Alexander Meyrick Broadley.

The royal miracle; a collection of rare tracts, broadsides, letters, prints, & ballads concerning the wanderings of Charles II. after th online

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ring the Kings Knell. These rude Extravagancies moved not his
Majesty at all, but onely (as if he was more troubled for their madness,
than his own misfortune) to this most Christian & compassionate
expression, Alas, -poor people f

Now though the King valued not the menaces of his proud
Enemies, being confident they could do him no hurt ; yet he neglected
not to try the faithfulness of his Friends to convey him out of their
reach. Thus the former design proving unsuccessful, and all hope of
Transpetation that way being laid aside, the Colonel acquainted his
Majesty, that one Captain William Ellesden of Lime'* (formerly well
* See ante, Historical Introduction, p. 42.

The Royal Miracle

known unto him) with his brother Johyi Ellesden (by means of Colonel
Bullen Reymes of Wadden in Dorsetshire) had conveyed over into
France Sir John Berkley (now Lord Berkley) in a time of danger. To
this Captain therefore his Majesty sends the Colonel, who lodging at
his house in Limey took an opportunity to tell him, that the Lord
Wilniot had made his escape from Worcester ; that he lay privily near
to him ; and that his Lordship had earnestly solicited him to use his
utmost endeavours to secure him from the hands of his pursuers.
To this purpose he was come to town, and assured the Captain, if he
would joyn in this affair, his courtesie should never be forgotten.
The Captain very cordially embraced the motion, and went with the
Colonel to Charmouth (a little place near Lime) where at an Inne, he
brought to him a Tenant of his, one Stephen Limhry^ assuring the
Colonel that he was a right honest man, and a perfect Royalist. With
this Limhry Colonel Wyndham treated under the name of Captain
Norrisy and agreed with him to transport himself & three or four
friends into France. The conditions of their Agreement were ; That
before the two & twentieth day of that instant September, Limbry
should bring his Vessel into Charmouth-Ro3.d, and on the said two
& twentieth, in the night should receive the Colonel & the his
company into his Long-boat from the Beach near Charmouth, from
thence carry them to his Ship, and so land them in France. This the
Colonel conjured Limbry to perform with all secresie, because all the
Passengers were of the Royal party, and intended to be shipped without
leave, to avoid such Oaths and Engagements, which otherwise would be
forced upon them : And therefore Privacie in this transaction would
free him from Danger, and themselves from Trouble, the true cause
why they so earnestly thirsted (for some time) to leave their native
country. Limbry s Salary was Sixty pounds, which the Captain
engaged to pay at his return from France^ upon sight of a Certificate
under the Passengers hands of their landing there. To the perform-
ance of these Covenants, Limhry with many vows & protestations


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obliging himself, the Colonel with much satisfaction, and speed came
back to his Majesty & the Lord Wilmot at Trent, who at the narration
of these passages expressed no small contentment.

The business being thus successfully laid, the King consults how
it might be prudentially managed, that so there might be no miscarriage
in the prosecution. Necessary it was that his Majesty & all his
Attendants (contrary to the use of Travellers) should sit up all night
in the Inne at Charmouth ; that they ought to have the command of
the house, to go in & out at pleasure, the Tide not serving till twelve
at night. To remove therefore all suspicion & Inconveniences, this
Expedient was found out.

Henry Peters (Colonel Wyndhams servant) was sent to Charmouth
Inney who inviting the Hostess to drink a glass of wine, told her,
That he served a very gallant Master, who had long most affectionately
loved a Lady in Devon, and had the happiness to be well beloved by
her ; and though her Equal in birth & fortune, yet so unequal was
his fate, that by no means could he obtain her Friends consent : And
therefore it was agreed between them, that he should carry her thence,
and marry her among his own Allies. And for this purpose his
Master had sent him to desire her to keep the best Chambers for him,
intending to be at her house upon the two & twentieth day of that
moneth in the evening ; where he resolved not to lodge, but only to
refresh himself & friends, and so travel on either that night, or very
early next morning. With this Love-story (thus contrived & acted)
together with a Present delivered by Peters from his Master, the
Hostess was so well pleased, that she promised him, her house &
servants should be at his MasterS command. All which she very
justly performed.

When the day appointed for his Majesties journey to Charmouth
was come, he was pleased to ride before Nirs Juliafia Coningshy (the
Lady Wyndharns Neece) as formerly before Mr j Lane : The Colonel
was his Majesties Guide, whilst the Lord Wilmot with Peters kept at a


The Royal Miracle

convenient distance, that they might not seem to be all of one

In this manner travelling, they were timely met by Captain
Elesden, and by him conducted to a private house of his Brothers
among the hills near Charmouth. There his Majesty was pleased to
discover himself to the Captain, and to give him a piece of forein Gold,
in which in his solitary hours he made a hole to put a ribbin in. Many
like pieces his Majesty vouchsafed the Colonel & his Lady, to be kept
as records of his Majesties favour, and of their own fidelity to his
most Sacred Person in the day of his greatest Trial. All which they
have most thankfully treasured up as the chiefest Jewels of their

The Royal Company from thence came to the Inne at Charmouth,
a little after night ; where Captain Elesden solemnly engaging to see
the Master of the Ship ready, (the wind blowing then fair for France)
took leave of his Majesty. About an hour after came Limhry to the
Inne, & assured the Colonel all things were prepared, and that about
midnight his Long-boat should wait at the place appointed. The set
hour drawing nigh, the Colonel with Peters went to the Sea-side
(leaving his Majesty & the Lord Wilmot in a posture to come away
upon call) where they remained all night expecting ; but seeing no
Long-boat, neither hearing any message from the master of the ship,
at the break of day the Colonel returns to the Inne, and beseeches the
King & the Lord Wilmot to haste from thence. His Majesty was
intreated ; but the Lord Wilmot was desirous to stay behind a little,
promising to follow the King to Bridport, where his Majesty intended
to make a halt for him.

When the King was gone, the Lord Wilmot sent Peters into Lime,
to demand of Captain Elesden the reason why Limbry broke his pro-
mise, and forfeited his word ? He seemed much surprised with this
message, and said. He knew no reason, except it being Fair-day, the
Seamen were drunk in taking their Fairwell ; and withall advised his


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Lordship to be gone, because his stay there could not be safe. But
since that Limhry himself hath given this account under his own
hand : —

That according to an Agreement made at Charmouthy September
the 19. 1 65 1, betwixt himself & one Captain N orris, (since known to be
Colonel FrancisWyndham) he put forth his Ship beyond the Cobs-mouth*
into Charmouth-rode, where his servants on the 22 of the same monthe
were all ready in her, waiting his coming ; That he going to his house
about ten that night, for linen to carry with him, was unexpectedly
locked into a chamber by his Wife, to whom he had a little before re-
vealed his intended Voyage with some Passengers into France, for
whose Transportation, at his return, he was to receive a considerable
sum of money from Captain Elesden.

This woman (it seems) was frighted into a panick fear by that
dreadful Proclamation (of the tenth of September) set out by the Men
of Westminster, and published that day at Lime. In this, a heavy
Penalty was thundered out against all that should conceal the King,
or any of his party, who were at Worcester Fight ; and a Reward
of a Thousand pounds promised to any that should betray him. She,
apprehending the Persons her husband engaged to carry over to be
Royalists, resolved to secure him from danger, by making him a
Prisoner in his own chamber. All the perswasions he used for his
liberty, were in vain : For the more he intreated, the more her
violent increased, breaking forth in to such clamors & lamentations,
that he feared if he should any longer contend, both himself & the
Gentlemen he promised to transport, would be cast away in this
storm, without ever going to Sea.

Thus a Design in a business of the highest nature, carried on
with industry & prudence, even to the very last, still promising full
hope of a happy production, by one mans single whisper (the bane

* The projecting piers forming the small harbour at Lyme. There is a drawing of
them in the British Museum executed in the reign of Henry VIII.

The Royal Miracle

of Action) proved abortive. For no doubt, had Limhry kept his
counsel, he had gained the honour of Conveying over his Majesty ;
of whose Noble Courage & Vertue, God was pleased to make yet
farther trial, as the sequel will inform.

The King passing on upon London-Ko?Ld from Charmouth, met
many travellers, among whom was one of his Fathers servants, well
known both to his Majesty & the Colonel ; who were very well pleased
that he was not guilty of so much Civility, as to give either of them
the complement of a Salutation. As they drew near to Bridport, the
Colonel riding a little before, and entering the town, perceived it full
of Soldiers ; whereupon stopping his horse till the King came up, he
intreated his Majesty to keep on, and by no means to put himself into
the mouth of them, who gaped greedily after his destruction. Never-
theless, the King having engaged to the Lord Wilmot to expect hini
there (without the least apprehension of danger) rode into the George,
and alighting in the Court, was forced to stay there, and in the Stable,
near half an hour, before the Colonel could procure a Chamber. All
this while his bloody Enemies were his onely Companions, with whom
he discoursed freely without fear, and learned from them their in-
tended Voyage for Jersey & Guernsey, and their designs upon those
Islands. Here may you see the Pursuers overtaken, and the bitterest
of Enemies freely discoursing with Him, whose utter Ruine they
accounted would compleat their Happiness. He that sate in Heaven
certainly laughed them to scorn, and by the interposition of his
mighty Arm eclypsed their glory, and by his admirable Wisdom
reproved & confuted their malice against the King, & their blas-
phemies against Heaven.

No sooner had the King withdrawn himself from this dangerous
Company into a Chamber (with much difficulty obtained) but Mrs
Coningsby espied Peters riding into the Inne. He (being beckned up)
acquainted his Majesty, that the Lord Wilmot humbly petitioned him
to make haste out of the place, and to overtake him slowly passing



Claustrum Regale Reseratum

on the road, and waiting his Majesties coming. Presently upon the
dismission of Peters, the King having taken some small repast, not
far from the Town joyned in company again with the Lord fVilmot,
& discoursing of the several Adventures of that hopeful, and (as it
fell out) most perilous Journey, concluded that Lo7tdon-Ro3.d was very
unsafe, and therefore resolved to follow the next Turning* which
might probably lead towards Teavill or Sherborn, neither of which is
computed to be above two miles distant from Trent. Providence (the
best of Guides) directed these Strangers (for so they were all to those
parts) to a way, which after many hours travel brought them into a
Village, in which was a small Inne for entertainment. This entred
those masqued Travellers, to enquire where they were. And to this
purpose calling for some Beer, the Host of the house (one Rice
Jones) came forth, and informed them that the place was called
Broadzvindsor. The Colonel knew the Innkeeper & his wife to be
very honest, loyal persons, and that for their fidelity to the King &
his party, they had (according to their condition) undergone their
share of troubles. The King understanding the affection of the
people, resolves to lodge in the house that night, it being already
somewhat dark, and his Majesty & Company sufficiently wearied with
their former nights watching and that days travel. The Colonel
(while the horses were put up) desired Mr Jones to show him the
most private rooms ; the reason he gave was. Because his Brother-
in-law Colonel Reymes (whom the Lord Wilmot personated) had been
a long time imprisoned, as well as himself; That they had lately
obtained their Paroles, and to be seen together so far from their
homes, might create new jealousies, and so consequently crush them
with new troubles. The good Host upon this brought them up into
the highest chambers, where Privateness recommended the meanness
of the Accommodation, and the pleasantness of the Host (a merry

* Lee Lane, Bradpole, the scene of the "Miraculous Divergence" of September 23,
1 65 1. See antCy p. 11, and />(?//, p. 265.

L 161

The Royal Miracle

fellow) allayed & mitigated the weariness of the Guests. Now the
face of things began to smile, which all the day & night preceding
looked so louring & ill-favoured. But this short Calm was on a
sudden interrupted by a violent Storm. For in comes the Constable
with almost Forty Soldiers to be billeted that very night in the Inne ;
all the lower Receptacles were thronged up with this unexpected
Company ; so that the King was in a manner besieged, there being
no passage from above, but through those suspected Guards. Thus
every place brought forth its troubles, and every period of time dis-
closed fresh dangers ! Shortly after the Soldiers had taken up their
Quarters, a Woman in their company fell in labour in the Kitchin.
The pangs she endured, made the Inhabitants of that place very ill
at ease, fearing lest the whole Parish should become the reputed
Father, and be enforced to keep the Child. To avoid this charge,
the chiefest of the Parish post to the Inne, between whom & the
Soldiers arose a very hot conflict concerning provision to be made
for the mother & the infant. This dispute continued till such
time as (according to orders) they were to march to the Sea-side.
This quarrelsom Gossipping was a most seasonable diversion, exer-
cising the minds of those troublesom Fellows, who otherwise were
likely to have proved too too inquisitive after the Guests in the
house ; the sad consequences of which, every loyal heart trembles to
think on.

Surely we cannot, except we wilfully shut our own eyes, but
clearly see, and with all reverence & thankfulness adore the Divine
Goodness for his Majesties signal Deliverances in this Voyage.
Especially if looking back upon Charmouth, we consider the dangers
that threatened him, occasioned by the Lord Wilmot's short stay there,
after the King's departure. For one Hamnet a Smith, being called to
shoe his Lordships horse, said, He well knew by the fashion of the
shoes, that they were never set in the West, but in the North. The
Hostler (a bird of the same feather) hearing this, began to tell what



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company had been there, how they sate up, and kept their horses
sadled all the night ; and from hence they conclude, That either the
King, or some Great Persons had certainly been at the Inne. The
Hostler (whose heart was soured against the King) runs presently to
one Westley (of the same leaven) then Minister of Charmouthj to
inform him of these Passages, and to ask counsel what was to be done.
This Westley was at his Morning Exercise, and being somthing long-
winded [And by the way it may be observed^ that long Prayers proceeding
from a Traiterous hearty once did good, but by accident onely] the Hostler,
unwilling to use his reward at the Gentlemans taking horse, returns
without doing his errand. As soon as my Lord was mounted & gone,
Hamnet tells Westley of the discourse between himself & the Hostler.
Away comes Westley upon full speed to the Inne, and (almost out of
breath) asks the woman of the house, what Guests she had entertained
that night ? She said. They were all strangers to her, she knew them
not. I tell you then (said he) one of them was the King. Then
hastily turning away from her, he & Hamnet ran to Mr Butler of
Commer (then Justice of Peace) to have him dispatch abroad his
Warrants to raise the Country for the apprehending of the King, and
those persons the last night with him at Charmouth. But he spends
his mouth in vain, a deaf ear is turned upon him, no Warrant would
be issued forth. This check given to his zeal so vexed him, that it
had like to have caused a suffocation, had not Captain Massey (as
errant a Hotspur as himself) given it vent, by raising a Party and
pursuing the King upon London-Ro3.d. But God preserved his
Majesty by diverting him to Broadzvindsor, whilst Massey and his hot-
mettled company outran their Prey as far as Dorchester. And indeed,
the report of the Kings being at Charmouth, was grown so common,
that the Soldiers (lying in those parts) search'd the houses of several
Gentlemen, who were accounted Royalists, thinking to surprize him.
Amongst which Pilesdon (the house of Sir Hugh Wyndham Uncle to
Colonel Francis Wyndham) was twice rifled. They took the old


The Royal Miracle

Baronet, his Lady, Daughters, and whole Family, and set a Guard
upon them in the Hall, whilst they examine every corner, not
sparing either Trunk or Box. Then taking a particular view
of their Prisoners, they seize a lovely young Lady, saying, she
was the King disguised in womens apparel. At length being con-
vinced of their gross & rude mistake, they desisted from offering
any further violence to the Family. And here it must be observed,
that the same day the King went to Charmouth, Captain Elesden
came to Pilesden, and enquired of Sir Hugh and his Lady for the
King & Colonel, confidently affirming that they must needs be

His Majesty having with an evenness of spirit gotten through
this rough passage safely anchored at Broadzuindsor : Where at length
enjoying some rest, he commands the Colonel to give his opinion
what course was to be taken, as the face of affairs then looked. The
Colonel (seeing Forces drawn every where upon that shore) thought
it very hazardous to attempt anything more in Dorsetshire ; and there-
fore humbly besought his Majesty, that he would be pleased to retreat
to 'Trent : He hoped his Majesty was already satisfied in the fidelity of
his servants ; and that he doubted not, his Majesty might lie securely
in that Creek, till it was fair weather, and a good season to put forth
to Sea. He humbly advised, that Peters might conduct the Lord
Wilmot to Mr. Huifs house at the Kings-Arms in Sarum, where he &
many of his friends had been sheltered in the time of troubles. That
Peters (being at Sarum) should by a private token bring his Lord-
ship to Mr John Coventry (his Kinsman) a Person Noble, Wise &
Loyal, with whom he had kept Intelligence in order to the Kings
service, ever since his Majesty had set foot in Scotland ; that he
was assured Mr Coventry would think himself highly honoured to
correspond in this matchless employment, The Kings Preservation.
He desired the Lord Wilmot to be confident of lying concealed ;
And likewise to treat with Mr Coventry, and by Peters to return his



Claustrum Regale Reseratum

Majesty an account how he found that Gentleman affected towards
this service.

This counsel being well relished & approved, 'twas resolved,
That between Sarum & T^rent (lying 30 miles distant & better) an
Intercourse should be kept by trusty messengers, and a secret way of
writing, to avoid danger in case of interception. All things being
thus concluded, the King left his jovial host at Broadwindsor, and
returned with the Colonel & Mrs Coningsby to Trent. The Lord
Wilmot with Peters went that night to Sherborn, and the next morning
was waited on by Swan (who attended his Lordship to the Colonels)
and that day got into Sarum where he soon saluted Mr. Coventry^ in
all things fully answering his LordshipS expectation: And (the 25 of
September) Peters was sent back with this joyful message from the
Lord Wilmot to his Majesty, That he doubted not (by Mr. Coventry's
assistance & those recommended by him) to be able in some short
time to effect his desires.

Whilst his Sacred Majesty enjoys his peace at Trent^ and the
Lord Wilmot (with those other Worthies) is busied at Sarum to
procure its continuation. It cannot be impertinent to mention a
Circumstance or two, which inserted in the midst of the web & texture
of this Story would have looked unhandsom, but added as a fringe
may prove ornamental.

Upon the Sunday morning after the King came to Trent, a Tailor
of the Parish informed the Colonel, That the Zealots (which swarmed
in that place) discoursed overnight, that Persons of Quality were hid
in his house, and they intended to search & seise them ; and therefore
he desired the Colonel (if any such there were) to convey them
thence, to avoid surprisal. The Colonel (rewarding the good man for
his care & kindness towards himself & family) told him that his
Kinsman (meaning the L. Wilmot) was not private, but publick in
house, (for so his Lordship pleased to be) and that he believed he
would show himself in the Church at the time of Prayers. When the


The Royal Miracle

honest fellow was gone, the Colonel acquaints the King what had
passed between himself & the Tailor, and withall besought his Majesty
to perswade the Lord Wilmot to accompany him to Church, thinking
by this means not only to lessen the jealousie, but also to gain the
good opinion of some of the Fanaticks, who would be apt to believe,
that the Colonel was rather brought to Church by my Lord, than his
Lordship by the Colonel, who seldom came to that Place, since
Faction & Rebellion had justled out, and kept possession against
Peace & Religion. He alledged moreover, that he sat in an He
distinct from the body of the Congregation, so that the Parishioners
could not take a full view of any of his company. These reasons
joined with his Majesties command, prevailed with his Lordship ; and
(though he thought it a bold adventure, yet) it not only allayed the
fury, but also took out the very sting of those wasps ; insomuch that
they who the last night talked of nothing but searching, began now to
say that Cromzveirs late success against the King, had made the Colonel
a Convert.

All being now quiet about home, the Colonels Lady (under
pretence of a visit) goes over to Sherborn to hear what news there
was abroad of the King. And towards evening, at her return, a
Troop of horse clapt privately into the town. This silent way of
entering their Quarters, in so triumphant a time, gave a strong alarm
to this careful Lady, whose thoughts were much troubled concerning
her Royal Guest. A stop she made to hearken out what brought
them thither, and whither they were bound : But not one grain of
Intelligence could be procured by the most industrious enquiry.
When she came home, she gave his Majesty an account of many
stories, which like flying clouds were blown about by the breath of the
people, striving to cover her trouble with the vail of cheerfulness.
But this the King perceiving to be rather forced than free, as at other
times, was earnest to know the cause of her discomposure. And to
satisfie his Majesties importunity, she gave him a full relation of the



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Troop at Sherhorn : At which his Majesty laughed most heartily, as if
he had not been in the least concerned. Yet upon a serious debate
of the matter, the Colonel & his Lady supplicated the King to take a
view of his Privy chamber, into which he was perswaded to enter, but
came presently forth again, much pleased, that upon the least approach
of danger, he could thither retreat with an assurance of security. All
that night the Colonel kept strict watch in his house, and was the more
vigilant, because he understood from Sherhorn, that the Troop intended
not to quarter there, but only to refresh themselves & march. And
accordingly (not so much as looking towards Trent) about two of the
clock next morning they removed towards the Sea-coast. This fear
being over, the King rested all the time of his stay at Trent, without
so much as the apprehension of a disturbance.

The strangeness of which will be much increased by the addition

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Online LibraryAlexander Meyrick BroadleyThe royal miracle; a collection of rare tracts, broadsides, letters, prints, & ballads concerning the wanderings of Charles II. after th → online text (page 12 of 22)