Tyger's Head Books

The King summons Gloucester

In Gloucestershire on August 11 at 1:58 pm

11 Aug 1643 (Fri) || At Coventry they pull downe many houses of the Suburbs, and tell the people that the Kings Army is marching towards them with twenty pieces of Ordnance, and they had some reason, for this day we received an expresse that his Majesty yesterday sate downe before Gloucester, and sent in a most Gracious Summons to the City, in these very words, Out of our tender Compassion to Our City of Glocester, and that it may not receive Prejudice by Our Army, which We cannot prevent, if We be compelled to assault it, We are personally come before it to require the same, and are graciously pleased to let all the Inhabitants of, and all other Persons within that City, as well Souldiers as others, know, That if they shall immediately submit themselves, and deliver this our City to Us, we are contented freely and absolutely to pardon every one of them without exception; And doe assure them in the word of a King, that they nor any of them should receive the least Dammage or Prejudice by our Army in their Persons, or Estates; But that we will appoint such a Governour, and a moderate Garrison to reside there, as should be both for the ease and security of that City and that whole County. But if they shall neglect this Profer of Grace and Favour, and compell Us by the Power of Our Army to reduce that place (which by the helpe of God We doubt not We shall be easily and shortly able to do) they must thank themselves for all the Calamities and Miseries must befall them. To this Message we expect a cleere and positive Answere within two houres after the publishing hereof. And by these presents doe give leave to any Persons safely to repaire to, and returned from Us, whom that City shall desire to imploy unto Us in that businesse. And doe require all the Officers and Souldiers of Our Army, quietly to suffer them to passe accordingly. But this Rebellious City answered, that they would obey His Majesties commands as they were signified by the two Houses of Parliament. And now let the world judge if His Majestie could have sent a more Gracious Message to His most Loyall Subjects, and whether these desperate Rebels deserve any mercy, who after so many offers do still refuse a pardon. But since their returning this Rebellious answer, they have set their owne Suburbs on fire, which surely is not to keepe the City either for the King or Parliament. Yet His Majesties Forces quenched the fire, and in spight of the Rebells, entred the Suburbs where they still are, and have already raised Mounts, and digged trenches so neare the City wall, that I dare promise you (God willing) a very speedy account of the siege of Gloucester. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

It is informed out of Glocestershire, that on Sunday last, the Cavaliers began to besiege the City of Glocester, with an Army of six thousand men, but the inhabitants thereof are so well provided with men, food, Armes, & Ammunition, if God please, they can hold out this three moneths, if they may be relieved before that time be expired, and they have rased their Suburbs, taken downe Sir Robert Cookes house halfe a mile from it, and plained all the Country about it, the better to keep off their enemies approach.  || William Ingler – Certaine Informations (P)

For Gloucester, it was summoned, but refused to surrender; then his Majesty sent word to the Governour Colonell Massy he should expect to Quarter, nor the Towne any preservation, for he would burne it to the ground if they would not immediately yeild: The Governour answered that so long as his Majesty came without consent of the great Counsell of the Kingdom the Parliament, and came attended with Papists and Irish Rebells, he would burne the Towne to the ground before such Papists, Irish Rebells, and other Delinquents about his Majestie should have it, and for Quarter he desired it not, nor to live longer then to see such men to rule this Kingdome, whereupon the King commanded a fierce assault to be made, but the enemy was beaten off with great losse: That night the Governour let a Souldier or two escape out of the Towne, out of pretence of Friendship to the Cavaliers, and informe them of the weakest place in the Towne, which concurred with former Information[;] the Governour causing divers pieces of Ordnance to be brought thither planting them with most advantage, [laid] an Ambuscado, and reserve behinde with more men, declared the Towne their own, the Souldiers entered the breach, but such a slaughter of the enemy was made by the Ordnance and Ambuscado, that few escaped, leaving many hundreds dead in the Place, which [so] enraged the Cavaliers that they caused his Majesty to send for most of his Forces from Oxford to make a second assault, God send them the like successe as the first had. It would be [a] great pitty this gallant gentleman should be lost for want of timely supply, who if he had been Governour of Bristoll had saved it, and by consequence the West; yet there cannot be a further expectation of him then during his men, victuals, and Ammunition doth last, ultra posse, non est esse.¹ || Richard Collings – The Kingdome’s Weekly Intelligencer (P)

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¹ ‘What is beyond possibility, cannot exist’

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