Charles Thomas-Stanford.

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

. (page 5 of 30)
Online LibraryCharles Thomas-StanfordSussex in the great Civil War and the interregnum, 1642-1660 → online text (page 5 of 30)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

1 A statute of James I had established a magazine of arms and
powder for each county.

2 Not Eaton, as in S. A. C., v, 37.



the King. On 28th July James Gresham wrote from
Chichester to his brother-in-law, Sir Poynings More: " The
Mayor was sent for up to the Parliament about proclaym-
ing the proclamation my lord mayor is questioned for, and
I heare hee hath mistaken his way and is gone to Yorke." 1

It is probable that Charles was driven to his decisive
step at Nottingham by the precipitate action of Colonel
Goring, who was holding Portsmouth, ostensibly in the
interest of the Parliament. This George Goring was the
son of George Goring of Danny, who was created Baron
Goring of Hurstpierpoint in 1632, and later advanced to
the earldom of Norwich. The father played an active and
honourable part throughout the Civil War, and ruined his
fortunes in the King's service; the son incurred the un-
measured censure alike of Cavaliers and Roundheads.
Clarendon does not mince words: " Portsmouth was at the
time of the raising of the Standard held for the King by
one whose course from first to last, devious, uncertain, and
unprincipled, shed disgrace upon the nobleness of his name
and upon the honourable profession of a soldier. This man
was Goring, than whom, on account of his private vices of
drunkenness, cruelty and rapacity, and of his political
timidity and treachery, scarcely anyone was more unworthy
to be trusted with any important matters for counsel or

For some time past Goring had been intriguing with
both parties. He had been one of the witnesses against
Strafford. He had betrayed the royal " army plot" of 1641
to the Parliament ; 2 and in the same year, while hold-
ing Portsmouth, which was then the strongest position
in the kingdom, as he pretended for the Parliament, he
had offered it to the Queen as a place of refuge. Some
report of his proceedings having reached London the Par-
liament ordered his attendance there, it being half expected

1 Hist. MSS. Com., vii, 677.

- For his examination see Portland MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), i, 20.


that he would not comply. But he "came upon the summons
with that undauntedness that all clouds of distrust imme-
diately vanished insomuch as no man presumed to whisper
the least jealousy of him." l And he stood up and spoke
" with a countenance full of modesty and yet not without
a certain mixture of anger " to such persuasive effect that
not only was he confirmed by the whole House in his com-
mand, but was privately assured that he should be Lieu-
ten ant-General of their Horse in their new army when it
should be formed. Shortly before the outbreak of war he
received large sums from both parties to be spent on im-
proving the fortifications of the town, most of which he is
accused of having gambled away.

On 2nd August 1642 Goring openly declared for the
King, and tendered an oath of allegiance to the Mayor
and Aldermen of Portsmouth. The Parliament acted with
promptitude. The Earl of Warwick was ordered to blockade
the harbour with five ships, the Militia was embodied, and
preparations were made for an attack on the land side by
Sir William Waller. Goring had done little to put the town
in a posture of defence, and had trusted to obtaining pro-
visions from the Isle of Wight. But he had neglected to
secure the small castles and blockhouses which guarded the
passage, and the island having declared for the Parliament
he was soon in extremity.

"It gave," says Clarendon, " no small reputation to his
Majesty's affairs, when there was so great a damp upon the
spirits of men, from the misadventures at Beverley, that so
notable a place as Portsmouth had declared for him at the
beginning of the war." It must have come with the greater
shock to the King to learn immediately after he had raised
his standard that Goring, whom he might reasonably have
supposed capable of holding out for three or four months
against any attacking force, was on the point of surrender.

1 Clarendon, v, 440.


The position of affairs at Chichester was closely connected
with that at Portsmouth. The sympathies of the city were
Puritan, but certain of the West Sussex gentry with the
clergy of the Cathedral formed the nucleus of a Royalist
party, which endeavoured without delay to aid the defenders
of Portsmouth. 1 On ipth August the Recorder, Mr. Chris-
topher Lewknor, 2 with Sir William Morley, Sir Thomas
Bowyer, and others demanded the city magazine for the ser-
vice of the King. Captain Chittey, an officer of the trained
bands, refused to surrender it, and set a strong guard. Many
attempts were made to get supplies and letters into Ports-
mouth, but Waller's soldiers were active in stopping com-
munications. A woman was apprehended carrying what
appeared to be a baby, but proved to be a bundle of letters.
One Mr. Bellingham, 3 a young gentleman, rode fully armed
from Chichester to Portsmouth. He afterwards tried to
make his escape from the garrison, keeping a boat in
readiness, for which he paid 5^. per diem. 4

On 24th August Chichester, under the leadership of
William Cawley, a rich brewer, and one of the members
for Midhurst, declared openly for the Parliament, but the
Royalists continued to intrigue, and the Cathedral clergy
used the power of the pulpit energetically on their behalf.
They also raised a body of light horse which was drilled
daily in the Cathedral close, and " Dr. Hinsham, 5 a Pre-
bendary," succeeded in sending a load of wheat to the

1 Godwin's Civil War in Hampshire, ch. vi.

- " The man appointed by his Majesty to take in money and plate
on his behalfe" (Warwick's Memoirs, p. 273). S. A. C., v, 33.

3 Probably Thomas, son of Sir Edward Bellingham, of Newtimber.

4 Godwin, Civil War in Hampshire, ch. vi.

5 Probably Doctor Joseph Henshaw, Canon of Chichester, and
brother of Thomas Henshaw of Basset's Fee, in Billingshurst, a dis-
tinguished royalist, nominated by Charles II at the Restoration to be
a knight of his proposed Order of the Royal Oak. He accompanied
Charles II into exile. At the Restoration he became Dean of Chichester,
and in 1663 Bishop of Peterborough (see Lower's Worthies of Sussex,
p. 294).


Portsmouth garrison. Though no actual collision took
place in the city at this time, the relations of the citizens
must have been severely strained.

On the night of Saturday 4th September, Colonel Norton,
the Parliamentary leader, took by assault Southsea Castle,
reputed to be the strongest fort in England for its size.
Immediately afterwards Goring surrendered on terms, in
the settlement of which Christopher Lewknor was employed.
The terms were the more favourable as the Parliamentarians
were very much afraid that Goring would execute his threat
of blowing up the powder magazines in the town. The
garrison were to have free passes to any place except to an
army in arms against the Parliament. Goring himself took
ship to Holland, whence he shortly returned to join the
King's forces at Newcastle.

The loss of Portsmouth was not only a severe blow to
the King's cause in general, but it damped for the present
the rising hopes of the Royalist party in West Sussex. In
East Sussex the Parliament was having its own way with-
out opposition. Colonel Herbert Morley of Glynde was
perhaps the man of greatest influence in the county during
this period, and his vigilance and activity on behalf of the
Parliamentary cause were unceasing throughout the war.
Even before the commencement of hostilities he had been
making his preparations. By an order of the House, dated
ist July 1642, Mr. Cordell was directed to sell unto Mr.
Morley twenty barrels of powder for the service and defence
of the county of Sussex. In October it was ordered " that
Mr. Morley do go with this message to the Lords, to desire
their lordships to hasten the passing the instructions for the
county of Sussex; and the clerk is ordered to give Mr.
Morley a copy of the names already sent up, to the end a
further addition of names may be added." In November l
" Mr. Morley carried up to the Lords the order for provid-

1 House of Commons Journals, i8th November 1642.


ing for the safety of the town of Lewes." This has reference
to two previous orders of the House. (i)"That Captain
Ambrose Trayton shall have power to call in two hundred
men, or more if occasion shall be, into the town of Lewes,
volunteers or others, and to command the same for the
defence of the said town "; (2) "That the receivers of the
propositions, money and plate, raised in the town of Lewes,
shall detain in their hands a fifth part of the said monies
and plate to be employed for the defence of the said town."
On ist December it was ordered "That Mr. Morley do
return thanks from this House to Captain Springate, and
other Captains of the county of Sussex that have ex-
pressed their affection to the King and Parliament, in
raising of forces for the preservation of the peace of the
said county."

At this time four pieces of iron ordnance which had
been sent to Newhaven and Brighthelmstone in 1 597 were
returned to Lewes ; and of the three barrels of powder that
had been kept in the town-house, one was sent to the Cliffe,
one to Brighthelmstone, and one to Rottingdean. 1

A matter which engaged attention at an early date was
the securing of the Cinque Ports, the supervision of pass-
engers to and from the Continent, and the prevention of
the landing of foreign troops. These points having been
considered by Parliament in the middle of August, 2 they
were left to the care of Colonel Morley.

The King's advance towards London after the battle of
Edgehill, on 23rd October, which caused such lively appre-
hension in the capital, produced similar fears in Sussex.
The Royalists under Prince Rupert had already acquired
an evil reputation for indiscriminate plundering. "Such
was the care of the towns-men, yea, and of the cathedral
men too (having heard of their plundering at Brainford)
that they put themselves in armes, and out of their sub-

1 Lewes Town Records.

2 Perfect Diurnall, 15-22 August, 1642. S. A. C., v, 32.


scribed monies maintained a considerable strength." l Early
in November the inhabitants of Chichester under William
Cawley, Edward Higgons, and Henry Chittey, having ob-
tained permission from Parliament to fortify the city, pro-
cured guns and gunpowder from Portsmouth.

On the 2 ist the House passed an Ordinance "that Mr.
Morley, Mr. Stapley, Sir Thomas Pelham, and Sir Thomas
Parker, deputy-lieutenants for Sussex, Members of the
House, should be sent down to put that County into the
like posture of defence as is Kent, and to disarme all
such as shall refuse to joyne with them in securing the
County." 2

The King had endeavoured to detach the county from
the Parliamentary leaders by a proclamation issued at
Reading on /th November, offering his Majesty's grace,
favour, and pardon to the inhabitants of his county of
Sussex, with the exception of Herbert Morley, Esq., and
Henry Chittey, citizen of Chichester. 3 This had no effect.
But in Chichester the Puritan party was not to have it all
its own way. The Royalist leaders were doubtless driven
to action by the fact that Parliament had declared that the
Commission of Array which had been sent down by the
King to Sir Edward Ford, 4 the High Sheriff, was illegal,
and had ordered the immediate arrest of Ford himself. On
the night of the I5th of November, the Royalist gentry
assembled in the town in considerable numbers, and under
pretence of assisting to maintain order got possession of it.
They forced the Mayor to deliver up the keys, and possessed
themselves of the guns and magazine. The Parliamentary
leaders fled to Portsmouth, and next day Sir Edward Ford
with a numerous force, consisting of the trained bands of
the county and 100 horse, marched into the city. Being
apprehensive as to the loyalty of the trained bands, he

1 Perfect Diurnall, Nos. 15-22. z Ibid., 15-22 November.

3 Broadsheet in B.M., pressmark 669, f. 5 (97).

4 Dallaway, i, cxxix.


caused them to be disarmed. A small force sent by the
governor of Portsmouth failed to retake the city.

As soon as the news reached Parliament such members
as were concerned with Ford in the affair were expelled
the House. 1 They were the two M.P.'s for Chichester, Sir
W. Morley and Christopher Lewknor, Sir T. Bowyer, M.P.
for Bramber, Thomas Leeds, M.P. for Steyning, and Thomas
May, M.P. for Midhurst.

The report of these proceedings at Chichester, sent from
Portsmouth to the Speaker Lenthall by Cawley and his
associates, is a very lucid and interesting document. 2



November 21, 1642.

"On Tuesday last, being the i$th of this month, we
called all the inhabitants of the City of Chichester together
there, to let them understand wherefore we had fortified
the city, which was to defend ourselves from being plun-
dered by the King's army, and to know if they would all
join with us to secure one another from being destroyed by
them. There was a general assent in it, not one contradict-
ing, but with several vows and protestations resolved to
live and die in it. Upon which agreement we went out of
the Town Hall where the meeting was. When we came
into the street we perceived some swords drawn at the
north gate of the city where one of the guns we had from
Portsmouth was placed which swords were drawn against
the gunner. We endeavoured to pacify the rage of the
people, but we could not, but they then overthrew the gun
off from his carriage and possessed themselves of him, and
from thence they went to the other parts of the city where

1 S. A. C., v, 37.

1 Portland MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), i, 72.


the other guns were placed and possessed themselves of
them also. When this was done the chiefest gentlemen in
and about the city gave countenance to those that did this.

" After this the same night came Sir John Morley, Mr.
Robert Anderson, Mr. William Wray, and Mr. Francis
Shallett to the Mayor and demanded of him that Sir John
Morley and twenty other gentlemen of the town might
watch that night. The Mayor was unwilling to consent
unto it, but they pretending it was for the settling of the
town in quiet and to allay the fury of the common people,
upon this it was agreed that there should watch twenty of
the gentlemen and twenty of the citizens, and that Sir John
Morley should have the command of the gentlemen and
Mr. Higgons of the citizens, and that the keys of the city
should be delivered to the Mayor. But when it came to
the setting of the watch, there were at least thirty of the
gentlemen and near fifty of the meaner sort of people
gathered together, and Mr. Higgons demanding of Sir
John Morley that there might be but twenty gentlemen
watch and that the others should depart to their several
homes. Sir John answered that it was not safe for him to
speak and wished him to be quiet and denied that any
should be discharged. He then gained the city keys into
his hands and would not deliver them, but said they should
be kept for the King.

" Upon the first combustion in the town there was a
messenger dispatched to the High Sheriff to acquaint him
how the state of the city stood, and to desire him to come
thither and he should have free entrance. Upon this the
Sheriff made warrants to the several Trained Bands that
they should appear within half a mile of the city and aid
him to go into it the next morning at 9 o'clock, at which
time the Sheriff accompanied with a hundred horse met the
Trained Bands and so marched into the city, where when
he came he commanded the Mayor to proclaim the pro-
clamation of pardon to all the county except Herbert


Morley, Esq., and Henry Chittey, citizen. The Mayor
refusing they forced him to go to the Cross, and then the
Sheriff commanded the Proclamation to be proclaimed.
After that was done he made search in diverse well-affected
persons' houses for arms and all they found they seized and
took away, and put the Commission of Array in execution,
and displaced Captain Chittey and in his place put Sir John
Morley. Then Nicholas Wolfe took the charge of Captain
Oglander's band and so settled the Commission of Array.
To countenance and attend the Sheriff in this action there
was Sir William Forde, Sir William Morley, who hath sent
the Sheriff four horses completely furnished for war, Sir
John Morley, Sir Edward Bishopp, Thomas Leedes, one of
your House, who is made Captain of the horse for Arundel
Rape Sir Thomas Bowyer hath sent a horse Robert An-
derson a lawyer, Nicholas Wolfe a Justice of the Peace,
Francis Shallett, William May, Thomas Gunter, who was
[in command of] a troop in Portsmouth with Colonel
Goring, John Apsley, William Rishton, two of Mr. Robert
Heath's sons, Francis Pury, George Gunter, Philip King
the Bishop's brother, and John King the Bishop's son, and
Edward Osborne with divers others. They have seized the
magazine which was for the county as likewise ten barrels
of powder we had from Portsmouth by order from the

" Upon Wednesday we came to Portsmouth and addressed
ourselves to the Governor and the Committee making them
acquainted in what condition we were, and how the guns
and powder which we had from the Governor were wrested
from us. The Governor being very sensible of the affront
to the Parliament and to himself, and apprehending that if
there were some expedition used in the business it would
be very feasible to regain the guns and powder, so that it
were done before the Sheriff could call in the country, and
to that purpose he despatched Captain Swanley and Captain
Winnford with seamen and landsmen upon the Thursday


to effect that service, but it pleased God so to turn the
wind that they could not gain the harbour that night. The
next day they gained the harbour, but before they could
come near the place they intended to land the tide fell, so
that they could get no further that night than an island
called Thorney. When Captain Swanley found how con-
trary the wind had been to him he dispatched away his
lieutenant with a trumpeter to demand the guns and
powder of the Mayor, or any others that had the charge of
them at Chichester. When the lieutenant came there
demanding where the Mayor was it was answered he was
not to be spoken with, and they told him he must go to the
governor of the city, by which name the Sheriff was styled.
He delivered his message : the answer was that he had a
command from the King to detain the guns and powder to
his use, and until he had a command from the King to
deliver them he would keep them. With this answer the
lieutenant returned to Captain Swanley, informing him
likewise how the city was up in arms, and that he conceived
there were eight hundred or a thousand soldiers in the city.
Upon this Captain Swanley and Captain Winnford took
into consideration whether it were fit for them being not
above two hundred strong to venture into the city or no.
In the close they resolved the Governor of Portsmouth
should be made acquainted with the proceedings, as like-
wise to inform him what they heard the strength of the
city was, which was that they had near a hundred horse
and a thousand foot. The Governor being informed of these
passages and knowing of what consequence Portsmouth
is to the kingdom, and what a weakening it would be to
the town if he should lose either landsmen or seamen,
therefore gave directions that the captains and their men
should return back to Portsmouth.

" The Sheriff, having intelligence that there was some
forces coming against himself from Portsmouth, made his
warrants to all the country near the city, and commanded


all men instantly to repair to Chichester upon pain of death
or of being plundered, pretending Prince Robert was com-
ing and that if he were not resisted they were all undone.
Upon this trick he gained the country to come into the
city, where when he had them he locked the gates and set
a strong guard at them so that they could not retire to
their own houses, but were forced to abide in the city. The
countrymen express that they have no hearts to the ser-
vice, but they are kept in with hopes that there will forces
come from the King and it is given out the city shall be
made a garrison. We hear there are both foot and horse
come from the King into the city, but we have no certain
information of the truth thereof. Divers houses are threat-
ened to be plundered within and without the city; the
Sheriff, being abetted by the gentlemen before named, is
extreme violent in the Commission of Array. They have
taken and imprisoned some men, and have cast irons upon
one and thrust him into the dungeon. They set two pistols
to the Mayor's breast, and offered him to take an oath, but
what the contents of the oath is we know not. We desire
you to acquaint the House of all that has befallen us, and
that Parliament will take into consideration what this may
grow to.

" Postscript. Captain Chittey and Edward Higgons were
forced to fly to Portsmouth without any money, and the
Sheriff will not suffer any goods to be brought out. They
desire that for the present they may have some moneys
out of the Contribution Money."

The House promptly sent instructions to its representa-
tives in Sussex: " Whereas His Majesty for the furtherance
and prosecution of this unnatural war against his subjects,
hath appointed Edward Ford, Esq., son of Sir William Ford,
to be Sheriff of the County of Sussex, who by pretext
thereof, hath raised the power of the said County, and


strengthening himself with other forces, hath seized the
city of Chichester, and in divers manners spoiled divers of
his Majesty's good subjects, and forced them to forsake
their dwellings: for more speedy suppression of this and
all other such traitors and rebels, you shall seize upon the
person of the said Ford, and upon the persons of all others
who are aiding and assisting him, and shall send them up
in safe custody to the Parliament; and you shall seize the
houses, lands rents and other goods and chattels of the said
person and all others who have taken up arms against the
Parliament; and shall send up to the Speaker of the Com-
mons' House a perfect schedule of such houses, lands, rents
goods and chattels, and shall put the same into such hands
as shall be answerable and accountable for the same.

" You shall take away the arms and horses of such as do
refuse to contribute horsemen or arms upon the proposition :
and you shall force all Papists, and persons disaffected to
the Parliament, to contribute towards the maintenance of
your army." l

But it was one thing to make such an order, and another
to execute it.

Sir Edward Ford was not content with his easy success
at Chichester. Regardless of the fact that Sir William
Waller, having captured Winchester, was preparing to in-
vade Sussex with a large force, he set out in company with
the Earl of Thanet to attack Lewes. In order to obtain
recruits he took the somewhat summary course of ordering
all men capable of bearing arms to join his ranks under
pain of death and of having their houses burnt. 2 A few
recruits were obtained by these means, but they did not
make zealous soldiers. At Hayward's Heath, Ford was met
by a somewhat less numerous Parliamentary force. Neither
party had any artillery. The Parliamentarians attacked
with great fierceness, and after an hour's fighting, when

1 House of Commons Journals, 7th December, 1642.

2 Godwin, Civil War in Hampshire, ch. viii.


their reserves came up, completely routed the Cavaliers,
who lost, it is said, not less than 200 men. The unhappy
countrymen who had been pressed into service, threw down
their arms and ran as fast as their legs could carry them to
the neighbouring villages of Hurst and Ditchling, where
we may suppose that their experience of the first fight on
Sussex soil for many a long day lost nothing in the telling.
The Cavaliers fled to the Downs and thence to Chichester.
News of this engagement reached Parliament on 8th Dec-



A FEW days later Waller's victorious forces were con-

Online LibraryCharles Thomas-StanfordSussex in the great Civil War and the interregnum, 1642-1660 → online text (page 5 of 30)