Alexander Meyrick Broadley.

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

. (page 3 of 22)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

On August 1 6, 1660, one Rachel Jevon presented to King Charles
with her own hand a copy of her Exultationis Carmen. In it the
" shady woods & groves " are invited to disport themselves on seeing

". . . . the Royal Oak to them advance
While Nymphs resound, O thrice, thrice happy they !
Who have the Honour, their faint limbs to lay
Under the shadow of th' illustrious Oak
Expanded, to depell from Saints the Stroak
Of Tyrant Tempests. . . ."

Several other ballads are now reprinted from the contemporary

30



Historical Introduction

broadsheets in the British Museum and the Bodleian Library.* In
one instance the text has been translated from the German. f

There was little or nothing in common between the dashing cavalier
of 1 65 1 and the selfish, pleasure-loving King of 1660 and after. The
popularity of the Royal Oak, however, proved more enduring than
that of the sovereign who found safety amongst its foliage. As late as
1683 we come across ^^The Triumphs of Royalty in the Person of King
Charles II. A poem by Thomas Heynes. Printed for W Freeman^
over against the Devil's Tavern near Temple Bar.'' Heynes writes : —

** Blessed be the Oak, let it for ever be
Like Aaron's holy Rod a budding Tree.
Which for this hour within its aged Nest
Preserved him from the raping Vultures' quest."

That the image of the Royal Oak became the approved symbol of
British loyalty to the Throne is not astonishing, for was it not
intimately associated with examples of personal devotion without a
parallel in the history of the nation }

Between September 3 and October 15, 1651, the identity of the
fugitive sovereign became known either by accident or design to a vast
number of persons, but neither the lavish reward offered by Parlia-
ment, nor the threats of condign punishment which accompanied
it, could tempt sterling men and women like the innkeepers at
Charmouth, Broadwindsor, Mere, Salisbury, and Brighton to betray
him. In the nineteenth century Walter Scott, William Harrison
Ainsworth and Agnes Strickland sought inspiration in the old-world
story of the Royal Oak, taking full advantage of poetic licence
both in their verses and novels. At the beginning of the eighteenth
century Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, raised a hornets' nest about
her ears by rooting up a sapling of the parent Boscobel Oak, which

* See pp. 213, 219, 223. t See p. 207.

31



The Royal Miracle

had been planted in London. This called forth a shower of epigrams
such as

" The Royal Sapling Oak

"Whilst Sarah from the royal ground,
Roots up the royal oak,
The sapling, groaning from the wound,
Thus to the siren spoke ;
' Ah ! may the omen kindly fail,
For poor Britannia's good ;
Or else not only me you fell,
But her, who owns the wood.'"

A second began thus : —

" Be cautious, madame, how you thus provoke
That sturdy plant, the second royal oak ;
For should you fell it, or remove it hence,
When dead it may revenge the vile offence."

The third and the severest of all opens thus : —

"Why dost thou root me up, ungrateful hand?
My father saved the king who saved the land."

And ends,

" As my tall parent, when he bravely stood
The monarch's safeguard in the trembling wood,
I know not which would prove the next good thing.
To hang up traitors, or preserve a king."

In treating of this incident Miss Strickland says : — *

"The English people have always been passionately fond of the historical
circumstance of their king's preservation in their national tree. To this hour,
there is not a town in England, and scarcely a village, but bears some memorial of
' the royal oak ' in the only pictorial indication that pertains to the people, which
is, alas ! but in the signs of their drinking-houses. It was in vain that, for

* Lives of the (Queens vf England., Vol VIII, p. 297.
32



Historical Introduction

^rearing oak-leaves in their hats, English peasants were doomed, in the reigns of
William and Mary, and at this period of that of their sister Anne, to incarceration
in the village stocks. In vain did 'singing of the blithesome song of the 29th
of May ' subject the songster to the pains and penalties of clownish treason,
the crime being expiated in the stocks and at the whipping-post. The song had
got possession of the English heart, nor could the above pains and penalties hinder
this refrain from being shouted, even in the stocks, of

' Old Pendrill, the miller, at the risk of his blood,
Hid the king of the isle in the king of the wood.' "

David Cox painted a sign for the " Royal Oak " at Bettws-y-
Coed, and George Morland is credited with doing the same for some
tavern nearer London. There is a third elaborately painted swinging-
sign to be seen at Winsford in the Exmoor country, where a " Royal
Oak " inn has flourished almost from time immemorial. In this case
the picture has every appearance of age, but " mine host " confesses
that " it is only a copy of the original by a distinguished artist." *

" Charles the Second's Head," write Messrs. Larwood and Hotten,f " swung
at the door of a ' music-house ' for seafaring men and others, in Stepney, at the end
of the seventeenth century. ... At the present day, that king's memory is still
kept alive on a signboard in Herbert Street, Hoxton, under the name of the
Merry Monarch. To his miraculous escape at Boscobel we owe the Royal
Oak, which notwithstanding a lapse of two and a half centuries and a change of
dynasty, still continues a very favourite sign. In London alone it occurs in
twenty-six public houses, exclusive of beer-houses, coffee-houses, etc. Some-
times it is called ' King Charles in the Oak,' as at Willen Hall, Warwickshire.
The Royal Oak, soon after the Restoration, became a favourite with the shops of
London ; tokens of some half a dozen houses bearing that sign are extant. What
is rather more curious is that, not many years since, one of the descendants of
trusty Dick Penderel kept an inn at Lewes, in Sussex, called the Royal Oak."

Mr. Allan Fea has, in both his books relating to the Flight of
the King, dealt at considerable length with the life-stories of the two

* Devon, the County of Castles. 1908. Published by the G.W.R. p. 147.
t History of Sign Boards, 1898, pp. 49-50.

c 3Z



The Royal Miracle



devoted women, Jane Lane and Juliana Coningsby, who accompanied
the fugitive King during his wanderings, the first from Bentley to
Bristol, the second from Trent through West Dorset and afterwards
to Heale House.* I am indebted to Miss M. L. Arthur for the
discovery of a very interesting letter written, after the Restoration,
by Jane Lane to Charles IL It is bound up in a volume of letters
addressed to the King by his mother and sisters.t It appears that the
heroine of September, 1651, had some difficulty in steering clear of
the intrigues which proved fatal to so many of Charles's early friends.

" May it Pleas your Ma"«

I most humble beg your Ma*'®^ pardon in a fault I have comited by Mistake My
Lord Newbrough having sent me a libell thatt was sent to My Lord TafF I didnt
first understand that your Ma*'^ had comanded him toe doe it and I tould the
Queene soe but since I have read the letter over a gane I find it to be My Lord
Tatf that sent it me I make no question but your Ma^'*^ heard the good carettor
the auther of it has given mee but I being not gilty I laugh at thar follow [their
folly ?] but I see they are very [illegible] to mee why I know not I humble
beseech your Ma*'*^ toe beleeve me in this that to my Knowledg I never did her
the least rong in my life nor did I perswade the Queene to send her a way it was
her owne ill tonge that was the cause of it and that most in the hous knows to be
true I dare not truble your Ma"^ with the long relation of this ogley bisness but
I hope all that they can doe or say \ of mee will not lessen mee in your Ma*'^^
favour and good opinion which shall be the study of my wholl to preserve
being Your Ma"««

Most humblest Most obedient

Subiect and Seruant

JANE LANE
Ma 2 th

Superscribed : ffor his Ma*"^
Endorsed (by King Charles) : Mis Jane Lane "

* See also Lmie of Bentley Hall, by Henry Murray Lane (Chester Herald). Elliot
Stock. London, 1898. The subject of the Lanes was also dealt with by the late General
Wrottesley in an incomplete contribution to the History of Staffordshire. William Salt,
Archjeological Society, pp. 141-204. 1910.

t Lambeth Palace MSS., Vol. 646. Item 59.

\ Insertion of " or say " as in original.

34




Charles II as a Boy

[From the rare nicasotint by IV. Vaillatit, in possession of the ivriler)



Historical Introduction

As in the case of the Penderels of Boscobel, the race from which
Jane Lane sprang is still well represented after the lapse of more
than two and a half centuries. Major-General Ronald B. Lane of
Carlton Hall, Saxmundham, is "a direct descendant of Colonel Lane,
of Bentley, the father of Jane Lane." In connection with last year's
Carolean Pilgrimage he wrote to the Mayor of Brighton : —

** I think perhaps you may like to know that the Lanes bear on their coat of
arms the Royal Lions (leopards really) of England and that our device is Garde le
Roy. ... I believe that the Lanes are the only Commoners who have ever had
the privilege of bearing the Royal Lions granted to them,* a privilege which in
days past was of great advantage in exempting my ancestors from paying taxes on
Armorial Bearings. Now, needless to say, no such advantage attaches to it ! I
have also in my possession that Charles II gave to Jane Lane, at Bristol, when he
parted from her. After the Restoration he gave her a very beautiful watch
which became an heirloom to be retained, during her life, by the eldest Lane
daughter in the direct line ; this watch was last possessed by a Lane who married
Squire Lucy of Charlecote and should now be the property of my sister. Lady
Northbourne, but most unfortunately it was stolen by burglars from Charlecote
between 50 and 60 years ago. The thieves were caught, but confessed to having
had the watch melted down at once."

* Mr. J. Horace Round points out that the whole of the armorial grant to the Lanes is
printed by Mr. H. M. Lane. It is also treated of in the Genealogical Magazine, I, 201-7 5
278-282. For some reason or other the grant was not made until 12 July, 1677. Mr.
Round thinks General R. B. Lane's assertion as to the unique character of the augmentation
is correct. It is, however, important to point out that the Lanes have never borne the royal
arms, even on a canton, but only that portion of them which represents England. The Lane
augmentation is described in the grant as "three lyons passant guardant or in a canton gules,"
but not as the arms of England, although this is what it was. Mr. A. C. Fox Davies says
"a grant of *a canton of England,' i.e. the three lions of England, was made to the Lane
family after the Restoration. They are the only family I ever heard of who has a gift of
the three lions, but many have received grants of one, e.g. the Wolfes of Madeley. There
were several grants made for services after the Battle of Worcester, e.g. Lane, Newman,
Carlos and Whitgreave. The Lanes have always maintained that their grant exempted them
from taxation. The Act exempts the Royal Arms, but the Lanes only use a part of the
Royal Arms, and those as a canton on the arms of Lane. I think, therefore, the claim to
exemption unfounded, but I understand payment is not enforced from them, although no
legal decision justifying their claim exists."

35



The Royal Miracle



On the evening of September lo, 1651, Charles and the companions
of his flight found shelter in the abode of Mr. John Tombs,* of Long
(or " Dancing") Marston, where the familiar episode of the cook-maid
and the spit occurred. The house in question is situated on the out-
skirts of a straggling village, and still belongs to descendants of the
loyal Tombs, its present owners being Commander Carrow, r.n., and
Mrs. Carrow, the latter a Tombs descendant and the daughter of the
late Mr. Fisher Tomes. The historic spit is carefully preserved in
the ancient kitchen now converted into a parlour. Mr. Allan Fea
speaks of the Long Marston House as " Old King Charles," but the
more familiar name by which it is known is "King's Lodge" or
" King Charles's Lodge." The name " Will Jackson " by which the
King was known there stuck to him until 1660, and was constantly
used in secret correspondence. At Boscobel Charles had been plain
"Will Jones." For some reason the name of Jackson was occasionally
given to Cromwell.

An entirely new front has been given to "The Sun" Inn at
Cirencester, where Charles and his companions spent the night of
September 1 1-12, 1651, but an engraving of the old hostelry, as it was

* Members of the Tombs (or Tomes) family are very numerous both in England and
America. In the index of Gloucestershire wills will be found one of a Tombs of Long
Marston as far back as 1546. The name occurs frequently in the registers there from 1589
onwards, but is frequently given as Tomes, Tommes, Tombes or Tims. Francis Tomes, a
Quaker, was residing near Albemarle Sound, North Carolina, in 1672. Mention is made of
another Quaker, Edward Tombs, a quarter of a century later. In later years the American
Tombs seem to have spread out toward the west, and some of them became quite prominent,
one of them giving his name to the well-known New York prison. Brigadier General
Robert Tombs was Confederate Secretary of State in 1861. Sir Henry Tombs, v.c, k.c.b.,
was descended from the Long Marston Tombs of 1651 through his grandson William, who
settled at Coates. Very exhaustive researches into the Tombs genealogy have been made by
Mr. R. C. Tombs, i.s.o., of Westbury-on-Trym, and his son, Mr. P. M. Gainsford Tombs,
of " Boscobel," Carshalton, who have furnished me with much valuable and interesting informa-
tion. A long article on the Cotswold Tombs by Mr. R. C. Tombs appeared in the Wilts
and Gloucestershire Standard of April 10, 1909. Other particulars will be found in the
Evesham Journal oi May 13 and May 29, 1909.

36



Historical Introduction

a few years ago, still exists. The room associated with the King's visit
is shown to visitors. The landmarks connected with the sojourn of
Charles at Abbots Leigh, near Bristol — September 12-16 — are exceed-
ingly interesting, although nothing remains of the ancient home of the
Nortons.* In the chancel of Abbots Leigh Church is still to be seen
the ornate marble monument of Sir George Norton, the King's host,
and his wife Dame Francis. The bewigged busts of a later period
cannot be regarded as attempts at serious portraiture. On the Norton
tomb is the following inscription : —

" Near this place lies interred the body of S'' George Norton of
Abbots Leigh in y^ County of Somerset, son of S"^ George Norton
of y** same place. So Eminently Loyal in hazarding both his life
& fortune in concealing in his house the sacred person of our late
Most Sovereign King Charles y® second till he could provide means
for his escape into France."

The monument was erected in 17 15, but the will of Sir George
Norton was dated February 28, 1667, and proved on March 12, 1667-8.
\_^omerset Wills. London, 1887.] In the unique broadside of 1660,
possibly the earliest account of the Royal Wanderings published after
the Restoration, Charles is said to have hoped to escape from a place
called " Crods and Peet hard by Bristoliy t I think the Rev. James S.
Hill, of Stowey Rectory, Glutton, has satisfactorily identified the scene
of the King's first great disappointment. In response to a query from
me he thus writes to the Editor of the Bristol Times and Mirror : —

"In the place-names you will find that Pill which is "hard by Bristol" is
called Crokanpill, or Crokenpill ; and at the end of the sixteenth and in the seven-
teenth century ( 1 60 1 ) it is called Crocke and Pill, and Croch and Pill. Other spellings
are Crokerne Pill, Crakers Pill, Crookham Pill, and ' Crokers Pill, now Eston-in-
Gordon ' (in a will). Now, I suggest to you that ' Crods and Peet,' concerning

* See " King Charles II at Abbots-Leigh," by the late Professor James Rowley.
Proceedings of the Clifton Ayitlquarian Society, 1906-7, pp. 93-113.
t Seep. 81.

37



The Royal Miracle



which Mr. Broadley inquires, is a mis-spelling, a mis-reading, or a mis-printing of
some compositor (or rather de-compositor), for ' Crok and Peel.' A bad ' k '
could easily be read as a ' d,' and an uncrossed ' t ' mistaken for * 1.' The
de-compositor is capable of grander transformations, as when a 'sucking calf
appears as a ' smoking calf Pill is the very place for this Caroline embarkation.
' Charles the Second at Pill ' is interesting. Crods and Peet, anyhow, is a
startling corruption."

Mr. Hill kindly sent me a sketch map showing how convenient
Pill would be for the contemplated adventure. It is still the abode of
pilots, and only a short walk from Abbots Leigh.* From Pill boats
and yawls constantly ply in the Channel, and the commercial import-
ance of the place was probably greater in Carolean times than it
is now.

Of the entire six weeks covered by the flight of Charles from
Worcester to Brighton, no less than seventeen days were spent at
Trent. The "hiding-place" (ready for the King's occupation if
necessity arose) has survived a whole series of structural alterations
which have taken place in the interesting Manor House, the environ-
ment of which remains pretty much as it was in 1651. The church
has undergone very little change. The tuneful bells which Charles
listened to as they rang in celebration of the good news from Worcester
are still heard Sunday after Sunday. In the wall of the side-chapel,
side by side, are two modest monuments thus inscribed : —



Here lyeth

The body of

Francis Wynd-

-HAM, Baronet

WHO DIED THE g

DAY OF July
AD 1676



D^' A. W.
Ob^ July 19°
An° D^'
1698



* Mr. Mathew Mathews, of Bristol, like Mr. Hill, thinks " pill " to be the equivalent of
the Welsh pwell = pool. He, however, locates Cogan-pill as situated between Cardiff and
Penarth on the Bristol Channel. In 1 65 i the family of Mathew, distinguished for their
loyalty to the Crown, resided there.

38



Historical Introduction

It was of the latter that Samuel Pepys wrote : —

" Ann Wyndham was nurse to Chas. II when Prince of Wales, and while
she lived governed him and everything else as a Minister of State, the old King
putting mighty weight and trust in her."

On the fly-leaf of the Trent registers, after a long list of Gerards,
occur the following Wyndham or Windham entries : —

♦*l. . . . Windham, daughter of ffrancis Windham Esq. and Ann his wife was
borne the 3^"^ of January and baptised the — '^^ of January 165 i."

" 2. . . . Windham daughter of ffrancis Wyndham Esq. & Ann his wife was buried
the 5*^ of January 1667."

1669
"II : Mr. Gerard Wyndham y« son of Mr. Francis Wyndham and Anne his wife
was buried February y® fourteenth."

1676
"III : S"- ffrancis Wyndham K"^* buried July y« 15."

1698
"IV : The Lady Anne Wyndham Relict of S"^ Fran. Wyndham Knight Baron*, was
buri'd July 25 — 98."

1707
"V : The Honor'''^ Lieu* Gen'^ Hugh Wyndham died at Valentia in Spain
Sepf^ 30 1706 was brought & buried at Trent May 31 1707."

1712
"VI: Madam Rachel Wyndham was brought down from London & buried

Decemb'' y^ 4*^ — 171 2."
"VII : S^ Francis Wyndham K°* Baro* was Buried April y« 4^*^ — 1716."

1718
"VIII : Margaret Bond an Ancient serv*. in S"^ Francis Wyndham's Family dyed
in y« 98*^ year of her Age, and was buried Nov"^ y*' 9*'' — 1718."

It results from these memoranda that although the unnamed
daughter of Francis and Anne W^yndham was only nine months old in
September, 1 65 1 , the mother was 47, and the "ancient servant," Margaret

39



The Royal Miracle



Bond, who died in George I's reign, 31. Bond is not mentioned in
Anne Wyndham's Claustrum Regale Reseratum. Mr. A. M. Gerrard,
of Westward Ho, Wake Green Road, Birmingham, sends me the
following note on his ancestral kinswoman, the intrepid chatelaine of
Trent : —

" Anne Wyndham's father Thomas Gerard was of an old Purbeck stock, but
claimed descent from the noble family of the Gerards of Lancashire, which
descent the Dorset historian, Hutchins, says is highly improbable. These
Gerards were far more likely out of the Doomsday family who held the manors
of Lopen and Broctune, and later Camville, all in Somerset ; later still they were
at Gerrardiston, in Wilts, and Sandford Areas and Parnham, near Beaminster,
Dorset. A Gerard of this stock about 1 350 owned the manor of Crichel Lucy.
A Richard of this line was M.P. for Wareham 1 369. From this time onward
no less than ten Gerards were M.P.'s for Wareham, Weymouth and Dorchester.

Thos. Gerard of Trent came out of one of these Purbeck families, William
his father, of Friars Maine, inheriting Trent by marriage with Mary Storke, and
their son Thomas was the father of Anne Wyndham."

The adventures of Charles II in West Dorset began very early on
the morning of Monday, September 22 ; they ended in his return to
Trent somewhat later in the forenoon of Wednesday, September 24.
Setting out from Trent before dawn they reached " Ellesdon's Farm" —
the " house in the hills" between Axminster and Charmouth — quite early
in the afternoon.* It has long been a tradition that during the three
days' journey the King visited Coaxdon Manor, In Chardstock parish,
the ancestral home of the Cogans, where he owed escape solely to the
quick thought and courage of the lady of the house, f On reaching
the Continent he sent a gold chain to his fair preserver, who had
hidden him beneath her farthingale. The story is strongly supported

* See/o//, p. 158 and p. 176.

t See King Charles II and the Cogans. A Missing Chapter in the Boscobel Tracts.
London, Elliot Stock. Charles II at Coaxdon Hall, by Hugh Norris. Reprinted from
Somerset and Dorset Notes and Queries, 1893. Mr. J. S. Udal's paper in the Proceedings
of the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club (Vol. VIII, pp. 9-28) may also
be referred to.

40



Historical Introduction

by the late Mr. Hugh Norris, and the tradition is not merely a local
one, but is set out at length in Mr. Walter Wilson's life of Defoe.*
The chain passed to Mrs. Elizabeth Conway through her grandmother
Elizabeth Cogan, and was, it is said, exchanged by her with a Jew
pedlar for sundry articles of silver plate, including two silver mugs
now in possession of her descendants, Mrs. Henry Tatham and Mr. J.
Cogan Conway.

Mr. R. R. Conway, of Weymouth College, the great-great-grand-
son of the last heir to the Carolean chain, points out that if Charles,
on his way from Trent to the sea-coast, " avoided Yeovil by keeping
to the north, and struck the fosse-way which runs right through
Coaxdon, a cross-country ride thence to Monkton Wyld (' EUesdon's
Farm ') would only be 4|- miles." This is quite true, but on the
other hand it must be remembered that there is not the faintest
allusion to the Coaxdon adventure either in Anne Wyndham's
narrative, the letters of Ellesdon and Alford, or the Miraculum
Basilikon.

The Ellesdons, the Alfords and the Wesleys all figure in the
early records of Lyme-of-the-King, from which place Charles vainly
hoped to escape to France, and Charles's son, the Duke of Mon-
mouth, thirty-four years later, set out on the fatal enterprise which
cost him his life. If the humorous author of the Miraculum is to be
trusted, the fugitive monarch owed his preservation on the morning of
September 23, 1651, to the " long-windedness" displayed by Benjamin
Wesley (he gives the name as Westley), "the puny, pittiful, dwindling
parson of that place," f in his family devotions, concerning which
Mistress Wyndham observes with evident satisfaction that " long
prayers, proceeding from a traitorous heart, once did good, but by
accident only."| Benjamin Wesley was the great-grandfather of the
Apostle of Methodism, and a great deal of new information both as to

* See Life and Times of Daniel Defoe, by Walter Wilson. London, i S30. Vol. I, p. 112.
t See post, VI, p. 136. I See posi, VII, p. 163.

41



The Royal Miracle



himself and his immediate descendants will be found in the Proceed-
ings of the Wesley Historical Society.^ Wesley was deprived of his
benefice after the Restoration, and subsequently became an itinerant
preacher and medical practitioner. He died at Lyme Regis, and was
buried there on 1 5 February, 1 670. His widow Mary was interred there
on 13 July in the following year. While still minister at Charmouth,


1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22