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Fortifications at the House of Murgatroyd

Ignominious Defeat

Ironsides, Parliamentarians, Roundheads, were the supporters of Oliver Cromwell.

In this period there reigned::
Edward VI (l547-1553)
1st (1603 - 1625)
1st (1625 - 49)
civil war,
II (1660 - 85)

This 'battle' was fought on the 23rd day of October, 1643.

The record describes the property as Hollins although some sixty years afterwards it was called `Murgatroyd' (as it was so called back in 1371). The name Hollins was that given to the wood shown in old maps as Hollins Wood and lying down the hill from Murgatroyd.

On the date mentioned, Colonel Bradshaw, Captain Taylor and two Lancashire Companies, eleven 'Clubists' marched to Hollins where the Cavaliers were. To quote from     Brearcliffe's Manuscript   :-

"The Royalist captain would no doubt have made ready for the attack. He was pleasantly engaged in a tete-a-tete with his host James Murgatroyd and his good wife Mary, on the invincibility of their sturdy homestead, when suddenly they were arrested by the ping of Roundhead bullets. It wasn't exactly a Marston Moor, this battle of the Hollins, but quite sufficiently exciting while it lasted. Both sides fought with great valour, not only with guns and swords but also after the manner of the Middle Ages, by hurling great stones at the heads of the enemy. However, there wasn't an earthly chance for the Murgatroyd party, the Ironsides were too strong. In the words of Cromwell, "they were as stubble to our swords". It was all over in an hour, 44 prisoners being taken with all the arms and ammunition, the Captain and three men alone escaping."

Relics of the fighting around Murgatroyd have been turned up at various times at Bank End near Luddenden Church, in the yard of the woollen mill at Luddenden (a later Murgatroyd's Mill) and at Jay Nest, near The Hollins Wood."

Another record describes how the Roundheads were unable to squeeze through between the mullions and had to break them to provide an access. Also that only one Roundhead was injured, this by a stone slate thrown from the roof; an injury from which he recovered. This incident could hardly have endeared the Murgatroyd family towards the Cromwell Forces and the majority of the local population which supported that side. The house at 'Murgatroyd' was lost temporarily and residence was taken up at East Riddlesden hall by James and his wife.

Charles I

Only one year before (1642) James had carved a Royalist Head and the words 'Vive le Roy' over the entrance to East Riddlesden Hall. Eight years earlier a similar Royalist Head was carved by James over the entrance to Oatsroyd..

On the death of James of Warley Yeoman,     (father to this James) in his Will, dated the 11th September 160l, to son James he left various properties etc. Some of the details of the chattels are interesting.....' and also my armour and weapons which I have for her Majesty's service'. He mentioned James as his Executor and the reference to 'armour and weapons' remind us that on the l8th September 1595 (according to Certificate of the Musters of Horse and Foot at the Heath, Wakefield and Halifax) James Murgatroyd provided a      'light horseman'.

1997 R.D.Murgatroyd.
Updated-February, 2002