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Marmaduke Langdale

Sir Marmaduke Langdale (1598 at Pighall – 5 August 1661 at Holme-on-Spalding-Moor) was a Royalist commander in the English Civil War.

He was the son of Peter Langdale of Holme-on-Spalding-Moor, East Riding of Yorkshire. He married Lenox (d. 1639), daughter of Sir John Rodes of Barlborough, Derbyshire, and his third wife Catherine, daughter of Marmaduke Constable of Holderness on 12 September 1626, at St Michael-le-Belfry in York.[1]

He held the post of High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1639, before the English Civil War. Always a gaunt, austere and uncompromising character, he was one of those who had refused to pay ship money to the crown, but after gaining extensive military experience in Europe during the 1630s, he joined the Royalist cause at the outbreak of the war.

He commanded a brigade of horse in the army of the Marquess of Newcastle. After the Royalist defeat at the Battle of Marston Moor, he took command of the surviving cavalry from Newcastle's army. Known as the "Northern Horse", these die-hards were largely impoverished sons of gentry, and they became known for touchiness and lack of discipline.

In February 1645, Langdale led a raid into Yorkshire, defeating Major-General John Lambert at battle of Wentbridge and relieving Pontefract Castle. The lack of discipline led to excessive rape and pillage, damaging the Royalist cause in Yorkshire. The respite the raid gained for Pontefract was only temporary, because without infantry support Langdale was forced to retire and when he did so Pontefract was again besieged.

In May, Langdale and the Northern Horse formed the left wing of the main Royal army at the Battle of Naseby. They faced Oliver Cromwell's more numerous and better disciplined troopers, but were outflanked and driven from the field by weight of numbers.

After Naseby King Charles tried to march towards Scotland to join forces with Montrose. Langdale's men were part of the scratch army which attempted to lift the siege of Chester. In the confused Battle of Rowton Heath, they were defeated by Parliamentarian cavalry under Major-General Sydnam Poyntz.

Although the King turned back, Langdale and his men attempted to continue to Scotland under the command of courtier Lord Digby. During October Digby's forces fought a number of engagements, finally being defeated on Carlisle Sands by Sir John Brown on 24 October. Digby and Langsdale escaped to the relative safety of the Isle of Man which was held for the Royalists by the Earl of Derby. From Man they made their way to France.

Marmaduke Langdale

In 1648, Langdale was among those who joined the Royalist side in the Second English Civil War and who supported the Scottish Engager invasion of England. Langdale organised the Royalist cause in Cumberland and seized Berwick. He was engaged by Major-General John Lambert who's cavalry came into contact with his forces near Carlisle. Instead of fighting a pitched battle Lambert slowly fell back towards Bowes and Barnard Castle, fighting small rearguard actions to annoy Langdale and gain time. Langdale did not follow him into the mountains, but occupied himself in gathering recruits and supplies of material and food for the Scots. Lambert, reinforced from the Midlands, reappeared early in June and drove Langdale back to Carlisle with his work half finished. Langdale's English Royalists joined the Scottish army and placed themselves under its commander, the Duke of Hamilton. They accompanied him on his march through Lancashire. On 17 August 1648, Langdale's force was guarding the road into Preston while the main body of the army crossed the River Ribble, when Cromwell launched an unexpected attack, initiating the three-day running Battle of Preston (1648). Langdale's Royalists fought for some hours without support and was eventually overwhelmed.

Langdale managed to escape from Preston but was captured a few days later in Nottingham and imprisoned in Nottingham Castle. In October 1648 he escaped and made his way to the European Continent. This was a lucky escape for him, as the Parliamentarians were not inclined towards mercy and executed a number of prominent Royalists including the Duke of Hamilton, Langdale's name was included on Parliament's list of Royalists excluded from pardon for their roles in the wars.

At Charles II's court-in-exile, Langdale advocated an alliance with the Spanish as the best means of regaining the throne. Like Digby, he became a convert to Roman Catholicism. At the Restoration he was created Baron Langdale.

See also

  • Baron Langdale of Holme


  1. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

External links

Honorary titles
English Interregnum Lord Lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire
Succeeded by
The Duke of Buckingham
Peerage of England
New creation Baron Langdale
Succeeded by
Marmaduke Langdale

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