Charles Thomas-Stanford.

Sussex in the great Civil War and the interregnum, 1642-1660 online

. (page 17 of 30)
Online LibraryCharles Thomas-StanfordSussex in the great Civil War and the interregnum, 1642-1660 → online text (page 17 of 30)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

whatever his fortune be; yet, sweet brother, let not this my
opinion for it is guided by my conscience nor any other
report which you can hear of me cause a diffidence of my
true love to you." l

And not only family affection, but the ties of friendship
were sometimes strong enough to survive the estrangements
of war. A number of letters which passed between the
Royalist Sir William Campion, and Colonel Morley of
Glynde, and are now preserved at Danny, the seat of Sir
William's descendant, offer a pleasing picture of the kindly
feeling of old friends who found themselves on opposite


July 23rd 1645.
" SIR,

" Old acquaintance needs no apology. All your
Sussex friends are in health, and continue their worthy

1 Civil War, ch. iv.


affections towards you, especially valewing your welfare
with theire owne. I could impart more, but letters are
subject to miscarriage, therefore I reserve myself to a more
fit opportunity. If you please, in return hereof, to send me
a character, I shall gladly send in cipher what I am un-
willing to delineate. If a conference might be had, I con-
ceive it would be most for the satisfaction of us both, to
prevent any possible hazard of your person. If you please
to let your lady meet me at Watford, or Berkhampsteed,
or come hither, I will procure her a pass, and make it
evidently appear that I am your most affectionate friend,



August ist 1645.

" SIR,

" I am glad to hear of my friends in Sussex. For
any business you have to impart to me, I have that con-
fidence in you, by reason of our former acquaintance, that
I should not make any scruple to send my wife to the
places mentioned; but the truth is, she is at present soe
neare her time for lying downe, for she expects to be brought
to bed within less than fourteen days, that she is altogether
unfit to take soe long a journey. . . . Assure yourself that
there is none living that shall be more glad to find out a way
to serve you, than, Sir,

" Your true friend and servant,



" SIR,

" I beg I may love you without offence, although at
Borstall, 1 and presume so far on our old friendship, as to

1 Sir William Campion was in command of the garrison at Borstall
House, in Buckinghamshire, which he defended with great resolution
against the Parliamentary forces.


i I .A l KI <

X. /& 2

.. - , :

- . /

/yr X* /^>i ;


,^ ~#i t J,~



assure myself you stand so much upon your reputation, that
you will use the bearer hereof, being an honest man whom
your friends have persuaded to be their messenger, to
convey their respects to you. I shall only desire you to
send your ladye speedily among your friends here, not
knowing how soon Oxford and your garrisom may be
blocked up. I desire you will burn my letter as soon as
you have read it, lest hereafter it may fall into such hands
as may question me for holding correspondence with you.
In what I can serve you, assure yourself you may command

" Your affectionate servant


The Lady Campion referred to in the above correspond-
ence was Grace, daughter of Sir Thomas Parker of Ratton,
Sussex. The Campions were not at that time in possession
of Danny, but resided at Combwell in Kent, on the borders
of Sussex. By a curious coincidence, Sir William was
killed in a sortie during the siege of Colchester in 1648,
when George Goring, Baron Goring of Hurstpierpoint, and
Earl of Norwich, was in command. The Earl was son of
George Goring of Ovingdean, the builder of Danny, and
was at that time, or had been very lately, its possessor.

Two years before his death, when Sir William was de-
fending Borstall, he had a pleasant exchange of courtesies
with the Parliamentary officer, Major Shilbourne, which
recalls Waller's present of sack to Crawford at Alton in


" SIR,

" I received a message by my trumpet, whereby I
understand you desire a rundlet of sack. Sir, I assure you
there is none in this towne worth sending to soe gallant an
enemy as yourselfe, but I have sent to London for a rund-



let of the best that can be got, and so soone as it comes to
my hands I shall present it to you. For the meantime,
Col. Theed hath sent you a taste of the best that is in
Brill. I should be very happy if wee might meete and
drink a bottle or two of wine with you. If it be not
allowed your condition to honour me with soe high a
favour, the civilities I have received engage me to acknow-
ledge myself to be,

" Sir, your servant,


Brill, 1 4th April 1646.


" I did tell your trumpet, that if you would send us
some sacke, we would drinke your health; but you have
expressed yourselfe soe faire, that I am afraid I shall not
suddenly be able to requite it, neverthelesse I shall let slip
noe opportunity for meeting of you. I should be glad to
embrace an occasion, but by reason of the condition wee
are in, I know it would not be consonant with myne
honour. . . . But, if you please to favour me with your
company here (which I am confident may be done without
any prejudice at all to either) you and your friends shall
receive the best entertainment the garrison can afforde,
and a safe returne, and you shall much oblige him who is
desirous to be esteemed of you, as

" Sir, your servant,

" W. C"

This correspondence is not only interesting in itself, but
valuable as evidence that after the stress of nearly four
years' war, gentlemen on either side were still disposed to
address each other in a friendly, even sometimes a frolic-
some, spirit. The fact that as far, at all events, as the
leading officers were concerned the war was not a war of
classes; that they were drawn in the main from the same


social stratum, often from the same groups of families;
that their upbringing, their connections, and, apart from
religious and political differences, their ideas of conduct
were similar, goes far to explain the great and remarkable
humanity with which this war was conducted, in an age
not generally distinguished by a too squeamish delicacy.
The treatment by both parties of the native Irish affords a
very sharp contrast to their dealings with each other.

The armed peace which succeeded the King's flight to
the Scots and the surrender of Oxford lasted through 1647.
But the revolution was entering a new phase. The struggle
was no longer between the King and the Parliament,
but between two sections of the victorious party, the New
Model Army and the Independents on the one side, and
the Presbyterians on the other. The Presbyterians, who
had borne the brunt of the earlier part of the war, were
now chafing under the iron rule of the army, and were
anxious to see the King restored on terms. The tendency
of the advanced section of the Independents was to ex-
tremes; the "Levellers" were agitating for a new con-
stitution with a " paramount law " establishing biennial
parliaments, elected by manhood suffrage, to be supreme in
legislation and administration ; and there was much talk
of the People (with a capital letter) in terms which seem a
foretaste of the French Revolution. The great mass of the
inhabitants having no taste for military rule, had come to
believe that no relief from the strain of political uncer-
tainty and the burden of excessive taxation could be
found except in the restoration of the King, and the libera-
tion of the Parliament from military control. No doubt
the extreme religious severity of the army, and the grow-
ing intensity of Puritanism, as exemplified in the prohibi-
tion of lawful games and amusements, disgusted many
who at the outset had ranged themselves on the popular



r I A HESE factors combined to produce a good deal of
JL discontent, and the accession of some Presbyterian
support was sufficient to fan the smouldering ashes of
Royalism into a fresh flame. Open revolt broke out first
in South Wales, but the south-eastern counties, which in
the First Civil War had been almost solid for the Parlia-
ment, gave the most trouble. Sussex followed the lead of

In May 1648 a petition to Parliament from the latter
county was prepared, praying for a treaty with the King ;
and on the i8th a procession of petitioners marched through
the City shouting, " For God and King Charles ! " Arrived
at Westminster they sent in their petition to the Houses.
The Lords gave a brief acknowledgement, but no answer
came from the Commons. Exasperated at the delay, some
of the petitioners attacked the sentinels and endeavoured to
force their way into the house, with cries of " An old King
and a new Parliament ! " At this moment they were taken
in the rear by a force of five hundred soldiers. An unequal
struggle ensued, and the petitioners fled leaving West-
minster Hall strewed with their wounded. Some took re-
fuge in boats, whence they pelted the troops with any
missiles that came to hand. The soldiers at length fired on
them and so put an end to the riot. Of the petitioners about
a hundred were wounded and some eight or ten killed. 1

1 Gardiner, Civil War, ch. Ixii.


These proceedings do not appear to have daunted the
malcontents in Sussex. On 9th June a petition was sent
up to Parliament from the knights, gentlemen, clergy, and
commonalty of the county begging that the King might
be received to a safe treaty with the two Houses of Parlia-
ment, and that the army might be paid and disbanded, the
kingdom governed according to the known laws of the
realm, the estates of the petitioners freed from taxes, and
no garrisons maintained in their county. 1

At the same time the Royalists in the neighbourhood of
Horsham were very active, and were threatening reprisals
on all who had declined to join in the petition. As a pre-
cautionary measure the Parliament ordered the magazine
at Horsham to be removed to safer keeping at Arundel ;
but this was prevented. On 22nd June the Parliamentary
officers, William Freeman, Richard Yates, and Nicholas
Sheppard reported that they had endeavoured to effect
this removal on the Qth, but were resisted by the bailiffs
and constables of the disaffected party there, who still
kept the arms and magazine under a strong guard, and
threatened with death and plunder those who endeavoured
to remove them, using very high words against the Parlia-
ment. To a letter from Colonel Morley and Colonel
Stapley, requiring the removal of the magazine to Arun-
del Castle, they had replied with a refusal. " The malign-
ant party have given out speeches that they will arm
themselves with the first arms and rise as one man against
all such as have not joined with them in a petition called
the Sussex petition ; they likewise refuse to pay taxes or
to yield any obedience to the ordinances of Parliament.
Till your lordships remove the obstruction we cannot
safely meet for getting in taxes for the army, or to do the
Parliament any further service." 2

1 House of Lords MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com., Report vii), p. 30. For
the full text of the petition see S. A. C., xix, 96.

2 Portland MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), i, 465.


A week later Sir Thomas Pelham and others wrote from
Lewes to the Speaker that the disaffected party at Hors-
ham and its adherents were now employed in arming
themselves from the magazine; "they continue together,
and by beating of drum invite men unto them ; what in-
fluence this disaster may have upon other parts of this county
we know not, but have just cause to suspect the worst." 1

Prompt steps were taken to crush this rising. On 29th
June the Committee of both Houses wrote to the Com-
mittee of Sussex that they had ordered to Horsham as
large a body of horse as could be spared from Kent, and
directing that such force as could be raised in Sussex
should join it. 2 And to the Committee of Kent: " Let two
or three troops of Colonel Rich's regiment, or the horse
with Major Gibbons, march towards Horsham, so as to
surprise the enemy there risen; to the officers there we
have written to that effect. The gentlemen of Sussex will
send someone to confer with you about this affair." 3 The
trouble was evidently regarded in London as rather serious,
for on 1st July a draft ordinance providing that Sussex
should raise 4,547 gs. 5<, two troops of horse, and a com-
pany of dragoons to suppress the insurrection there, was sent
up from the Commons to the Lords, but negatived by them. 4

The state of affairs at Horsham is well illustrated by a
letter written at the time to an unnamed correspondent in
London, and signed R. T. 5

" SIR,

" I received yours of 2/th June, and thank you for
your intelligence. You tell me that upon the request of

Portland MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), i, 719.

a Cal. S. P. Dom., Chas. I, dxvi, 59. 3 Ibid.

* House of Lords MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com., Report vii), p. 34.

5 It seems to me not improbable that the writer was Robert Tred-
croft, son of Robert Tredcroft of Horsham, and his wife Ann Middleton
of Hills Place, born 1598. His son Nathaniel was vicar of Horsham
from 1647 to 1696.


Colonel Morley, it was granted him of the House of Com-
mons to raise our county of Sussex. Such are the sudden
commotions of the times, that it is done already; so that
the noble Colonel may now spare his pains unless he make
extreme haste into this divided county. The country is
generally risen about Horsham, and protest they will fight
for the King and the country. At Pulborough they are in
the same condition ; for the people there are much exas-
perated to learn some of their neighbours are imprisoned
by a warrant from Colonel Stapley and others for daring
to petition the high and honourable Court of Parliament.

" With us at Horsum, we are now 500 men in arms ; the
reason was this: Upon Friday, June i6th the magazine
which was laid up at this town was commanded by the
Committee to Arundel ; but our countrymen are generally
so ill affected that they rose with one consent, and two or
three hundred appeared in an instant, leaving their mat-
tocks and ploughs to rescue the swords and muskets. To
the market house they came immediately, and cause David
(who thanks God he is well minded in these times) and the
rest of the pious zealots who had loaded their carts with
arms to carry them back into the market loft. Since then
these stout rustics have endured watching every night, and
by turns have attended the arms, some nights sixty at a

"On Tuesday night, at a full assembly in the market
place, it was voted unreasonable (unreasonable, as Master
Chatfield l said of the petition) to watch there any longer,
and resolved, upon the question, that the following being
Wednesday, at the sound of drums and ringing of bells,
those men both in town and country, who were resolved to
fight for the King and the liberties of the country against
the encroachment of one Freeman 2 and his fellows shall
come in and take what arms they pleased. About eleven
of the clock yesterday there was a great appearance, two or
1 See ante, p. 137. 2 M.P. for Horsham 1659.


three hundred at least, every one chose his musket and other
arms, and then they marched out to train on the Common.

" On this day, June 2Qth, there came as many more
countrymen, expecting arms likewise; so that there are
now five or six hundred well-armed, and many of them
have very good horses. This we doubt will be the beginning
of sorrow to our distressed country ; for all the well affected
begin to leave us; and then what can we expect but

" As soon as the drums beat, Capt. Sheppard felt himself
not well ; his belly ached as if he feared the Egyptians
would make a drum of it; and he thought but to go to
Lewes for some physic. Lieutenant Honeywood, that
knocking agitator, left his forge and went to London for
some forces. Mistress Chatfield advised her husband to
withdraw, for fear they should do him more mischief than
with songs. The soldiers say that if they had known of
their going they would have held their stirrups ; their words
and demands are very high; as yet they hurt no man, but
threaten to disarm three or four, which is the total number
of us who are well affected. . . .

" To conclude, our fears are great ; the country is risen
both here and at Pulborough ; and they pretend the bottom
of the business to be because their petition was not answered.
Bold varlets! had they been answered as their neighbours
the Surrey men were, perhaps they would have been as
they ; but the better we use them the worse they appear.
Their number is so great, and likely to increase so much,
that unless a thousand be sent down presently they are
like to be as high here as in Essex. For your coming down
I do not know what to advise you; if you come, your
person will be in danger, if you come not with your arms.

" R. T." l

1 A broadsheet preserved among the Thomason tracts in the British
Museum (669 f. 12 [60]). "A letter from Horsum in Sussex, relating


Another letter from S. G., dated Steyning, 5th July 1648,
was printed in London. 1 It describes the unrest of the
peasantry : " They are yet most countrymen, none of any
great quality assists them . . . parties are coming unto
them from Brighthelmston, Shoram, Steining and other
parts . . . they intend to make good Bramber and Beed-
ing Bridge . . . this is a very malignant county." Truly a
remarkable change from the attitude of the Sussex popula-
tion at the commencement of the war.

The Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, one of the
peers who had remained faithful to the Parliamentary
cause throughout, was appointed to the command of the
horse in Sussex, 3 but he does not appear to have acted
within the county. The style of this nobleman's conversa-
tion did not accord with the prevailing fashion, and was
frequently burlesqued. A pretended report of his speech to
the University of Oxford, of which he was Chancellor, at
his visitation in April 1648 runs as follows: "You know
what a coyle I had ere I could get hither, Selden did so
vex us with his law and his reasons, we could get nothing
passed; my friends voted bravely, else Selden had carried
it. 'Sdeath, that fellow is but a burgess for Oxford and I
am Chancellour, and yet he would have the Parliament
hear his law, and reasons against their own Chancellour.
I thank you for giving me a gilded Bible, you could
not give me a better book (dam me, I think so). I love the
Bible, though I seldom use it." 3

Early in July Sir Michael Livesay, with a regiment of

the present estate of that county to his friend in London." By R. T.

1 B.M., Thomason tracts, pressmark E. 451 (13).

8 S. A. C., v, 88.

3 Speech of Philip Herbert, late Earl of P. and M. and M.P. for
Berks, April 6, 1649, without Oaths, folio. News from Pembroke and
Montgomery, or Oxford Manchestered, as here it follows, Word for
Word, and Oath for Oath, 4to, 1648, alluding to the Visitation of
Cambridge by the Earl of Manchester. S. A. C., v, 88.


horse, arrived at Horsham, and took the town with little
trouble. The insurgents were driven from the streets into
the outskirts, and desultory firing went on for some hours,
with the result that one soldier and three citizens were
killed. The Parish Register records the burial of " Edward
Filder, by the soldiers thrusting a sword through the
window of his house in the back lane; William Baker, in
the hop gardens belonging to Nicholas Sturt; and Thomas
Marshall, gent., was followed into East Street and killed
near Thomas Michell's door." According to a family tradi-
tion, John Michell of Stammerham lost his life in this
engagement, and his son was wounded. 1

On /th July the Committee sent their thanks to Sir
Michael Livesay for his care and success in this business. 2
In Horsham his troops caused great dissatisfaction by their
" disorders and plunderings without distinction of friend or
enemy," and in the following year, being again quartered
in the county, proved a great burden " both by their free
quarter and their disorderly carriage."

After the outbreak was quelled, Thomas Middleton, who
in an earlier year had been regarded with suspicion, 3 was
sent up to London in custody ; the other delinquents were
allowed to compound for their estates by paying one-fourth
of their value. Among them were William Marlett and
John Shelley of Sullington. On 28th July the Commons
ordered that it be referred to the Committee of Sussex, out
of the compositions, fines, and sequestrations of the estates
of such delinquents as were engaged in the late tumult at
Horsham, not being formerly sequestered, to give reason-
able satisfaction to such of the Parliament's friends as have
been plundered and damaged by the enemy or others in
the late tumult, as the said Committee should think fit,
and that they had power to compound with such delin-
quents for that purpose. 4

1 Hunt's Horsham, p. 17. 2 Cal. S. P. Dom., Chas. I, dxvi, 61.

3 See ante, p. 80. * Cal. S. P. Dom., Chas. I, dxvi, 76.


The cases of Thomas Middleton and his son John were
before the Committee for compounding for a long time.
The estate was sequestrated by the County Committee, but
Middleton appealed to the Barons of Exchequer, by whom
he was acquitted of delinquency on i6th November 1651;
and the Committee for compounding ordered the Sussex
Committee to refund to the father and the son the money
received out of the estate. 1 The matter does not seem to
have been finally disposed of till 1655.

The Committee was more successful with the smaller fry.
Several persons of little means were fined in 1649 for "tak-
ing up arms in the late insurrection in Sussex." William
Pearse of Nuthurst was fined at one-sixth, 3 6s. 8d. 2 Henry
Wood of Horsham at one-sixth, 3 4$-. od? John Wood
of Nuthurst at one-sixth, i i$s. $d. Wood complained in
1651 that the estate settled for his poor mother's relief and
for payment of his debts was " sequestered or seized for his
pretended delinquency"; and begged liberty to examine
witnesses in proof of his innocence. He had nothing to live
on but his work, being a day labourer for 6d. or I2d. a day,
and was not able to appeal. He had sent up his fine, but it
was rejected, for what cause he knew not. 4

Another abortive rising occurred in East Sussex an
attempt by Major Anthony Norton 5 to seize the garrison
at Rye. In an inquiry with reference to the sequestration
of his estate in 1651, it was alleged against him that in
1648 he was in arms against the Parliament, and persuaded
others to join the late King's forces; that he threatened to
take away the lives and goods of friends of the Parliament,
and to take the keys of Rye magazine, and have the

1 Cal. Com. for Compounding, 2232-4.

* Ibid., 1986. 3 Ibid., 1987. ^ Ibid.

s Presumably the Anthony Norton, Gent., a brewer and freeman of
Rye, who signed the " Engagement " of 1649-50 to be true and faithful
to the Government as then established, without a King, or a House
of Lords. See Mr. Inderwick on The Rye Engagement, S. A. C.,
xxxix, 1 6.


ammunition for the King. That he raised horses and arms,
and in person directed the fortification of Blackwell Wall
against Major Gibbons, the Parliamentary commander, and
that having collected sixty men in arms he declared he
would oppose the entry of the Parliament forces into
Sussex, and encouraged others to assist in the Kentish
rebellion. 1 Major Norton was easily routed by Major Gib-
bons, who on 1 4th August received the thanks of the Com-
mittee of both Houses for his good services in securing the
town of Rye, where he was directed to remain until further
orders. 2 Anthony Norton does not seem to have learnt
wisdom. At any rate a person of that name was in trouble
at Rye in August 1654, for using scandalous words. One
Mark Hounsell deposed that walking in the highway from
Playden in the previous May he heard Anthony Norton
say, as they were talking of the fighting at sea, that there
were none but rogues that fought against the King, and

Online LibraryCharles Thomas-StanfordSussex in the great Civil War and the interregnum, 1642-1660 → online text (page 17 of 30)