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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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 20 of 22)
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Charles should have escaped to France during the night of September 22-23. The
ancestral kinsman of Colonel Bullen, Colonel Bullen Reymes of Waddon, proved
of essential service to the King in the most acute stage of the crisis of 165 1.
From Catherstone a move was made to Bridport, where the old-world shop of
Messrs. Beach, formerly the George Inn, was visited. Then came Lee Lane, the
scene on September 23, 165 1, of the "Miraculous Divergence," a hair's-breadth
escape almost as startling as that of the " Miraculous Preservation" of September 6,
165 1, in the Royal Oak at Boscobel. A descent was made into Bradpole through
Lee Lane, and the night was spent in the picturesque village, which, six weeks
before, had been the scene of the successful West Dorset Pageant, with the
romance of the "Miraculous Divergence" as its second episode.* At Bradpole,
the first 306 miles of the journey were completed.

Early on Wednesday, September 6, Trent was reached. By the kindness of
Mr. W. Peake-Mason both the church and manor were thoroughly examined. It
was here that Colonel Frank Wyndham and his wife Anne, assisted by the Dowager
Lady Wyndham, concealed the King between September 17 and September 22, and
then from September 24 to October 6, 165 1. In the Manor House chapel of this in-
teresting church (the bells of which Charles listened to while ringing merry peals
in honour of his defeat at Worcester) are the graves of his intrepid preservers
Francis and Anne Wyndham, who both lived to share in the honours and rewards

* See ante, pp. 268-72.

The Carolean Commemorative Pilgrimage

of the Restoration. Through Wincanton the Pilgrims drove on to Mere, halting
at the "Talbot" (the "George" in 165 1) to lunch, probably in the very room
where Charles refreshed himself while travelling from Trent to Heale House on
Salisbury Plain. The "Talbot" now belongs to the Chaffyns, a family closely
associated with the stirring events of 260 years ago. It is a most interesting
house, preserving most of its seventeenth-century features, including the fine
spits, pronounced by the antiquarian expert of the pilgrimage to be "undoubtedly
Carolean." "Within two hours of leaving Mere the Pilgrims reached the " George "
at Amesbury, a hostelry which was already four centuries old when " Duchess "
Kitty and her husband offered the author of the " Beggar's Opera " the hospitality
of Amesbury House. From Amesbury a visit was paid to Heale House, where
Charles and LordWilmot were concealed from October 6 to 15, 165 1, by Mrs. Hyde.
It is now being admirably rebuilt by its present possessor, the Hon. Louis Greville,
under the direction of Mr. Detmar Blow, of King's Bench Walk, an expert in the
domestic architecture of the seventeenth century. Scarcely anything remains of
the original structure, but the position of the King's reputed " hiding-hole " can
still be indicated. It was at Heale House, on the banks of the Avon, that Samuel
Johnson was a frequent visitor to the then owner, Mr. Bowles. In the possession
of the present writer is the page of his diary containing his impressions of Stone-
henge and Heale House in the year preceding his death. To his host at Heale he
wrote after his return to London a long letter, stating that he had (in 1783)
" subscribed to a ballooning scheme," the object of which was " the exploration
of regions hitherto unknown."

Charles II visited Stonehenge during his stay at Heale House, and there
conferred with his adherents who were planning his escape at Salisbury. He
afterwards declared he had succeeded in counting the stones, by tradition an
impossibility. The Pilgrims of 191 1 also examined Stonehenge, and in its
immediate neighbourhood witnessed some successful flights carried out on British
biplanes and monoplanes by Messrs. Henri M. Jullerot, Pierre Prier, H. Bastide,
Graham Gilmour, H. Pixon, and R. F. Wheeler, a naval cadet of sixteen,
who won his certificate as a flyer. On this occasion the antiquarian and topo-
graphical experts of the Pilgrims enjoyed their first experience of aerial flight — a
development in transit dreamed of evidently by Johnson, but probably totally
unforeseen by the fugitive sovereign of 165 1.

At Salisbury, after visiting the cathedral, one of the prebendaries of which,
Humphrey Henchman (after the Restoration Bishop of Salisbury and London),
took an important part in planning the escape of Charles in October, 165 1, under
the guidance of Mr. G. Fremantle, a halt was made before the King's Arms, just
outside the close, where most of the preliminaries connected with the preservation


The Royal Miracle

of the King were arranged. At i p.m. on Thursday, September 7th, the Pilgrims
lunched at another old-world hostelry, the " George," at Warnford, patronised by
the King on his way from Heale House, in Wilts, to Hambleton House, in Hants,
towards evening on October 13th, 165 1. Hambleton is one of the most interesting
as well as the most authentic of the Royal hiding-places of 165 1. Between Salis-
bury and Warnford they passed through Winchester and Romsey. From Warn-
ford they proceeded to Hambledon, and so on to the " Dolphin" at Chichester.

It is practically certain that Charles did not visit Racton, the residence of
Colonel Gunter, whose role in the successful escape near Shoreham of October 15,
165 1, was as important as that of Colonel Wyndham, of Trent, in the frustrated
attempt at Charmouth on the previous September 22-3. It was, however, at
Chichester that resided Mr. Francis Mansel, the French merchant, who acted as
intermediary between Gunter and Nicholas Tettersell. On arriving at Chichester
the Pilgrims had completed a total run of 487 miles since leaving the Foregate at
Worcester. They were welcomed to the fifth cathedral city in their itinerary
through ten counties by Mr. F. J. W. Crowe, to whom they are indebted for a
visit to the Hospital of St. Mary, of which the courteous Custos is Canon Masters.
In this ancient hospital, founded in the reign of Henry II, King Edward VII took
the greatest interest. It abounds in quaint and curious features, including some
beautiful misereres. To find its counterpart one must travel as far as Nuremberg.

On the morning of September 8 the Pilgrims visited the cathedral under the
guidance of Prebendary Fraser. In the morning service several compositions of
the composers William and Philip Hayes were admirably interpreted under the
direction of Mr. Crowe, the cathedral organist. A start was made at 1 1. 15 a.m.,
and before arriving at Brighton a halt was made at Southwick Green to see the
romantic cottage in which it is probable Charles spent a short time while waiting
for the tide in the early morning of October 1 5, although the allegation that he slept
there cannot be for a moment maintained. At I.IO p.m. the Old Ship Hotel was
reached at Brighton, and the commemorative pilgrimage ended at the door of the
well-known house which belonged in the seventeenth century to Nicholas
Tettersell, the captain of the " Surprise " on which Charles escaped (probably from
Southwick Creek) to Fecamp. The total distance covered by the two cars with-
out accident or puncture was exactly 519 miles. During five days out of the six
the heat was abnormal. The arrangements made at Brighton by Mr. H. D.
Roberts, Director of the Public Library, Museum and Permanent Art Gallery
were admirable. At 5 p.m. an official welcome was accorded to the Pilgrims by
the Deputy Mayor, Mr. A. E. Geere, whose ancestors are said to have intermarried
with the Tettersells. The relics exhibited at Worcester (and which, like the
Pilgrims, had travelled over 500 miles) were again shown and papers were read

















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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 20 of 22)