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Seventeenth Century

The Battle of Briggate
In 1643 during the Civil War, Leeds was the scene of a skirmish sometimes called the Battle of Briggate. Leeds was held by the Royalists under Sir William Savile, and to improve the defences of the town a trench was dug west of Briggate from near St. John's Church, round to the River Aire. The Parliamentarians, led by Sir Thomas Fairfax, were encamped on Hunslet Moor, and just outside the town to the north west. When Sir William Savile refused to surrender, the Parliamentarians stormed the town. There was fierce fighting, the Royalists were driven out, and Leeds was captured by the Parliamentarians.

Sir Thomas Fairfax gave an account of the battle, which had resulted in surprisingly few casualties.  He wrote 'we took five hundred prisoners, among whom were six commanders, most of the rest were common soldiers, who, upon taking a common oath never to fight in this cause against the King and Parliament, were set at liberty and suffered to depart but unarmed. There were not above forty slain, whereof ten or twelve at the most on our side, the rest on theirs'.

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Sir Thomas Fairfax
Sir Thomas Fairfax
Map of the battlefield
Map of the battlefield




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© 2003 Leeds City Council | Site created by: LCC electronic information team | 25 March 2003