of the room. 'How is recruitment going here? Another cloud of smoke went billowing lazily up toward the ceiling.
'Recruitment is gathering pace sir, the city has raised two regiments of foot, with more to come', replied Bartholomew, trying to control the urge to cough whilst at the same time using a silk handkerchief to dab his watering eyes, the damn smoke was affecting him quite badly and he had the urge to cross the room, throw open the window and breathe in fresh air.
'The surrounding areas? The earl was now looking at Bartholomew. 'What are they contributing to the King's cause?'
Bartholomew squirmed in his chair, the bloody parliamentarians in and around Hull were raising men faster than he could, and there was little he could do about it. ' We have some regiments forming sir, but as you know, the area between York and Hull will be hotly contested. We control the county down to Driffield, but Beverley has sided with the rebels.'
His pipe having finally burned down, the earl tapped it out into the hearth. Praise the lord for small mercies, thought Bartholomew. The earl stood and walked to the window, he gazed out at the hustle and bustle, soldiers mixed with the civilian population, a flock of sheep being driven through the street, the drover having a hard time controlling them. He turned to face Bartholomew. 'The king intends to travel to Hull at the head of the army, once there he will demand entrance and the handing over of the military stores held in the arsenal. That traitorous dog, Hotham will agree or the town will be placed under siege.'
Bartholomew was clearly shocked by this news, 'But that would be the first act of war!' he almost shouted the words before the tickle in his throat finally reduced him to a fit of coughing.
The earl was once more looking out of the window, the drover had somehow managed to bring his flock back under control, despite the throng of people. 'Then so be it,' he said in what sounded to Bartholomew to be a very unconcerned tone.
We move closer to war and the county along with the rest of the country is busy raising regiments for the upcoming struggle. In London, Parliament has a new commander of the navy in place and so ensuring command of the British coastline.