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Archive for the ‘Gloucestershire’ Category

Report from Gloucester; praise for the town’s self-defence

In Gloucestershire on August 22 at 1:03 am

22 Aug 1643 (Tue) || Our Scouts hath made a second returne from Glocester parts, he reports of severall Fights that hath been between the City and the besiegers Friday and Saturday, and that they not daring to storme the place, attempted to make Gallories, to facilitate their approaches, and to that purpose brought Faggots, but those were burnt, and the besiegers driven both from their Canon and ground, leaving many dead behinde them, some of which Ordnance they have got into the Towne, others lie, that neither part dare attempt the fetching: This not succeeding, there was order given to fetch in green wood, but whether these things be true in the circumstances, we will not be over confident, yet of this we are, that there hath been a Fight those daies before mentioned, and from hence we cannot but conclude, that Glocester hath done bravely, and deserves to be recorded for posterity, whereas some other places had need to have buriall in the grave of oblivion, and shall not the valour of this City of Glocester, edge all the souldiers spirits now in service for the Parliament, and put them upon those, or such like resolutions: What, shall such brave men as are in Glocester be destroyed, be prisoners? Shall these Citizens and Souldiers that have stood out thus bravely, given the enemy so many repulses, slaine so many of their enemies, wasted their Ammunition, not be assisted, relieved? Weele not regard money, nor stand upon this terme, or that, but goe and fall upon the weary enemy, and utterly destroy his power: when Sir William Waller had beene fighting many dayes, they by fresh supplies overcame him: we will now put both together, and goe on, and revenge both at once; so shall we haste an end of these present troubles, then which, nothing can be more acceptable to God and men that stand for true Religion and Liberty. || John Dillingham – The Parliament Scout (P)

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Gloucester citizen begs London to send relief

In Gloucestershire on August 20 at 12:15 am

Sunday 20 Aug 1643 || Our Scout, by reason the enemy is possest of the West, is forced to passe in by-wayes; he brings no other news from Exeter, but that it remains blockt up, and hath only relieved it selfe two or three times, and fetched in some cattell, beating up now one, and then another quarter of the enemy: Who pities not Exeter? Most constant, most faithfull, yet farthest from helpe, and neerest to misery: as he passed along, he understood of some ships taken in the Irish seas; and so went as neere Glocester as he could, but was not so neere, as to be able to tell, as some undertake, how many men the enemy hath lost, and who, and of what quality; nor is he able to say that any attempt had beene to storme the Towne the fourteenth past, or that the enemy then was come so neere as musquet shot: it is true, he heard the great Cannon play fiercelie for many dayes, but thinkes that the enemy will not be so prodigall of his men as he was before Bristoll: as he was comming from Glocester a back-way, he met with a woman, who had beene in Gloucester, she intreated him to bring a Letter to a friend in London, which he did, the Contents whereof was to this effect, and written by one of quality that is dangerously wounded.

Noble Sir,
There can be nothing more sad to a valiant and faithfull heart then neglect, what would more provoke, then to see men and water enough, yet none take a bucket to quench a fire? They say in other Countreys the English are the worst at this of all Nations, we in the poore City of Gloecester are like to finde it true in the quenching that fire which so violently burns us: The enemy batters us continually with their great Cannon, making breach after breach, (for thank the losse of Bristoll, they have powder enough) but God giving courage, we have hitherto made them up as fast as they beat them downe; But who relieves us? Nay, who comes and tells us we shall have reliefe? We can challenge it, for it was promised, and that largely; out of that confidence we have slighted all overtures: What is become of the Parliament Where is my Lord Generall? What do the City of London? Where is Sir William Waller? Must we perish? We are sensible of the miseries at Bristoll; and are not our friends so, if we have any? Sure there is no enemy that the City, or my Lord Generall need fear, unless those that are here; What people would fight for them that will not send them reliefe when they have wherewith? Can it be that in such a Cause as we have, one party should draw one way, and another the other? The God of heaven look upon us: If the West be not regarded; once as able and ready to serve the Parliament as any part of England, yet let our poore wives and children be subject to the beastly lust of the enemy: out estates all to be lost, and many other estates brought hither; our City threatened to be turned into ashes, and we put all to the sword; work a little compassion, beget some reliefe: The City of London we know are willing to part with their money, and want of reliefe sticks not with them, there are souldiers enough, hearts enough: we think that men should lay aside self-respects, and whatever for the common good, we have done so; we are yet able to hold out fourteen dayes, our souldiers and inhabitants are couragious, and shall Glocester be lost? The enemy knowes where our defect lies, and as it puts courage into them, so let it adde wings to our reliefe: Sir, send us reliefe, or send us some body to tell us we can have none, that we may shift for our selves, we are sure some are the cause reliefe comes not, knew we them, we would name them, were they never so great: and desire that those that can deliver us from misery, and will not, may have miseries as great, as can be here inflicted; or if any Counsell be against us, that it may be infatuated: The City of London were used to have power with the Parliament, with the Lord Generall: Will they now not use their interest? They may be the next, who shall pity them? Is this the reward to those that take up armes for Religion and Liberties? Will not honour protect the Cause, not nothing fire those Cannons, edge those swords, charge those muskets that must raise our enemies? Shall relief come as to Cirencester, set out after the Town is taken? But if it must be so, we must perish: Sir, these are the last breathings of your dying servant. || John Dillingham – The Parliament Scout (P)

News from the siege of Gloucester

In Gloucestershire on August 16 at 2:43 pm

16 Aug 1643 (Wed) || The Cavaliers now strongly besieged Glocester, and some say, that the King lieth within two miles of that City to see the event of the siege. And it is certainely affirmed, that Colonell Massey who is the Governour thereof, together with all the Citizens, have resolved to make good that place against the Cavaliers, or else to loose their lives, because they cannot confide in the Cavaliers Compositions, since they perfidiously violated their Agreement at Bristoll.¹ And that the Cavaliers have twice or thrice assaulted the City, but have beene repelled with the losse of at least a thousand of their men, insomuch that the defendants hope to hold out as long as their Ammunition lasteth, and pitty it is that they should not be relieved before it be totally spent. And it is hoped, that the Lord Generall of the Parliaments Army will send some aide to them, because he Yesterday Mustered his Horse at Kingston upon Thames, and found them to amount to the number of 4000. compleate, whereupon it is thought that his Excellency will spare 2000 of them for so good a worke.  || William Ingler – Certaine Informations (P)

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¹ However, the Parliamentarians had committed similiar breaches of faith: it was widely accepted that the Royalist troops plundered the departing Parliament garrison at Bristol, in contravention of the surrender agreement, because the Parliamentarians had done exactly the same to the departing Royalist garrison at Reading in April.

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’

Scots officer occupies, then abandons Berkeley Castle

In Gloucestershire on July 30 at 12:19 am

Sunday 30 Jul 1643 || You heard before that Captaine Forbes a Scot had put himselfe with some considerable forces into Berkeley Castle, without the leave, and against the liking of the Lord thereof; and that when it was ordered by the Lords in the Upper House, that he should quit the place, and yeild up the possession of it to the proper owner; the peremptory fellow made reply, that by the sword he had got it, and by the sword he would keepe it. And now you may be pleased to know, that after the defeat of Waller neare the Devises, many of the Officers of his broken Army got thither also, as a place capable enough to receive their numbers, and strong enough as they conceived to secure their persons. In confidence thereof they and the rest (whom they found there) committed many horrible out-rages on the neighbouring Subjects, without distinction either of persons, or affections; especially on those of their owne party, who having escaped pretty well before, had now most to loose. But hearing that his Majesties Forces had taken Bristol, and that they were not like to finde much safety there, as before they dreamed of; they forsooke the place before the coming of an enemy (as was this day certified:) the bragging Rebell not daring to make good his words, of holding by the sword what the sword had gained him.  || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

Skirmish narrowly avoided near Upton

In Gloucestershire on April 20 at 8:03 pm

20 Apr 1643 (Thu) || Sir Arthur Haslerigge, one of the Members of the House of Commons, is lately come hither from Tewkesbury, and he relateth, that Sir William Waller sent out a partee of Horse from thence to Upton, to make good the Bridge there against Prince Maurice and his Forces, but before their arrivall, hee was gotten over with his Army, whereby Sir Williams Horse were much distressed, being over-laid by a greater number, and endangered also by Ambuscadoes: yet it pleased God that they got off at the losse of ten or twelve of their men.  || William Ingler – Certaine Informations (P)

Maurice & Waller fight at Ripple Field

In Gloucestershire on April 19 at 12:44 pm

19 Apr 1643 (Wed) || There came this day some more particular information of the fight at Ripley-feild [Ripple Field] neare Tewksbury, mention whereof was made of Friday, April 14, in the last weeke of this Mercurius, viz. that one of Wallers troopes of horse, was by themselves confessed to be cut off, by the Prince Maurice his forces; and that another which was thought to have saved themselves by running away, was not yet returned unto their fellowes; his foot being so extreamly routed, that it was thought impossible they should be rallied; so that in the two late fights betwixt Prince Maurice and him it is conceived he hath lost above 500. of his men: As also that Sir William Waller himselfe being by accident throwne of his horse, in the heate and furie of the battaile, was troden under foot and so sorely bruised, that it was thought hee could not easily recover; isomuch that it was affirmed in London, as is advertised by some letters thence, that he was killed, and all his men slaine, except those that fled: and it was signifed withall, that since that fight, Prince Maurice was marched towards Evesham, to comfort and refresh his wearied troopes, after so long travell; and that on his removeall thither, Waller was safely got to Glocester, where he still abideth. Newes also came this day, that His Majesties Garrison at Cyrencester, together with all their Ordnance, Armes, and Ammunition, were removed to Abbington; and all the workes thereof lighted and levelled to the ground: the time now comming on, for his Majesties going into the feild, and the Rebels having made it evident by the seige of Reading, that they have laid aside all the thoughts of Peace.

It was this day advertised from London also, that Sir Arthur Haslerig, who had accompanied Sir William Waller in his late journey into Gloucestershire with a Troope of Horse, came into Towne of Tuesday, with no more then 20 of his Horse, his Troope consisting at the first of 70: which made some of their owne suspect, that all things did not goe so prosperously with Sir William Waller, as his Letters intimated, when as the Troope of such an eminent person as Sir Arthur Haselrig (one knowne sufficiently to be no very ventrous fighter) was so shrewdly lessened. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

Further activities of Sir William Waller

In Gloucestershire, Wales on April 14 at 6:57 pm

14 Apr 1643 (Fri) || Sir William Waller hath done some Exploits in Southwales, for he hath taken Monmouth and Chepstow, where he seized upon a Ship, belonging to the Malevolents of Bristoll, in which he found ten peeces of Ordnance, much Wines, and a great deale of Salt-Peter, with other commodities; and whereas it hath been reported, that Prince Maurice followed him with his army, there was no such matter, for all his forces lay still at Tewksbury, Winchcomb, and Sudeley Castle in Glucestershire. || William Ingler – Certaine Informations (P)

Further skirmishing between Waller & Prince Maurice

In Gloucestershire on April 14 at 9:46 am

14 Apr 1643 (Fri) || This day there came relation of a second fight betwixt the forces of Prince Maurice and Sir William Waller: it being related that after the defeate at Little Deane, Waller retiring with his horse, had by by-pathes and unsuspected waies got in safe to Gloucester, and from thence taking with him some commanded men out of the Garrison there, had entred Tewkesbury, being made ready to his hands (as before was noted) intending to have kept the Prince beyond the Severne; but that the Prince hearing how he had stollen away, and warily suspecting what his plot might be; had sent 500 horse before to gaine Upton bridge, which was done accordingly: that that the Prince having crossed the Severne, drew towards Tewkesbury where Waller tarried to expect him, and for his enterteinment had lined the hedges thereabouts with good Musketeers, with an intent to brave the Prince with some troopes of horse, and so by that Bravado to intice his Army within the reach and compasse of his Ambuscado: that the Prince knowing whom he was to deal with, having repulsed the horse so sent out to brave him, pursued no further then the Countrie was free and open, and then commanded some of his choicest foote, to scoure the hedges; which being done he fell so unexpectedly upon him with the maine body of his Forces, that he made them flie, killing about 80 in the place, besides as many more (as it is conceived) who flying from the sword, fell into the River, and were there drowned; there being but two onely killed of his owne souldiers: that Waller upon this second beating had recovered Tewkesbury, which hee began to fortifie for his best defence; and that the Prince was got betwixt him and Gloucester, intending to prevent him from returning thither. What hath beene done since then, is not yet made knowne. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

Waller & Prince Maurice skirmish in Forest of Dean; Tewkesbury Royalists attacked

In Gloucestershire on April 12 at 3:20 pm

12 Apr 1643 (Wed) || It was advertised this day also, that upon Munday last Sir William Waller with all his Forces came from Chepstow, and marching all that night, came upon Tuesday morning by six of the clocke as farre as Little Deane, (a Village in the Forrest of Deane) with an intention to assault and surprise Prince Maurice his Quarters, as he had done the Lord Herbert not long before: but that the Prince retreated out of Little Deane, where, and in the Villages about it he had bin quartered, and drew his Forces to an hill not farre off, without losse at all. That Waller being on another hill within sight of them, possessed himselfe of Little Deane, which the Prince had quitted, and made it good about two houres, will by the Prince they were beaten out, with the losse of about 60 of their Foot; and that the rest (of the Foot) being totally routed and defeated, and throwing downe their Armes, fled away in haste unto the Woods and Hills adjoyning, so that it could not be conjectured how many of them had beene slaine in the execution: That Waller being thus put to it, marched againe towards Chepstow, Prince Maurice following close upon him with his conquering Army, and the Lord Herbert being before him with his Welch Forces, so that it was believed he could not easily escape. What became of him afterwards, you shall shortly heare.

But it was certified withall (though by later Messengers) what ill effects this fortunate successe produced. For those of His Majesties Forces which were left in Tewkesbury, upon receipt of this good newes, grew so secure, if not so carelesse of themselves, that they neglected to keepe their watches, and so became an easie prey unto the Enemy. Who coming up the water in Boats from Gloucester, to the number of 400 or thereabouts, made themselves masters of the Towne ere they were discovered, seized on the Officers and Souldiers as they were asleepe, carried their Armes and Horses away to Gloucester, took Prisoners most of the Commanders, and some common Souldiers, and so returned againe without any losse. So that comparing this with some former incidents, a man may easily observe, that His Majestie hath lost more by the negligence of his owne men, then the power and valour of his Enemies. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)