The Civil War Siege at Grafton Regis
by Dr Glenn Foard

At the outbreak of hostilities in August 1642, Northampton was fortified as a major parliamentarian garrison. However, following the battle of Edgehill in October, Banbury fell to the royalists and until May 1646 they held the castle there as an outpost of the King's capital at Oxford. The south-western part of Northamptonshire was therefore a disputed territory and throughout the war the people were at times taxed by both the county committee at Northampton and the royalist garrison at Banbury. Buckinghamshire was controlled from the parliamentarian garrison at Aylesbury, but the north-west of the county was another disputed territory. Though the greater part of these areas were normally under parliamentarian control, the territory around Grafton Regis suffered various raids by the Banbury garrison and other royalist forces.

1643 was the King's most successful year of the war and that autumn his main field army returned to Oxford to take up winter quarters. With such large numbers of troops at hand Prince Rupert, the King's senior commander, had the opportunity for a major local campaign to capture the south Midlands. Parliament had commanded most of this wealthy and populous region since the beginning of the war, giving them control of the strategically important roads running from London to the Midlands and the North. On 14 October 1643 Rupert advanced with 2,000 horse and 700 foot, hoping to take Northampton by treachery, but the garrison had been forewarned and the royalists were driven off. Rather than retreat, Rupert marched on into the Ouse valley to plunder north Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, before fortifying the small market town of Newport Pagnell to consolidate his control of the area. This was a challenge to which parliament simply had to respond. The London trained bands were mobilised under the veteran commander Major-General Sir Philip Skippon to drive out the royalists. On receiving the news of Skippon's advance on 27 October, the royalist commander of Newport Pagnell slighted the newly constructed defences and fell back towards Banbury. Skippon took control of Newport Pagnell and re-fortified the town, establishing a garrison which was to remain in parliamentarian hands throughout the rest of the war.

Rupert took control of the next significant town, Towcester, which would enable him to retain at least part of the territory that had been gained and, since it stood astride Watling Street, then the most important road in England, it gave him control of communications from London to the Midlands. Local people were drafted in from many miles around to fortify the town. There were some 14 regiments quartered in Towcester and the surrounding villages and by late November it was reported that the royalists 'hath made it very strong, and brought the water round about the towne.'. The impact of such a major army on the surrounding countryside was dramatic. A parliamentarian news-sheet reported that 'The enemie at Tositer drive the fields of all Cattell, and thresh out the peoples corne of all sorts, forcing the Countrey-men to doe it; poore Northamptonshire, especially the West division, as thou hast been a faithfull peece to the parliament, so have thy miseries been great, what thy reward hereafter may be, God knowes; alas, what pitty does the King's party shew thee, or any destroyed part of poore England'. Another report claimed that 'the popish army there having manifested their basenesse so much, as that children can scarce get a piece of bread but it is taken from them, and the Children left to perish'.

A Garrison at Grafton Regis

The Northampton garrison of 1,500 men was no match for the main royalist field army, but together with the London trained bands they were able to make surprise attacks on the enemy quarters in the villages around Towcester, as on 2 November, when there were skirmishes at Alderton and Stowe Nine Churches. However, if the royalists were to be driven out, then a major offensive was required. Instead, during November Rupert further strengthened his grip on the region by establishing lesser garrisons at Hillesden House near Buckingham and Boarstall House, near Brill. Then, on 14 November, came the first report that Colonel John Digby was at Grafton Regis with a regiment of horse and a further 400 horse at Paulerspury. The Digbys were described in parliamentarian propaganda as a papist family, one of Sir John's brothers being close to the King while his father had been executed for his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot.. He was joined by 'Sir John Waycutt' (probably Sir John Wake of Hartwell) and by 19 November they had begun to fortify Lady Crane's house at Grafton. The Cranes were also royalist supporters. Lady Crane's chaplain, Thomas Bunning, having already been ejected from his living in Grafton by the Northampton Committee because of his papist leanings. By fortifying the manor house at Grafton the royalists now also controlled the main road from London to Northampton and Leicester.

Digby forced men from the surrounding villages 'to come and helpe to digg to make bulwarks'. By late December the garrison was described, probably with some exaggeration, as 'a place of great strength and consequence', with forttifications encompassing both Grafton House and the church. The garrison was strengthened with infantry by 1 December while the cavalry were quartered half a mile distant from the house, perhaps at the lodge in the park. By mid December there were 100 musketeers, 300 cavalry and three artillery pieces in the garrison with two more expected. By the time of the siege there were six pieces of artillery within the defences, perhaps placed on the bulwarks which had been constructed in the preceding weeks. The accounts of the men and arms taken when Digby surrendered show the garrison had been reorganised some time in mid December, leaving 14 officers, five being of the horse and nine of the foot, together with 100 musketeers and 80 cavalry troopers. In addition to fortifying the house the garrison also posted a sentry at Castlethorpe bridge, which was the earnest crossing of the river Tove leading to the parliamentarian garrison at Newport Pagnell, while '2 troopes of horse come forth every night to see if the contry bee cleere and returne to their quarters'.

Any garrison needed an effective mechanism for supply and hence by late November Grafton began drawing taxes from the surrounding countryside, in both Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire. On 26 November 'Sir John Digby was at Hanslopp (3 miles from Nuport) with a party of horse. There hee layd a taxe upon the towne that they should provide £5 a day to bee brought in to them every third day. Tuesday being the day of payment they being fearful to stay in the town came to Newport . . .'. It was reported on 1 December that the royalists at Grafton 'sendeth out dayly into the country to bring in fether bedds to them'. At this time Digby was drawing some £ 250 per week from the Northamptonshire hundred of Cleley alone.

In early December Rupert marched back to Oxford with most of the army, to provide support for Hopton's campaign in the south, but contrary to some reports there was no intention to abandon the territory so recently gained. The defences of both Towcester and Grafton had been completed and a garrison left in each. However, there were problems for the garrisons, the commander of Towcester complaining on 16 December that only three hundreds (Towcester, Norton and Cleley) had been allocated for the support of the Towcester garrison, the rest having been withdrawn for the use of the Banbury garrison since the departure of the bulk of the army from Towcester. Moreover, the long residence of so many horse in the two hundreds around the town meant many of the people were unable to pay much while the Cleley Hundred was controlled by Sir John Digby for the support of the Grafton garrison. His assessment was that 'unless there be means found to supply this garrison with a weekly supply of three hundred pounds, it will be altogether impossible to preserve it'. Most important, for the first time since October the royalists in the area were severely outnumbered.

Grafton Regis in 1643

Unlike most neighbouring parishes, the greater part of Grafton Regis had been enclosed in large hedged fields and converted to pasture in the 16th century. The medieval deer park was also enormously expanded first by Henry VIII and later by James I, extending right up to the Northampton road, to the very edge of the village. The park was in part enclosed by a pale (a timber palisade) as well as hedge and ditch but in other places just by pale. The new divisions of the park were almost wholly pasture, that next to the village having only 569 trees, with just one small coppice at the north-east corner, compared with 5725 trees in the south-west division, which included the medieval park. Hence by 1643 much of the land surrounding Grafton was enclosed by hedgerows, providing a very different context for military action to the open landscape which was to be found across most of Northamptonshire. At Grafton the open fields were restricted to just a few hundred acres on the south side of the parish. The immediate area, though it provided good grazing for the horses, was not particularly well-suited to cavalry action but provided cover for infantry.

The village itself, lying along a quite steep spur of land protruding out into the Tove valley at the point where the main road from London to Northampton crossed the ridge, was ideally suited as a garrison. It had never been a large settlement and had shrunk since the medieval period. By the 1640's there were no more than eight 'messuages', of which only four were substantial farms, and nine cottages. Grafton had expanded westward in the 16th century on to the Northampton road, attracted by the commercial opportunities of passing traffic, so that by the mid 17th century most of the houses lined both sides of the main road. Of these, one was an inn, the King's Arms, and three others were alehouses, one of which doubled up as a smithy. Grafton was thus a significant staging-post for long-distance travellers on this major route. In addition there was the manor house itself, the church and the rectory, now somewhat isolated from most of the rest of the village

Grafton House, which provided the core of the garrison, had been an important royal residence, though by 1643 it was much decayed from the time when Henry VIII was a frequent visitor. By the early 17th century it had begun to fall into decay and the estate was leased out to various tenants. In 1628 James I had mortgaged Grafton, together with other lands in Stoke Bruerne and elsewhere, to Sir Francis Crane. Sir Francis died in 1636 but his wife Mary was granted Grafton House for life in 1638 at a yearly rent of 10s. She was certainly in residence in 1641. The only survival today of the great house is a single building against the main street just west of the churchyard, part of the former stable, kitchen and brewhouse. Recent excavations immediately to the north-east of this have revealed extensive spreads of demolition rubble from the great house but none of the foundations have yet been located to show exactly where the main building stood. Thus, despite the detailed Tudor descriptions, we do not know the exact layout of the house and hence the degree to which it provided the defenders with commanding fire over the surrounding land. On the western side of the site is a substantial earthwork bank which formed the northern extent of a Tudor garden feature known as 'The Gallery' in 1650, a walled enclosure later described as the Warren, 'bounded with large walls of Bricke and Stone'. The massive bank will probably prove to be simply part of the gallery rather than defensive works constructed around the house in 1643, for it lies so far from the house.

The defences are likely to have enclosed an area of no more than perhaps, 100m by 200m., for a circuit much larger would have been very difficult to defend with a small garrison. They probably encompassed just the churchyard and part of the manor house grounds, bounded by the road on the east and south, for the church tower and walls of the house were to serve as the main firing position for the defending troops. Unfortunately, not only are we uncertain as to the exact location and layout of Henry VIII's great house, neither has any trace of Digby's defensive bank or ditch yet been recognised to show where the fortifications ran or the scale of the defences .However, given that no more than five weeks were available for their construction, they are unlikely to have been particularly substantial, and probably consisted of a fairly small ditch with a bank revetted with turf. The main effort may well have been in the construction of 'bulwark', typically pointed bastions projecting forward from the walls or ramparts to provide covering. It is possible that immediately adjacent houses were demolished to give a clear field of fire but there is no record of such demolition, which was often avoided until the last minute and, if the garrison was not expecting an imminent attack, they may not have had time to complete any demolition before the enemy arrived.

The house and church were in a commanding position, looking directly over large pasture fields on the north and arable open fields on the south, and so attack would be unlikely from these directions. To the east, however, there was the parsonage and several small hedged closes to provide cover for attacking troops, while an approach would also have been partly covered because the ground falls away relatively rapidly beyond the parsonage down to the River Tove. However, the church tower would enable defenders to provide covering fire over much of this land and, most important, there is only a very small area at this end of the spur from which attackers could have fired upon the garrison. By far the weakest side for the garrison would have been the western approach along the ridge. There were a few buildings in close proximity to the manor house in 1650 and, unless the defences were drawn very wide or the houses demolished and later rebuilt after the siege, then these buildings would have provided excellent cover, enabling attacking troops to approach very close towards the house. Between these buildings and the other part of the village,, concentrated along the main road, there was a substantial gap providing a significant field of fire for the defenders. Similarly the gallery, which was enclosed by a large stone wall, may also have provided a defensive position for the garrison. On the other hand, the houses along the main road, the park pale which lined the west side of the road, and the hedged fields lining both sides of the road to the north, together with a small coppice at the north-east corner of the park, would have provided excellent cover for an attacking force, who would have had easy access into the park and along this ridge from the Alderton to Potterspury road.

The Siege

Preparations for the attack on Grafton were probably underway during mid-December, for we find the Northampton scouts on various journeys to surrounding garrisons and towns in the days leading up to and during the siege, presumably assisting in the co-ordination of action. On 20 December the Northampton horse attacked the royalist infantry near Grafton, but it was not until 8 p.m. on 21 December that the order went out for 1,000 infantry with four artillery pieces to march out of Newport at 2 a.m. the next day. At Lathbury, just a mile from the town, they were joined by cavalry under Colonel Norwich, a Northamptonshire commander, which provided a vanguard and rearguard. In all Skippon had under his command some 3,000 troops. They comprised the Orange and the Green regiment of the London trained bands, which he had brought up from London in the initial move against Newport Pagnell, supported by more than a 1,000 troops from the Eastern Association, under the command of the Earl of Manchester, with four artillery pieces, and Colonel Norwich's regiment of horse. Some of the troops were under the command of Colonel Williams, though it is unclear which these were. They would be joined later by local troops, the main contingent coming from Northampton, said to have numbered some 1,400 horse and foot under the garrison commander, Colonel Whetham. So many were withdrawn from Northampton that it left the garrison short of men forcing the remaining troops to do a double duty. Other troops, under the command of Colonel Meldrum, were drawn in from the Warwick garrison..

The mobilisation of civilians in support of the siege was also quite extensive. For example, Burton Latimer, more than twenty miles away, provided one horse and man 'at the taking of Grafton House' at the cost of 6s. 8d. As one of the main supply bases in the region Northampton was obviously involved on a large scale. Payments are recorded there for oats and cereal and for bringing the 'carigs' to Grafton House at a cost of 21s. 6d. in December 1643. Then in the period from 24 December to 15 January there are payment for bullets that had been 'bought of soldiers' and taken to Grafton House. A substantial proportion of the supplies, however, were probably provided by the villages in the area surrounding Grafton. Hence the constable of Hartwell reported later with regard to the costs to the villagers during the siege, that 'what provisions they sent thither they cannott tell'. At Stoke Bruerne the constable reported various losses. 'Richard Plowman had two horses taken from him by the Soldiers under the command of Colonel Meldrum when Grafton House was be sieged worth £10', while Robert Bond lost one mare at the same time and William Britten another, taken by Warwick soldiers, both worth £5. Without doubt, however, it was the villagers of Grafton itself who suffered the greatest losses during the siege as can be seen by the extensive claim submitted after the war by the constable of Grafton Constable's Account

On the Friday morning the parliamentarian forces marched first to Grafton, which they faced, but 'leaving it on our right hand, we marcht towards Tositer, as though we had been bound thitherward'. Their march was probably via Castlethorpe bridge, approaching Grafton from the south but then turning west, perhaps through Alderton, and on to Watling Stret to march north towards Towcester. About a mile from Towcester they were joined by the Northampton forces. They then faced about, so that the Orange Regiment was now the vanguard and Colonel William's troops the rearguard of the troops from Newport. One account claims that Skippon's first objective had been Towcester itself, saying that he had been incorrectly informed that the town was not well manned or strongly fortified, but realising the true difficulty of taking the garrison he retreated, diverting his forces against the smaller garrison at Grafton House. This seems very unlikely given the excellent intelligence which Sir Samuel Luke was gaining from his scouts during November and December. It is more likely that Grafton was his primary target because another account says that Skippon 'also sent a party to face Towciter, that so he might prevent all reliefe from coming to them'.

It is just six miles from Newport to Grafton, less than two hours journey by horse, but with the circuitous approach via Towcester it took 12 or 14 hours from the original rendezvous before they reached Grafton, arriving in the afternoon of Friday 22 December. The Eastern Association troops immediately made the first infantry assault, perhaps hoping for some element of surprise 'when we came within sight of the house, the old soldiers of my Lord outmarcht us, and gave onset on the house very courageously and were bravely answered. And by reason of the strength of the walls, and well fortifying of the same our Musquetiers did them small injury at that time'.

The first objective of the attackers would have been to take the houses and closes along the main road where some defending troops may have been deployed to stop a parliamentarian approach close to the manor house. The distribution of musket balls recovered during a recent survey suggests that it is here that some of the main action took place. It is most likely that this firefight represents an initial assault in which the defendants were driven back, with all the subsequent action concentrated in close proximity to the manor.

By Saturday 23rd, in response to the attack on Grafton, the royalist troops quartered in the area all retreated to the safety of Towcester, while those at Brackley withdrew closer to Oxford. The news was conveyed swiftly to Oxford because, as one of Luke's scouts reported from the city, 'Prince Robert marcht away on Sonday last (24th) with a great party of horse to releeve Sir John Digby at Graffton, but coming too late hee returned to Oxford on Tuesday.'. This must have been expected by Skippon and may in part explain why the siege was pursued with such urgency. With such a small and relatively lightly defended garrison the place might fall rapidly and avoid the need for the attackers to counter a relieving force.

Skippon may not have intended a long siege, given the awful winter weather and the threat of a relieving force marching up from Oxford. However, the troops needed shelter and some of the surrounding villages had to provide quarters for some of the troops when they were not on duty. Hence the Hartwell report says 'how many men and horses wee quartered during the siege att Grafton.they cannot tell'. A substantial proportion of the troops remained in the open during the siege, and so they built 'hut. in the field, for shelter from the foul winter weather'. Not surprisingly there were substantial quantities of wood, worth £26, taken both from Grafton Park and from the various tenements in the village for fires to keep the troops warm, for cooking and even for the construction of the huts themselves.

Following the initial attack, which failed to breach the defences, two artillery pieces were set up to bombard Grafton House. On the 23rd a scout from Newport reported that the parliamentarian forces 'lye against the Lady Crane's howse and the church' and that he had heard the ordnance discharged. Over the two days of the siege 'the Cannon and Musket played violently upon the house; and there were 'diverse furious onsets made against it'. One of the soldiers reported that 'when any advantage could be gained against our Enemies, we made use of it'. Not surprisingly, given the appalling winter weather, the troops of the three separate attacking forces in the field were rotated. Hence on the Saturday morning, the London trained bands relieved the Eastern Association forces in their guard and on the Sunday morning the Northampton forces took their turn. At any one time it seems likely that well over a thousand men must have been deployed against Grafton House. As was so often the case in such situations the garrison used long muskets, presumably fowling pieces, to fire on the attackers at a distance beyond normal musket range. In particular there was one window in the House from which they fired, killing 'a survayer of the workes and a Captaine of the Troops of horse slaine at one shot, and also a Gunner that belonged to the Sacre'.

The artillery fired against the house 'but they did not much annoy them neither' and so Skippon sent to Northampton for two more pieces of artillery to assist in the siege, explaining why 40s was paid to 'John Allen canoneere for his extrordinarie service att Grafton etc.'. On the Saturday a saker was set up in a suitable location and it soon battered down the breastwork on top of the house, ' which had done so much annoyance', and a window from where the Garrison had fired on the attackers. Despite this 'Sir John Digby who was commaunder in chiefe would not yield the house up upon noe condicions but when the Maior Generall had sent for 2 peeces of ordnance to Northampton and they were come to him, after 2 or 3 shoots they sounded a parly about 2 of the clocke in the afternoone.'.

The most likely position for the artillery pieces ranged against the house  will have been on the ridge top to the west of the house. They cannot have been far to the west because the range of a saker was between 200 and 1,000 yards and to have maximum effect it would need to have been within 100 to 300 yards of the walls. There was no time for the digging of saps at Grafton, trenches to enable the attacking forces to approach close to the defences under cover, and so we must expect that the artillery were positioned just beyond effective musket range, perhaps between 200 and 400 yards from the defences. Given that a gunner on the saker was shot, the artillery must have been within range of a fowling pieces in the house. This would suggest that the parliamentarian forces had advances to the east side of the houses on the main road, or perhaps had even taken cover between them, for they lay about 400 yards from and level with the house. Infantry attack would have been far more realistic from such a location, with an approach covered in part by the houses and walled and hedged closes. In contrast, an approach from the north or south would have been suicidal, across relatively open ground, across open ground over which the house had such commanding fire. It is therefore not surprising to find that in the recent survey no musket balls have been recovered in the sloping ground to the north of the house.

A small body of attacking troops does, however, seem to have been deployed at the eastern end of the village, for a small cluster of musket balls have been found on this side of the village, concentrated immediately behind the parsonage. They were probably there simply to control access along the road to Hartwell and so effectively close up the garrison and stop any escape or resupply.

The Northampton troops had taken the guard at about noon on the Sunday and so it was that they were facing the house when the garrison 'sounded a parley but through the eagerness of the Souldiers the Drum was shot, but not slaine out right whereupon they sent out a Trumpet and had parley granted for half an houre.'. It was normal practise for drummers and trumpeters to be used as messengers in such situations, though in this case the dangers of such a task are plain to see. Digby had called for a parley because the women and children in the house were so distressed and the soldiers were unwilling to continue the resistance. This is undoubtedly a reflection as much of the weakness of the defences, and particularly the way in which the stone and brick walls of a Tudor mansion were no match for the artillery bombardment, as an indication of lack of resolve of the defenders. Digby attempted to negotiate but his terms were unlikely to be accepted, for he had initially refused to surrender, thus forcing the parliamentarians to make a number of assaults on the house, with some losses. Moreover the attackers must have felt in a very strong position, with no immediate sign of any royalist relieving forces, and Skippon felt confident enough to demand unconditional surrender. Despite the rejection of his terms and the fact that his troops would be held prisoner rather than allowed to march out with their arms, Digby surrendered. He presumably believed that the house would soon fall and that if Skippon was forces to take it by storm there would be substantial loses on the royalist side and perhaps no quarter would be given to the defenders. Had Digby known that Prince Rupert was already on his way with a relieving force he might have attempted to hold out longer, but instead he yielded up the garrison at about 4 p.m. that day.

The parliamentarians suffered very light casualties. No more than ten or twenty men were killed, with a further ten or more wounded. As one of the soldiers involved in the siege reported, 'I thanke God that neither myselfe nor any of my souldiers are hurt, nor not one of our Regiment slaine notwithstanding we were in great danger and hazard.' A further nine parliamentarian soldiers were injured in an accident with their own powder, a not uncommon occurrence during the Civil War. On the royalist side we have no record of the number killed or injured, though it may have been very few. Though one of Luke's scouts reported some 300 common soldiers as well as four or five colonels had been taken, the prisoner list shows this to be an exaggeration. The infantry comprised a captain, lieutenant, three ensigns, a drummer and one hundred musketeers. The cavalry consisted, in addition to Sir John Digby the garrison commander, Major Brookbanck, two captains, a lieutenant, two quartermasters, two corporals, eighty troopers and a reformado ensign. There were also a number of non-combatants who included Henry Ratcliffe, and Archdeacon Beeley, parson Crompton and Thomas Bunning, chaplain to Lady Crane. One report also claims that '600 Armes, 6 peeces of Ordnance, and 80 brave horses' were taken at Grafton. See: Rev. Bunning in Church Records/Rector's details


When the parliamentarian soldiers entered the house 'they found great and rich plunder'. Pilage was seen as the right of soldiers forced to storm a garrison and so it is not surprising to find that there were in the house 'many other things of great worth and estimation, which the common Souldiers divided amongst themselves'. It is said that there were 'many thousand pounds worth of goods taken, much plate and money, and good horse'. After the war Lady Crane's losses in the siege were estimated at over £5,000.By far the greatest loss was of course Grafton House itself, which as the parliamentary survey of 1650 explains ' was the the Parliaments Forces demolished and the Materialls that remaine are not considerable.' It had been fired by the parliamentary troops on Christmas Day and by 1650 all that remained of the once great house built by Henry VIII were the outbuildings, a brewhouse, kitchen and buttery with two chambers above and lofts over them, together with a stable of two bays, some other outhouses with two courtyards and a large, well planted orchard.

According to one account, 'the soldiers had greate store of plate there, the booty did not soe incourage them that they were very willing to fall upon Toster.'. Towcester would indeed have been the sensible next target 'but the reason why they fell not upon it was because they were almost tyred out by reason of their hard quarter.' The garrison at Towcester was also far stronger than Grafton, one account claiming, perhaps rather implausibly, that it was so strong that 'an Army of ten thousand men in the summer are like to find a long pull of that town.'. More important perhaps, the weather was too bad for a prolonged siege and Skippon probably expected that a relief force would be dispatched from Oxford., as indeed was the case. So on Christmas morning, before dawn, the besieging troops set fire to the huts they had built in the field and, rather than moving against Towcester, were withdrawn to their own garrison. But before the army departed, following the common practise of both sides in the war, Grafton House itself was burnt down to prevent it being used again as a garrison. The march to Newport was a tiring one, 'by reason of the foulnesse of the weather and the deepenesse of the way', despite its short distance, with the more important prisoners being sent on to London. Sir John Digby was committed to the Tower.

Skippon's withdrawal of his troops to their garrisons proved to be the right decision. Following the fall of Grafton the royalist forces at Brackley, Buckingham and thereabouts were withdrawn to Oxford, while the expectation of an assault was enough to dispose of the Towcester garrison. By 18th January 1644 they too had retreated towards Oxford. Later that spring the last of the royalist garrisons set up in the autumn offensive, at Hillesden near Buckingham, was also taken by storm by parliamentarian troops and the status quo restored. Unlike Newport Pagnell, where Skippon had garrisoned and re-fortified the town after royalist withdrawal, there was no case and no resources to justify the maintenance of a garrison at Towcester. Instead the local people, from Stoke Bruerne and presumably from many other nearby villages, were drafted in to slight the defences.

For more than two years the royalists continued to hold sway over the south-west part of Northamptonshire, from their well-fortified garrison at Banbury castle, However, although they might occasionally plunder and skirmish as far north as Northampton, after the fall of Grafton, the royalists never again established a garrison in Northamptonshire.

The Commonwealth

The decline in royalist fortunes following the siege led to the dispersal of part of the Crown estate. In 1644 Sir George Strode of Westerham (Kent) and Arthur Duck of Chiswick, master of the Court of Requests, purchased Grafton Park for £2,000 and £5,000 respectively. Lord Monson, who had taken the lease of the woodland, was later accused of cutting down all the trees in Pury Park and the greater part of those in Grafton for his own use, timber with an estimated value of £6.400. In addition he had ploughed up 100 acres. As early as 1649 there were said to be only 200 deer in the two parks combined.

Some building was carried out at Grafton in the aftermath of the Civil War. Tudor Cottage, at the south-west corner of the village, on the Northampton road, is one of the best preserved small houses of this period in Northamptonshire, an example of the continuing drift of the village from its original core across the main road, undoubtedly drawn by the opportunities provided by traffic on what was one of the major roads in England. The datestone of 1654 has a fleur-de-lys flanked by roses. The cottage is built of coursed, squared limestone with a thatched roof. However, some of internal architectural features date back to the 16th century, in particular the stone doorway on the left wall, now in the interior owing to later extension, the winder stairway, and the stone fireplace upstairs with a moulded Tudor-arched head and cut spandrels.