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Posts Tagged ‘sieges’

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’

Aftermath of Adwalton Moor

In Yorkshire on July 7 at 10:00 am

7 Jul 1643 (Fri) || You heard on munday the fortunate successe which God gave His Majestie in the great fight on Bradford-more, where the body of the Yorkish Rebells was beaten out of the field, and those of Lancashire beaten backe againe into their owne Country: Which field was fought on Friday, the last of June. And this day it was signified by an expresse, that the Earle of Newcastle following the course of his good fortune had presently laid seige to Bradford, bestowing on the same on Saurday morning, for a salutation no lesse then forty shot from his great Artillery: and plying the businesse very closely he made himselfe master of the Towne on the morrow after: in which he tooke 2000 Prisoners, with all the Arms, Horse, & Ammunition, which either the Rebels found in the towne, or brought thither with them. As for their Generall Fairfax, finding the town unable to hold out against so strong and valiant an enemie (the so much celebrated Club-men being strangely shrunke up and now unable to relieve his Lordship) he was fled thence the night before with only one Troope of Horse, and with great difficultie recovered Leedes. Which is no more then to shift his place not to better his condition. As also that the Rebells in the town of Halifax hearing of the successe of Bradford, did desert the place, which thereupon did instantly submit to his sacred Majesty: so that the warre in these parts is reduced to a narrow compasse; there being now no place of strength remaining to the Rebels, but Leedes and Hull, of which more tomorrow. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

Naval activity at Exmouth

In Devon on July 1 at 12:12 pm

1 Jul 1643 (Sat) || By an expresse from Exeter it is certified that the Citizens have made divers salies out upon the King’s Forces, but have beene repulsed with much losse; they have brought severall Ships to Exe Mouth, and (as it is reported) laden with men and Ammunition but whether with either or both is not yet certaine; this we are sure of, that 2 or 3 of the lighter vessels ran in over the Bay, where the Kings Forces make bold to keep them, who are like to pay deare for their returne: the other two ships lie out in the Ocean, and are so waited on by His Majesties forces, that if they offer to land in long boats they are like to fare as well as the other former. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

From the Sea the Newes is, that Captaine Moulton, who commandeth one of the Earle of Warwicks ships called the Swift-sure, sent three small Ships into Exmouth, which seized upon two Ships in that Harbour, the one of them being ready fitted by the Cavaliers for a man of War, the other was of small consequence, and that he hath taken another Ship at Tingmouth. but there was nothing of any value in her, and that all the Maritime Townes in Devon are in Rebellion against the King and Parliament, excepting Plymouth, Dartmouth and Excester. || William Ingler – Certaine Informations (P)

The Earl of Essex summons Wallingford

In Oxfordshire on June 4 at 6:02 pm

Sunday 4 Jun 1643 || By letters from divers Captains of the army under Command of his Excellency neere Wallingford, it is certified that his Excellency hath sent a Herald to demand the surrendring up of that town to the use of the King and Parliament upon quarter, which if he refused hee intended God willing to recover the possession thereof by force, which would prove of greater disadvantage to the inhabitants then peaceably without blowed to yeeld up the same. To which Answer for the present was returned, they expected assistance from the Kings Army, but if none came, they were strong enough to defend themselves from his force; upon which Warrants [were] issued to the Colonels, Captains, and Officers in his Excellencies name for their present repaire from their Randevouz with their forces to the town for the present beleagring of the same: and two Alarums have been struck up for assault to be made against the same: the further relation of these proceeding you shall understand by the next Post from thence. ||  Richard Collings – The Kingdome’s Weekly Intelligencer

Sir William Waller faces Worcester

In Worcestershire on June 3 at 4:13 pm

3 Jun 1643 (Sat) || It had been signified betimes on Munday morning, that Sir William Waller was upon his march towards Worcester the day before; and that he did intend to besiege that City; and so accordingly he did: on which advertisement His Majestie gave present order for three Regiments of horse and dragoons to be sent speedily away to releive the same. But before these succours were advanced, Waller perceiving that it was not like to prove such an easie businesse, as that of Hereford had beene, was fallen back againe: it being certified this day, that giving an Assault upon the Towne and being valiantly repulsed with the losse of 140 of his men, he had left the enterprize, and was retreating backe againe to his hold at Glocester.

Before Waller came to besiege Worcester, he sent Tickets signed with his owne hand (dated May 29.) which by some private brethren were scattered about the streetes in the night, on purpose to raise a facitous party amongst them, the Copy I have here set downe, viz.

 To all Gentlemen, and other Inhabitants of the City of Worcester.

As many of you as are sensible of the danger of your Religion, your persons, and goods, and the priviledges of your Corporation, are desired to declare your selves sensible of them at this opportunity. It being my errand (by the helpe of God) to rescue them from the oppressions of your present Governours. And I promise that all such as shall appeare willin to welcome my Endeavour shall not onely be received to free quarter but protected to the utmost of my power.

May 29. 1643. William Waller.

But all these tricks would not draw the honest and loyall Inhabitants of Worcester from their Allegiance, for they continued very resolute, resolving to die before they would betray their Wives, Children, and themselves to the Rebels. Sir William sent a Trumpeter to summon in the Towne, but Colonell Sands told him that he was not now at Hereford, and bad him be gone; the fellow said he would carry a more mannerly answer to Sir William the Colonell told him hee should have no other, and bad him againe be gone, and so turned away to looke after other businesse; the fellow would not stirre till the Guard sent to the Colonell to know what they should doe; upon which he and Sir John Beaumont came backe, and asked him why he gate him not away with his answer, he replyed as before, but farre more uncivilly; at which Sir John bade shoot at him, and Captaine gave fire towards him, and then he presently went away; but some say he was hurt, and died of that hurt, if he did he might thanke himselfe, who stood impudently there after his answer was given him three severall times. The Souldiers and Townesmen are of that brave courage that if Waller come back againe with above twice his number, he cannot fright them. but above all, the honest brave behaviour of the good women of the Towne is worthy observation, who did not onely encourage their husbands to stand it out bravely, telling them they would die with them in this just cause, but did also themselves run out of the Town (as soone as Waller was gone) and with their owne hands sleighted the worke that had sheltered his Musketeirs, and the day after very orderly levelled all the ditches in and about the Towne; which (if any thing) will make them so famous, that no honest maid of that Corporation shall hereafter want a good husband.  || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

Out or Worcestershire they write, that about the later end of the last week, Sir William Waller came before the City of Worcester, with his Army and great Ordnance, and for a while battered it on the East side and after a daies siege he raysed his Army, and marched away, whereupon the Governour of the City sent immediatly tidings of great joy to Oxford, that he had beaten Sir William Waller from thence; but Sir William did this but in policy, to shew his Enemie a Strategem of warre, for he departed not quite away, but as they write, he wheeled about to Powick on the west side thereof, at St Johns, and giving there a fierce assault, where they least expected it, he entred the Suburbs and tooke them. || William Ingler – Certaine Informations (P)

Sir Ralph Hopton approaches Exeter

In Devon on June 1 at 9:56 pm

1 Jun 1644 (Thu) || This day letters came from the West, advertising that Sir Ralph Hopton making the best use of his late great victory¹ had brought his conquering Army close unto Exeter, which was conceived was neither able nor disposed to hold out against him; (if so be he thought it his best course to spend time in besieging it) the country comming in so fast unto him that his strength was very much increased; besides the great advantage he had of so many Cannon, which he tooke from them in that fight. There was a speech also that  the Towne was delivered up, but not so well confirmed and seconded, as to be reported for a certaine. But if the old observation be of any credit, that rats and mice doe commonly forsake a ruinous and decaying house; that City is not like to continue long in the Rebels hands: the Earle of Stamford being gone thence already with his followers, and others packing after with all the speed they can.   || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

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¹ i.e. the battle of Stratton

Parliament’s forces take Warrington

In Cheshire on May 30 at 9:21 am

30 May 1643 (Tue) || From Manchester in Lancashire they write, that Colonell Aston with his Army hath beseiged the Towne of Warrington, lying upon the River Mersey, which severeth the Counties of Chester and Lancaster, and that after a weekes siege he took the great Streete and the Church, with the steeple, which was abandoned by the Enemie, as being not tenable for their purpose; and that the Enemie thee, had so foreclosed the rest of the Streets in that Town, with strong Barricadoes and Pallisadoes, (having had a long time to doe it) that he could not yet force his entrance into them, unlesse he could mount his Ordnance upon the steeple, which commandeth the whole Towne. And they write further from thence, that one of the Parliaments ships under the Earle of Warwickes Command, came into the Harbour at Leverpole, which so affrighted the Earle of Derbyes forces there, that they presently left the Towne, by which meanes the mariners in the ship have with the more facility seized upon it. And they also say that colonell Tillesley, who is the onely man of note now left in that County for the Earle of Derby, is gotten on foote againe with some of his lewd adherents, and that he beginneth anew to imbroile the northerne parts of the County. || William Ingler – Certaine Informations (P)