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Sheffield’s Civil War past brought back to life

Laura Wilberham and Sara Gent on the Friends Of Sheffield castle march.

Laura Wilberham and Sara Gent on the Friends Of Sheffield castle march.

A famous day in Sheffield history was brought back to life 370 years on, close to the site of the city’s ancient castle.

The surrender of Sheffield Castle on August 11, 1644, at the height of the English Civil War was re-enacted in the shadow of the now doomed Castle Market.

Drums rolled, colours flew and pikes and muskets were brandished as Friends of Sheffield Castle first gathered at the Old Queen’s Head pub – Sheffield’s oldest domestic building – on Pond Hill, next to Sheffield Interchange.

They then marched through Fitzalan Square to the former Market Tavern on Exchange Street, representing both royalists and parliamentarians.

It was there the historic terms of surrender were read out in public for the first time since the original event.

Ron Clayton, for the Friends, said Sheffield was a relative backwater in the war as a whole, but the defiance of the royalists who held out at the castle angered Cromwell’s forces.

He said: “Two heavy siege guns were brought down from York to blow a hole in the walls.

“After the surrender, parliament ordered the castle should be demolished completely and by 1649 that work was well under way.

The Friends are now playing an active part in plans to excavate the castle remains after the now-closed market building is knocked down.

The aim is to create a new park based around the historic site.

Mr Clayton said: “Sheffield has many connections to the Civil War era, but the city’s pre-industrial past has never been celebrated in such a way before.

“There was a great turnout – Sheffield Castle does have many friends and we are here to give them a lead.”

 

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