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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of what a Captain who served under Cromwell at Worcester, reported to
two divines of undoubted veracity, long before the King's blessed
Restauration : That he was followed & troubled with Dreams for
three nights together, That the King was hid at Trent near Sherborn,
in a house nigh to which stood a Grove or patch of trees, and that
thither he should go & find him. This suggestion thus reiterated,
was a powerful spur to prick him forwards : But the hand which held
the reins & kept him back, was irresistible.

Now the hands of his Majesties enemies were not only restrained
from doing him evil, but the hands of his friends were strengthened
to do him good. In order to which. Colonel Edward Phelips of
Montacute in the County of Somerset came from Sarum to his Majesty
(Septemb. 28.) with this intelligence. That his brother Colonel Robert
Phelips was employed to Southampton to procure a Vessel, of which
transaction his Majesty should receive a speedy account.

In the meantime, Captain Thomas Littleton (a Neighbour of
Colonel Wyndhani) was dispatch'd up into Hampshire, where by the
aid of Mr Standish he dealt with the Master of a Ship, who undertook


The Royal Miracle

to carry off the Lord Wilmot & his company, upon the condition
his Lordship would follow his direction. But the hope of Colonel
Phelifs his good success at Hamfton dash'd this enterprise, and the
Captain was remanded to Trent, and to make no progress till further

Upon the first of October, Mr John Sellick (Chaplain to Mr
Coventry) brought a letter to his Majesty. In answer to which the
King wrote back, That he desired all diligence might be used in pro-
viding a Vessel; and if it should prove difficult at Hampton, trial
should be made farther: That they should be ascertained of a Ship
before they sent to remove him, that so he might run no more hazards
then what of necessity he must meet with in his passage from Trefit to
the place of his Transportation.

October the fifth. Colonel Phelips came from the Lord Wilmot &
Mr Coventry with this assurance. That all things were ready ; And that
he had informed himself with the most private ways, that so he might
with greater probability of safety guide his Majesty to the Sea-side. As
soon as the King heard this message. He resolved upon his Journey.
Colonel Wyndham earnestly petitions his Majesty, that he might wait
on him to the shore : But his Majesty gave no grant, saying, It was no
way necessary, and might prove very inconvenient. Upon the renew-
ing his request, the King commanded the contrary, but sweetened his
denial with this promise. That if he were put to any distress, he would
retreat to Trent.

About ten next morning {October the sixth) his Majesty took leave
of the old Lady Wyjidham^ the Colonels Lady & Family, not omitting
the meanest of them that served him. But to the good old Lady he
vouchsafed more than an ordinary respect, who accounted it her highest
honour, that she had three Sons & one Grandchild slain in the defence
of the Father, and that she her self in her old age had been instrumental
in the protection of the Son, Both Kings of England.

Thus his Sacred Majesty, taking Mrs Juliana Coningsby behind


Claustrum Regale Reseratum

him, attended by Colonel Robert Phelifs^ and Peters, bade farewell to
Trent, the Ark In which God shutt him up, when the Floods of Rebellion
had covered the face of his Dominions. Here he rested Nineteen days,
to give his faithful Servants time to work his deliverance : And the
Almighty crowned their endeavours with success, that his Majesty
might live to appear as Glorious in his Actions, as Couragious in his




The Letter of William EUesdon of
Charmouth to the Earl of Clarendon
concerning the adventures of Charles II
in West Dorset on September 22, 23
and 24, 165 1

(Transcribed from the Original Letter preserved in the Bodleian Library)

To the Right Ho^ Edward Earle Clarendon, Lord
ChanceloLof England &c

Right Honourable

Humbly considering that a compleat and perfect narration of the
many & great dangers & the late many & signall deliverances wch his
Sacredd Majesty met with all after that fatall rout at Worcester until
his Majesties happy arrival at that porte of safety at wch Allmighhty
God, his gracious & mercifull Preserver had designed for him, cannot
but be very acceptable to all good Christians & Loyall hearts, wch
being a work so much conducing to the Glory of God and the hono^f
renowne of y! most most dread Soveraigne, and withall observing too
great defectiveness in those narratives upon this subject that I have
hitherto seen as to some of those eminent deliverances which God was
pleased mercifully to voutchsafe his Majesty in the west : to the intent
that if God shall stirre up the heart of any learned & able Historian to
give a true & full account of those remarkable passages of Providence
to the World, 1 may contribute my Mite to such a noble & desirable
undertaking ; I have now (upon presumption of your Lordships
favourable acceptance) taken upon me the boldnesse to present unto
your Lordship a brief account of those memorable passages in this
kind Vf^}}. my self (having been an Agent in them) had the honoi: &
happinesse to be acquainted wth. The well yoL Lordship may be
pleased to take as folio weth.

After that his Ma^I disappointed of his hopes of embarking at
Bristol! (of w£t yoE Lordship may inform yo!: self in that Account wSl?
a person of Quality hath given the world in his book styld the History
of His Sacred Maty CharlesIH printed at London Anno 1660 pag 125)


The Royal Miracle

his Majesty desired to be brought some miles westward to the
house of a worthy gent whom hee knew to be a trusty friend &
accordingly his Ma^j; being conveyed to the house of Colonell Francis
Wyndham of Trent in Soml', advice was had about preparation of a
passage for his Ma'I in some Westerne Port. In prosecution of wf^
myself being look't upon as a person that might be confided in, and in
a capacity of giving his MaL^-in order to his transportation (having not
long before been instrumental! in getting safe passage for Sir John
[now Lord] Berkly) upon or about the i8^ September 1651 the afor-
said honourable & truly Loyall gent Coll : Francis Wyndhame came
to me at my house in Lyme (where I then lived, looking upon it as
some protection to me in those times to live in that towne) when after
some other discourse had, and an engagemIL* to secrecie passed betwixt
us, he told me that the King had sent him to me Commanding me to
procure him a vessell in order to his transportation into some part of

Being overjoyed to heare that my Soveraign was soe neare me (the
Coll had informed me he was) & even ravisht with content at an
opportunity of expressing the Loyalty of my heart to his Most
Excellent Ma'Z) so unexpectedly presented itself, I answered that I
would with the utmost hazard of my person and wtsoever else was
deare unto me (as knowing my self by all obligations, both sacred &
civill thereunto obliged) strenously endeavol the execution of Ma*il*
both just & reasonable commands in this particular : being verily
persuaded that either God would preserve me from, or else support me
in and under any sufferings for so good a cause. Accordingly I
immediatly sent one to the Custom-house to make enquiry who had
entered his vessell as bound for France. Newes was brought me that
one S. L. of Charmouth had lately entered his Barque, and intended a
speedy voyage to S^ Mallo.

Not only myself but also Coll: Wyndham was much affected with
these tidings, having first told him that I had an interest in the Master


The Letter of JVilliam Ellesdon

(hee being my Tenant) and that hee ever had the repute of being well
affected to his Ma!I- Upon these encouragemts wee (resolving to loose
noe time) road to Charmouth by the Sea-syde to conferre with the
Master w£^ way I the rather make choice of that in y! passage thither
I might show the Coll: what place I judged most convenient for His
Majesty to take boat in (in case wee could work the master to a comply-
ance) in order to his imbarquing, and indeed a more commodious place
for such a designe could hardly be found, it lying upon the shoare a
Quarter of a mile from any house, and from any horse or foot path.
The Coll: being fully satisfyed of the conveniency of the place, wee
rode into the towne and immeiatly sent for the Master who being very
happily at home presently repaired to us at the Inne.

Friendly saluations and some endearing complemi! being premised,
(and a name that was not his owne being by me in the hearing of the
master given to the Coll: in way of disguise) I told him that the end
of our sending for him was to procure passage for a friend ot mine and
this gentlemans who had had a finger in the pye at Worcester. The
man being startled at this proposition (as apprehending more than
ordinary danger in such an undertaking) we were necessitated to use
many arguml! for the removall of his feares, w£i^ were so happily
managed that in a little time wee saw the effect of them by his chear-
full undertaking the businesse. Wherefore an ample reward being
engaged for our one part he promised speedily to prepare his vessell,
and to hale her out of the cobb the munday following, and about mid-
night send his boat to the place appointed for the taking in of the
passenger, and then immediatly to put off to sea (in case the winds were
favourable). Thus far we were aggreed, and in all our discourse there
was noe enquiry made by the master, nor any least intimation given by
us who this passenger might be, whose quality we purposed concealed
lest the hopes of gaining ;^iooo (promised reward of the highest
Treason) might prove a temptation too strong for the master to grapple


The Royal Miracle

Having thus farre successfully proceeded in our businesse we re-
turned to Lyme. The next day (being Friday) Coll : Wyndham resolved
on returning to his house at Trent with these hopefull tidings to his
Ma^- I bore him company part of his journey, and chose the Land
road from Lyme to Charmouth, that upon the top of a hill situate in our
way betwixt these two townes, upon a second view he might be more
perfectly acquainted with the way that leads from Charmouth to the place
appointed for his Ma^ifl taking boat, it being judged more convenient
upon severall accounts that the Coll : & not myself should be his Ma^ con-
ductor thither. Here calling to mind that on Monday (the day appointed
for his Ma!ii^ imbarquing) a Fayre was to be held at Lyme, and withall
doubting lest upon that account (through the nearnesse of the place) our
Inne in Charmouth might be filled with other guests, wee sent downe
one Harry Peters then a servant of yf Colls (who yet was not with us
there the day before) with Instructions by the earnest of five shillings
to secure the 2 best roomes in the Inne ag' his MaH£i cominge, who told
the hostesse (to take off all suspicion) this fayre tale : that there was a
young man to come thither next Munday that had stolen a gentlewoman
to marry her and (fearing lest they should be followed & hindered) that
he desired to have the house & stables at liberty to depart at whatsoever
houre of the night he should think fittest.

This menage being performed, roomes made sure of and the
serv^ returned, I then shewed Coll: a country house of my father's
distant both from Lyme & Charmouth about a mile & half, w^ (for the
privacy of it) we determined should be the place whither his Ma-'z with
the Lord Wilmott, who then waited on him, should repair on Munday
next, that I might then & there give his Ma^ a further account of what
had passed in the interim betwixt myself & the master.

Now being abundantly satisfyed and exhilerated in the review of
the happy progresse we had thus far made, with most affectionate em-
braces the noble Coll: and myself parted. He returning to his house to
wait upon his MaD: & myself towards mine vigorously to prosecute


The L,etter of IVilliam Rllesdon

what yet remained on my part to be done with the master in order to
the compleating of this work thus happily begun. In the performance
of w£l^ that I might approve myself faythfull, I the same day & the day
following, and also on the Munday after, having diligently sought out
the master, moved & pressed him soe earnestly to the punctuall per-
formance of his passed promise, that he seemed discontented at my
Importunity as betraying in me a suspicion of his fidelity. A little to
allay his passion I told him I was assured that the Gent my friend would
be at Charmouth on Munday, and that if he were not then ready to
transport him, it might prove an undoing both to my friend & me.
Whereuppon to vindicate himself he told me that he had taken in his
ballast, that he had victualled himself & haled out his vessell to the
Cobbs mouth for feare of being beneaped, because the tides at that time
were at the lowest, being well satisfyed with this answer I left him (after
that I had given him instructions how to prevent any jealousies that
might arise in the breasts of the mariners concerning the persons to be
transported) and immediatly went to the aforsaid Country house of my
Fathers, whither when I was come (and perceived that I was the first
comer) that I might also erect a blind for the Tenant's eyes I demanded
of him whether the London Carier had passed that day or not, telling
withall that I expected 2 or 3 friends, who promised to meete me there
about yf time of the Carrier passing that way.

His answer to me was but little to the purpose. But in half an
houre after my arrivall thither came the King with Mrs Julian Conisby,
a kinswoman of the Colonells who rode behind him, the Lord Wilmot,
Coll Wyndham & his man Peters attending on him. After theyr
coming in I took the first opportunity to acquaint his Mail of what had
passed betwixt myself & the master after Coll. Wyndhams departure
from me. The result of all ws!} was this, that the master had assured
me that all things were in a readinesse for the intended voyage, and
that, (according to y! instructions given him) he had possessed the Sea-
men with a belief that one of the passengers viz Lord Wilmott was

M 177

The Royal Miracle

a merchant by name Mr Payne & the other, meaning the King, was his
serv^ That the reason of Mr Payne's taking ship at Charmouth at
such an unseasonable hour, and not at Lyme, was because that being a
Town-Corporate he feared an Arrest, his Factor at S-' Mallo having
broken him in the estate by his unfaithfuhiesse to him, and that there-
fore he was necessitated with this his serl^ speedily & privately to
transport himself to S^ Mallo aforll in order to the recovery of such
goods of his as by his sayd Factor were detained from him, the sending of
wSl} goods at severall times this serl^ of his could sufficiently testify &
prove. This I the rather acquainted his Mal>: & the Lord Wilmot with,
that after theyr being shipped (the more to confirme the mariners) they
might drop some discourses to this effect.

His Ma'i' who showed his approbation of what I had done, was
graciously pleased as a testimony of his Royall favor (w^J^ I have ever
esteemed as a Jewell of greatest worth) to bestow upon me a piece of
gold, telling me that at present he had nothing to bestow upon me but
that small piece, but that if ever it should please God to restore him to
his Kingdom, He would readily grant me whatsoever favor I might
in reason petition him for.

Upon this his Ma^' attended as is before expressed, rode towards
Charmouth, commanding me to hasten to Lyme & there to continue
my care that all things might be performed according to his Ma!!f!
expectations & the masters promise. Accordingly I made hast home,
found out the master, acquainted him that my friend was now at
Charmouth, and that I newly came from him. He replyed that he
was glad of it, that he would presently repaire to Charmouth to speak
with him and to tell him when he would come ashore for him, which
accordingly he did.

And thus farre all things succeeded according to our best wishes,
both the wind & tyde seeming to be at strife which of them should
most comply with our desyres. But after all these fayre hopes and
the great likelyhood we had all conceived of his Ma^ happy trans-



The Letter of TVilliam Ellesdon

portation, it pleased God Allmighty for the cleare manifestation of his
Infinitely glorious wisdome & powerful! goodness in his Ma'i51 pre-
servation, suddenly to blast this designe, and to caste his Ma*2 upon a
new straite & dangers.

For the master either through weaknesse of judgwi or else in
design to prevent a discovery had utterly forborne to acquaint his wife
with his intention to goe to sea until it was almost time for him to
goe aboard. Whereupon he noe sooner called for his chest, but his
wife asked him why he would goe to sea having no goods aboard.
The master now thought himself necessitated to tell her that his
landlord Mr Ellesdon had provided him a freight w^ would be much
more worth to him, than if his ship were full laden with goods, he
being to transport a Gent a friend of his. His wife (having been at
Lyme Faier that day, and having heard the proclamation read wherein
;^iooo was promised as a Reward for the discovery of the Kinge, and
in wsl^ the danger of these also was represented that should conceale
his MaiZ, or any of those who were engaged with him at Worcester,
and apprehendinge that this Gent might be one of that party) forwith
locked the doors upon him, and by the help of her two daughters
kept him in by force, telling him that shee & her Children would
not be undone for even a landlord of them all, and threatened him
that if he did but offer to stirre out of doors, shee would instantly
go to Lyme & give Information both ag^ him & his Landlord to
Captain Macey, who had then the command of a foot company
there. Here the master showed his wisdome, not a little, by his
peaceable behavior, for had he striven in the leaste it is more than
probable that his Ma^ & his Attend'! had been suddenly seised upon
in the Inne.

But I must needs awhile leave the master a prisoner in his owne
house, his wife & daughters being now become his keepers, whilst I
render an account of the actings of Coll: Wyndham who with his man
Peters, at the time appointed, went to the place aggreed upon to


The Royal Miracle

expect the landing of the boat ; but no boat coming after severall
houres waiting (because he saw the tide was spent) he resolves upon
returning to the Inne. In his way thither he discovers a man coming,
dogg'd at a small distance by two or three women. This indeed was
the Master of the Vessell, who by this tyme had obtained liberty (yet
still under the eyes of his over jealous Keepers) to walk towards the
Sea-side with an intention to make known to those that waited for
him the sad tidings of this unexpected disappointment together with
its causes. The Collonel (whom they met) though he conceived it
might be the master, yet being not certain of it and seeing the women
at his heels, passed him by, without enquiring into the reason of the
non performance of his promise.

Your Lordship may easily guesse that this frustration of hopes
was matter of trouble as well as admiration to his Ma'I: The issue of
it was that Peters very early the Tuesday-morning was sent unto me
to know the reason of it. He had no sooner delivered his message,
but Astonishmt seised on me, and the foresight of those sad conse-
quencies wEl^ 1 feared might be the fruits of this disaster wrought in
me such disquietmt of mind that (for the time) I think I scarcely
sustained a like upon any occasion in all my life before, my confidence
of his Maiil' safe departure adding not a little to the weight of that
load of sorrow, which afterwards lay so heavy upon me. The cause I
plainly told him I was wholly ignorant of (except this were it, that in
regard it was fayer day the master might not be able effectually to
command his mariners out of the Ale-houses to their work), but
promised speedily to search into it, and upon after enquiry I found it
to be what I have before related.

But here (because I apprehended y! delaies might prove in-
auspicious) I presently dismissed the messenger with this my humble
advice to his MalZz that his longer stay in Charmouth might indanger
his discovery ; which had certainly proved the issue of it had not God
King of Kings graciously & even miraculously prevented it. The

1 80


The Letter of TVilliam Ellesdon

hostesse of the house little thinking what manner of guests the
chambers before spoken of had been secured for, had at that time
admitted to be her Hostler one of Captain Maceys souldiers a
notorious Knave, who observing & taking notice that the Coll: & his
man went out so late at night towards the Sea-syde, and that the rest
of the company during their absence were more private then travellers
are wont to be, and perhaps inspired & prompted by the devill
strongly suspected one of these guests to be the King under the
disguize of a womans habit, & ceased not once & againe to discover
his jealousies unto his mistresse.

But shee (though from the fellow's words & the consederation of
some circumstances which that night & some dayes before had occurred,
she had some thoughts that it might be so) yet detesting as much to
lodge Treason in her heart, as she would have been proud of enter-
taining the King in her house, very passionately rebuked her Hostler
for these insolencies, hoping by that means to put a stop to his (as she
judged) treasonable projects.

Yet this her honest design wrought not the intended effect upon
this the heart of this her treacherous servant. For the same morning
whilst Peters was with me at Lyme he went to speak with the then
parson of Charmouth, intendinge to communicate his suspicions to
him, found no opportunity to speak with him, he being at that time
engaged in prayer with his family.

Another remarkable passage we must of necessity here insist
which was this : My Lord Wilmott's horse wanting a shooe, in
Peter's, his absence, the Hostler led him to one Hammets a smyth
then living in Charmouth, who viewing the remaining shooes, sayd,
this horse hath but three shooes on and they were set in 3 severall
Counties & one of them in Worcestershire. Which speech of his
fully confirmed the Hostler in his former opinion.

By this tyme Harry Peters being returned from Lyme, my Lord
Willmot's horse shod, on the advertisemt that was sent him, his


The Royal Miracle

Maj^l immediately departed towards Bridport a Towne eastwarde of
Bridport and about five miles distant from it.

The Hostler now that the Birds had taken theyre flight began to
spread his net. For going a 2^ time to the parson he fully discovered
his thoughts to him, and withall told him wt the smyth had said con-
cerning my Lord Willmots horse. The parson hereupon hastens to
yl Inne, and salutes the hostesse in this manner Why ! how now
Margaret you are a maid of honor now. What meane you by that
Ml Parson quoth she. Sayde hee Why Charles Stuart lay the last
night at yor house & kirst you at his departure, so that now you cant
but be a maid of honor. The woman began then to be very angry,
and told him he was a scurvy-condition'd man to go about to bring
her 8z: her house into trouble. But said she if I thought it was the
King (as you say it was) I would think the better of my lips all dayes
of my life. And so ML Parson get you out of my house, or else I'll
get those shall kick you out. I have represented this discourse in the
Interlocutors own words, by this means to make it the more pleasant
to yor Lordship.

But to returne to the maine intendmt of this my Narrative, I
shall (before we come in our thoughts to attend his Ma^ in his
jorney eastwards) humbly begge of yor Lord? this favor that yor
Lordship would here be pleased seriously to admire with myself the
goodnesse of Allmighty God in infatuating this Hostler & the rest
of his Ma'il* enemies in these parts.

First of all parson (being not a little nettled at the rude & sharpe
language the Hostess gave him) taking Hammet the smyth along with
him he speedily applyed himself to the next Justice of the peace, to
inform him of the forementioned jealousies, together with the reasons
of them and earnestly pressed him to raise the County by his warrants
in order to his MaL'i^ apprehension. But he (as God was pleased to
order it) thinking it very unlikely that the King should be in these

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