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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Green was given by Charles to the people out of gratitude for his escape ; and there
is an old cottage which claims to have been a hiding-place for His Majesty. The
cupboard upstairs and the steps leading to it may be seen. So far as the Green is
concerned I have investigated the matter, and have ascertained that there is no
evidence whatever to support the legend. The Green formed a part of the waste
of the Manor of Horton, and all the rights of the lord were transferred to the
District Council of Southwick in 190 1. There is no entry on the Rolls as to the
Green in the time of Charles II, and consequently he could not have given it.
There is no mention of Charles having been to any cottage while riding to Brighton
from Beeding ; but as he said himself that he could not find any accommoda-
tion to his mind elsewhere, he must have looked for it. It is therefore just possible,
as Tettersell's boat was lying in the harbour there, that he entered the cottage, but
he could only have stayed there for a few minutes if he did so, as he rejoined
Gounter soon after his arrival at the George Inn.*'

A second tradition is that of Charles having been to Ovingdean. This has
been popularised by Harrison Ainsworth's interesting novel, Ovingdean Grange.
In the Grange there is a recess behind a fireplace, which is the traditional hiding-
place. As we shall see that Charles was only in Brighton for a few hours, it would
have been impossible for him to have gone to Ovingdean at all. He had no
necessity to go there.

So much for two traditions ; now for the third. Where was the George Inn ?
Until lately the King's Head, West Street, was considered to be the house. The
name was changed from the George to the King's Head after the Restoration.
Mr. Sawyer investigated the matter thoroughly, and from the fact that after a care-
ful examination of the Court Rolls the present King's Head is not even described
as an inn until 1 754 — when it is called the George — whilst there was "an Inne
called the George" on the east side of Middle Street in 1656 — there can be but
little doubt that it was there and not in West Street that Charles stopped for the
night. However, I have recently seen in the splendid collection of prints and
drawings of old Brighton belonging to Mr. Blaber, of Cromwell Road, a water-colour
drawing, made by a local artist in the first half of last century, which purports to
be a copy of a print dated 1662. In this the King's Head in West Street is

* See Introduction, pp. 45-6.

Charles II at Brighthelmstone

certainly shown. I have not seen the original print, and at the British Museum
they have been unable to corroborate the existence of such. Another detail is of
interest. Counter says that the horses were led the back way to the beach. This
was quite possible for the West Street house, as there were no buildings behind it
and only one between it and the beach on the south, even years later. The house
in Middle Street would have had some cottages in the rear as well as to the south
of it.

On the water-colour drawing we read : " Ye King's Head in ye West Street,
at Brighthelmstone : in which Kyng Charles passed ye night before his happy
escape into Fraunce. (From a scarce print in the possession of Bulkeley C.
Ricketts Esqr) Date on the print 1662."

Madame D'Arblay writes that " Mrs. Thrales' house was at the court end
of Brighton, exactly opposite the King's Head, where Charles II stayed just before
his escape to France." She adds : " I fail not to look at it with satisfaction, and
his black-wigged Majesty has from the time of the Restoration been its sign." On
Royal Oak Day, 29 May, this sign had a branch of oak attached. The sign has
since disappeared.

To return to our narrative of the party at the George Inn.

On the arrival of the King and Lord Wilmot, Smith, the innkeeper, came to
Colonel Counter and told him that more guests had come. When Counter heard
the King's voice saying to Lord Wilmot, " Here, Mr. Barlow, I drink to you ! "
he asked Smith to inquire whether one of the guests was not a major in the King's
army. The innkeeper did so, and the Colonel being satisfied as to who the new-
comers were joined them, and the party sat in Counter's room for supper. In the
number were Tettersell and Mansell. The King was quite at his ease, cheerful as
usual, without showing any fear whatever of danger. The sang-froid of Charles
enabled him on many occasions to play the part of a Roundhead successfully.
When supper was finished, Tettersell took Mansell aside and complained that he
had not been dealt fairly with ; as although he had been paid a good price {^d^^ for
carrying over gentlemen he had not been told clearly who they were. "For,"
added the skipper, " he is the King and I know him to be so ! " Mansell denied
this ; but Tettersell persisted, saying that Charles, when in command of the fleet
in 1648, had taken his boat with other fishing vessels off the Downs, but had let
them go again. Tettersell was, however, loyal, for he said : " Be not troubled at
it, for I think I do Cod and my country good service in preserving the King ; and
by the grace of Cod, I will venture my life and all for him, and set him safely on
shore, if I can, in France."

Mansell informed the King of what Tettersell had said. It was not long
before Charles was again recognised. This time it was by Smith, the innkeeper,


The Royal Miracle

who is said to have been in the late King's Guards. Smith kissed Charles's hand and
said : " God bless you, wheresoever you go ! I do not doubt, before I die, but to
be a lord and my wife a lady." Charles laughed and went to another room to
avoid further conversation.

Gounter wished to know when Tettersell would be ready. The skipper said
his boat was lying aground and he could not get her off that night. The wind
had been contrary. The King then opened the window, and observing that the
wind had changed, £\Q> more was offered to Tettersell to get off that night. He
said he could not, but he would have his crew aboard. Another difficulty then
arose. Tettersell said he must have his bark insured, and Gounter was obliged to
accede to the request to the amount of £lQO. Yet one more demand from the
skipper. He required a bond. This upset Gounter and he became indignant,
saying that there were other boats. The King interposed and said that the word
of a gentleman, especially before witnesses, was as good as his bond. Tettersell
was at last satisfied and went off to get ready. The King and Lord Wilmot then
rested for a few hours in their clothes. Gounter apparently was on watch while
they retired and aroused them about two in the morning. Charles in the account
he gave Pepys says four o'clock. The horses were led the back way to the beach
and they went towards Shoreham, taking Tettersell with them on horseback
behind one of the company. As Charles said it was about four miles from Bright-
helmstone, the boat would have been lying off Southwick.

As it was low tide the King and Wilmot went up the ladder and lay down
in the little cabin. The " Surprise " was lying dry.

About seven o'clock in the morning it was high tide and the boat sailed away.
Gounter took leave of the King and begged his pardon if he had done anything
through error that might happen amiss ; he also begged the King not to divulge
who had helped him in his escape as it might bring them into trouble. The King
readily promised not to divulge and kept his word, telling many fairy tales in
regard to his flight from Worcester.

Gounter waited until eight o'clock with horses in readiness in case anything
unexpected should happen, and it must have been with a sigh of relief that he
saw the boat disappear in the distance, sailing in the direction of the Isle of Wight
as if Tettersell had a freight of sea-coal for Poole. Gounter had not left Brighton
two hours before soldiers came thither to search for a tall black man six feet two
inches high.

Tettersell desired the King to aid him in avoiding any suspicion on the part of
his small crew by a subterfuge. The King was to go to the men and say that
he and Wilmot were two merchants who had money owing them at Rouen and
were afraid of being arrested in England. Would the men back him up in



Charles II at Brighthelmstone

persuading the skipper to change his course and land them somewhere near
Dieppe ? Charles did so. His persuasive powers plus twenty shillings won the
men over to his plan, and they went with him to Tettersell to persuade him to
run to France. Tettersell counterfeited unwillingness at first but yielded to
pressure. The next morning they were off Fecamp. As there was a vessel in
sight Charles and Lord Wilmot landed in a cock-boat. Richard Carver, the mate,
a descendant of Alrych Carver, carried the King to shore on his back. They had
no sooner reached shore than a storm arose and Tettersell was obliged to cut the
cable and lost his anchor, for which Counter had to pay ;^8. The boat was back
at Chichester on the Friday.

After the Restoration Tettersell was rewarded by a commission in the Royal
Navy and a pension. In 167 1 he acquired "one messuage or tenement one
stable one garden and one croft of land belonging to the same and containing by
estimation one rood the Old Shipp &c in the Hempshares." This was no doubt
part, if not the original site, of the present Old Ship Hotel. Whether he kept
the house as well is not known. In 1 670 he was High Constable of Brighton.
In 1674 ^^ ^^^^ ^"*^ '^ buried in St. Nicholas Churchyard. The inscription on
his tombstone to the south of the chancel runs thus : —


Cap Nicholas Tettersell through whose Prudenc
Valour an Loyalty Charles the second king of
England and after he had escaped the sword
His merciless rebells and his fforces receiued a


WAS ffaithfully preserued and conueyed into
FFRANCE Departed this life the 26 day of july 1674

M ^


Approued Feaith Hono'' and Loyalty
In this Cold Clay he hath now tane up his statio
At once preserued y Church the Crowne and nation
when Charles y Greatt was nothing but a breat
this ualiant soule stept betweene him and death
usuppers threats nor tyrant rebells froune
Could not affright his duty to the Crowne

The Royal Miracle

WHICH Glorious Act of his for Church and state
Eight Princes in one day did Gratulate
Professing all to him in debt to bee
As all the world are to his memory
Since Earth Could not Reward his worth haue Grie
Hye now receues it from the King of heauen
In the same Chest one Jewell more you haue
The Partener of his Vertues Bed and Graue

/// /// ///

Susanna his wife who Decesed y 4 day of may 1672

■er G— Q -Sr

To WHOSE Pious Memory and his owne Hono Nicholas
theire only son and Just inherite of his Feathers
Uertues hath pa yd his last Duty in this Monument

Here also lieth Interred the body of captain


1701 IN THE 57 Year of his age



The "Miraculous Divergence"
of Tuesday, September 23, 1651

The Second Episode of the West Dorset Pageant, July, 191 1


r&> By-rlie Parliament.


1- O R. Til I-.
Difcovery and Apprehending of L //v^'^^^L 6" STVJ'KT. and o;1kt Traytors
his Adherents and Abettors.
>V?CrcaS C H A R L S STUART S>OU tO tl)t UtC Xl^Mt , Mil) Uifztsik

') tl)t Cngliflj anD acona) jl5'tcrou5 aiuj l.ioftilt
' mancvlMiti) an:Jlrin^inDAt)tD tI)!S .nation,, iWjWvl^V' tljc,]l>is^i:3,o£p
I upon tlic 5rDucs of ttjss £omni3iia)ca'alj ^ucHtiii r,cfc«ca , anb' liilnp of
> t!)r r!;(cf :?(ctOi3 tticccdi nam ano tahttt pjfroittrS; oat tljc fa'O ciuris Sc uu i&
tItapcD : ifDH5tfpccDp3tppjcljcKJ)!iig of fi!cl)as©aUctoiiSanoS>a«gctous iLravtoito \
tlje^taceof tljfs Couimoniucauij , ICljt^aiHaimnt Dotlj Cta'gljtiv Cfiacseanti Cotib j
m«rtrb-«ill £>ftictrs, as mil CiVv-i as il^ilitan', ano all otljcttljt guoo people of tljis i^A= ;
»pjn, Xljat tftcp matic fciiigcnr Sscnccl) ai'.o cnQui;rv|oj tl)c faitiCarUS-uAtt, anD.lifsf
;abctJiojsanD3ttillcrcnts m tt)(5! 'JIuDafiuit, au6 uft tDtic licfi CuDc ul'ois fo: ti)c Ditcoj
titrpant)5Strc(Kngtl)c©oEiiffiof tljfinana cl)civ of tj)cui; atiD being aupjtlJcuDcD, to
bjiug 0? tauff to Dc D:ottg!)t fcKiiilntli anb Vlntljcut Dclai", \\\ fate CuftiDv Ucfoic tl)c p^atf
framtHtojCotmcflof ^tatr, tobtpzoctcocB Bjitljan'JojDctcD as3luautn)alU£QutvcV
IXnoif anppctCon fl)aUhiioUjmgl)' Conceal tljeratOCarii; stiun, oj aiip t)iS31bctto?5o;
aiDljercuts , 01 Q)aU not iEeiJcal t\)t ^la^cs of tljcit ^btstt 0% JiStlns, if itbtmtljtic i
^poiUttfotoDo, •Cljt pailiamcnt Qotl^3>cclarc,1i;i)atti)cj>ujill Ijoiotyemaspattabcrs !
atiDabcttojsof tU«ts:ta!'tcrousa»Di©ttUei)|&?acttccsanr)2>cftsns : atiDtl)c|t)arli«fe^
mtpt Dotl) futtljct ^i!il)iia; aito iDcclate , %\)sx ibtJOfocbcr ttjali aj^ljetiD tlje pttfon t* .]
tlje talD c hirh Stiurt,ant) Qjaii bjitig oj cauTc Ijim to be b?Dngt)t to tijc ^acliaincnt o? Coun= I
tclof ^tatc, 0)411 ijaDe giDcn ana Utftoajcb oiiljinioj t!)cmasajReU)ac&fo>fucl)S)Cts '
b(cc, tljc tutu of ©nc tijoufanD pouuDS ; %m allDfficcrs, Cibil ano £!3tiirac',',arc vtqui=
ceD to be afbiiiganb afsifthiguiito fuchpettoiiaiiD pecfons tljetnn. ©ttoen at Wcrtminfter
tljis XcntljDap of sepccmbcr, sDne tljouEani, fit IjutibjtD fiftp ouc.

lytditiiJjj thtTigti »/Sertcmbcr, i^ji.
/^Rdered by the Parliament, That this Proclamation be forthwith Printed and PublifTicd.

Hm: ScoieB^ Cleric.'Parliiimtmi.

^^^v>.:F?P'«'^^y fob" Field, Printer to the Pailiament of %/W. id;

Proclamation offering £iooo reward for the appre-

ON September io, 165 i

(Fro/// t]ic oz-iginal hi possession of the li^riter)


Tuesday, September 23, 1651, marks one of the most important and in-
teresting events in the annals of our native village. It was on that day that
occurred the romantic adventure to Charles II during his flight from Worcester,
known to history as the " Miraculous Divergence," which is commemorated at
the present moment by a stone, placed ten years ago, on the 250th anniversary
of this thrilling royal adventure, at the junction of the Dorchester Road with
Lee Lane. The Battle of Worcester was fought [on September 3] in that year,
and in the course of his flight southwards, after sustaining a crushing defeat,
Charles II and his companions arrived on September 17 at the mansion house of
the Wyndhams at Trent, near Yeovil. The young King, who had attained his
twenty-first year in the preceding May, was disguised as a serving-man, and
called, first. Will Jones, and then Will Jackson. After his arrival at Trent,
Colonel Wyndham arranged with one Stephen Limbry, a Lyme skipper, that his
vessel should take the fugitives on board at Charmouth, and convey them across
the Channel. Early in the morning of Monday, September 2 2, Charles II,
accompanied by Lord Wilmot, Colonel Wyndham, Miss Juliana Coningsby, and
a serving-man, Henry Peters by name, made their way to Ellesdon Farm, a
lonely house surrounded by woods, about two miles from Charmouth. Here
they were met by Mr. William Ellesdon, whose account of the proceedings, in
the shape of a letter addressed to Lord Clarendon, is preserved in the Bodleian
Library at Oxford. Charles spent the afternoon at the farm, relieving the
tedium of waiting by drilling a hole through a gold coin, which he subsequently
presented to Ellesdon. In the evening the party moved to the " Blind " Inn at
Charmouth, which for long years after was known as the Queen's Head. Here
he passed the night, but in the early morning it became evident that some hitch
had occurred. As a matter of fact, the handbills offering ;^I,ooo reward for
the King's apprehension and threatening those who might harbour him with
dire penalties, had so frightened Limbry's wife that she turned the key on her
husband in order to prevent his carrying out the project he had agreed to. I
will not here dwell on the incidents of his stay at Charmouth, which properly
belong to the history of that picturesque village, and not to that of Bradpole.
About noon on the following day the King and his companions reached the


The Royal Miracle

George Inn, Bridport, then occupying the site of the well-known chemist's shop
of Messrs. Beach. Here they partook of a hasty lunch, but Charles, who per-
sonated a groom, felt that he had been recognised in the stable yard, and Lord
Wilmot sent to say that the troops at Charmouth were moving eastwards and
that it was necessary to leave Bridport immediately. When they arrived near
the first milestone on the Dorchester Road, which is close to the Bridport
Cemetery, Lord Wilmot joined them and a hasty consultation took place between
the fugitives, as Lord Wilmot who now rejoined them had reason to believe that
more troops were advancing on Bridport from Dorchester, possibly with the
object of intercepting the party. The ready wit of Charles stood him in good
stead. He at once said that nothing else would save them but taking the first
turning to the left and doubling back to Trent, where their presence had not
been as yet suspected. A few minutes later they turned into Lee Lane, and had
not been long hidden by its high and leafy hedges when they heard the clatter
of the Roundhead cavalry riding swiftly towards Bridport. The King and his
party, crossing our village of Bradpole, struck on the blind lane, traces of which
are still visible, leading to Watford, where they a little later arrived. It was by
pure chance that towards evening they found themselves at Broadwindsor, as
they had intended to keep more to the right with the object of reaching Trent
as soon as possible. The adventures they met with at Broadwindsor do not
immediately concern us, although they are quite as interesting as those which
they encountered at Charmouth. The loyalty of Rhys Jones,* the landlord of
the George at Broadwindsor, was as great as that of Margaret Wade, the landlady
of the Queen's Head at Charmouth. An accidental quarrel between the soldiers,
who happened to be at Broadwindsor on their way to embark at Bridport or
Lyme for the Channel Islands, and the parochial authorities, favoured the King's
escape, although he occupied the best room in the inn, immediately above the
disputants, the noise of whose wrangling reached his ears. Setting out before
dawn on Wednesday, September 24, Charles II and his companions soon found
safety at Trent. Charles remained there for some time, but on Tuesday,
October 14, he reached Brighton in safety, and on Wednesday, October 15,
between seven and eight a.m., he set out in the good ship " Surprise," commanded
by another sturdy loyalist. Captain Nicholas Tettersell,! bound for the Isle of
Wight and the Dorset port of Poole. At five p.m., when still in sight of the
island, a favourable wind sprang up which took them rapidly to the French

* Formerly a servant of the Royalist Colonel Bullen-Reymes, of Waddon, near Wey.
mouth, a kinsman of the Wyndhams.

t This name is spelled in at least a dozen different ways.


The ^^ Miraculous Divergence


coast. Next morning Charles and Lord Wilmot were rowed ashore in the
cock-boat and landed at Fecamp. No sooner had they landed than the wind
changed, and Tettersell was able to reach Poole without a suspicion that he had
visited France.

It is in this way that Bradpole played an important part in what has been
called the " most remarkable romance " of English history. — A. M. B.


The Royal Miracle

West Dorset Pageant

July 20, 21 and 22, 1911

Episode II

The "Miraculous Divergence," or the providential
escape of Charles II from capture by turning down Lee
Lane, Bradpole, on Tuesday, September 23, 165 1. By
A. M. Broadley and H. Pouncy.


King Charles .

Lord Wilmot
Colonel Wyndham

Aged twenty-one, disguised as a
serving-man, Will Jackson

His friend

A Royalist

Peters A servant to Col. Wyndham

Will Waddon

Bend-the-Knees Jenkin

Juliana Coningsby

A farmer occupying White
House Farm

A Roundhead soldier in Cap-
tain Massey's troop

A girl about twenty ....

Mr. N. D. Bosworth-Smith
Mr. T. C. JV. Carlyon
Rev. R. B. Goodden
Mr. H. G. Way

Mr. T. H. Beams

Mr. Philip Martin
Mrs. R. B. Goodden


The ^^ Miraculous Divergence''''


Time. September 23, 1 65 1 {early morning).
Place. Outside White House Farm at the Bradpole extremity of
Lee Lane, to left of high road to Dorchester.

Bend-the-Knees Jenkin, a Parliamentary trooper, enters on horseback.
He dismounts and surveys the entrance to the house.

Jenkin. Ha, this door will serve my purpose right well. Here will I affix
the proclamation.* But who dwelleth here ? [knocking loudly). A God-
fearing Commonwealth man, I hope.

Farmer Waddon {coming out). How now ? Who art thou, and what is thy

Jenkin. I am Bend-the-Knees Jenkin, a servant of the Lord and of the
Commonwealth of England. And thou art, by God's grace I hope, an
honest Parliamentary man.

Farmer Waddon. I trust I am an honest man.

Jenkin. That malicious and dangerous traitor, Charles Stuart, is lurking in this
neighbourhood. List now [reads proclamation and fixes to door). So beware,
good Master Farmer, and mind your ways.

Will Waddon {watches him out of sight, then tears it down, crumples it up, and
stamps it under foot). A thousand pounds reward, indeed ! Ten thousand
would not tempt a Waddon of Bradpole to betray his liege lord and King.

King Charles and Juliana Coningsby riding pillion. Lord Wilmot, Colonel
Wyndham and the servant Peters all on horseback arrive from the left.
They dranv rein near the entrance gate to the farm.

King Charles {reining up his horse and mopping his brow with a kerchief, turning
gallantly to Juliana Coningsby). Fair lady, wert thou jolted too rudely in
this breakneck gallop downhill for our lives?

Juliana Coningsby, Nay, your Majesty, mind me not. Any jolting better than
capture by that rascally horde. Haply you are now safe!

* See Illustration, p. 265.

The Royal Miracle

King Charles. Odds fish ! friends, 'twere indeed a near shave. Five minutes
later, and the rightful King of England might have tasted in person the
temper of the Bridport dagger * and met a felon's doom. Short would have
been my shrift, unless indeed that caitiff Massey had sent me on to London to
share my sacred father's fate 'fore Whitehall. A lucky thought that, that
counsel our retreat to Trent. That timely divergence, 'twas almost miracu-
lous, was our salvation. Ne'er will I forget what I owe to this leafy lane in
sweet "West Dorset. But who cometh here?

Will Waddon {emerging from his gate and doffing his hat deferentially). Good
morrow, gentlemen all. Your servant, and yours, fair lady! To what does
our poor Bra'pole owe this coming of so goodly a company? We have not
seen the like since the Darset Committee turned our pa'son adrift, and now
Mister Sampson with his vinegar face gives us sermons as long and as dry as
old Barty Wesley's over at Charmouth yonder. But come, gentlemen, full
sure am I by the looks and the locks of ye that I am talking to no Cropheads,
but to King's men, staunch and true like m'zelf.

Colonel Wyndham. Ah, I'll warrant ye. So thou'rt no Roundhead rap-

Lord Wilmot. Nay, I'll go bail. These are honest folk; the West breeds no

Will Waddon. Not I. And let me tell 'ee the Waddons have been King's
men, right and tight, lock, stock and barrel, from the merry May Day when
Queen Katherine, God rest her soul, crowned Dolly Waddon as Queen o'
the May, when she comed here a hundred an' dree year agoo Bra'pole Veast.

Colonel Wyndham. Ah ! 'twas a queen at Bradpole, then. I suppose thou
knowest me not ? {pushing back his hat to show his face more clearly).

Will Waddon. Why, sure 'tis Colonel Wyndham hizself. I zeed 'ee. Colonel,
at Ivell [i.e. Yeovil] Veair last Michaelmas ; and now I greet 'ee well at me
own varm geate.

Colonel Wyndham. Good friend, I thank thee. These young folk here {point-
ing to the King and Juliana Coningsby) have just got hitched up on the sly.
'Twas a runaway match, thou must know. I go with them across the
border into Devonshire until this fair damsel's father, my good cousin
Digby, finds his choler appeased.

* i.e. a halter that was known facetiously as "a Bridport dagger." By the Act of Par-
liament passed in the twenty-first year of the reign of King Henry VIII Bridport had the

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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 18 of 22)