George Nugent Grenville Nugent.

Some memorials of John Hampden : his party and his times online

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which they were repulsed by the steadiness of Gerrard's troops

* Continuation of Certain Special! and Remarkable Passages, &c. From
Thursday 19th January, to Thursday 26th.


and the great strength of the place, the Parliamentarians were
forced to retire, covering their retreat as well as they could,
pursued, however, by the cavalry of the garrison, and suffering
the loss of many men and horses among the deep lanes and
woods and marshes. In this action, Mr. Grenvil received a
dangerous wound from a musquet shot, and from this time it
does not appear that the high sheriff was tempted to take the
field in person.* Meanwhile, his kinsman, on the opposite
party, pursued in Cornwall a gallant and eager course of
service, generally distinguished by success.

On the 19th of January was fought the fight of Bradock
Down, in winch the King's troops, commanded in cTiieT by
Sir ~Ralph Hopton, obtained a signal advantage. This action
ws of the more importance, as being the first which restored
the King's affairs in those parts, after the failure and retreat
of the Marquis of Hertford, Lieutenant General of the
\Yestern Association. A fresh army had been raised in a
marvellously short time by the efforts of Hopton, Sir Nicholas
Manning, and Sir Bevill Grenvil. t The Lord Mohun, too,
having, since the beginning of the civil war, 'kept himself in
close retirement upon his estate at Boconnock, now joined the
rising party, and showed himself iiTarmsTor "the first time in
this battle, within sight of his own house. The Parliamen-
tarians, rnrouniged by their former success, were threatening
Ljslteard, the capture of which would have opened to them a
line of communication along nearly the whole of the western
coast. It was within a few miles from this town that the two
armies me~t. Heath and Clarendon describe the unexpected
opening of a masked battery of two small drakes as mainly
instrumental in the issue of this encounter; one of the
instances of the effect of a very small force of artillery in
times when the use was so little known of that engine of war
in the field. The victory was complete. The Parliamentarians
were checked and routed, and 1250 prisoners taken; and, on
the same evening, Hopton entered Liskeard in triumph.

The following letter was sent by" Sir Be\flricTnTs~wife, who
was then at his house at Stow, about thirty miles from the
place of action. It describes with warm and hurried energy
the achievement in which he had that day borne a very forward
part, and was written before he had put off the armour he had

* Mercurius Aulicus. t Heath's Chronicle.


worn in the fight.* Nothing that is natural to a frank and
gallant man's feelings is ungraceful in the expression ; nor is
it dishonouring to Sir Bevill that something of the spirit of
self-commendation, which on that night swelled his heart,
should have been poured forth in a letter to his ' best friend/
to whom he knew that his fame was dear and precious as his

' For the Lady Grace Grenvil,

' at Stow.

' The messenger is paid,
' Yet give him a shilling more.

' MY DEABJE LOVE, It hath pleased God to give us a happy
' victory on this present Thursday, being the 19th of January, for
' w ch pray joyiie w th me in giving God thanks. We advanced
' yesterday from Bodmyn to tinde the Enemy w ch we heard was
' abrode, or, if we~mlssecl him in the field, we were resolved to
' unhouse them in Liskeard, or leave our boddies in the high way.
' We were not above 3 mTte from Bodmyn when we had viewe of
c two troopes of theire horse to whom we sent some of our's w ch
' chasd them out of the field, while our foote inarch d after our
' horse. But night coming on, we could march no farther then
' Piocuiinock Parke, where, (upon my Lo: Mohuu's kiude motion,)
' we quartered all our army that night by good fires under the
' hedges. The next morning, (being this day) we marched forth,
' and, about noone, came in full view of the enemie's whole army
: iijimm a i'aire heath betueen l>oeon: and Braddock church. They
' were in horse lunch stronger than we, but, in foote, we were
' superior as I thinke. They were possest of a pritty rising ground
' w ch was i n f^g wa y towards Liskerd : and we planted ourselves
' upon such another against 'them w th in musket shott ; and we
' saluted each other w th bulletts about two bowers or more, each
' side being willing to keepe their ground of advantage and to
' have the other to come over to his prejudice. But after so long
' delay, they standing still firme, and being obstinate to hould their
' advantage, S r Ea: Hopton resolved to march over to them, and
' to leave all to the mercy of God and valour of our side. I had
' the van, and so, after sollemne prayers at the head of every
' devision, I ledd my part away, who followed me w th so great
' courage both downe the one hill and up the other, that it strooke
' a terror in them, while the seconds came up gallantly after me,
' and the winges of horse charged on both sides. But their courage
' so faild as they stood not the first charge of the foote, but fledd
' in great disorder ; and we chast them diverse miles. Many are

* In Lord Carteret's Collection.


not slaine, because of their quick disordering. But we have
taken above 600 prisoners, and more are still brought in by the
soldiers. Much annes they have lost ; 8 collours we have won,
and -i pieces of ordinance from them ; and w th out rest we marchd
to I.iokml, and tooke it w th out delaye, all theire men flying from
itt In foir \\( came ; and so I hope we are now againe in the way
to settle the countrey in peace. All our Cornish Grandies were
present at the battell, w th the Scotch Generall Ruthven, the
Somersett Collonells, and the Horse Captaines Pirn and Tomson,
and, but for their horses' speed, had been all in our hands. Lett
my sister, my cossens of Clovelly, w th y r other friends, understand
of gods mercy to us ; and we lost not a man. So I rest

' Y rs ever,


' Li.skerd, July 19, 1042.'

But the Parliamentarians, thus beaten at Bradock, and
driven in confusion through Liskeard, were not prevented
from again rallying in force further to the westward. The
little experience of both parties in the art of war, the want of
combination, and the difficulties which the country presented
all over England owing to the fewness and badness of the
roads, gave on all occasions great advantages to beaten armies.
Assurances were sent to them of powerful assistances. It was
promised that Sir William Waller, with a large and better
disciplined force, should soon be on the march to support
them from the neighbourhood of Gloucester. They were
thus encouraged to make head as long and as obstinately as
they could, and to harass as much as possible the King's force
by dividing their own and acting upon their flanks, until this
expected assistance might arrive. Accordingly \ve find from
Sir Bevill's letters,* that, as soon as the beginning of
February, the Royalists, having advanced upon the main
body of the Parliamentarians who had retreated on Plymouth,
were again distracted by fresh powers gathering in their ivai.
in the country round Tavistock. A large body of the King's
army was detached to dKenampton, where they found them-
selves opposed by near 1)"UUU men, who, retreating on Chag-
ford, were attacked without success. The approach35"To
tUe town being difficult, and the King's cavalry too far in
advance of their infantry, 'our men/ says Sir Bevill, 'were

* Letter to Lady Grace, dated Okehampton : Feb. 9. In Lord Carteret'a



' forced to retire againe after they were in ; and one loss we
' have sustained that is uuvalluable, to witt, Sydney Godolphin
' is slaine in the attempt, who was as gallant a gent: as the
' world had/

Saltash was next attacked and forced by Sir Ralph Ilopton,
whore he took many cannon and prisoners and a ship of war;*
R'ufhen escaping in an open boat to Plymouth, t

'But Hopton was now in great difficulties. Placed between
the force near Tavistock and the garrison of Plymouth, and
unable to reduce the latter place, or to clear the country to
the eastward of him without directing his whole power on
that point, contrary to the advice of Sir Bevill, he divided his
army, occupying himself for near a fortnight in a hopeless siege
of Plymouth, the garrison of which could scarcely have ven-
tured to move out, and allowing the Parliamentarians in other
parts adjacent to gather strength and spirits. On the 25th
of February, however, the siege of Plymouth was*abandoned,
' which/ says Sir Bevill, 'for my part, I never expected could
' be successfull : yet, in submission to better judgement, I
' gave way. And we are now at Tavistock, united again in
1 one boddy. The party of our's w c "was at Modburj^ indured
* a cruell assault for 12 howers against many thousand men,
' and killd many of them, with the losse of fewe and some
' hurt. But our's at last were forced to retire to Plymptflji
' for want of ammunition, having spent all their stocK. \Ve
' are still threatned, but I hope god's favour will not for-
' sake us/ J

During this sharp campaign in the West, while Ruthen,
General Chudleigh, and the Earl of Stamford, commanded
jointly for the Parliament, the Earl of Stamford, whether from
jealousy or some more dishonouring motive, appears to have
failed in giving the support which was demanded from him by
the other two. They were active, enterprising, and indefatig-
able. Stamford had rarely the good fortune to be with his
division, where the danger and exigency of the business in
hand the most urgently required his presence in the field.
At Bradock Down his absence was the more remarkable, in-
asmuch as Ruthen had halted for two days for him to come
up from a distance of only about twenty miles, and when his
additional numbers could hardly have failed of securing an

Chronicle. t ChtremjonJfcList.

From a letter ' To the Lady GraCe at J^ttnv, Feb.


ft f


important advantage. It seems as if nothing but the danger
of offending a person of his rank and connections, and the
deserved popularity of his son the brave Lord Gray of Groby,
can account for so bad a soldier as Lord Stamford having
been left in command of troops, or even having escaped cen-
sure from the Parliament. But the difficulties which the close
committee had in these respects to encounter, among the
religious jealousies of the Independents and the Presbyterians,
and the political jealousies of the nobles and the levellers
engaged together in this cause, having often to balance the
disadvantage of retaining incompetent leaders against that of
disgusting their party by removing them, may easily be con-
ceived, but will probably never be known in all the various
and complicated details.

The state of Devonshire, strongly against the King, and of
Cornwall doubtful, disposed him, and the character of their
leaders in the West and the important business nearer home
induced the Parliament, to conclude an armistice that was
soon broken also by common consent.

The defeat of Stratton Hill was that which determined the
Parliament to plSce the "western army under one leader in
whose acknowledged abilities and claims for supreme command
they might have confidence, and to turn their attention much
more seriously to the war in that important quarter. Here
Chudleigh commanded for the Parliament, supported by Sir
KicIIarclBuller and Sir Alexander Qargw ; * and Hopton, and
under hraTTjIrenvil, anJ~Siaiining, John Arundell, Sir John
Berkeley, Jolm "Ashburnhain, and John Trevaniun, fur the
King. Lord Stamford, as usual, had neglected to join in the,
position which the Parliament's army had taken up, and the
whole of its cavalry had been detached, a few miles off to
Bodmin^ under the command of Sir George Chudleigh, the
en'era?s father, to disperse or capture a force which had
assembled there to recruit for the royal cause under the com-
mission of array. Availing himself of the advantage of this
moment, Hopton pushed forward his whole army by a forced
march of two days, and, on his arrival in sight of the enemy,
instantly attacked. Sir Bevill led the advance with his
musqueteers and pikeir!eTT7~Sfipported by Sir Jolm Berkeley's
brigade, and, for some time, drew the whole power of the

* Clarendon, Hist. Rcb.


enemy's troops on the hill to that part, where, from the steep-
ness of the ascent and the stubbornness of the defence, the
assailants met with great difficulty and loss. At length, after
several hours of severe fighting, relieved from some of the
stress of the action by three other divisions coming up to the
attack on the three other sides, the Cornish leaders, finding
the ammunition nearly spent, a defect which they agreed, says
Clarendon, ' could only be sup'plied by courage/ determined
to push forwarcT at once for the plain on the summit. There
the four parties met, and overthrew the Parliamentarians, who,
unfurnished with cavalry to protect their flanks, although
behaving with the utmost courage, and their officers doing all
that skill and soldiership could do, were entirely routed and
driven down in great disorder, leaving General Chudleigh and
seventeen hundred other prisoners, thirteen pieces of cannon,
and all their baggage and stores, in the hands of the victors.
/ The success of this battle reduced all that part of the West
', country to submit to the King, excjej3tmgJPJym^]]ft r w hir.h
still held out, protected by the strength of its citadel, ;\nd
receiving its supplies, unmolested, by sea. On Sir Pialplt
llopton, in memory of the victory, was conferred the title of
( Baron Hopton of Stratton.

Ill These events had gradually raised the war in the West into
li\ greater importance with both parties. The Parliament saw
itself daily losing ground in those parts, and at length deter-
mined to send thither Sir WiUiamWailer to the supreme
command, supported with'a small additional force, and with
all the reputation which he had derived from his military ex-
perience abroad, increased by his late services and successes in
Surrey, Hampshire, Gloster, and Hereford. No sooner had
the Commonwealth party received this reinforcement of means
and of system than Prince Maurice arid Lord Hertford were
detached thither by the King. This led to a course of alter-
nate successes and defeats which kept the issue of the war in
|f balance for nearly two years, the cause of the Parliament

(appearing more than once nearly extinguished there, but at
length prevailing. The history of these events would carry us
wide of the main subject of these memorials, and, in respect
of dates, far beyond it. Lausdmvii was, on the whole, a
victory for Waller; but, at the "battle of Ijoundway Down,
which followed soon after, he received a completeand signal
overthrow. He returned to London, unfortunate, but with


the well-deserved glory of having conducted himself, though
unsuccessfully, with skill, determination, and valour, against
a combination of circumstances beyond his control ; ill-supplied
with means, and cruelly thwarted by the jealousy of Essex.
But, on his return, he was met by both Houses with a vote of
thanks, honourable to them as to him, like that of the Roman
senate to their consul after Cannse. ' Quo in tempore, adeo
' magno animo civitas fuit, ut consuli, ex tanta clade redeunti, et
f obviam itum frequenter ab omnibus ordinibus sit,et gratias actae,
' quod de republica non desperasset/ * Cornwall, Devonshire,
and Somersetshire, afterwards became tlie principal scene of
Tne war, Mssex and Fairfax leading ou the one part, and the
King in person on the other : and it ceased not until the
entire abandonment of the West by the King,, owing mainly
to the carelessness, the excesses, the cowardice, and, perhaps,
treachery, of Goring, who commanded his cavalry. But the |
fight at Lansdown closed the brave and honourable life of Sir {
Bevill Grenvil. Waller had retired into Bath upon some *
reinforcements of cavalry, lately arrived from London. There : .
he knew that Maurice and the Marquis of Hertford must
attack him, or lose all the fruits of what had been done in
Cornwall, and leave that country and Devonshire to be
brought again under the undisputed dominion of the Parlia-
ment by the reduction of the few small garrisons held for
the King, and by the power of Lord Warwick's fleet upon the
coast. The King's army advanced from Wells and Erome by
Bradford. But, finding Waller strongly posted on Lansdown,
his artillery flanking the main road and covered by fascines
and stone walls, they retired to Marsfield, where they were
charged by II aselrigge's regiment of cuirassiers, ' the Lobsters/
with great execution. Here, however, rallying with their
whole force of cavalry, under Maurice and the Earl of
Carnarvon, and the Cornish musqueteers under Sir Nicholas
Slanuing, they again beat back the cuirassiers to the foot of
the hill. And now Sir Bevill GrenviFs troops on the right
becoming impatient at the sight of the batteries and breast-
works on the hill, ' cried out that they might have leave to
' fetch oft* those cannon/ 1 Sir Bevill himself headed this
gallant attack, flanked by a party of horse on his right, his
,o\vn regiment of musqueteers on the left, himself on horseback

* Tit. Liv., lib. xxii. ad fin. t Clarendon, Hist. Reb.


leading up his pikes midway, in the face of the cannon, and
meeting a strong body of the King's routed and pursued by
the Parliament's cavalry. In vain did the cannon and
musquetry from the brow of the hill play fast and thick upon
\\ the resolute Cornishmen, who, pressing forward and ' scotching
^ ' like their own wild sea-mows/* bore up against two charges
of cavalry on their ascent. But, on the third charge. Sir
BevilFs horse was killed, and this gallant gentleman icllto
risi; r,o more, covered with wounds, and Ins head cloven wiili
the blow of a poll-axe. The troops retired, further disordered
by the blowing up of a magazine among them; and Clarendon,
though he unaccountably claims the victory for the King,
admits that Waller quartered that night again in the city of
Bath, at the foot of the disputed hill; while Hopton was
borne off the field severely wounded, many of his officers slain,
and his army retreating towards Oxford by the way of Devizes.
In this town they were for some days enclosed by Waller, till
they were relieved by the other army under the Earl of Hert-

Iford and Prince Maurice.f I have been led beyond the proper
date of these memorials to pursue the short and bright career
of Sir Bevill to its honourable close. But I trust that the
subject and the feeling of the following letter, written by his
faithful friend Trelawney, announcing his death to that high-
minded and amiable woman, Lady Grace, may excuse this
violation of the unity of time in my narrative.

c HONOUABLE LADY, How cann I containe myselfe or longer
conceale my sorrow for y e Death of y* excellent Man y r most deare
Husband, and ray noble Freind. Bee pleased w th y r wisdome to
consider of the events of warr \v ch is seldom or never constant,
but. as full of mutability as hazard. And seeing it hath pleased
God to take him from y r LaPP, yet this may something appease
y r greate flux of teares, that hee died an Honorable Death, u lk
all his enemies will envy, fighting w th invincible valour and
Loyalty y e Battle of his God, his King, and Country. A greater
honour then this noe Man living can enioy. But God hath cal'd
him unto himselfe to crowne him (I doubt not) w th iaiinortall
Glory for his noble constancy e in this blessed Cause. It is too
true (most noble Lady) that God hath made you drinke of a
bitter Cupp, yett, if you please to submit unto his Devine Will
and pleasure by kissing his rodd patiently, God (noe doubt) hath
a staff of Consolation for to comfort you in this greate affliction

* Western Tragedy. t Clarendon, Hist. Eeb. Ludlow's Memoirs.


' and try all. Hee will wipe y r eyes, drie up the flowing springe of
' y r Teares, and make y r Bedd easye, and by y r patience overcome
' God's Justice by his retourning Mercie. Maddara, hee is gone
' his Journey but a little before us, wee must march after when it
' shall please God, for your LaPP knows y* none fall without his
' Providence, w ch is as greate in the thickest showre of Bulletts,
' as in y e Bedd. I beseeche you (deare Lady) to pardon this
' my trouble and boldness, and y e God of Heaven blesse you and
' comfort you and all my noble Cosens in this y r greate visitation,
4 which shal bee the uufayned Prayers of him that is, Most noble
' Lady,

' Your Ladishipps honerer

' and humble Servant

' Trelawne, 20tli July, 1643.'

We now return to the affairs of the midland counties as we
left them about the end of February.

The town of Lichfield had throughout been steady in its
adherence to the~T*ariiament J s cause; but its garrison had
been for some time withdrawn, and detached to other parts
which appeared to be more urgently menaced. Suddenly, in
furtherance of a design long laid in secret by Lord Chesterfield
and a party of the gentry of the surrounding country, the
Cathedral Close was seized and fortified for the King. Pro-
visions and ammunition had been collected in a house within
this precinct, and the position of the place, and the double
wall which surrounded it, rendered it strong, according to the
means and rules then known for defence and for attack. Lord
Brook, from Warwickshire, assisted by Sir John Gell,
from the neighbourhood of Derby, undertook to reduce it.
Although the Earl of Northampton was moving from
Banbury to support the party which occupied the Close, it
capitulated upon mere quarter after three days' siege. But,
on the second day of the attack, Lord Brook, who was
directing from a window the advance of a body of troops up
a street leading towards the Close, was slain by a musket shot,
fired from the Cathedral tower. It was on the 2nd of March,
the calendar day of St. Chad, a Mercian bishop, the founder
of Lichfield Cathedral ; a coincidence which did not escape
being dealt with by the court writers as a visible judgment, in
which it is difficult to suppose that they themselves could have
been believers. Clarendon, as usual, does not disdain to


countenance, by insinuation, the observations made by others
on this childish augury. Dr. Heylin very gravely remarks
that Lord Brook, when he left Coventry, had desired his

[chaplain to preach upon this text from Esther, ' If I perish
' I perish ; ' and that ' it is on credible testimony, that before
' his entry into Lichfield, he was heard to wish, if the cause
* he was in were not right and just, he might be presently
' cut off; which, being compared with the event, may serve
' sufficiently to convince the conscience of those, who have
' been hitherto seduced unto a good opinion of so fowle a
' cause, that it is neither justifiable in itself nor acceptable
1 unto God/ ' These things/ says he, ' should be heartily con-
' sidered of/* It is asserted by Dugdale, and repeated on
his authority by Carte, that Brook, ' seeing the consequences
' of the cause he had espoused, was inclined to change his
' side, when he lost his life at Lichfield/ This is shown to be
untrue by every part of his character and conduct to the last.
One even of less high and scrupulous honour than Lord Brook
would hardly have stooped to the treachery of planning, and
conducting a voluntary enterprise against those whom, at the
same time, he was ' inclining ' to join. It would be moreover
something contradictory to Dr. Heylin's theory of visible
judgments, that one whose life was spared through a long and
dangerous career of service to the Parliament should be cut
off by a special providence at the time when, repenting his
former courses, he was about to devote himself to the cause of
the King. He was, indeed, of a spirit so pure, pious, and
brave, that, while he was revered by the Parliamentarians as
one whose reputation added glory and power to their cause, his

f enemies could find no ground of censure against his motives.

I ' They who were acquainted with him/ says Lord Clarendon,

I ' believed him to be well natured and just/

Lord Chesterfield, and the party in the Close, surrendered ;

Online LibraryGeorge Nugent Grenville NugentSome memorials of John Hampden : his party and his times → online text (page 40 of 45)