Mass graves at York give insight into the lives of Manchester’s men


Extraordinary news reported in today’s Independent of mass graves discovered in York, which are believed to be filled with the bodies of Parliamentarian soldiers from the seige of York in 1644

Fascinating to think that these could have been men from the very army that we re-enact, and humbling too that such a pronounced link to this pivotal event can be made.

“The forgotten Roundhead army was discovered by archaeologists investigating a medieval church. The find will give scholars a unique insight into the privations endured by the 30,000 men who laid siege to the city in 1644.

“The three-month siege was a key turning point in the opening stages of the bloody Civil War leading up to the decisive battle at Marston Moor, in which Royalist forces were defeated by the Parliamentary army commanded by York’s besieging generals Lord Fairfax and the Earl of Manchester and the Scots led by the Earl of Leven.

“Crammed into four graves, the largest of which contains 18 skeletons, the bodies were laid down in parallel rows. No buckles or even buttons have been found. While a few of the people were laid on their back, the majority are face down or on their side, with many limbs overlapping. In the larger graves, the bodies are stacked two deep and it is believed unlikely they were wrapped in shrouds. There are 113 remains.”

We do what we do because we find it enjoyable and meet so many great friends. But we must never forget that those we represent were real people, many of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice for their cause. Whichever side you ‘support’ in the modern day, we all re-enact so that their sacrifice will be remembered and their memory kept alive.


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