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Banbury pillaged; King denies intention to pillage London

In London, Oxfordshire on October 31 at 10:09 pm

31 Oct 1642  late reports || By Letters from Oxford it was informed that Banbury is pillaged by the Cavalleirs, and that they took 1500 Armes from thence, and turned the souldiers out of the Towne; That the King is still in Oxford, and that Abbington and divers other places there about are pillaged by Prince Robert, And also Henly upon Thames, as is reported. || Samuel Pecke – A Perfect Diurnall of the Passage in Parliament

The Sheriffs of London have lately received a writ from his Majesty commanding them to publish a Proclamation in London which he hath sent unto them, of a very strange nature,¹ containing in short these heads, That his Majesty doth seriously protest against the entertaining of Papists in his army, or granting any Commissions to them, and hath taken a strict course to put such out of his service in the army that have been discovered to be Papists, yet notwithstanding there have beene severall Commissions of late produced, that have beene granted from his Majesties to notorious Papists, and divers Papists commanders in his Majesties name (as it is credibly informed) are at this present endevouring to raise forces in divers Counties, as in Cumberland, Lancashire, and other parts of this Kingdom.

An other head of the Proclamation was, concerning the plundring and pillaging of his Subjects by his army, ailedging that he doth not intend, nor ever did to plunder the city of London, or any other City or Towne, as is surmised, but doth and will take a strict course against the same.

And yet without further instance, Oxford-shire by woefull experience can justly testifie, what great havock and spoyle Prince Robert and his Cavalliers have made amongst them, and the like in other places where they have beene, it being easily to be proved from their owne mouths and writings, that they have boasted of the authority they have to plunder and pillage and have already shared the City of London amongst themselves, and indeed it is confidently presumed that they have had little maintenance of late, but what they have got by pillage and spoyle. || A Continuation of Certain Speciall and Remarkable Passages

¹ The Commons Journal reveals this as By the King. His Majesties gratious proclamation to the cities of London and Westminster, dated 27 Oct at Aynho (near Banbury). The King denied he intended to attack London, denounced the Parliamentarian authorities and claimed the funds they had raised from London’s citizens had been “wrested and extorted from them by threats and menaces, and feare of plundering and violence.” Objectively, this was an accurate assessment: Parliament had whipped up a panic by persuading the citizens that the King intended to send an army to wipe them out and plunder their city, and had backed up its demands for financial contributions with the threat of arrest or seizure of goods. The proclamation called Parliament out, and it was perfectly understandable why the authorities did not want it published.





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Prisoner news

In London on October 31 at 2:31 pm

31 Oct 1642 || Mr John Wentworth of the Temple who was committed to prison on the Saturday before, for raising and divulging false rumours concerning the fight at Kinton, petitioned the House for his enlargement, but it would not be granted.

There was an Order made that the Prisoners in the Tower should be kept asunder, and not be permitted to hold such Conventicles together as formerly they have done, which hath produced no good effects, and that they should not be permitted to eat their dyet together as formerly. || Samuel Pecke – A Perfect Diurnall of the Passages in Parliament

There was one Captaine Fleming¹ brought before the Parliament, and committed to prison, for raising false reports of the Lord Generalls Army, and the fight at Kynton, he being also a Captaine of the Kings party.

This day the Lord Dungarvey a Scotch Lord² was brought up to London with a strong guard from Northamptonshire and by Order of the House of Peeres was committed to the Custodie of the Gentleman Usher of the black Rodd, he was taken about some 4. miles from Northampton coming from the Kings Armie presently after the fight at Kinton, and was going back to Scotland, but upon what occasion is not known, the cause of his commitment was for that he hath assisted his Majestie in this Warr against the Parliament and Kingdome.

A rich citizen (I forebeare to name him) being one of them that by order of the Houses are disarmed, and their persons secured as malignants for that they refused to contribute towards the charge of the Common-wealth in these times of imminent danger. Since his imprisonment being much ashamed of his folly in refusing to assist the Parliament, for the Parliament, and proferreth to lend two hundred pound upon the propositions, and to set forth and maintaine ten foot Souldiers at his own charge, for the service of the Common-wealth. Whereupon a motion being made to the House of Commons in his behalfe, the matter is referred to a Committee to consider of. || A Continuation of Certain Speciall and Remarkable Passages

Sir William Fleming (Commons Journal and A Perfect Diurnall, both 1 Nov)

² The Commons Journal calls him “Domfaerling”, almost certainly meaning “Dunfermline” and in that case must refer to Charles Seton, 2nd Earl of Dunfermline. His DNB entry states that he had been in England but returned to Scotland in September 1642; the documentary evidence presented here suggests that in fact he was still in the country in late October and was picked up by Parliament after Edgehill.

Banbury yielded; King at Oxford; Henley bridge slighted

In Oxfordshire on October 31 at 10:18 am

31 Oct 1642 (Mon roundup) || By Letters from Banbury it was for certaine informed that the Towne if yeelded up to his Majesties Cavalliers on Thurseday last, and that the 1500 men that were placed there by the Lord Generall had quarters given them, to leave the Towne, but all their Armes taken from then, and the Cavaliers have pillaged and plundered the Towne, and utterly undone the greatest part of the Inhabitants there. Since they have got what pillage spoyle they can there, they have left Banbury, and range up and downe the Country thereabouts for forrage and spoyle. The King hath beene at Oxford ever since Thursday night last, and his Army (which for certaine consisteth not of above 8000. horse and foote) is dispersed about the Countrey to pillage. The Cavalliers since they left Banbury have forced into Abbington [Abingdon] (the Inhabitants had good hearts but wanted strength to oppose them) and have made the like spoyle there as they did at Banbury.

The King determined to leave Oxford and to goe to Abbington on Munday last, and whether he marcheth then is uncertaine, London is much talked of, but other parts are more feared, some suspect he intends to goe into Kent, but how true that is I know not, but for certain Henley in Oxfordshire, having notice that the King intended to march with his Army that wayes over the River, [they] have intercepted his passage by cutting off the Bridge at Henley.

The Cavalliers are not a little vext at it, and tis said that they have sent a sharpe message to Henley, willing them forthwith to set up the Bridge, or they would fire the Towne, but the Inhabitants are resolved to stand upon their guard and are not affraid of their bigge words. || A Continuation of Certain Speciall and Remarkable Passages

Lawyer imprisoned for speaking against Parliament

In London on October 30 at 10:29 pm

30 October 1642 – Sabbath extra || [On 29 October] there was one Master Jo. Wentworth a Lawyer of Lincolnes Inne apprehended and brought to the Parliament for divulging of false and scandalous untruths, concerning the fight at Kinton and casting aspersions upon the Parliament as if they should go about to hinder the discoverie of the truth of things concerning that busines, which matter was discovered by certaine letter of his writing intercepted and brought to the Parliament, for which by Order of the House he was committed to prison. || A Continuation of Certain Speciall and Remarkable Passages

Blog editor’s comment – the nature of Civil War news

In Blog editor's comment on October 30 at 3:16 pm

In the mid-seventeenth century regular printed news reports were a recent invention, appearing first in the 1620s in the form of Corantos: news sheets covering, in the main, Continental news from the ongoing Thirty Years War. Reporting of British news was at that time forbidden by the Crown, mostly on security grounds, and a long-standing system of censorship was in place to regulate other printing. This system collapsed, however, with the Triennial Act of 1641 which swept away the two institutions that upheld it: the court of Star Chamber and the ecclesiastical Court of High Commission. Parliament moved almost immediately to enforce new censorship measures, but the building troubles in England, Ireland and Scotland demanded reporting, and there was a ready public appetite for the sudden surge of national – rather than Continental – news. The Crown was in no position to re-impose its prohibition of British news reports, and Parliament found the flurry of new printing useful to its cause, to promote its own interests and to disseminate its condemnations of the King’s supporters (and, later, the King). Consequently the 1640s saw a rapid development in the presentation of news. At the start of the war there were only two or three regular news organs in existence. The major newsbooks that most students of the wars will be familiar with, those most often quoted by scholars such as the Royalist Mercurius Aulicus (printed at Oxford), the fiercely Parliamentarian Mercurius Civicus (London), and Mercurius Britanicus (which typically took great pleasure in baiting Aulicus), were not set up until 1643; dozens of others followed them, many surviving no further than their first issue. The existing newsbooks in autumn 1642, those that handled the reports from Edgehill, were impersonal and merely narrative in nature, awkward offspring of the early Corantos. Unused to handling a rapidly changing news environment, their reports were fragmentary, undated, inaccurate and rapidly superseded (their collators, unlike that of Civicus in 1643, apparently did not wait for confirmatory letters before issuing reports); the quality of English was poor, or at least unproofed, with words and even lines frequently missing – presumably a testament to rapid writing and even more rapid typesetting and printing.

The arrival of the newsbook “big-guns” such as Civicus, and its counterpart Aulicus, marked a step change, both in quality and editorial confidence: the collators did not merely report verbatim what they received, but introduced a measure of planning, writing their own text around the reports, offering their own opinions, informing their readership of forthcoming news held back for the next edition, and increasingly taking shots at their publishing rivals. These voices – a mixture of straight news, social and religious lecture, and vociferous comment – add a fascinating edge to the reporting of the English Civil War.

Sabbath headlines

In London, Oxfordshire on October 30 at 12:05 pm

Sunday 30 Oct 1642 || The house was informed that Banbury was delivered to the King upon Thursday, and that the King in person caused all the Armes to be taken away.

Voted in the house that Mr. John Wentworth a Lawyer of Lincolne-Inne should be committed for divulging of false newes.

Serjeant Major Skippon was appointed to view what Guns were at Foxe Hall [Vauxhall], where he found 1050. Musquet barrels, and some great pieces, and the house ordered that the Major Generall should receive into his custody the said barrels and great pieces.

The Parliament hath sent a strong guard to Windesor, to make good that place, which is intended for a Rendezvous for the Forces under the Earle of Warwicke, because the King intends for Oxford, and so for London. || Humphrey Blunden – Speciall Passages and Certain Informations

Queen to stay in Holland; Dutch declare neutrality; Flanders aids Irish

In Foreign News on October 29 at 11:14 pm

29 Oct 1642 – late || By Letters from Holland it was informed, that the Queene intends to stay there all this winter, and that Colonell Goring is come to the Queene. That the States of Holland doe declare to hold a faire correspondency with the Parliament, and that upon a late Assembly there, The States in generall have concluded for the more better preservation of the union and peace between England and them, to stand as neuters, and that no aid shall be sent from thence to assist neither partie. By order of a Parliament, a member of the House of Commons is to bee sent into Flanders with a Declaration against their sending of aid to the Rebels in Ireland, as being a breach of their treaty of peace with this kingdome. The like thing is in agitation for the sending of a member of Parliament into France for the same businesse.  || A Collection of Speciall Passages and Certaine Informations

More from the Guildhall

In London, Military News on October 29 at 9:55 pm

29 Oct 1642 – more from Guildhall meeting of 27 Oct || After Master Strode, the Earle of Pembrooke made a speech, but the chiefe occasion of the speech was concerning a letter which was intercepted writ from Secretary Nicholas to the Earle of Cumberland in the North, dated the twenty foureth of October, which letter was read to this effect. The Secretary writes to his Lordship that the King takes speciall notice of his vigilancy and care of the business in Yorkshire, and the care he hath of the Lady Dutches of Buckingham; That [Sir Ralph Hopton and others have] raised some 10000 horse and foote, and have disarmed all such persons in Cornewell, which they esteeme to be disaffected to the King, and are marching into Devonshire to doe the like there, and that they intend to meete the King at London; That there is also in Wales about six or seven thousand men raised for the King, which are to be under Marquesse Hartford, and be ready to come to his Majesty: But the Secretary writeth that hee hoped there will be no neede of their helpe, for that he saith (however falsely) the King hath lately given the Earl of Essex a blow, that they will make no hast againe to adventure themselves in that cause; And that tomorrow (being the 25 of October) the King Marcheth towards London by Oxford.

After the reading of this Letter the Earle of Holland made an excellent speech, chiefely concerning the Letter, shewing them what is threatned by it, viz. A great Army of the Kings to come against the City, and commanded by such, that intend no lesse then the utter destroying of the Citty, their persons, and estates, and this not all, but that if they can destroy the City, the whole Kingdome must submitt and yeeld to them, wherefore hee desires them to consider that God hath kept the first blow from them & delivered them as from an iminent danger by the power of his hand; and let that be an encouragement to them to pursue all things that are for glory, and the defence of Religion and cause: Further adding, that he only recommended this unto them, that it might hasten them forwards to the worke, well knowing, and resting  confident that they are not wanting of piety, courage, and resolution to defend themselves, the Parliament and Kingdome, &c.

After this, the Lord Say and Seale made a speech further to second that businesse, wishing that they would not bee wanting to themselves, and then there was no cause to feare that danger which is threatned by the Letter, nor any thing that can be done by the Kings broken Arny, those things that are falsly buzzed abroad by the malignant party into the City; there is no danger, but in security, in sitting still: further adding, that it was not a time for men to think of being in their shoppes and getting a little money, but let every man shutt up his shoppe, and fetch his Musquet, and come forth freely to serve his God, Religion, Countrey and Parliament; he had divers other excellent expressions, but they would bee too tedious to relate here. || A Collection of Speciall Passages and Certaine Informations

Speeches at the Guildhall

In London, Military News on October 29 at 9:44 pm

29 Oct 1642 – update || There was a booke published of the severall speeches which were spoke by the Lords to the City of London, at a common Councell in Guild Hall, upon Thursday night the 27, of October.

The First that spoke was the Lord Wharton, who made a full discovery to the City of the fight at Kinton, the substance in effect was the same that is formerly related, only some passages were inserted which I shall nominate. As 1. of the occasion why so many of the Lord Generals forces were absent at the time of the fight, which was for that a Regiment of foot, and a troop or two of horse was left at Hereford under the command of the Earle of Stamford, to prevent the Welsh for falling in upon Gloucestershire, and the river of Severne and so into the West, also a regiment of the Lord Saint Johns and Sir John Merricks at Worcester, which place is seated upon the river of Severne, and intercepteth all force that commeth from Shrewsbury into the West, there was another regiment of the Lord Rochfords left at Coventry, also Colonell Hampdens and Collonell Granthams Regiment and ten or twelve troopes of Horse were a days march behinde, by reason of the Lord Generals suddaine march, who brought some powder, ammunition and artillery after the army, so that at the time of the fight there was with the Lord Generall but eleven Regiments of foot, and about forty Troopes of horse.

That the Lord Generall in his owne person came up to the charge at severall times, once with his owne troope of horse, and with his owne Regiment of foot, which were raised in Essex.

That they tooke the prisoner afore named, viz. the Earle of Lindesey, Lord Willoughby hs sonne, Colonell Lunsford and his brother slaine,¹ Sir Ed. Stradling prisoner, and divers other of quality by the Lord Awberney [D’Aubigny] Colonell Vavasor, and Sir Edward Munroy a Scotch man of great qualitie. That by all the information that can be gathered there were three thousand of the Kings slaine, and but three hundred of the Parliaments. That by all that could be gathered there were but twenty of our men killed with the Kings Cannon. That Colonell Hampden Colonell Grantham and those other ten Troopes formerly spoke of, came not to the Lord Generalls army, but about one a clocke at night. That the Lord Generall kept the field all night and next day, but the Kings forces never appeared but some scattering men of three or foure troopes of  horse that came to bury their men, and however it was fully reported there was no fight Munday or Tuesday, &c.

After the Lord Wharton, M. Strode made a speech to the City, confirming the former relation made by the Lord Wharton, further adding, that the two regiments raised in London for the Lord Brookes, and Master Hollis, and the one regiment raised in Essex for the Lord Generall, were the chiefe men that wone the day, that by these men that were ignominiously reproached by the name of Roundheads did God shew himselfe to bee a glorious God. || A Collection of Speciall Passages and Certaine Informations

¹ A false report. Although Thomas Lunsford was captured, neither of his brothers, Henry and Humphrey, were killed at Edgehill. Henry died at the storming of Bristol in 1643; Humphrey was also active in the war, and appears to have survived it.

Militia helps Blackburn eject Royalist soldiers

In Lancashire, Military News on October 29 at 1:24 pm

29 Oct 1642 – Anonymous report from Blackburn, Lancashire, concerning a Royalist attempt to billet soldiers under “free quarter” || Wee being no wayes able to resist the malignant party, not having Armes nor a considerable place to make opposition, were glad, nay, (as I might terme it, forced) to receive two knights of the Commission of Array with 200. of their souldiers at least, it was very faire quarter promised us, with paiment of what should be any wayes expended or called for by their souldiers, but when they were billeted, they dealt with us at their owne courtesie, and I beleeve had not that night through a long march, 3000. of the Militia side come to disappoint them, we had like Job all gone naked out of the world, but their charge in the night, so scared the Arraymen, that they did almost be—- themselves, sixteene being slaine of them, and through night foure of the others, but they beate them and secured us, yet not one nor the other, but God was the gift. || Humphrey Blunden – Speciall Passages and Certain Informations