Monday, June 9, 2008

In Slingsby’s memory

Yesterday, Sunday 8 June, was Slingsby Day, according to the Slingsbys website. It was the 350th anniversary of the death by execution of Sir Henry Slingsby, a Yorkshire landowner, a Member of Parliament, and, crucially, a Royalist. He was also a diarist.

Slingsby, made a baronet in 1638, married Barbara, daughter of Sir Thomas Belasyse. They had four children. A Protestant and a Royalist, he fought for Charles 1 against Cromwell in the civil war. Unfortunately for Slingsby, he was eventually arrested, tried as a traitor and sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered. The sentence, though, was commuted to simple beheading. Fortunately for us, the Slingsbys website says, Henry kept a diary during those turbulent years (and it quotes a few extracts). The website also nominates 8 June 2008 as Slingsby Day.

The Gentleman’s Magazine, available on Google Books, carries some extracts from Slingsby’s diary, though these mostly concern Redhouse, the family home on the banks of the Ouse, near York. However, the full text, with an interesting introduction, of Slingsby’s Memoirs, is available online thanks to Calderdale Council. The introduction concludes: ‘Having knelt down to the block his head was severed at a single blow. His remains were deposited in a chapel belonging to his family in the church of Knaresborough, under a large stone of black marble.’

Wikipedia and The Diary Junction both have pages on Slingsby.

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