Thomas Blount.

Boscobel; or, The history of the most miraculous preservation of King Charles II. after the battle of Worcester, September the third, 1651 online

. (page 1 of 4)
Online LibraryThomas BlountBoscobel; or, The history of the most miraculous preservation of King Charles II. after the battle of Worcester, September the third, 1651 → online text (page 1 of 4)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Produced by StevenGibbs and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at

[Illustration: Cha.y. 2. was proclaymed King of great Britan, France &
Ireland at Worcester, 23 Aug. 1651.]


After the Battle of Worcester, 3. Sept. 1651.

JOEL i. 2.

_Hear this ye Old Men, and give ear all ye Inhabitants of the
Land: Has this been in your dayes, or in the dayes of your

Printed for _Henry Seile_, Stationer
to the Kings most excellent Majesty, 1660.


Sold also by Stoddart & Craggs, Hull;
Mozley, Gainsbro'; Slater, Bacon, & Co. Sheffield;
and may be had of all other




The book which is here republished contains an account of the sufferings
of CHARLES the Second, after the battle of Worcester, until his escape
to the continent; - written by a co-temporary, and dedicated to that
monarch whose misfortunes he records; we may therefore naturally
infer, that the book is a true relation of the same.[1]

[1] This is not the only account that is published, for we
find it related by Bates, in his Elenchues, and by the Earl
of Clarendon, whose account he received from the king

As this work has become so scarce that a copy can with difficulty be
procured, the editor thought he should do a service to the curious by
having it reprinted _verbatim_[2] from the edition of 1660.

[2] The original style, &c. being preserved, will account for
the very erroneous _punctuation_, to which it was deemed
necessary to adhere.

The subject of this tract is interesting: it teaches us the instability
of human greatness. We are presented with a picture of the sufferings
of one, by lineal descent born to be the governor of a kingdom, reduced
to the alternative of either suffering on a scaffold, or quitting the
kingdom in habits of disguise.

When princes forget their subjects, or they their king, then both lose
their former allegiance and respect, they become mutual enemies, and
their inveteracy does not diminish until one or both are on the
precipice of destruction.

When Charles the First ascended the throne, his subjects were tenacious
of that religious freedom which they had procured under the reign of a
sovereign, whose name will ever be revered by innovators in theoretical
principles of religion. They had shaken off their subjugation to the
Roman Pontiff, and when he shewed signs of partiality to that
persuasion, they dreaded the consequences. They had not yet forgot the
atrocities committed in the reign of Mary; and were fearful, that if
their liberties were abridged, the same enormities would ensue. They
struggled for liberty, and he for power: both felt the lash of civil

When men are enthusiastically partial to an opinion, they are so
zealous in its cause they will die in its support. How many people have
suffered on this account, in all classes of religious opinions, in
different nations? Such was the case at that period. A rage for
polemical divinity took place, and brother against brother fought in
support of each other's tenets; each fully assured he was in the right.
The same spirit of innovation is too prevalent in the present day: the
principles they profess are at variance with the prosperity and
happiness of the country. They have made their way into our possessions
in the East Indies; and by their influence have brought on disaffection
among the native troops. From the organization of their native laws,
they are particularly tenacious of their theological principles;
according to which a man had better die than be a sceptic; for on
embracing any other faith, he must first lose his cast;[3] and in that
case he is deserted by all his relatives and countrymen, and driven
from the society of all he holds most dear on earth, so that his life
becomes insupportable.

[3] Excommunicated by an ecclesiastical court similar to
ours, only more rigid in its effects.

In the present state of civil commotions in the European countries,
caused by the ambitious views of Napoleon, it is exceedingly impolitic.
It is well known that he wishes to add India to his possessions, and in
the present disaffected state, nothing is more favourable to his
designs; as they would immediately flock to a leader, who would hold
out universal tolerance of religion; which has always been his maxim
where he has extended his arms. Thus, through the enthusiastic zeal of
a few, we may ultimately lose one of our finest possessions.

These people have universally promulgated such doctrines, that they
affect the organization of the brain; and have been the ruin of many a
happy family, by turning those who unfortunately had weak intellects
mad. And, such progress have their tenets made, that we may infer, the
period is not far distant when we shall see the orthodox church
completely deserted by the middling and lower orders of people.

"For modes of faith, let graceless zealots fight;
"His can't be wrong, whose life is in the right."


[Illustration: _View of Boscobel House, taken in 1792._]



Among the many addresses, which every day offers your sacred
Majesty, this humbly hopes your particular gracious acceptance;
since it has no other ambition, then faithfully to represent to
your Majesty, and, by your royal permission, to all the world, the
history of those miraculous providences that preserv'd you in the
battle of Worcester, conceal'd you in the wilderness at Boscobel,
and led you on your way towards a land, where you might safely
expect the returning favours of Heaven; which now, after so long a
tryal, have graciously heard our prayers, and abundantly crown'd
your patience.

And, as in the conduct of a great part of this greatest affair, it
pleased God (the more to endear his mercies) to make choice of many
very little, though fit instruments: So has my weakness, by this
happy president, been encourag'd, to hope it not unsuitable for me
to relate, what the wisest King thought proper for them to act;
wherein yet I humbly beg your Majesties pardon, being conscious to
my self of my utter incapacity to expresse, either your
unparallel'd valour in the day of contending, or (which is a vertue
far less usual for Kings) your strong and even mind in the time of
your sufferings.

From which sublime endowments of your most Heroick Majesty I derive
these comforts to my self, That whoever undertakes to reach at your
perfections, must fall short as well as I, though not so much: And
while I depend on your royal clemency more then others, I am more
obliged to be

Your Majesties

Most loyal Subject,

And most humble Servant,



_Behold, I present you with an_ History of Wonders; _wonders so rare
and great, that, as no former age can parallel, succeeding times will
scarce believe them._

_Expect here to read the highest tyranny and rebellion that was ever
acted by subjects, and the greatest hardships and persecutions that
ever were suffer'd by a_ King; _yet did his patience exceed his
sorrows, and his vertue at last became victorious._

_Some particulars, I confess, are so superlatively extraordinary, that
I easily should fear, they would scarce gain belief, even from my
modern reader, had I not this strong argument to secure me, That no
ingenuous person will think me so frontless, as knowingly to write an
untruth in an history, where_ His Sacred Majesty _(my dread Soveraign
and the best of Kings) bears the principal part, and all the other
persons concern'd in the same action_ (_except the_ Earl of Darby _and_
Lord Wilmot) _still alive, ready to poure out shame and confusion on so
impudent a forgery._

_But I am so far from that foul crime of publishing what's false, that
I can safely say, I know not one line unauthentick; such has been my
care to be sure of the truth, that I have diligently collected the
particulars from most of their mouths, who were the very actors
themselves in this scene of miracles._

_To every individual person (as far as my industry could arrive to
know) I have given the due of his merit, be it for valour, fidelity, or
whatever other quality, that any way had the honour to relate to his
Majesties service._

_And though the whole complex may want elegance and politeness of style
(which the nature of such relations does not properly challenge) yet it
cannot want truth, the chief ingredient for such undertakings. In which
assurance I am not afraid to venture myself in your hands._

Read on and wonder.


It was in _June_ in the year 1650. That CHARLES the Second, undoubted
heir of CHARLES the First, of glorious memory, King of Great Britain,
France, and Ireland, (after his Royal father had been barbarously
murdered, and himself banished his own dominions, by his own rebellious
subjects) took shipping at _Scheevling_ in _Holland_, and, having
escap'd great dangers at sea, arrived soon after at _Spey_ in the North
of _Scotland_.

On the first of January following, his Majesty was crown'd at _Scoon_,
and an army raised in that kingdome, to invade this; in hope to recover
his regalities here, then most unjustly detain'd from him, by some
members of the _Long Parliament_, and _Oliver Cromwell_ their general;
who soon after most traiterously assum'd the title of _Protector_ of
the new minted Common-wealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.

The first of August 1651. his Majesty with his army began his march
into England, and on the fifth of the same month, at his Royal Camp, at
_Woodhouse_ near the Border, publish'd his gracious declaration of
general pardon and oblivion, to all his loving subjects of the kingdom
of England and dominion of Wales, that would desist from assisting the
_usurped_ authority of the pretended Common-wealth of England, and
return to their obedience. Except only Oliver Cromwell, Henry Ireton,
John Bradshaw, John Cook, and all others, who did actually sit and vote
in the murder of his royal father.

His Majesty, after the publication of this gracious offer, march'd his
army into Lancashire, where he received some considerable supplies from
the _Earl of Darby_ (that loyal subject,) and at Warrington Bridge met
with the first opposition made by the rebels in England, but his
Majesties presence soon put them to flight.

In this interim his Majesty had sent a copy of his declaration,
enclosed in a gracious letter to the Lord _Mayor_ and _Aldermen_ of the
city of London, which, by order of the usurpers then sitting at
Westminster, was (on the 26. of August) publickly burnt at the Old
Exchange by the Hangman; and their declaration proclaimed there and at
Westminster, by beat of drum and sound of trumpet; by which his sacred
Majesty, (to whom they could afford no better title than _Charles
Stuart_,) his abettors, agents and complices, were declared traytors,
rebels and publique enemies. - Impudence and treason beyond example!

After a tedious march, his Majesty with his army arriv'd at Worcester
on the 22. of August, (being near three hundred miles from S.
_Johnstons_ in Scotland,) having left the Earl of Darby in Lancashire,
as well to settle that and the adjacent counties in a posture of
defence, against Cromwell and his confederates; as to raise some
auxiliary forces to recruit his Majesties army, in case the successe of
a battle should not prove so happy as all good men desired.

But (such was Heavens decree) on the 25. of August, the Earl's new
rais'd forces were totally defeated near Wiggan in that county by Col.
Lilburn, with a regiment of sectaries. In which conflict the Lord
Widdrington, Sir Thomas Tildesley, Colonel Trollop, Lieutenant Colonel
Galliard, (faithful subjects and valiant souldiers) with some others of
good note, were slain, Col. Roscarrock wounded, Sir William
Throckmorton, Sir Timothy Fetherstonhaugh, (who was afterwards beheaded
by the rebels,) Colonel Baines and others taken prisoners, and their
General the Earl of Derby forced to fly to save his life; In which
flight be made a sad choice of the way towards Worcester, whither he
knew his Majesties army was design'd to march.

After some days my Lord, with Colonel Roscarrock and two servants, got
into the confines of Staffordshire and Shropshire near Newport, where
at one Mr. Watsons house he met with Mr. _Richard Snead_ (an honest
gentleman of that country, and of his Lordship's acquaintance,) to whom
he recounted the misfortune of his defeat at Wiggan, and the necessity
of his taking some rest, if Mr. Snead could recommend his Lordship to
any private house near hand, where he might safely continue, till he
could find an opportunity to goe to his Majesty.

Mr. Snead brought my Lord and his company to _Boscobel-house_, a very
obscure habitation, situate in Shropshire, but adjoyning upon
Staffordshire, and lies between Tong-castle and Brewood. John Giffard,
Esq. having built this house about thirty years since, invited Sir
Basil Brook with other friends and neighbors to a house-warming feast;
at which time Sir Basil was desired by Mr. Giffard to give the house a
name, He aptly call's it BOSCOBEL (from the Italian _bosco bello_,
which in that language signifies _fair wood_) because seated in the
midst of many fair woods. It is now the inheritance of Mr. Basil
Fitzherbert, by Jane his wife, daughter and heir of Mr. John Cotton, by
Frances, daughter and heir of the said John Giffard.

At this place the Earl arrived on the 29. of August (being Friday at
night,) but no body was found at home, except William Penderel, the
house-keeper and his wife, who, to preserve so eminent a person,
adventur'd to receive my Lord, and kept him in safety till Sunday night
following, when (according to my Lords desire of going to Worcester,)
he convey'd him to Mr. Humphry Elliots house at Gataker Park, (a true
hearted royalist,) which was about nine miles on the way from Boscobel
thither. Mr. Elliot did not onely freely entertain the Earl, but lent
him ten pounds, and conducted him and his company safe to Worcester.

The next day after his Majesty arrival at Worcester, being Saturday the
23. of August, he was proclaimed King of Great Britain, France and
Ireland, by Mr. Thomas Lisens Mayor, and Mr. James Bridges Sheriff of
that loyal city, with great acclamations.

On the same day his Majesties sent abroad a declaration, given at his
city of Worcester, summoning, upon their alleageance, all the
neighboring nobility, gentry and others, from sixteen to sixty, to
appear in their persons and with horse and armes at _Pitchcroft_ on the
Tuesday following, where his Majesty would be present.

Upon Sunday 24. August, Mr. Crosby (an eminent divine of that city,)
preach'd before his Majesty in the Cathedral Church; and in his prayer
styled his Majesty _Supreme Head over all persons in his Dominions_: At
which some of the _Scots_ took exception, and Mr. Crosby was afterwards
admonish'd to forbear such expressions.

Tuesday the 26. of August was a Rendevouz in Pitchcroft neer the city,
of such loyal subjects of that and the adjacent counties as would come
in to his Majesties aid; Here appeared Francis Lord Talbot (now Earl of
Shrewsbury) with about sixty horse; Mr. Mervin Touchet, Sir John
Packington, Sir Walter Blount, Sir Ralph Clare, Mr. Ralph Sheldon of
Beoly, Mr. John Washburn of Witchingford, with forty horse, Mr. Thomas
Hornyold of Blackmore Park, with forty horse, Mr. Thomas Acton, Mr.
Rob. Blount of Kenswick, Mr. Rob. Wigmore of Lucton, Mr. Francis
Knotsford, Mr. Peter Blount and divers others. Notwithstanding which
access, the number of his Majesties army both _English and Scots_, was
conceiv'd not to exceed 12000. men, (viz.) ten thousand Scots and about
2000. English, and those too not excellently arm'd, nor plentifully
stored with ammunition.

Mean time Cromwell (that grand patron of sectaries) had amass'd
together a numerous body of rebels, commanded by himself in chief, and
by the Lord Grey of Groby, Fleetwood & Lambert under him, consisting of
above thirty thousand men, (being generally the scum and froth of the
whole kingdome;) One part of which were sectaries, who through a
fanatique zeal, were become devotes to this great _idol_; the other
part seduc'd persons, who either by force or fear were unfortunately
made actors or participants in this so horrible and fatal a tragedy.

Thus then began the pickeerings to the grand engagement. Major General
Massey with a commanding party, being sent by his Majesty to secure the
bridge and pass at _Upton_ upon _Severn_, 7 miles below Worcester. On
Thursday the 28. of August, Lambert with a far greater number of rebels
attaq'd him, and after some dispute gain'd the pass, the river being
then fordable. Here the Major General behav'd himself very gallantly,
receiv'd a shot in the hand from some musketiers the enemy had placed
in the church, and retreated in good order to Worcester.

During this encounter, Cromwell himself, (whose head-quarter was the
night before at _Pershore_,) advanc'd to _Stoughton_ within 4. miles of
the city on the southside, and that evening a party of his horse faced

The next day (August the 29.) the Sultan appear'd with a great body of
horse and foot on _Redhil_ within a mile of Worcester, where he made a
_Bonnemine_, but attempted nothing; and that night his head-quarters
were at Judge Berkleys house at _Speachley_.

Saturday (August 30.) it was resolv'd by his Majesty, at a council of
war, to give the enemy a _Camisado_, by beating up his quarters that
night with 1500. select horse and foot, commanded by Major General
Middleton, and Sir William Keyth; all of them wearing their shirts over
their armor for distinction; which accordingly was attempted, and might
in all probability have been successful, had not the design been most
traiterously discover'd to the rebels by one _Guyes_, a tailor in the
town, who was hang'd afterwards as the just reward of his treachery: In
this action Major Knox was slain and some few taken prisoners.

A considerable party of the rebels commanded by Col. Lambert, Col.
Ingoldsby, (not yet a convert) and Col. Gibbons being got over the
Severn at Upton, march'd the next day to _Powick Town_, where they made
an halt; for _Powick bridge_, lying upon the river _Team_ (between
Powick Town & Worcester,) was guarded by a Brigade of his Majesties
horse and foot, commanded by Major General Robert Montgomery, and Col.
George Keyth.

The fatal 3. of September being come, his Majesty this morning holds a
council of war upon the top of the Colledge-church-steeple, the better
to discover the enemies posture; Here his Majesty observ'd some firing
at Powick and Cromwell making a bridge of boats over Severn under
Bunshill, a mile below the city towards Team mouth; his majesty
presently goes down, commands all to their arms, and marches in person
to Powick bridge to give orders, as well for maintaining that bridge,
as for opposing the making the other of boats, and hasted back to his
army in the city.

Soon after his Majesty was gone from Powick bridge, the enemy assaulted
it furiously, which was well defended by Montgomery, till himself was
dangerously wounded, and his ammunition spent, so that he was forced to
make a disorderly retreat into Worcester; and Col. Keyth was taken
prisoner at the bridge.

At the same time Cromwell had with much celerity finisht his bridge of
boats and plancks over the main river, without any considerable
opposition, whereby he might communicate with those of his party at
Powick bridge, and was the first man that led the rest over, and then
went back himself and rais'd a battery of great guns against the
Fort-royal on the South-side the city.

His Majesty being returned from Powick bridge, march'd, with the Duke
of Buckingham and some of his cavalry, through the city, and out at
Sudbury gate by the Fort-royal, where the rebels great shot came
frequently near his sacred person.

By this time Cromwell was got to an advantageous post at _Perry wood_
within a mile of the city, swelling with pride and confident in the
numbers of his men; but Duke Hamilton (formerly Lord Lanerick,) with
his own troop and some Highlanders, Sir Alexander Forbus with his
regiment of foot, and divers English lords and gentlemen voluntiers, by
his Majesties command and encouragement, engaged him, and did great
execution upon his best men, forced the great _sultan_ (as the
_Rhodians_ in like case did the _Turk_) to retreat with his
_Janizaries_, and were once masters of his great guns.

Here his Majesty gave an incomparable example of valor to the rest, by
charging in person, which the Highlanders, especially imitated in a
great measure, fighting with the but-ends of their muskets, when their
ammunition was spent; but new supplies of rebels being continually
poured upon them, and the Scotch horse not coming up in due time from
the town to his Majesties relief, his army was forced to retreat in at
Sudbury gate in much disorder.

In this action Duke Hamilton (who fought valiantly) was mortally
wounded, of which he dyed within few days; Sir John Douglas also
received his deaths wound, and Sir Alexander Forbus was shot through
both the calves of his legs, lay in the wood all night, and was brought
a prisoner to Worcester the next day.

The rebels in this encounter had great advantage as well in their
numbers, as by fighting both with horse and foot, against his Majesties
foot only, the greatest part of his horse being wedg'd up in the town;
and when the foot were defeated, a part of his Majesties horse
afterwards fought against both the enemies horse and foot, upon great

At Sudbury gate a cart loaden with ammunition was overthrown, and lay
cross the passage of the gate, so that his Majesty could not ride into
the town, but was forc'd to dismount and come in on foot.

In the Friers street, his Majesty put off his armor, (which was heavy
and troublesome to him,) and took a fresh horse, and then perceiving
many of his foot-soldiers begin to throw down their arms and decline
fighting; his Majesty rode up and down among them, sometimes with his
hat in his hand, entreating them to stand to their arm's and fight like
men, other whiles encouraging them; but seeing himself not able to
prevail, said, _I had rather you would shoot me, then keep me alive to
see the sad consequences of this fatal day_: Such was the magnaminity
of this prophetique King.

During this hot engagement at Perry-wood and Red-hil, the rebels on the
other side the water possess'd themselves of S. Johns, and those of his
Majesties army that were there, without any great resistance laid down
their arms and submitted to mercy.

When some of the enemy were entred, and entring the town both at the
Key, Castle hill, and Sudbury gate, without any conditions; Th' Earl of
Cleveland, Sir James Hamilton, Col. William Carlis (then Major to the
Lord Talbot) Capt. Tho. Hornyold, Capt. Tho. Giffard, and Capt. Richard
Kemble, (Captain Lieutenant to the Lord Talbot) rallied what force they
could (though inconsiderable to the Rebels numbers,) and charg'd the
enemy very gallantly at Sudbury gate and in the street of that name:
Here Sir James and Capt. Kemble were desperately wounded, and others
slain; yet this action did much secure his Majesties march out at S.
Martins gate, who had otherwise been in danger of being taken in the

About the same time Colonel Drummond with a party of Scots maintain'd
the Castle hill with much resolution, till such time as conditions were
agreed on for quarter; So that the rebels, having at last subdued all
their opponents, fell to plundering the city unmercifully, few or none
of the citizens escaping, but such as were sectaries and of their

1 3 4

Online LibraryThomas BlountBoscobel; or, The history of the most miraculous preservation of King Charles II. after the battle of Worcester, September the third, 1651 → online text (page 1 of 4)