Slingsby Day - who are we celebrating?
8 June 1658
Sir Henry Slingsby (Baronet) Royalist and SoldierOur executed Slingsby was the son of Sir Henry (d.1634), who we will call Henry the Elder, and Frances Vavasour (d.1611) who had 14 children of which our Sir Henry was number two. Henrys older brother William was killed in Florence in 1617 which was why Henry inherited the estate including Red House in 1634.
Sir Henry married Barbara Belasyse and they in turn had 3 children, Barbara, Thomas, and Henry.
In 1638 Sir Henry was made Baronet of Nova Scotia. Sir Henry was a Protestant and a Royalist at a time when England and Scotland were tearing themselves apart in Civil War, and Sir Henry took an active part by raising horse (cavalry) and fighting for Charles 1. Fortunately for us Henry kept a diary during those turbulent years. In 1644 Henry had the job of defending York against the Parliamentry forces. York was being given a pounding, the walls where being attacked by Canon and the besieging army was tunneling under the walls in order to plant mines and blow them up. Their only hope was Prince Rupert who they had sent out a message to begging him to come to their aid. When word reached York that Prince Rupert was approaching the Parliamentry forces withdrew from York and prepared to give battle close to the village of Long Marston, on Marston Moor. The battle site is a short distance from where Sir Henry lived at the Red House. The Battle of Marston Moor was the biggest battle ever fought on English soil. It is believed that Sir Henry took part in the battle which was a victory for Parliament. Sir Henry's cousin Sir Charles Slingsby died on the battlefield and is buried in York Minster.
Despite the defeat Sir Henry continued to support King Charles and to raise troops for his army. Another major battle was inevitable.
On the morning of the 14 June 1645 a Royal Army moved into postion on a hill overlooking the Parliament forces near Naesby. Sir Henry was with Sir Marmaduke Langdale and the Northern Horse on the left-wing heavily outnumbered by the enemy. Henry wrote;
"but being outfronted and overpoured by their assailants, after they were close joyned, they stood a pritty while, and neither seemed to yeild, till more came up th their flanks and put them to rout, and wheeling to our right put them to disorder and so presently made our whole horse run; and our foot thus left naked were fourced to lay down their arms."
They rallied and joined Prince Ruperts horse and made a second charge;
"but we could not abide it. They being horse and foot in good order and we being a few horse only, and those mightily discouraged; so that we were immediately made to run and the enemy in pursuit of us gained bag and baggage which they found to be very rich pillage........"`
Sir Henry fled the field of battle. Charles1 had lost the battle of Naesby. The royal cause never recovered from this disaster. After Naesby Charles moved to Lichfied and Hereford then to Raglan trying to avoid capture and to rally support. Charles wanted to make Bristol his headquarters but the fall of Bridgwater preempted this. Prince Rupert moved to defend Bristol but on the 10 September news reached Charles that Prince Rupert had surrendered the city. Amongst the garrison who were allowed to march out of Bristol with their colours was Captain Robert Slingsby ( a sailor who had raised a regiment of sailors) and his brother Colonel Walter Slingsby, who commanded the Fort. Both were cousins of Sir Henry.