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these was the strict observance of Sunday. The proclama-
tion of James I, renewed by Charles I, known as the " Book
of Sports," provided for a Sunday which most people in
our day would consider reasonable enough. After referring
to " the complaints of our people that they were barred
from all lawful recreation and exercise on the Sunday
afternoon, after the ending of all divine service," it pro-
ceeded to ask, " When shall the common people have leave
to exercise if not upon the Sundays and holy days, seeing
they must apply their labour and win their living in all
working days? Our pleasure therefore is that no lawful re-
creation shall be barred to our good people which shall not
tend to the breach of our laws and canons of our Church,
and our pleasure is that after the end of Divine Service our
good people be not disturbed, letted or discouraged from
any lawful recreation, such as dancing, either men or
women, archery for men, leaping, vaulting, or any other
harmless recreation; or from having of May-games, Whit-
sun-ales, and Morris-dances, and other sports therewith

1 Army Petition, I2th August 1652.

2 Scobell, Acts and Ordinances, ii, 357, 389.



THE REVOLUTION 231

used, so as the same be had in due and convenient time,
without impediment or neglect of Divine service, and that
women shall have leave to carry rushes to church for de-
corating it according to their old custom." This proclama-
tion, to which was added a proviso that no one should
engage in such amusements who had not previously
attended Divine service, was ordered to be read in parish
churches. To the Puritans such a practice as it enjoined
was anathema, and with the establishment of the Common-
wealth official prohibition was given to it; though doubt-
less it had actually ceased throughout the war. Every sort
of amusement was forbidden on Sunday, and the most
trivial infringements of this order were the subject of
presentment by grand juries. In 1654 the Grand Inquest
of Rye presented three boys for sliding on the ice on
the Sabbath day. 1 Even the professional tramp, " rogue,
vagabond or beggar" had to cease his tramping, and be
bundled off to church by the parish constable, there to
remain " soberly and orderly during the time of Divine
worship."

Doubtless the unfortunate tendency of the English to
flavour recreation with an excess of ale gave some colour
of reason to Puritan severity. There is plenty of evidence
of the increase of alehouses and brewers already men-
tioned; war is thirsty work. In 1652 the constables of the
town of Rye were required carefully and diligently to make
search and inquisition in all taverns, inns, alehouses, tobacco
houses or shops, or victualling houses for the discovery and
apprehension of those who shall upon the Lord's day pro-
fanely dance, sing, drink, or tipple contrary to the Act of
Parliament. 8

The penalties for using bad language seem to have been
very severe. On I4th March 1656, the constables of Rye
were ordered to levy a distress of i 6s. 8d. on Alice, the

1 Inderwick, The Interregnum, p. 55.

* Rye MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com., xiii, 4), p. 220.



232 SUSSEX IN THE GREAT CIVIL WAR

wife of Robert Batten, seaman, for profanely swearing
four oaths, and in default of rinding goods to the value of
the fine, to set the said Alice in the stocks for twenty-four
hours. 1 If, as is not improbable, Robert Batten was one of
the seamen impressed at the time for service in the navy, 2
his poor wife might have been excused for expressing her
feelings strongly.

It was not only on Sunday amusements that the Puritan
looked askance. The old recreations of the country folk
bear-baiting, bull-baiting, cock-fighting, dancing, boxing,
quarter-staff all these were gradually put a stop to. Race-
meetings were frequently, though not altogether, forbidden, 3
sometimes on the ground that they served as a cloak for
the meeting and training of seditious Cavaliers. There was
certainly some reason for this; for example, in 1658, John
Stapley, George Hutchinson of Cuckfield, and Captain
Henry Mallory met "at Hangleton race" and discussed
the details of the plot in which Stapley was engaged. 4

Life under the Commonwealth must have been indescrib-
ably dull. And in running counter to the natural and
healthy tendencies of the time in the matter of Sunday
observance, the Puritans did England a very ill service.
They dissociated the holy-day and the holiday, an error
into which the Church of Rome, with her penetrating in-
sight into human nature and its needs, has not fallen. The
gloom in which the Puritans immersed the Lord's day has
survived almost to our own time; the reaction, now that it
has come, is likely to go far.

With the exception of the Dutch war, which chiefly
affected the maritime towns, little seems to have occurred

1 Rye MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com., xiii, 4), p. 227.

2 See/fty/, p. 278.

3 Ordinances prohibiting horse-racing were issued in July 1654,
February 1655, and April 1658. See Rye MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.,
xiii, 4), p. 224; Clarke Papers, iii, 130, 147.

4 See post, p. 297.



THE REVOLUTION 233

during the early years of the Commonwealth to ruffle the
calm of Sussex. The battle was won; the principles for
which in the main the county had stood throughout the
struggle were victorious ; and if there was some disappoint-
ment that the millennium had not arrived that harvests
were bad, and taxation higher than ever there was no
open disaffection.



CHAPTER XIV

SOME SUSSEX MEN

T~) EFERENCE has already been made to the many
J.X. Sussex men who in one way or another were closely
connected with Charles I, and shared some of the most
memorable incidents of his life. But they do not by any
means complete the list of those who played a leading
part in the great drama. Alike in Parliament and in the
field, in divinity and in the law, men of Sussex birth or
descent achieved careers of eminence and distinction. One
at least has left an imperishable name.

John Selden, the greatest Sussex man of the time,
some will say of all time "the glory of the English
nation," as he was named by Grotius, his literary an-
tagonist was born at Salvington, a hamlet of West
Tarring, as his epitaph in the Temple Church records.

His father seems to have been of the yeoman class; his
mother was daughter and heiress of Thomas Baker of
Rustington, a connection of the gentle family of Baker of
Sissinghurst, in Kent. He was born in 1584, and at an
early age was sent to the free school at Chichester, whence,
being fourteen years old, he proceeded to Hart Hall,
Oxford. He is said to have owed an exhibition there to
the patronage of Bishop Juxon. Four years later he
removed to Clifford's Inn, and subsequently became a
member of the Inner Temple. He does not appear to have
practised much at the Bar, but to have devoted himself to
the study of the literary and historical side of the English
law and Constitution. In a very few years he attained a great

234




JOHN SELDEN.



SOME SUSSEX MEN 235

reputation as an author, and became the friend and asso-
ciate of the most eminent literary men of the time Arch-
bishop Usher, Sir Robert Cotton, Camden, Ben Jonson,
Browne, and Drayton. His great work on Titles of
Honour appeared in 1614, and four years later he first
came into collision with the authorities through the pub-
lication of his History of Tythes. He approached the
subject of tithes in a purely antiquarian spirit, and without
impugning the divine right by which the Church claims
them, he cited numerous authorities of weight which tended
to invalidate it. The clergy were alarmed and the King
offended, and Selden was compelled to retract his views
in a formal document.

This is not the place to relate at length the part he
played in the stormy Constitutional struggle now about
to open; a few main points in his career must suffice. In
1621 he had attained the position of the chief Constitu-
tional authority in the kingdom. King James having
imprudently asserted in a speech to Parliament that the
privileges of both Houses were originally grants from the
Crown, both Houses consulted Selden on the subject. In
giving his opinion he defended the fair prerogative, but
wholly denied James's claims. James retaliated by com-
mitting Selden to the Tower, and with childish rage tore
the Commons' declaration of protest from their Journals.

Selden was soon released, and in 1628 entered Parlia-
ment. The pretensions of the Crown were now becoming
more extensive, and Selden took a great share in forming
public opinion against them. He spoke on all the great
subjects of the day, and his words were listened to as the
dictates of an oracle. So formidable did he become, that
he was arrested on a charge of using seditious language,
and kept in prison for four years. To the Long Parliament
he was returned as Member for the University of Oxford,
and was again foremost among those who opposed the
Court. In 1642 the King endeavoured to bribe him with



236 SUSSEX IN THE GREAT CIVIL WAR

an offer of the custody of the Great Seal, but in a letter to
Falkland declining it, Selden made it clear that he would
never serve the King separately from the Parliament.

In the early days of the Civil War he was active in the
House of Commons, but appears later to have become
somewhat disgusted at its proceedings. For his fellow
members of the Westminster Assembly he did not disguise
his contempt. When they were disputing about a passage
of Scripture, he observed to them, " Perhaps in your little
pocket Bibles with gilt leaves the translation may be thus,
but the Greek or Hebrew signifies thus and thus." 1

He died in 1654. He left a fortune of 40,000, which he
had received as residuary legatee of the widow of his friend
the Earl of Kent. Of this he left each of his nephews and
nieces a hundred pounds, and the balance to his four
executors. " I have no one," he was wont to say, " to make
my heir, except a milkmaid ; and such people do not know
what to do with a great estate." 2 His library of eight
thousand volumes went to the Bodleian.

The unique position which, by his learning and integrity,
Selden attained is well summed up by an anonymous
author. 3 " He appears to have been regarded somewhat in
the light of a valuable piece of national property, like a
museum, or great public library, resorted to as a matter
of course, and a matter of right, in all the numerous cases
in which assistance was wanted from any part of the
whole compass of legal and historical learning. He appeared
in the national council not so much as the representative
of the contemporary inhabitants of a particular city, as of
all the people of all past ages; concerning whom, and
whose institutions, he was deemed to know whatever was
to be known, and to be able to furnish whatever, within
so vast a retrospect, was of a nature to give light and

1 Whitelock's Memoirs, p. 68; S. A. C., v, 80.
' 2 Lower's Worthies of Sussex, p. 10.
3 Quoted in Lodge's Portraits, v, 57.



SOME SUSSEX MEN 237

authority in the decision of questions arising in a doubtful
and hazardous state of the national affairs."

A literary man of a different calibre was Thomas May.
Sussex has been fortunate in her poets. She can boast
three or four stars of the first magnitude, and quite a con-
stellation of minor luminaries. Among these May shines not
the least. Son of Sir Thomas May of Mayfield, he was
born in 1595, and after graduating at Cambridge, went to
London to study law at Gray's Inn. But his father's lavish
expenditure having left him in straitened circumstances he
adopted literature as a profession, and had an immediate
success. He frequented Court, and attracted the notice of
Charles I and his queen. Encouraged by Ben Jonson, he
wrote several plays, but his greatest work was his translation
of Lucan's Pharsalia ; or the Civil Warres of Rome, between
Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar. The whole ten
bookes, Englished, published in 1627. He also wrote in
Latin a supplement to Lucan, and was pronounced in later
times by Dr. Johnson the best Latin poet of England. By
Charles's command he wrote in verse The Reign of King
Henry the Second in Seven Books, and also The Victorious
Reign of Edward the Third. It is said that he was dis-
appointed in not being appointed Poet Laureate on the
death of Ben Jonson, when D'Avenant was preferred. From
this or some other cause his loyalty cooled, and, on the
outbreak of Civil War, he sided with the Parliament. He
was appointed Secretary for the Parliament in 1646, and
the following year, by order of the House, wrote The
History of the Parliament of England a brief account
of the civil wars, pronounced by Chatham " honester and
more instructive than Clarendon's." He died in 1650. He
was in perfect health though of a full habit, and took a
" chearful bottle " as usual before retiring one night ; he
was found dead in his bed in the morning, having tied
the strings of his nightcap too tightly under his chin, which
produced suffocation a catastrophe which caused much



238 SUSSEX IN THE GREAT CIVIL WAR

merriment in Royalist circles, and was the occasion of a
poem by Andrew Marvell, full of bitter vituperation. 1 He
was buried in Westminster Abbey, but Royalist spite at
the Restoration cast down his monument, and removed
his bones to a pit belonging to St. Margaret's Church.

Associated with Thomas May in the secretaryship of
the House of Commons was Henry Parker, fourth son of
Sir Nicholas Parker of Ratton, Sussex. Educated at St.
Edmund Hall, Oxford, and called to the Bar in 1637, he
was at first a Presbyterian, but later inclined to the Inde-
pendents, and is described by Anthony Wood as " a man
of dangerous and anti-monarchical principles." In con-
junction with May and John Sadler, he deciphered and
transcribed the King's papers taken at Naseby, and pub-
lished The King's Cabinet Opened. After spending three
years at Hamburg as secretary to the Company of Mer-
chant Adventurers, he was appointed in 1649 secretary to
Cromwell's army in Ireland ("a brewer's clerk," says
Anthony Wood), and died there in 1652.*

Sussex seems to have been no less prolific of bishops

than of poets. Fuller, writing in 1662, remarks: "As to the

nativities of Archbishops, one may say of this county,

' many shires have done worthily, but Sussex surmounteth

them all,' having bred five Arch-bishops of Canterbury, and

at this instant claiming for her natives the two metropolitans

of our nation " Juxon and Frewen. Accepted Frewen 3 was

born in 1588, the eldest son of John Frewen, the Puritan

rector of Northiam, whose epitaph records that he was

ECCLESIAE ANGLICANAE

CONTRA PONTIFICIOS

VINDEX ACERRIMUS

UT PLURIMA IPSIUS OPERA

SAEPIUS TYPIS MANDATA ABUNDE

TESTANTUR.

1 Lower's Worthies of Sussex, p. 153. - D. N. B.

3 See ante, p. 24.



SOME SUSSEX MEN 239

The young Accepted received his early education at
the free school at Canterbury, whence he proceeded to
Magdalen College, Oxford, of which foundation he became
a fellow in 1612. In 1617 he obtained leave of absence for
a year in order to act as chaplain to Sir John Digby,
Ambassador to Spain ; l whom he also accompanied on a
mission to Germany. In 1622 he was again in Spain with
Digby, now Earl of Bristol, on the occasion of Prince
Charles's visit to court the Infanta. Seeing the attempts
made to convert the English prince to Romanism he
preached before him, on the text : " How long halt ye
between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him;
but if Baal, then follow him." 2 The sermon was a powerful
plea in favour of the Church of England, and made a great
impression on Charles, who on his accession added Frewen's
name to his list of chaplains with his own hand. He became
successively Canon of Canterbury, President of Magdalen
and Dean of Gloucester, and Dean of Wells ; and held also
two livings in the gift of his College. In 1642 he was
mainly instrumental in inducing the Oxford Colleges to
send their plate to the King at York ; and he provided out
of his own purse 500, which was given as a contribution
on the part of Magdalen to the Royal cause. The Parlia-
ment then ordered his arrest, whereupon he withdrew, and
only returned to Oxford with the King after the battle of
Edgehill. In 1643 ne was preferred to the See of Lichfield,
and the following year was consecrated by Archbishop
Williams in Magdalen College Chapel. In 1652 his estate
was declared to be forfeited for treason against the Parlia-
ment, but escaped owing to his being erroneously desig-
nated " Stephen Frewen, D.D., late of the University of
Oxford." Stephen Frewen, Accepted's half-brother, was a
furrier, a member of the Skinners' Company, and an Alder-
man of London, and seems to have kept in with both

1 Registers of Magdalen College.
* Lower's Worthies of Sussex, p. 50.



2 4 o SUSSEX IN THE GREAT CIVIL WAR

sides. 1 Another brother, Benjamin, was a haberdasher. 2 A
similar mistake as to his Christian name had enabled Ac-
cepted Frewen to escape a greater peril when Cromwell
had offered a thousand pounds to any one who would bring
him dead or alive. 3 The Bishop withdrew to France until
the fury of the times abated, when he returned to England
and lived in retirement. At the Restoration he was nomin-
ated Archbishop of York. Dr. King, Bishop of Chichester,
had been designed for this preferment, but he " withdrew
himself into the country, and through his negligence and
carelessness in not following it up as he ought to have done,
Dr. Frewen, the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, got it
from him, and by this means he continues here, to his loss
and my prejudice," 4 as another clergyman complained.

Frewen died in 1664, and was buried in his own cathedral.
He is described as a mild and peaceable man, of some
eccentricity; he had an aversion to women, and would
never allow a woman-servant in his establishment at any
period of his life. A happy turn for holding pluralities
enabled him to leave a large fortune.

While Archbishop Frewen was inducing the colleges of
Oxford to melt their plate for the King's service, another
Sussex ecclesiastic was endeavouring to persuade the
Cambridge authorities to do their colleges the same ill
service. Thomas Comber came of a family which claimed
to possess the manor of Barkham in Fletching by gift from
William the Conqueror, for the slaying of a Saxon lord at
the battle of Hastings. 5 He is said to have been born at
Shermanbury in 1575, the twelfth child of Richard Comber,
Clarencieux King-at-Arms, and to have had his school-

1 See A History of Brickwall, etc., by A. L. Frewen, 1909.

2 S. A. C., iv, 24.

3 Mr. Lower gives no authority for this rather remarkable story,
which is copied in the D. N. B.

1 Letter of Dr. Edward Burton, rector of Broadwater, who through
this mischance lost the bishopric of Chichester. S. A. C., xi, 33.
6 Lower, Worthies of Sussex, p. 307.



SOME SUSSEX MEN 241

ing at Collyer's School, Horsham. 1 In 1593 he proceeded
to Trinity, Cambridge, and four years later became a fellow
and later Master of the College. On the outbreak of civil
war, he espoused the King's cause, and incurred the enmity
of the Parliament for urging the heads of the other colleges
to the course above-mentioned. For this, and refusing to
take the Covenant, he was deprived of all his preferments
and imprisoned. He died in 1653.

Two divines of Sussex origin rose to eminence on the
Puritan side. Philip Nye, the great Independent preacher,
was the eldest son of Henry Nye, rector of Clapham in
Sussex, and was born about 1596. John Pell, mathematician
and diplomatist, was born at Southwick, near Brighton, in
1611, and educated at Steyning Grammar School. He was
Cromwell's political agent to the Cantons of Switzerland
from 1654 to 1658.

Samuel Gott, member for various Sussex constituencies
throughout this period, was a man of varied activities and
considerable local influence a politician, an author, a man
of business, and a country Justice of the Peace. Born in
1613, the son of an ironmonger of London, he was educated
at Cambridge and called to the Bar at Gray's Inn. Shortly
after his father's death in 1641 he married a daughter of
Peter Farnden, ironmaster, of Sedlescombe, and went to
reside at Battle. In 1645 Gott and Henry Oxenden became
members for Winchelsea in the Long Parliament vice Sir
J. Finch deceased and William Smyth disabled. 2 To the
Parliament of 1656 he was elected for the county of Sus-
sex, and to Richard Cromwell's Parliament of 1659 for
Hastings. In this House he spoke in faint praise of Crom-
well's new lords. 3 The Latin Romance, Nova Solyma,
previously attributed with some plausibility to John Milton,

1 Hay, History of Chichester, p. 510.

2 Return of Members of Parliament: ordered to be printed,

1879-

3 Burton's Diary, London, 1828, iv, 57.

R



242 SUSSEX IN THE GREAT CIVIL WAR

has recently been shown to be his work. 1 He published
two or three other books, of a devotional character. He
died in 1671, and was buried at Battle.

Among the soldiers of fortune who hurried back to
England from the continent when the King raised his
standard was Henry Gage, a scion of the ancient Sussex
family of Firle, which had consistently maintained its adher-
ence to the Catholic religion. His great-grandfather was
the celebrated Sir John Gage, who was Constable of the
Tower under Henry VIII, and again under Mary, when he
had charge of the Princess Elizabeth. There was no more
honourable and gallant figure than that of Henry Gage on
the Royalist side, and his untimely death called forth a
chorus of lamentation. He is thus described by Clarendon :
" In truth a very extraordinary man, of a large and very
graceful person, of an honourable extraction, his grand-
father having been a Knight of the Garter; besides his
great experience and abilities as a soldier, which were very
eminent, he had very great parts of breeding, being a very
good scholar in the polite parts of learning, a great master
in the Spanish and Italian tongues, besides the French and
Dutch, which he spoke in great perfection ; having scarce
been in England in twenty years before. He was likewise
very conversant in Courts; having for many years been
much esteemed in that of the Arch-Duke and Duchess
Albert and Isabella, at Brussels ; which was a very great
and regular Court at that time ; so that he deserved to be
looked upon as a very wise and accomplished person. Of
this gentleman the Lords of the Council had a singular
esteem, and consulted frequently with him, whilst they
looked to be besieged; and thought Oxford to be the more
secure for his being in it, which rendered him so ungrateful
to the governor, Sir Arthur [Aston], that he crossed him in
anything he proposed and hated him perfectly, as they

1 The Library, Third Series, No. 3, Vol. i, July 1910.



SOME SUSSEX MEN 243

were of natures and manners as different as men could
be."

Gage's chief performances in the war were in connection
with Basing House, which he twice relieved, and the capture
of Borstall House, when he placed Sir William Campion in
command of the garrison. 1 He was knighted by the King
at Oxford in November 1644, and shortly after appointed
Governor of Oxford, in place of the unpopular Sir Arthur
Aston. But he was not destined to enjoy this honour long.
The town of Abingdon, distant only some six miles, and
strongly garrisoned by the Parliament, had long been a
thorn in the side of Oxford, and with the approval of
Prince Rupert, Sir Henry Gage proposed to construct a
fort at Culham Bridge to keep the Abingdon forces in
check. On nth January 1645, he marched out of Oxford
at the head of a party of horse and foot. Major-General
Browne, the Parliamentary commander at Abingdon, was
on the alert and a sharp skirmish ensued. Sir Henry Gage
was wounded by a musket ball, and died a few hours after-
wards. 2 " His body was afterwards interred at Oxford with
funebrious exequies and solemnities answerable to his
merits, who, having done His Majesty special service, was
whilst living, generally beloved, and dead is still universally
lamented."

Henry Gage's brother Thomas affords an example of
those extraordinarily varied careers in which the time
abounded. Having become a Spanish Dominican in early
youth, he lived some time among the Indians of Central
America; he crossed Nicaragua, reached Panama and tra-
versing the Isthmus sailed from Portobello, reaching
Europe in 1637. After a visit to Loreto he renounced
Catholicism and came to England in 1641. He preached
his recantation sermon in St. Paul's, and joined the Parlia-



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