George Nugent Grenville Nugent.

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

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defenceless condition in which the pickets were spread out
over a wide- and difficult country. He had, the day before,
visited Major Gunter's cavalry in and about Tetsworth.
With the foresight of an active spirit, he had established a
chain of communication between the principal posts to
the eastward, and, the day before, had despatched his own
lieutenant to Lord Essex, to urge the strengthening of the
line by calling in the remote pickets from Wycombe, and
from those very villages which were now suffering from
Rupert's attack. Had this advice been adopted when it was
given, that morning's disaster at Chinnor would have been
spared, and a force would have been collected on the main
line of the Stoken Church road, sufficient to have stopped
and defeated Rupert on his advance, or effectually cut oil' all
possibility of his retreat.

Hampden had obtained, in early life, from the habits of the
chase, a thorough knowledge of the passes of this country. It

* ' His Highnesse Prince Rupert's late beating up,' &c. &c.


is intersected in the upper parts with woods and deep chalky
hollows, and in the vales with brooks and green lanes the
only clear roads along the foot of the hills, from east to west,
and these not very good, being the two ancient Roman high-
ways called the upper and lower Ickenild way. Over this
district he had expected that some great operation would be
attempted on the King's part, to force the posts round Thame,
and turn the whole eastern flank of the army. To this neigh-
bourhood he had, the evening before, repaired, and had lain
that night in Watlington.* On the first alarm of Rupert's
irruption, he sent off a trooper to the Lord General at Thame,
to advise moving a force of infantry and cavalry to Chisel-
hampton Bridge, the only point at which Rupert could recross
the river. Some of his friends would have dissuaded him
from adventuring his person with the cavalry on a service
which did not properly belong to him, wishing him rather to
leave it to those officers of lesser note under whose immediate
command the pickets were. But, wherever danger was and
hope of service to the cause, there Hampden ever felt that his
duty lay. He instantly mounted, with a troop of Captain
Sheffield's horse, who volunteered to follow him, and, being
joined by some of Gunter's dragoons, endeavoured by several
charges, to harass and impede the retreat, untill Lord Essex
should have had time to make his dispositions at the river.
Towards this point, however, Rupert hastened, through Tets-
worth, his rear guard skirmishing the whole way. On Chal-
grove Field, the Prince overtook a regiment of his infantry,
and here, among the standing corn, which covered a plain of
.several hundred acres, (then as now, unenclosed,) he drew up
in order of battle. Guuter, now joining three troops of horse
and one of dragoons who were advancing from Easington and
Thame, over Golden Hill, came down among the enclosures
facing the right of the Prince's line, along a hedgerow which
still forms the boundary on that side of Chalgrove Field.

* It is traditionarily said, that a military chest of money was left at the
house of one Robert Parslow, where Hampden lay that uight, and that it
was never called for after; by which means, Parslow was enabled to
bequeath a liberal legacy to the poor of that parish. On every annh
of his funeral, Nov. 19th, a bell tolls in Watlington, from morning till
sunset, ami twenty poor men are provided with coats. These particulars
I derive from the intelligent Mr. John Badcock, for forty years a resident
at Pyrton and its neighbourhood, but now of St. Helen's, who wrote, in
1816, a very ingenious little History of Watliugton.


The Prince with his life guards and some dragoons being in
their front, the fight began with several fierce charges. And
now Colonel Neale and General Percy coming up, with the
Prince's left wing, on their flank, Gunter was slain and his
party gave way. Yet, every moment, they expected the main
body, with Lord Essex, to appear. Meanwhile, Hampden,
with the two troops of Sheffield and Cross, having come
round the right of the cavaliers, from the enclosures by Waps-
grove House, advanced to rally and support the beaten horse.
Every effort was to be made to keep Eupert hotly engaged till
the reinforcements should arrive from Thame. Hampden put
himself at the head of the attack ; but, in the first charge, he
received his death. He was struck in the shoulder with two
r;ir;il)ine bulls, \\liidi, bnjukiiip; the bone, rut (-red his body, and
his arm hung powerless and shattered by his side. Sheffield was
severely wounded, and fell into the hands of the enemy. Over-
whelmed by numbers, their best officers killed or taken, the
great leader of their hopes and of their cause thus dying
among them, and the day absolutely lost, the Parliamentarians
no longer kept their ground. Essex came up too late ; and
Rupert, though unable to pursue, made good his retreat across
the river to Oxford.*

* These details have been taken from the account printed, by Leonard
Lichfield, at the university press at Oxford, for the King ; also, from
Mercurius Aulicus. from Lord Essex's two letters, from ' The Parliament
' Scout/ from 'A True Relation of a Great Fight between the King's Forces
' and the Parliament's at Chinnor, near Thame,' &c., and ' Certaine
' Intelligences from different Parts of the Kingdom,' printed for the
Parliament in London. There is a groundless story told, upon the authority
of a nameless paper, by Horace Walpole, and by Echard, of Hampden
having received a wound from the bursting of one of his own pistols. All
the contemporary accounts, diurnals, letters, and memoirs, state the details
as I have given them. In the Common-Place Book of Henry James Pye,
late poet laureate, now in the possession of his son, the lineal fleSBPHa'ant
of Sir Robert Pye, son-in-law to Hampden, I find the following entry :
' In the St. James's Chronicle for the year 1761, there is an account of the
' death of Mr. Hampden, different from that given by Lord Clarendon. The
' account is, that Sir Robert Pye, being at supper at Farringdom House
' with two of the Harleys and one of the Foleys, related the death of
' Hampden as follows : That, at Chalgrove Field, his pistol burst, and
' shattered his hand in a terrible manner ; that, when dying, he sent for
' Sir Robert Pye, his son-in-law, and told him he was in some degree
' accessary to his death, as he had the pistols from him. Sir Robert
' assured him he bought them in France of an eminent maker, and tried
* them himself. It appeared, on examining the other pistol, that it was
' loaded to the top with several supernumerary charges, owing to the
negligence of his servant.' Mr. Pye adds these words, which discredit the


Thus ended the fight of that fatal morning when Hampden
shed his blood; closing the great work of his toilsome life
with a brilliant reputation and an honourable death ; crowned,
not, as some happier men, with the renown of victory, but
with a testimony, not less glorious, of fidelity to the sinking
fortunes of a conflict which his genius might have more pros-
perously guided, and to a better issue.

' Disce . . . virtntem ex hoc, verumque laborem,
' Fortunam ex aliis.'

His head bending down, and his hands resting on his
horse's neck, he was seen riding off the field before the action
was done, ' a thing/ says Lord Clarendon, 'he never used to
' do, and from which it was concluded he was hurt.' It is a
tradition, that he was seen first moving in the direction of his
father-in-law's (Simeon's) house at Pyrton. There he had in
youth married the first wife of his love, and thither he would
have gone to die. But Rupert's cavalry were covering the
plain between. Turning his horse, therefore, he rode back
across the grounds of Hazeley in his way to Thame.* At
the brook, which divides the parishes, he paused awhile ; but,
it being impossible for him, in his wounded state, to remount,
if he had alighted to turn his horse over, he suddenly sum-
moned his strength, clapped spurs, and cleared the leap.
In great pain, and almost fainting, he reached Thame,f and
was conducted to the house of one Ezekiel Browne, J where,
his wounds being dressed, the surgeons would, for a while,
have given him hopes of life. But he felt that his hurt was
mortal, and, indulging no weak expectations of recovery,
occupied the fe\v days that remained to him in despatching
letters of counsel to the Parliament, in prosecution of his

whole of this anonymous account : ' My father, on reading this account,
' sent to enquire of Baldwin, the printer of the paper, how he met with the
' anecdote, who informed him, that it was found written on a loose sheet of
' paper in a book that he, or some friend of his, bought out of Lord
' Oxford's family. My father always questioned the authenticity of it, as
' my grandfather was bred up and lived with Sir Robert Pye till he was
' eighteen years old, and he never mentioned any such circumstance.'

* Todd, upon the authority of Mr. Blackall, of Great Hazeley, by his
grandson, to the Earl of Macclesfield.

+ Parliament's Scout.

+ ' A. True and Faithfull Narrative of the Death of Master Hampden,
&c v by Edward Clough, 1643.'


favourite plan. While the irresolute and lazy spirit which had
directed the army in the field should continue to preside in
the counsel of war, Hampden had reason to despair of the
great forward movement to which he had throughout looked
for the success of the cause. And now the reinforcements
which were pouring into Oxford from the North, and the
weakened condition of the Parliament, made the issue of this
more doubtful. His last urgent advice was to concentrate the
position of the army covering the London road, and provide
well for the threatened safety of the metropolis, and thus to
rouse the troops from the mortifying remembrance of their
late disasters to vigorous preparations, which yefe might lead,
by a happier fortune, in turn, to a successful attack. This
was his last message ; like that from the dying Consul, after
Cannae, to the senate of his country : ' Abi, uuncia patribus
' urbem muniant, ac, priusquam hostis victor adveniat, prsesi-

' diis firment Me, in hac strage meorum patere expirare,

' ne aut reus e consulatu sim, aut accusator collegse existam,
' lit alieno crimine innocentiam meam protegam/ *

After nearly six days of cruel suffering, his bodily powers

no longer sufficed to pursue or conclude the business of his

earthly work. About seven hours before his death he received

the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper ; declaring, that ' though

' he could not away with the governance of the church by

' bishops, and did utterly abominate the scandalous lives of

' some clergymen, he thought its doctrine in the greater part

' primitive and conformable to God's word, as in Holy Scrip-

' ture revealed/ He was attended by Dr. Giles, the rector of

Chinnor, with whom he had lived in habits of close friendship,

and by Dr. Spurstow, an independent minister, the chaplain

of his regiment, t At length, being well nigh spent, and

labouring for breath, he turned himself to die in prayer.

' Lord God of Hosts/ said he, 'great is thy mercy, just and

' holy are thy dealings unto us sinful mm. Save me, Lord,

' if it be thy good will, from the jaws of death. Pardon my

' manifold transgressions. O Lord, save my bleeding country.

' Have these realms in thy special keeping. Confound and

' level in the dust those who would rob the people of their

' liberty and lawful prerogative. Let the King see his error,

' and turn the hearts of his wicked counsellours from the malice

* Tit, Liv. lib. xxii. t Baxter's Life.


' and wickedness of their designs. Lord Jesu, receive my
'soul!' He then mournfully uttered, '0 Lord, save my

' country O Lord be merciful to ' and here his

speech failed him. He fell back in the bed, and expired.*

It was thus that Hampden died ; justifying, by the courage,
patience, piety, and strong love of country, which marked
the closing moments of his life, the reputation for all those
qualities which had, even more than his great abilities, drawn
to him the confidence and affections of his own party, and the
respect of all. Never, in the memory of those times, had
there been so general a consternation and sorrow at any one
man's death as that with which the tidings were received in
London, and by the friends of the Parliament all over the
lancl.f Well was it said, in the Weekly Intelligencer of the
next week, ' The loss of Colonel Hampden goeth near the heart
' of every man that lores the good of his King and country,
' and makes some conceive little content to be at the army
' now that he is gone .... The memory of this deceased
' colonel is such that in no age to come but it will more and
' more be had in honour and esteem ; a man so religious, and
' of that prudence, judgment, temper, valour, and integrity,
' that he hath left few his like behind him/ J

All the troops that could be spared from the quarters round
joined to escort the honoured corpse to its last resting place,
once his beloved abode, among the hills and woods of the
Chilterns. They followed him to his grave in the parish
church close adjoining his mansion, their arms reversed, their
drums and ensigns muffled, and their heads uncovered. Thus
they marched, singing the 90th Psalm as they proceeded to
the funeral, and the "43rd as they returned.

Nor was it the Parliament, and its army, and the friends of
its cause, only, that deplored his fall. ' The King/ says Sir
Philip Warwick, 'being informed of Mr. Hampden's being
' wounded, would have sent lu'm over any chirurgeon of his

* dough's Narrative, &c. In the Ashmole Museum is a locket of plain
cornelian, which, it is said, was worn upon his breast. On the silver riui
in which the stone is set these words are inscribed :

' Against my king I never fight,
' But for my king, and country's right.'
t Clarendon Hist. Reb.

* The Kingdonie's Weekly Intelligencer. From Tuesday the 27tli of
June to Tuesday the 4th of July, 1643. dough's Narrative.


' if he had been wanting; for he looked upon his interest, if
' he could gain his affection, as a powerful means of begetting
' a right understanding between him and the two Houses/

The rancour, with which, after his death, his name and
character were instantly assailed by the heated and servile
diurnals of the Court party, was the appropriate tribute of the
base to the memory of the great and good. But Charles and
such of his public servants as were better acquainted with the
probable motives of Hampden, and the objects which he
pursued, were silent. While Hampden lived, the King had
in the camp of his enemies the most powerful and popular
man in the country, whose views were bounded by an honour-
able and publick-minded object ; which, gained, would at any
time, through his influence, have concluded the war. To this
the King always looked with confidence, in the event of his
being himself obliged by some reverse of fortune to make
terms with his Parliament. Hampden's counsels and conduct
as a soldier, tended, through vigorous measures, to a decisive
issue. But the object was peace, and security for liberty, and
the restoration of monarchy under such limitations as might
be a guarantee for both. His demand for the militia to be
placed for a time at the disposal of a popular body was as a
provision which had been made necessary for protecting the
Houses in their debates; not as a final scheme of settled
government. His measures for the putting down of Episco-
pacy were the immediate consequences of a rash vote of the
Lords in maintenance of the political power of an order who
had, in those days, formed themselves into an obstinate faction
to impede and punish the efforts which were making* for
publick freedom. His death left no man on the- Parliament's
side whrrirad influence enough to command, or, perhaps, dis-
cretion enough to direct, terms of accommodation. To Falk-
land no man remained, in the party opposed to the Court,
with whom to treat as an equal in virtue, wisdom, and modera-
on of purpose. What might have been the result if these
two great men, over both of whom the grave closed in the
course of the same campaign, had lived, must be matter of
mere speculation. But the remarkable coincidence, in one
important respect, of Falkland's views, as described by Lord
Clarendon, with Hampden's, as witnessed by his comportment,
and by the sorrow with which the King received the news of
his fate, leaves it matter of probability that this design at


least they had in common, that, on whichever side the victory
had fallen, a final settlement should be secured by that year's
conflict. ' Et, in luctu, Bellum inter remedia fuit,' says Lord
Clarendon, in his immortal character of his friend.

To his own party, the loss of Hampden was irreparable.
It left Lord Essex uncontrolled, unexcited by the example and
ascendency of a greater mind than his own. The events which
followed justified Hampden's prognostics, his policy, and
advice. Essex failed to advance the great object of the war
one step. Fairfax wanted firmness as a statesman to improve
his military successes. Cromwell pursued in his wars the
active course which Hampden had recommended ; but Crom-
well's ambition, or the varied circumstances under which he
was left to act, had changed the stake for which he contended,
and overthrew that monarchy which Hampden only laboured
to bring back wiHim the measured limits of the English con-

"" OF Hampden's character, it would be presumptuous to say
more than what his acts tell. The words are good in which it
is shortly comprised in an inscription remembered by me, on
many accounts, with many feelings of affection. ' With great
' coiinigCj and consummate abilities, he began a noble oppQsi-
' tion to an arbitrary court, in defence of the liberties of his
' count rv; supported them in Parliament, and died for them
'in the field/*

Tf, in the imperfect outline, now concluded, of the principal
passages of Hampden's life, it has been shewn that his
motives and conduct have been by the passions of some
writers unfairly traduced, and that his great qualities were
never exerted but in such manner as may beseem a virtuous
and honourable man labouring for a great public end, I have
done all that I proposed, and the object of these memorials
has been answered.

* Such was the inscription over the bust of Hampden in the Temple of ,:j
British Worthies at Stowe.



(See page 44.)

WHEREAS his Ma tie> as well for his brotherly respect and correspond-
ence w h - the Ffrench King, as for other reasons to him knowne, hath
been pleased at y e- motion of his Ambassado* to fitt out for his
service y e- Vantguarde (a principall shipp of his owne Navy royall)
ande further to periuitt an agreement to bee made w th- you the
Captaines, Masters, and owners of the goode Shipps called the
Neptune, the Industrie, the Perle, the Marygold, the Loyaltie, the
Guift, the Peter and John, for the like employm'' in the said King's
Service upon such Articles as are interchangeably sealed betwixt
the saide Ambassado"' and y e- Comissioners for the Navy on his
Ma"' behalf, ande yo u (the said Masters & Owners), for yo'selves.
And his Ma ts> pleasure hath been sufficiently signified for the putting
in readines of all the saide Shippes, w h> hee doubts not is accordingly
performed, the occasion of the said King's Service requiring all
convenient expedicion. Theis are therefore to will and require yo ut
and every of yo u- forth w th< to call the Companies aboarde w cb * have
been raised and fitted to every Shipp, according to former instructions
in that beh.ilf. And then to take the first opportunitie of winde
ande weather to proceede on yo r * voyage to such a Porte in the
Dominions of Ffraunce as the Ambassador' 6 shall direct and there
to attende the further directions y t- such principall person as shall
bee appoynted Admirall of the ffleete prepared for the service of the
saide ffrench King, Requiring further all Viceadmiralls and Officers
of the Admiraltie, Captaines of Castells and ffbrts, Captaines,
Masters and owners of Shippes, Mair 9 ' Sheriffes, Justices of the
Peace, Bayliffes, Constables, and all other his M' 9 ' Officers, Minis"'
& lowing Subjects & every of them to giue yo n> all assistaunce
and furtherauuce, not to hinder or interrupt yo u> or any of yo r>
Shippes or Company in the due performaunce of the Service aforsaid
as they will answere the contrary at their perills. ffrom Whitehall
8 May 1625.



To my very loving friends Captaynes Pen-
nington, Cap"' of bis Ma"' Shipp the
Vantguarde, & to y e- Captaines & Mas-
ters of y c seven Shipps apointed for the
Services of the ffrench King, & to every
of them, and to all others whome it
maie concerne.


His Majestie's express pleasure is that yo u take knowledge that
hee hath left the comaund of his Shipps under your chardge unto
his deare brother the most Christian Kinge, and that therefore yo u
receive into these Shipps so many persons as that Kiuge shall bee
pleased to put into them : and to be continued there dureing y e
tyme of the contract : and this yo u are to obey intirely with the
greatest moderation & discretion yo u can : this' beinge that I have
in chardge from his Majestic, I recomend it to yo u as you r warrant
& rernayne

Your assured frend to
Serve you,

Hampton Courte,
Julie the 10th 1625.

Aboard the good Shipp the Neptune this 28 l
July 1625. stilo anglie.

I AM sent hither by my Lord and Maister the Duke of Buckingham
(Lord High Admirall of England) to see the execution & pei -
formaunce of his Ma tie8 ' pleasure (signified by letters from my Lord
Conway). And doe crave answer in wrighting under your hands
whether you will (according to my Lord Conwaie's L rs " & uppon the
caution and securitie w chl was agreed one and paraffited at Rochester
by the three Lords Ambassado rs> oft* France and by them delivered
to my lord who remitted it to mee as the securitie I was to take)
deliver over your Shipps to bee disposed off by the Most Xiau
Ma" e> or noe, & if you will perfourme this I will procure you a
suficient discharge to your contentment.



PENNINGTON these are to charge and command you immediately
upon sight hereof that without all difficulty & delay you put our
former commandment in execution for y e consigning of your Ship
\>nder your chardge called the Vantgard into the haude of the
Marquis D'effiiatt with all her equipage artillery & munition
assuring the officers of the saide Ship whome it may concerne y' we
will provide for their indemnity & we farther chardge & command
you that you also require the seaven Marchants Ships in our name
to put themselves into the Service of our deare Brother the French
King according to the promise we have made unto him & in case of
backwardnesse or refusall we commande you to use all possible
meanes in yo r power to compell them thereunto even unto their
sinking & in these severall charges see you faile not as you will



answer to the contrary at the uttermost perill & this shal be your
sufficient Warrant. Given at our Court at Richmond the 28 th of
July, 1625.

To our trusty and wellbeloved Jn- Penning-
ton, Cap', of our Ship called the Vaiit-


(See page 49.)

At Whitehall, March, 1627.

Lord Treasurer.
Lord President.
Lord Admiral.
Lord Steward,
Lord Chamberlain.
Karl of Suffolk.
Earl of Dorset.
Earl of Salisbury,
Earl of Mortoii.

Lord Viscount Conway.

Lord BP of Durham.

Lord BP of Bath and Wells.

Mr. Treasurer.

Mr. Comptroller.

Master of the Wards.

Mr. Secretary Cook.

Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer,

Mr. Chancellor of the Dutchy.

It is this day ordered by his Majesty, being present in Council, That the
several persons hereunder written shall, from henceforth, be discharged and set
at liberty from any restraint heretofore put upon them by his Majesty's com-
mandment. And hereof all sheriffs and officers are to take notice.

Online LibraryGeorge Nugent Grenville NugentSome memorials of John Hampden : his party and his times → online text (page 43 of 45)