Siege of Hull (1642)

The Siege of Hull in 1642 was the first major action of the English Civil War.

Siege of Hull
Part of the First English Civil War

A 19th-century painting, depicting King Charles I demanding entrance to Hull in April 1642
Date10 July 1642
Result Parliamentarian victory
Royalists Parliamentarians
Commanders and leaders
Charles I Sir John Hotham
3,000 infantry
1,000 cavalry
1,500 soldiers

As Royalists and Parliamentarians prepared for war, Parliament had access to more military material, due to its possession of all major cities including the large arsenal in London. In Kingston upon Hull, where the majority of the inhabitants were Royalists,[1] there was a large arsenal which had been established for the Second Bishops' War in 1638. To deny the Royalists access to this, in January 1642 Sir John Hotham was ordered by Parliament to seize Hull. This was carried out at once by his son John, who became the Military Governor of Hull.

Charles I hoped that quick victories would negate Parliament's advantage in material, and as the armouries in London were beyond his reach he hoped to take the large arsenal at Hull to supplement the armouries he did have access to, such as those of the Derbyshire and Staffordshire trained bands.[2]

In April 1642 Hotham refused to admit Charles I to Hull. Later he promised his prisoner, Lord Digby, that he would surrender the city to the king, but when Charles appeared again, after travelling to Beverley (a walled medieval town some 8 – 10 miles away which was an armoury) to collect more soldiers, Hotham refused a second time and drove away the besiegers.[3]

Charles took great personal affront to these actions, and declared Hotham a traitor. The Royalists' unsuccessful siege of the city was a major step on the road to full-scale war which would start in earnest with the pitched battle of Edgehill on 23 October 1642.

See also


  1. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hull" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 870.
  2. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Great Rebellion" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 12 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 404.
  3. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hotham, Sir John" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 803.

Further reading

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