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HomeNewsRoyal trial text brings Yorkshire’s brutal battles to life in Armley

Royal trial text brings Yorkshire’s brutal battles to life in Armley

A centuries-old court report from the infamous trial of King Charles I will be revealed later this month during a fascinating event in Armley.

The remarkable book was created more than 360 years ago, and recounts in exhaustive detail the unprecedented week-long trial in 1649, which saw the King convicted of tyranny and treason and sentenced to death in the aftermath of the English Civil War.

Complete with impressive woodcuts showing the notorious monarch appearing at his trial in full royal regalia, the Civil War Tract contains day-by-day updates of the legal proceedings, including the King’s regular challenges of the court’s authority and right to try him.

The King appeared before judges four times during his trial, before his sentence was proclaimed and he was executed on January 30, 1649.

The text will be among a captivating collection of first-hand accounts from some of Yorkshire’s bloodiest battles, which have been plucked from Leeds Central Library’s special collections for the event at Armley Community Hub on June 27.

Rediscovering the county’s key role in many of Britain’s most pivotal conflicts, they include detailed accounts of dramatic sieges, naval skirmishes and brutal clashes between warring houses, some of which changed the course of British history.

Among them will be a series of reports produced just days after decisive English Civil War clashes which took place in Yorkshire including the Battle of Leeds, The Siege of Hull and The Battle of Marston Moor.

Each of those battles played their part in a turning point in the conflict, which led Royalist forces to largely abandon the north of England. Marston Moor alone saw more than 4,000 soldiers killed.

Produced for both information and propaganda, some of the documents would have been distributed in Yorkshire cities to emphasise and celebrate the victories of Parliamentarian forces and their military commander Lord Fairfax.

Josh Flint, librarian at Leeds Central Library, said: “Yorkshire played an absolutely pivotal role in the English Civil War, and these types of first-hand accounts give us a unique insight into how such huge and decisive battles were reported and portrayed to the public.

“The ultimate outcome of the war itself was of course the trial of King Charles I, which would have been the biggest and most extraordinary news event of its time among the entire population of Britain.

“Seeing how the trail was documented and reported so meticulously shows just how compelling it was and how huge the public appetite for an account of the proceedings must have been.”

As well as accounts of the English Civil War, the talk will look at parts of the Gascoigne Collection, donated by the former residents of Lotherton Hall, who amassed a huge variety of military texts and documents.

Also included is a century-old reproduction of Shakespeare’s first folio, which features the playwright’s descriptions of the Wars of the Roses that influenced historians for centuries to come.

And a collection of Wagstaffe Yorkshire Battle drawings from the 19th century show a series of beautifully detailed illustrations from the battlefields of Yorkshire.

Yorkshire’s Battles and the Leeds Libraries Collection is free to attend as part of the Armed Forces Festival, and takes place at Armley Community Hub on June 27 at 2pm.

For more details, visit: Yorkshire battles and the Leeds Central Library Collections | Leeds Inspired.

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