Friday, 6 January 2012

Battle of Marske Beach (c.NZ640229)

The Pennyman family were big players in seventeenth century Cleveland. In 1625, they raised the fine pile that is Marske Hall and, in 1632, a certain Sir James Pennyman became Lord of the Manor.

As family tradition dictated, James was a staunch Royalist, so successfully chose the wrong side in the English Civil War. Keen to do his bit, though, at a time in the dispute when the outcome was in the balance, he created a little private army of his own made up of tenants from his estate. And, in 1643, this band of brothers was called into action in the little-known ‘Battle of Marske Beach’. It seems that Cromwell, keen to gain a foothold in this part of the world, tried to land a party of men on the seafront near to the village … and was successfully repelled by Sir James and his army.

When he eventually ‘surrendered’, he was punished for his delinquency and fined £1,200 in 1646. It is thought that it was this financial ‘hit’ which forced him to sell his estate to the Lowthers in 1650. Sir James made his comeback, though: he was elevated to the Baronetage after the Restoration and died – vindicated, presumably – in 1679.

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