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Archive for the ‘Somerset’ Category

The Battle of Lansdowne

In Somerset on July 8 at 6:46 pm

8 Jul 1643 (Sat) || The cheife intelligence of the day was the Westerne newes, which therefore was the more look’d after, because somebody out either out of feare or knavery had spread a false rumour that His Majesties Forces in the West had been worsted by Sir William Waller, which was most impudently false, as you shall heare by an impartiall collection out of 3 severall Expresses from such hands (should I name them) you would say are not capable of a lye.

On Wednesday July 5. Sir William Waller advanc’d with his whole Bodie upon the hither end of Lands downe, a place of very great advantage, whence he sent out a good Partee of Horse and Foot towards us, lyning the Hedges towards our champane, and there advanced a strong Partee of Horse under the protection of their Muskettiers, & some of our Horse being drawne out within musket shot, retired in some disorder towards the Reere of our Foot, whereupon Sir Bevill Greenvill and Sir Nicholas Slannings Regiments of Cornish Foot advance’d and bravely beat them out of the Hedges, but our Horse speedily rallyed again and recovered their ground: then a strong Partee of their Horse drew into a large Field upon our left Wing, which our Horse charged and entirely rowted, and our Cornish Foot drove theirs from Hedge to Hedge, through Woods and steepe Hills back to their maine Bodie, and at last forc’d them from the brow of the Hill which they had barrocadoed, and whereupon they had planted their Canon. For the ground they had was of mighty advantage, being a high Hill walled about behind and upon both sides, with works in the Front, the passage up very narrow and dangerous, one side being a Wood, the other full of hedges, both of them strongly lined with Muskettiers; and having gotten this ground wee found the Enemie in an entire Body, his Foot placed within certaine stony walls of great strength, through which he had prepared divers places for his Horse to sallye, being drawne up in Battalio in the reere of his foot. Before our Horse and Foot could draw up in Battalia they charged us with their Horse, and played so thick upon us with their Cannon and Muskettiers, that they (by advantage of the place) forc’d us from the hill, which notwithstanding wee assaulted againe and againe three severall times, and the fourth time with unimaginable difficulty wee possessed the top of it, which Sir Bevill Greenvill maintayned with his stand of Cornish Pikes against all their power of Horse, Foot, and Cannon, to the wonder and amazement of both friends and enemies, where this brave gentleman was most honourably, though unfortunately slayne in the front of his men, with his Serjeant Major and Captaine Lieutenant dead at his feet, ending his life with as much honour, as mortall flesh is capable of. Then wee rallyed our Horse and drew up our Cannon, and by that time it grew darke, notwithstanding shot of all sorts played on each side till midnight, when the Rebels stuck their Matches on the Hedges, upon which wee gave a volley from every part of our Bodie, which instead of answering they ran quite away, leaving us the Field, where wee found above 500. Muskets, 14. Barrells of Powder, a whole stand of Pikes, together with good store of all sorts of Armes, they having stollen away their Cannon when they left their light Matches. All which in the morning wee having carefully searched and viewed, our men being much tyred with extreame labour, and pin’d with hunger, retired into our Quarter. The Fight lasted from two in the afternoon till one the next morning, wherein (besides Sir Bevill Greenvill before mentioned) were slaine of His Majesties Forces 8. Officers and Gentlemen of note, viz. master Leak sonne to the Lord Daincourt, who with one Troop charged three of the Rebels Troops (being their Forlorne hope) where the brave Gentleman was slayn and found dead on the ground with a Colour taken of the Rebels found in his Armes; Master Barker a gallant Gentleman, which had each had a brother in the same Troop (Master Charles Leak and young Master Barker) who bravely revenged their brothers death; lieutenant Colonell Wall, Serjeant Major Lower, Captaine James, Captaine Cholwell, & Master Bostard, who all behaved themselves as well as possibly men could do, but of Common Soldiers so few as tis not credible in so long and disadvantageous Battaile as this was. The Rebels Foot were absolutely routed, and all dispersed or cut off, his losse of Officers and Horse very great, though wee know not the particulars as yet, wee are confident wee kill’d many hundred of his men, having the Field, the Armes, Pillage, and all other signes of an absolute Victory.  || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)


Royalists gain Taunton & Bridgwater

In Somerset on June 10 at 8:22 pm

10 Jun 1643 (Sat) || This  day there also came a punctuall information of the successe which had befallen the Marquesse of Hartford and Sir Ralph Hopton since the conjunction of their forces. There had been a report on Sunday that the Marquesse passing by the Towne of Dorchester, and Sir Ralph Hopton leaving forces to block up Exeter, were to meete that night; and with their joint power take some course for the reduction of Somerset-shire to His Majesties service. And it was certified this day, that with their whole forces, amounting to 9000 men and upwards they drew towards Taunton, a towne of great comand and consequence in those parts of Somerset: and by their coming strooke such a terrour into the inhabitants, that they desired to be admitted to His Majesties favour upon such conditions, as should be agreed upon betwixt them. Whch were in fine to this effect, that the inhabitants should be free from plunder, and imprisonment, that the Towne and Castle should be delivered to His Majestie with all the Ordnance, Armes, and Ammunition, which was found therein, and that the people should afford the Army free quarter and a whole weekes pay. This being condescended and agreed upon, His Majesties forces tooke possession of the Towne and Castle, in which they found 6 peece of Ordnance, 500 Armes, 19 double barrels of powder, a tun of match, with bullet, and other things thereto proportionable. The newes whereof being brought to Bridgewater a towne of great importance also, which hitherto had held on the Rebels side; they sent unto the Marquesse to desire that their submission might be taken on the like conditions: which being yeilded to, they gave up the Towne, and in the same 8 peece of Ordnance, with Ammunition, Armes, and other necessaries proportionable to so many Ordnance. By meanes whereof His Majesty is already master of the most part of that County, there being but few places in it which are able to resist in the lease degree, and the most active and considerable of the Rebels being fled to Bristoll, as their onely Sanctuary in the West. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

Out of the West is is informed, that the Towne of Taunton in Somersetshire had fortified themselves with Outworkes, Ordinance, and a Garrison of 5000. of the trained bands of the County, but that upon the approach of 2000. Hoptonians, the bands ran away, and left the towne to discretion, which hath compounded with them for the delivery of their armes and Ordnance, and a thousand pound ransome. And that Bridgewater, a towne neer thereunto, was also deserted by their Forces, where the enemy had of them their armes, Ordnance, and 500.li in money to save them from pillaging. England, henceforward trust not trayned bands, nor ordinary Troopers, for they have proved cowardly and treacherous.  || William Ingler – Certaine Informations (P)

Report of examination of Bristol conspirator

In Somerset on March 19 at 8:16 pm

Sunday 19 Mar 1642/3 || From Bristoll it is informed, that upon inquisition and examination of the late horrid conspiracy there, Yeomans, one of the chiefe Conspirators, produced a Commission from the King, whereby he is made a Colonell of that City, and hath power to raise a Regiment for the strengthening of his part, but hee had no power thereby given him to massacre innocent and harmlesse people, unlesse he also produce some secret instructions to that purpose: And it is likewise certified from thence, that one of the Colstons is acquitted, which the next weekes newes will more certainly informe. || William Ingler – Certaine Informations (P)

Bristol conspirators to be executed; Colonel Essex to face censure

In Somerset on March 18 at 3:02 pm

18 Mar 1642/3 (Sat) || The Parliament hath sent an Order to his Excellency the Lord Generall at Windsor, wherein they request him to send a Martiall Commission to the Governour of Bristoll, to trie the late Conspirators there, and to put them to execution of death, for their horrid treachery to deliver up that City yo the enemy, and to Massacre the good and innocent people amongst them.

Colonell [Thomas] Essex who was lately apprehended at Bristoll and carried to Gloucester, is now brought a prisoner to Windsor, and committed to safe custody there, where he is to abide the censure of the Lord Generall, for the murther which he acted at Bristoll, and for other heynous crimes perpetrated by him there, and it is verily supposed, that he would have furthered Prince Ruperts entrance into that City, if he had not been prevented by that timely apprehension. || William Ingler – Certaine Informations (P)

Royalist sympathisers in Bristol allegedly seize ships

In Somerset on March 14 at 9:27 am

14 March 1642/3 (Tue) || This day came newes that Mr Nathaniell Fynes Commander of the Forces for the two Houses of Parliament in the City of Bristol, had exercised a great deal of cruelty on many of the Principal Citizens and Merchants there, whom he suspected to hold any intelligence with His Majesty, or to have any hand in practising to yeild the towne to the right Owner. Which hath so much exasperated the Marriners and Seamen there, (being men of courage and fidelity, and of as great experience in Sea-fights as any subjects of this Kingdome) that they have seized on 16 stout and lusty ships which had wintered there, furnished with all things necessary, so with no fewer then 130 good pieces of Ordnance; which they intend to keepe for His Majesties service, and for as much as in them is, to restore His Majesty to the dominion and command of the Seas again, which some of His good subjects had deprived him of, under pretence of making him more great and glorious then any of his Predecessours. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

Major Royalist plot discovered at Bristol

In Somerset on March 10 at 3:06 pm

10 March 1642/3 (Fri) || At Bristoll a most bloudy and horrid plot was ripe for execution, and discovered but two howres before it should have bin performed: on Thursday Prince Rupert came before Bristoll with 7000 horse at least, he lay that night at Downham Green within a mile of Bristoll with his whole Army all night long without shelter, with hope of the plot taking effect; at foure of the clock in the morning the Court of Guard and outworks should have been surprised by the Butchers and Slead-men, and some of the Marriners, and at 4. Churches in the city, the bells should have been rung to have given P. Rupert notice to fall on with his Forces, and all to be put to the sword who had not a piece of white Tape or Incle in his hat, or about his wrest, or in his breast: This being miraculously discovered about two of the clock in the morning, there were 400 desperate men in one house armed and surprised by the Parliaments Forces, and sixty in another house. The persons active in this design were one [George] Butcher, Yeomon,¹ Creswicke, Colston, and others, who were all taken, with divers hundreds more; and before the houre that horrid treachery should have been executed, were put in hold, and at the time that bloudy Prince Rupert expected to heare the Bells to give him notice that the massacre of the Protestants was begunne, God in his mercie diverted it, and the next day this Prince perceiving the damnable and Jesuiticall plot did not take effect, retreated immediately to Oxford without doing any honorable action, being too much stained in honour in the hopes of this; and he that had a hand in this bloody villanous plot, how great soever, deserves not a charitable thought otherwise, then God forgive him. || Richard Collings – Kingdome’s Weekly Intelligencer

¹ Either William or Robert Yeomans, brothers later condemned for their involvement

Citizen discontent in Bristol

In Somerset on February 10 at 12:54 pm

10 February 1642/3 (Fri) || From Bristoll it was signified that Citizens are not pleased with Colonell [Thomas] Essex, the Governour of the Citie at this time for the two Houses of Parliament, who having killed one of his men for demanding pay, and finding that the Citizens had sent their Coroner to take a view of the dead body and cause an inquest to passe upon him, beat them away, and not onely would not suffer them to do it, but caused a Proclamation to be forthwith made, which hath much displeased them, But there’s another thing which doth more displease them, than the rough carriage of their pretended Governour: which is, that those parts of Wales which but the most part of their commodities in that Citie, and owe great summes of money to the Merchants there, having published and declared, that none of them will be responsible for any debts which they owe in Bristoll, unlesse the City doe returned to the Kings obedience: A matter which concerned them much in case of profit, which many times workes more in some sorts of men, then a case of conscience.  || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

The Earl of Stamford moves his forces from Hereford to Bristol

In Somerset, Wales on December 20 at 11:43 pm

20 Dec 1642 (Tue) || By an Expresse from Bristoll it is signified that the Earle of Stamford and his forces have left Hereford and are come into that City, because Hereford and that County are full of disaffected people, and if he stood in need of ayd, he could expect no assistance from them: besides those places being remote and inconsiderable, he saw that he could not advantage the Parliament by defending them, while Bristoll, a more considerable place, wanted helpe, and therefore he thought fit to remove thither, and joyne with Colonel [Thomas] Essex to secure that City, both from the Malignants within it, and from the Cavaliers that long after it. At his arrivall there, the well affected Citizens sent him 3000l. to maintaine himselfe and the Army that defendeth them. And it is also reported there, that some jarres and differences are hapned betweene the Lord Herbert and the Marquesse Hartford, whereupon the Lord Herbert hath confined him to the Castle of Abergevenvy. || Stephen Bowtell – England’s Memorable Accidents

The state of the King’s forces in the west

In Cornwall, Devon, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wales on November 22 at 9:37 pm

22 Nov 1642 || There is a report this morning, that a flying Army of the Cavaleirs, have seized upon and taken Cirencester, being a strong town in Glocester, it is related that they drive the cattell thereabouts before their Army, they have seized upon the towne, taken all the Ordnance, beate off the Garrison that lay for the defence of it, and the outrages committed by them are most barbarous, the opposition betwixt Subject and Subject being more bloudy and barbarous then in forraigne Countries, [where] it is betwixt enemy and enemy. ||  A Continuation of Certain Speciall and Remarkable Passages

From Chepstow and other places in the borders of South-Wales, we heare that the Malignants, Papists and others, flocke together to the Lord Herbert, who is raising men in those parts for the Malignant party against the Parliament. ||

It is said, that Sir Ralph Hopton having got together all the men he can in Cornwall, which are some three thousand, is marching from thence, whether towards the King, or his old confederate, the Marques Hertford, is not knowne, howsoever the County of Devon is up to resist his passing: the noble City of Excester, being well mand and fortified to prevent any attempt hee shall practise upon them, that wealth place meaning not to be rifled by his theevish crew, but to stand for the Parliament and their own safeties.

Bristol is in an admirable posture of war, where no Malignants dare come, they be all thereabouts for the Parliament. || John Johnson – The English Intelligencer