On 2 July 1644 the Royalists commanded by Prince Rupert and the Marquess of Newcastle engaged a much larger combined force under Lord Fairfax, the Earl of Manchester and the Earl of Leven on ground about 6 miles to the west of York. In what is probably the largest battle to have taken place on English soil, the Royalists were outnumbered 28,000 to 18,000. Amongst the Royalist forces were foot and cavalry regiments raised by Sir Thomas Tyldesley 1612-1651.
A report of what is now known as the Battle of Marston Moor was written for Parliament by Scoutmaster-General Lionel Watson [FN1] and notes the capture of Sir Thomas Tyldesley:
Our three Brigades of Foot of the Earle of Manchesters being on our right hand. On we went with great resolution, charging them so home, one while their Horse, and then again their Foot, and our Foot and Horse seconding each other with such valour, made them flie before us, that it was hard to say which did the better our Horse or Foot. Major Generall Lesley seeing us thus pluck a victory out of the enemies hands, professed Europe had no better Souldiers.
To conclude about nine of the clock we had cleared the Field of of all enemies, recovered out Ordnance and Carriages, tooke all the enemies Ordnance and Ammunition, and followed the chase of them within a mile of Yorke, cutting them downe so that their dead bodies lay three miles in length. Divers prisoners of note were taken, Lord Gorings son, Colonel Tilsley, Sir Charles Lucas, Major Generall Porter, and about an hundred more Officers, 1500 Souldiers. The number of the dead is uncertaine; but I cannot think, but of all dead in the field, in the woods, and mortally wounded (which would die within a day) there are between three and foure thousand Their whole Army is so broken, that of Foot I am confident they are not able of 13000. to rally 2000. and of eight or nine thousand Horse, not above two thousand, the rest all gone to their own homes, except those that are slain and prisoners. The glory of this, as it onely due to God, as the prime efficient, so must it be acknowledged (as it is by all, and that most justly) thit instrumentally it was done by none but by the Earle of Manchesters Horse and Foot led on by Cromwel, and those Scots which charged in with them, commanded by Major Generall Lesley, who carried himselfe very bravely. Lieutenant Generall Cromwell (the great agent in this victory) hath received a slight wound in the neck. We lost not in all this fight, above two or three hundred men. Sir Thomas Fairfax (wounded in the head or face) caried himself as bravely as as man could doe, was unhorst, lay upon the ground, and was relieved by our horse. The enemy hath lost all their Arms, the field being full of Pikes and Muskets; This morning we gathered them up within 2 miles of Yorke, not an enemy daring to look upon us. Rupert is on the North side or Yorke with about two thousand Horse. I am
Your humble Servant
1. A more exact relation of the late battell neer York; fought by the English and Scotch forces, against Prince Rupert and the Marquess of Newcastle. Wherein the passages thereof are more particularly set down, presented to the view of those who desire better satisfaction therin. Published for the more inlargement of our hearts to Almighty God on our day of Thanksgiving, commanded by authority for the great victory obtained. Allowed to be printed according to order., Lionel Watson, 1644.