Tyger's Head Books

Posts Tagged ‘town assaults’

Earl of Essex raids Cirencester

In Gloucestershire on September 18 at 2:21 am

18 Sep 1643 (Mon) || His Majestie had two Regiments of his best horse Quartered at Cicester [Cirencester] on Friday last being the 12. of this instant September, one Regiment under the Command of Sir Nicholas Crispe, the other of Colonell Spencer, but his Excellency being desirous to finde out the enemy, having already marched one hundred miles to fight with him, which still fled; and the Citizens of London being resolved rather then to loose their labour, to march hard to finde out the enemy, and to force him, if they possibly could, to fight with all, or part of them, omitting noe opportunity, though with great paines and travell [travail] marched on Friday last from Tuxesbury to Cicester where his Excellency with a Forlorne hope of the couragious Citizens, and his own Regiment of Foot, beat up the enemies Quarters, entred the Towne, put the nimble Copperas Pattentee to flight, and tooke foure hundred horse, eight Colours, and four hundred prisoners with their Armes, and also a Magazine of victualls of thirty loads which the Kings forces had in store to feed their Army with, and had robbed the Countrey thereof to famish ours: But Colonell le Dispencer, ranne away himself, and left the vicctualls to be disposed of at others pleasure. || Robert White & George Bishop – Mercurius Britanicus (P)

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Prince Maurice takes Exeter

In Devon on September 8 at 8:07 pm

8 Sep 1643 (Fri) || And now Reader, I must give thee a sad relation which (if you either love the King or His enemie) will certainly much affect thee; which (in a word) is that on Monday last Prince Maurice took possession of the City of Exeter for His Majesty. For Biddeford, Appleford, and Barnstaple being all delivered up to the Kings Forces, the rebellious City of Exeter was the chiefe place stood out in the West; Prince Maurice therefore being desirous to make a short worke of the War in those parts gave a very hot assault upon the City upon Sunday last, & did not onely shake the Wals in severall places, but by shooting Granadoes into the Towne, had fired a good part of the Suburbs: the Soudiers and others in the Towne, seeing the greatnesse of their danger, desired a Parley, in which the Prince offered them such conditions as had beene given before to Bristol; which being rejected by the Rebells (who would needes stand it out a little longer upon point of honour) His Majesties Forces pursued the assault so eagerly the next day after, that they made themselves masters of the great Sconce or Bulwark, and turned the Ordnance thereof on the Towne it selfe. Which being perceived by the Rebels, and finding that there was no hope of life and safety, but in the seasonablenesse of their submission, they humbly craved to be admitted unto those conditions which before they rejected, and (above their deservings) did obtaine the same, According to which conditions the Towne and Castle were delivered to the Prince his Highnesse with all the Ordnance, Armes, and Ammunition which was left therein, the city absolutely left to the gracious disposall of His Majesty, the Commanders and Officers of the Rebelss dismissed in safety with their Swords by their sides, and the commons Souldiers with Cudgels in their hands (which with a little Printing will perhaps grow to be Swords next weeke) all they suffered to take away [were] such goods as were properly and truly theirs. And so this proud City which had so long bid defiance to their native and gracious Soveraigne was at last reduced into the power of His Sacred Majesty, and that noble and valiant Gentleman Sir John Berkley who had deserved so much in the whole course of this service was declared Governour thereof. It was observed, that when the Officers and Souldiers issued out of the Towne, the Earle of Stamford was found missing, and no word as yet what became of the man. We say not this, that we thinke he was slaine in defence of that factious City, but that his Conscience did so check him, both for his causelesse taking up of Armes against His Soveraigne and his perverse pursuance of it (which made his Majesty except him in so many of his Proclamations and Declarations) that he durst not trust himselfe unto this agreement, but privately slipt out of the Towne in some poore disguise. And so the noble, valiant, chaste Earl of Stamford, full of vertue and honour, crept out of Exceter after he had begged his life, who not two dayes agoe told the Prince, that not want of courage or sufficient meanes for his subsistence in the Citie, but an earnest desire to come and die in His Majesties favour had made him doe what he did. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

The relieving of Glocester is an action so full of honour, that the losse of Excester (after fifteen weekes siege, being manfully defended that time, by the Earle of Stamford) is not so considerable, as the losse of our reputation, if Glocester had not beene relieved:¹ The Governour, Colonell Massey, had but two barrells of powder left, when my Lord Generall entered Glocester, but now he is furnished with plenty of ammunition and victualls: if the Cavaliers had beene so valiant, as Master Aulicus boasts them to be, they would have adventured the whole body of their Army to have prevented the relieving of that Towne, but the issue is, the King is fled to Worcester, the Lord Generall is marched after him, it is pitty the enemy will not stand by it, and abide the brunt of a Battell, then there were some hopes of an end to be put to these miseries. || Robert White & George Bishop – Mercurius Britanicus (P)

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¹The Earl of Essex had arrived near Gloucester on 5th September, and occupied the city on the 8th.

Cromwell fails to prevent Royalist capture of Gainsborough

In Lincolnshire on July 31 at 12:22 am

31 Jul 1643 (Mon) || The first thing … is a Letter which the House of Commons received this day from the Lord Willoughby of Parham, and Colonell Cromwell, from Gainsborough, informing them of these particulars, viz. That after the taking of Burleigh-house Colonell Cromwell, with some additionall forces from Nottingham and Lincoln advanced to the relief of Gainsborough, besieged by at least 5000 of Newcastles Armie, and came before the Town, on Friday morning last, fought with the enemy, though with great disadvantage of place and number, got the Hill of them, charged them within Pistoll shot, fought with them a long time at swords point, Routed their whole body, and pursued the chase of them with great execution five or sixe miles, killed the chief men in the field, Generall [Charles] Cavendish, and another person of note, much like to Generall King,¹ one Colonell, Lieutenant-Colonell Serjeant Major, and a Captain, above 100 others found dead upon the place, and neer upon twice as killed in the pursuit, took prisoners above 150. and upon their retreat relieved the Town with Powder and other Provisions: After which they skirmished with a new supply of the Newcastles Army, that came against them, brought off their Foot, which was engaged with great disadvantage, and made a sure retreate into the Town with little losse; Desiring the Parliament, that some speedy course might be taken to relieve them with fresh supplies, and they doubt not, by Gods help, to dissipate the great power of the Newcastles Army, who are all advanced that wayes, and intend with all speed for the Southern parts. And since the receipt of this Letter, we hear they² have taken Gainsborough (a punctuall Relation whereof hereafter follows) and will be a great in-let to their advance this way, if not the more speedily prevented. || A Perfect Diurnall of Some Passages in Parliament (P)

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¹ Cavendish was indeed killed; King was not.
² i.e. the Royalists

Rupert sieges Bristol; ships block Bristol Channel for the King

In Bristol on July 26 at 6:18 pm

26 Jul 1643 (Wed) || It was certified this day, that Prince Rupert having joyned his Forces to his Brothers, and the whole Body of their strength being brought together; they sate downe on Monday before Bristol: and that they began their batteries, and had bestowed no lesse then one hundred shot on the same already. As also that on the going off of the first peece of Ordnance from his Majesties Camp, five Ships which lay in Bristol rode advanced His Majesties Colours on the top of their masts, declaring that they would so keepe the Channell for the use of His Majesty, that neither any supplies should be brought into the Towne by Sea, nor any of the Rebels which were there get out that way. Which proved of such importance to the dispatch of the work that the Town was no likely to hold out long: whereof more tomorrow. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

Royalists take Malmesbury

In Wiltshire on July 23 at 6:07 pm

Sunday 23 Jul 1643 || It was advertised this day, that certaine of his Majesties forces, being in their march towards Bristol, had taken Malmesbury from the Rebels. The Town had been abandoned by his Majesty, and all the Garrison and Ordnance removed thence by his especiall command, at such time as the Earle of Essex had beleaguered Reading: and not possessed by the Rebels, till that of late it was thought fit by some of their principall leaders to put a Garrison of 80 horse and 400 Foot into it, with some 9. peeces of Cannon, for the better bridling of the Country, and awing of the parts adjoyning, whom they plagued sufficiently. But notice being given to some of his Majesties Commanders quartered thereabouts, where the Guards were weakest, and the Towne most fit for an assault, they fell upon it in the night, (about two nights since) and having forced an easie passage through the carelesse Guards, made themselves masters of the place; as also of the Cannon, Armes, and Ammunition; some of the Souldiers being killed, and the most part taken; the rest providng for themselves by some close conveyances, under the covert of the night. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

Parliament takes Gainsborough

In Lincolnshire on July 21 at 11:18 am

21 Jul 1643 (Fri) || On Sunday there came letters to the close Committee from Lincolneshire, signifying that; that right noble Gentleman, the Lord Willoughby of Parham hath with a party of  the Lincolneshire forces taken in the Town of Gainsbrough by a desperate assault in the night time, forcing upon their Courts of Guard, which was but negligently manned, and entred the Town, without any bloody shed took prisoners about 60. Knights, Gent. & Commanders all men of very good worth, & cheife Agents of the War in those parts prisoners, the Earl of Kingston was also taken there, being a man for estate as considerable as most noblemen in the Kingdom and by the Kings Commission made Generall of all the forces in those parts raised in opposition to the Parliament; who upon the first taking of the Towne, betooke himselfe to his house, where he stood upon his guard for neare upon a whole day after, but was at length forced to surrender himselfe a prisoner to the Lord Willoughby; and they found in his house a great quantity of moneys and rich prize, released 200. of the Parliaments prisoners that were at sundry times taken in Yorkshire, and about Lincolne, tooke about 50. other prisoners in the Towne, and great store of Armes and Ammunition, the Town it selfe if very considerable in divers respects, and through the benefit of the River, will be of great use to us, and a prejudice to the enemy Northwards. All the Prisoners taken there are sent safe to Hull, Boston, and some other places thereabouts.

And for the better defence of the Towne upon notice, that Generall King was gathering all the forces he could about Newarke, to come against the Lord Willoughby at Gainsborough, the Lord Fairefax hath sent a Pinnace thither with 200. Musqueeters, and 8. peece of Ordinance, whereby with the assistance of the Countrey forces that are also joyned with them, the Towne is so well fortified they feare not any attempt of the Popish army, that are comming to besiege them. || Samuel Pecke – A Perfect Diurnall (P)

Sir Thomas Fairfax takes Wakefield for the Parliament

In Yorkshire on May 28 at 12:16 pm

Sunday 28 May 1643 || The certainty and manner of the losse received at Wakefield by His Majestie, whereof there was a rumour the day before, was this day made knowne: it being certified by one who was present there, that the Enemy having appeared in view, and fallen of againe (as many times they use to doe) gave an assault upon the Towne on Sunday morning, May 21. after the Officers had beene up all night upon double watches; and forced their passage into it at a place where the workes were slightest. The noyse whereof coming to Colonell Goring, then sicke of a Feaver in his bed, hee got on horse-backe, and flew amongst the Rebels, with some few followers, couragiously making good the entries, till being over-pressed by the number of the Rebels, and not well seconded by his owne men, none but the Troopes of Captaine Carnaby and Captaine Lampton coming in to helpe him, hee was taken Prisoner. For the Souldiers there in Garrison being gone to rest after so long watching, and somewhat amazed at the suddainnesse of the accident; and withall being neither well advertised of the strength of the Enemy, nor in what numbers they had entred the Towne already, could not so easily be brought together; but that before the Colonell could be relieved, and the souldirs gathered into a body, the Rebels had possessed themselves of the streets and market-place. Upon report whereof the Horse made out of the Towne with all speed they could, and recovered Pontefract, so that but few of them were missing: a great part of the Foot escaped also thither, the rest being taken Prisoners, & some 30 slain. Sr Thomas Fairefaxe who had the conduct of the Rebels, was like to have payed dearely for his purchase, being so farre ingaged amongst His Majesties men before he was aware, that he might very easily have beene taken Prisoner if he had beene knowne; but finding his mistake before he was discovered, he got off againe and escaped the danger.

The taking of this Towne, as it was the greatest losse that hath befallen His Majestie in the North, during the course of all this Warre; so is it like to be the occasion of a greater good, in bringing the Warre there to a speedy end. For it was certified withall, that the Earle of Newcastle being advertised hereof at Sheafield, where he then resided, gave order for drawing Sir William Witherington [Widdrington] and Throckmortons Forces out of Derby-shire (some parts whereof he had brought lately under contribution) to the maine body of his Army, and the next morning marched to Doncaster, and that night to Pontefract, where Darcyes and Sibthorps Regiments being 1400 good men, and all well armed, came unto him also; 4000 Foot exceeding well appointed being commanded to be drawne up from other places, to joyne together with them for some speciall service. So that the Army now on foot is verily conceived to be a third part stronger, and ten times more inflamed, and better stomacked to the businesse then before they were: whereof wee doubt not but to heare somewhat shortly, which will give ample satisfaction for the late disaster. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

Parliament troops take Stafford in a night assault

In Staffordshire on May 18 at 4:39 pm

18 May 1643 (Thu) || But this good newes [regarding Royalist successes at Grantham] was waited on by an unfortunate accident, which befell his Majestie in the losse of Stafford: whereof it was advertised this day, that some of the Rebels dwelling in the More-lands had fallen upon it in the night, and making their way over the River, where the Town was lesse defensible, and not well guarded, made themselves masters of it without any resistance: the Garrison there being about 200 in all, were as supine and negligent as they have been in many other places, to the great disservice of his Majestie, and the losse of their own lives, or libertie at the least. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

The particulars of the late taking of the Towne of Stafford are thus; Mr. Stepkin, and Mr. Chadwicke, two resolute lovers of their Countrey; being much perplexed that the Towne of Stafford was kept by such wicked people as daily annoyed and infested that County, got some of the Morelanders about Leyke and Stone, to side with them, and sent to Sir William Brereton in Cheshire to aide them, who sent his owne Troope of Cuirasiers to them, with which assistance they tooke the Towne by Scalado, with the losse of very few men on both sides, some Sentinels onely excepted, for the Cavaliers in the Towne seeing themselves too desperately and sodainly surprised, had not the power to make any  opposition. They tooke prisoners there to the number of 300, besides horses and armes, amongst which 42 were men of note and quality, the chiefe whereof were, John Damford, of 500li. per annum, Ralph Smead [Sneyd],¹ of 1000li. per annum, Thomas Leigh, of 7000li. per annum, Richard Bowyer, of 1000li. per annum, George Digby, of 800li.² per annum, John Skrymson, of 800li. per annum, and Samson Comberford, of 500li. per annum, all the rest were Gentlemen, Captaines and Officers. And since, the aforesaid two valiant Gentlemen, the report is, have also surprised the most Malevolent Towne of Wulverhampton in the same County, where they have taken some prisoners, Armes and Ammunition, and more wealth, as it is said then they found in Stafford; after these exploits, if they could but reduce the Close at Liechfield, that whole County would then speedily be brought to the devotion and obedience to the King and Parliament. || William Ingler – Certaine Informations (P)

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¹ Sneyd was MP for Stafford; he had been disabled from sitting in Parliament in 1642.
² Presumably not George Digby, son of the Earl of Bristol, a noted Royalist; firstly because had he been captured, it is difficult to imagine Parliament ever releasing him (and he was active throughout the war); and secondly because the London newsbooks would have crowed about it for weeks.

Sir William Waller seizes Malmesbury

In Wiltshire on March 22 at 12:44 pm

22 Mar 1642/3 (Wed) || We heard before how neare Sir William Waller was approached to Malmesbury, and this day heard, that taking the advantages of the Kings forces going towards Aylesbury (whereof you may be sure he had good intelligence) he had fallen upon the towne and wonne it. There were in the towne under Lieutenant Colonel [Herbert] Lunsford 300 of His Majesties souldiers or thereabouts; in Wallers army above 3000. yet Lunsford and his souldiers played their parts so well, that they held out from Tuesday from ten of the clocke before noone, untill Wednesday morning, repulsed the enemy three times, with great losse and slaughter, insomuch that they had quite left the enterprize, and three hundred of their men behind them. But being advertised by a false brother of the towne, they returned againe, and at the last obtained a Parlie: wherein it was agreed, that the besieged should give up the towne, and depart thence with bag and baggage, leaving their horse and Armes behind them. Which being solemnly agreed upon, and Lunsford with his souldiers having left the place, and advanced forwards on their way; Waller sends after them a Troope of horse, seizeth upon their baggage, tooke prisoners Lunsford, and some of the principall Officers, killed such as did resist in their own defence, and left some few whom they held lesse considerable to enjoy their liberty. The like perfidiousnesse we hardly find examples of amongst Christian Nations, and might exceedingly admire to have found it now, but that they did the like at Winchester, and are resolved as it seemes, to be no Changelings. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)

Earl of Derby takes Preston

In Lancashire on March 21 at 12:32 pm

21 Mar 1642/3 (Tue) || News also came this day from Lathom [House] in Lancashire (the Manor house of the Earle of Derby) that the said Earle having fired the town of Lancaster, had laid his siege before the castle: but hearing that 700 Musketiers, & some troops of Horse were come from Preston, which Towne the Rebels had surprized not long agone) to the reliefe of the besieged, he drew up his men into a body, and faced the Enemy, as if he meant to give them battell; and in the meane time sent a strong party of his Foot towards Preston, as a place of greater consequence then the other was, whom he after followed with his Horse. Being come before the Town upon Munday night, about ten of the clocke that night he gave on upon it, and after two houres very hot fight became Master of it, with the losse of not above ten or twelve of his common Souldiers. What Prisoners are taken, and what numbers slaine, is not yet made knowne. But certaine ’tis, the greatest part of the Rebels Magazine had beene brought in thither, which is all now in the power of the Conquerour: And that their principall Commanders, Roseworth, Shuttleworth, Holland, and Ashton, were in the Towne, not long before his Lordship appeared before it. It was also certified in the said Letters that the younger Shuttleworth was slain, and his whole Troope defeated some two dayes before, by the Lord Molineux; and that since the recovery of the Towne, the Countrey came apace unto his Lordship, who is now supplied with store of Armes and Ammunition to pursue his warres. And finally, that when he came from Lancaster he brought the Mayor of the Towne, and a great company of Prisoners away with him. || John Berkenhead/Peter Heylyn – Mercurius Aulicus (R)