Constance Charlotte Elisa Lennox Russell.

The rose goddess and other sketches of mystery & romance online

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The first event in Charlotte de la Tremoille's life of any
importance took place when she was eighteen, and gave her
a supreme satisfaction which lasted all her life. This was
the marriage of her brother, the Due de Thouars, to his cousin,

Marie de la Tour d'Auvergne, daughter of the Due de


" The Queen of Man "

Bouillon and of Elizabeth of Nassau, and she continued
to live on at Thouars with her brother and sister-in-law for
the next seven years. Then her widowed mother took
Charlotte to Paris and on to The Hague, where we find them
in the beginning of the year 1626 at the Court of Frederick
Henry of Nassau, Prince of Orange, her uncle. ^ There a mar-
riage was arranged for her, and in July of that year she be-
came the wife of James Stanley, Lord Strange, eldest son of
the sixth Earl of Derby. Lord Strange was very handsome,
and had a high character for honour and bravery, besides being
extremely accomplished and classed amongst the best prose
writers of his day. Li the T>esiderata Curiosa will be found
the "History of the Isle of Man," by James, Earl of Derby
and Lord of Man, interspersed with long and excellent
advices to his son. And amongst the Sloane MSS. in the
British Museum there is a sort of Historical Commonplace
Book written by him and inscribed on the first page, '"Ne
turba operas meas '— J. Derby, 1645, Castle Rushin in the
Isle of Man."

Mademoiselle de la Tremoille was twenty-five years old
at the time of her marriage, and could never have had
much pretensions to good looks. There is a portrait of her
which was painted by Rubens at The Hague just before she
married. It represents her in a corsage of scariet satin and
a hat with white feathers, and she looks bright, blooming,
and arch ; but if she was not very handsome her good qualities
and fine character endeared her to her husband, and they
were a most united couple. In writing to her mother, Lady

1 Frederick Henry became Prince of Orange on the death of his half-brother
Maurice in 1625. His son William married Mary, daughter of Charles I., and their
son was William III., King of England.

''The Queen of Man"

Strange says : " He (Lord Strange) shows me the utmost
affection, and God gives me grace to live in much happiness
and peace of mind"; and again she writes, "I have every
reason to thank God and you for having married me so

Directly after their marriage they went to England, and
Lady Strange was made one of the Ladies-in-waiting to
Queen Henrietta Maria, herself a bride of only one year.
But she does not appear to have held this position long, for
from the following year we find her living continuously at
Lathom House, her father-in-law's (Lord Derby) place in
Lancashire, which he gave up entirely to his son, residing him-
self at Chester.

Money troubles caused the young couple great embarrass-
ments from the commencement of their married life. The
Derby estates were encumbered with debt, and her own family,
which had been so powerful and had such large possessions,
was suffering greatly from the Civil Wars, in consequence of
which her brother, the Due de la Tremoille, was unable to
pay her fortune or marriage settlement. This Lady Strange
felt most keenly for her husband's sake, and she wrote to her
mother : " If I had not so good a husband this would perhaps
arouse suspicions in him, which however, thank God, it has
not done. What troubles me most is that by entering this
family I see I have only increased its debts and expenses.*'

The sons and daughters that were born to them added
to their anxieties. The eldest, Charles, had for his sponsor
King Charles I., who gave him at his christening two gilt
cups, presenting Lady Strange at the same time with some fine
diamonds. The Duchess of Richmond, who was godmother
on the occasion, gave her godson " a large basin and a silver-


James Stanley, 7th Eakl of Derby, K.G., and Charlotte, Countess of Dhrhv
(From an engravino at Swallowfield after Vandycke)

''The Queen of Man"

gilt knife, which is used when the loaves of bread have been
removed from the table," and to Lady Strange a turquoise

In 1640 Lord Strange succeeded his father as seventh Earl
of Derby, and was one of the first who, when King Charles
L declared war, joined him at York with three regiments of
infantry and as many troops of horse, raised, clothed, and
armed solely at his own expense.

After having taken Preston and Lancaster from the rebels
by storm, leading the attacks with the greatest bravery,
Lord Derby then busily employed himself fortifying his own
house of Lathom ; but before he had time to complete his
arrangements, he heard that the rebels were contemplating an
attack on the Isle of Man. This island had been the private
property of the Stanleys since the time of Henry IV,, who
had granted it to Sir John Stanley.^ It was a kingdom by
itself, and the Earls of Derby bore the title of "King of
Man," which was afterwards exchanged for that of "Lord
of Man."

Leaving the completion of his plans for the defence of
Lathom to the charge of his wife. Lord Derby at once pro-
ceeded to the Isle of Man. He had scarcely left when
Lady Derby heard that an attack would shortly be made on
Lathom. No doubt the enemy thought that, as it was left
in the hands of a woman and a foreigner to boot, little or
no resistance would be made ; but they did not realise the
character of her with whom they had to deal — a true daughter
of Nassau, and granddaughter of William the Silent. Lady

^ James, tenth Earl of Derby, dying without issue in 1735, the lordship of Man
descended to James Murray, second Duke of Atholl. In 1725 the Lords of the
Treasury purchased the island at a valuation amounting to ^418,000, and it was
then entirely ceded to the British Crown.


" The Queen of Man "

Derby worked assiduously for eighteen months, strengthening
her little garrison, by increasing her stock of provisions and
military stores, bringing in barrels of powder and ammuni-
tion secretly by night, and collecting within the walls as
many of the neighbours and men of the lower classes that
she could depend upon, in all more than three hundred men.
These, added to her servants, she formed into six regiments,
each under a lieutenant chosen from gentlemen of the neigh-
bourhood, and the command of the whole Lady Derby
entrusted to Captain Farmer, a Scotchman who had served
with reputation in the Low Countries.^

During all this time Lady Derby never went beyond the
courts of the house, and everything was done with such
secrecy and so cleverly managed that the rebels were quite
unaware of what had been going on. A council of war, held
at Manchester in February 1644, decided that Colonel Ashton
of Middleton, Moor of Bank Hall, and Rigby of Preston,
should attack Lathom. They took up their quarters two
miles off, headed by Fairfax, who sent a message to Lady
Derby, promising on behalf of the Parliament grace to her
husband if she surrendered Lathom. Her reply was that, in
a business of so much importance, she must have a week to
consider her answer. Fairfax would not agree to this, and
asked her to come in her carriage to New Park, a house
belonging to Lord Derby in the neighbourhood, for an interview
with him. Lady Derby was very indignant at this suggestion
and said, "Say to Sir Thomas Fairfax that I do not forget
either the honour of my lord or my own birth, and that
I conceive it more knightly that Sir Thomas Fairfax should

* Captain Farmer was killed at the battle of Marston Moor.

"The Queen of Man"

wait upon me than I upon him." ^ The General then sent
two of his Colonels, who offered her that she and her family
should remove to Knowsley Hall, another of the Stanley
family seats, and should there be unmolested and have the
moiety of the Earl's estate for her support. She refused
all their offers, and on the yth of March this memorable siege
began. The enemy at once set to work to dig a trench, but
were much harassed by the sorties made by the garrison. On
the 24th of March Lady Derby ordered a sally of two hundred
men, who slew about sixty and took some prisoners, the loss
on her side consisting only of two. With her daughters, Mary
and Catherine, Lady Derby watched over everything, and she
was often on the ramparts. When a bullet fell into her
bedroom she smiled disdainfully, and it was only after the same
thing had occurred several times that she consented to change
her apartment. On one occasion a shell had burst in the
dining-room during dinner, which broke the glass and furni-
ture ; but the children, who were beside their mother, did not
move and the meal was continued. At length Colonel Rigby
announced a grand attack with mortar-piece and cannon, but
sent an insolent message to Lady Derby ordering her to
surrender before two o'clock. Lady Derby was in the court-
yard talking to her officers when this messenger arrived. She
read the letter, and then tore it in pieces before the messenger,
and told him to go back to Rigby and " tell that insolent
rebel he shall have neither persons, goods, nor house. When
our strength and provision are spent we shall find a fire
more merciful than Rigby's ; and then, if the Providence of
God prevent it not, my goods and house shall burn in his
sight, and myself, children, and soldiers, rather than fall

^ Halsall's "Siege of Lathom House."

257 R

^'The Queen of Man"

into his hands, will seal our religion and loyalty in the same
flame." ^

The rebels then settled on a general assault with a mortar-
piece of large calibre, and no quarter was to be given ; but
Lady Derby determined to make a desperate effort to circum-
vent these plans. Accordingly, at four o'clock in the morning,
Captain Chisenhall and eighty men silently left the eastern
gate, and before they were discovered by the enemy they
were under the cannon. Meanwhile Captain Fox, who had
gone out by another gate, made himself master of the works
which defended the mortar, while Captain Ogle beat back the
enemy. Ropes were passed round the mortar and the formid-
able engine was rolled into the courtyard to Lady Derby's
feet. She immediately ordered her chaplain to be called and
gathered her household together in the chapel to return thanks
to God. This remarkable exploit had only cost the lives of
two of the garrison, the loss of the enemy being far more
considerable. Rigby had been so sure of his success that he
had actually invited his friends in the neighbourhood to come
on this day to see the reduction and the burning of the house.
The sorties of the garrison continued incessantly, and Rigby
complained that he was " obliged to drive them back as often
as five and six times in the same night." In most of these
affairs Lady Derby was present, and frequently in great danger.
Her conduct united the most exemplary piety with the most
determined courage. Every action was prefaced by devout
prayer, every success acknowledged by humble thanksgiving.
At last the garrison was reduced to the greatest distress. The
ammunition and the corn were spent, and they had killed for
food nearly all the horses. Still Lady Derby held out and

^ Halsall's " Siege of Lathom House."

"The Queen of Man"

gave the same answer as before to a fresh offer from the

At this time Prince Rupert was marching his army to
York, and Lord Derby entreated him to pass through
Lancashire and go to the aid of Lady Derby, who was his
cousin. As an inducement to the soldiers to lose no time
on the march, he promised them a reward of ;/^3000, raised
on his wife's jewels, which she had managed to convey to
him during the siege.

Rigby on hearing of the approach of Prince Rupert,
withdrew his forces on the 27th May 1644, ^^^ ^^^^ ended
this memorable defence. Lady Derby then retired to the
Isle of Man with her six children.^

At the beginning of the year 1647 Lady Derby went to
London with the object of trying to get the name of Lord
Derby erased from the list of the thirty-six persons who
were excluded from the amnesty.^ During this visit she
visited King Charles I. for the second time since he was a
prisoner, and writes that "the King is hopeful about his
affairs." We have no accounts of what she felt during the
enactment of the dire tragedy that followed, but soon after
the death of the King, Ireton wrote to Lord Derby to sur-
render the Isle of Man to the Parliament. The noble Earl
replied in the following terms: —

" Sir, — I received your letter with indignation and scorn,
and return you this answer ; that I cannot but wonder whence
you should gather any hopes from me that I should, like

^ Lathom House continued to hold its own against the enemy for six months
longer but, finally, was obliged to surrender, when the fortress was razed to the

^ Thurloe's State Papers.


'' The Queen of Man "

you, prove treacherous to my sovereign. I scorn your
proffers, disdain your favour, and abhor your treason, and
am so far from delivering up this island to your advantage,
that I will keep it to the utmost of my power to your de-
struction. Take this for your final answer and forbear any
further solicitations, for, if you trouble me with any more,
I will burn the paper and hang the bearer : this is the im-
mutable resolution and shall be the undoubted practice of
him who accounts it his chiefest glory to be

" His Majesty's most loyal and obedient servant,

"Castletown, 22nd July 1649."

At the same time Lord Derby published a manifesto in
London, which ended thus : —

"And I do cheerfully invite all my allies, friends, and
acquaintances and all my tenants in the counties of Lancaster
and Chester or elsewhere, and all other of His Majesty's
faithful and loyal subjects to repair to this Island (Man)
as their general rendezvous and safe harbour where they shall
receive entertainment, where we will unanimously employ
our forces to the utter ruin of these rebellious regicides and
the final destruction of their interests by land and sea.
Neither shall any apprehension of danger to my life or
estate appal me.


About this time Lady Derby's health began to give way
under all the strain of what she had gone through, and she
was seriously ill for a considerable period. In 1650 she
wrote to her sister-in-law : " Since I last wrote to you I have
received news of my daughters in England which afflicts me
not a little, and though I can think of nothing to relieve

them, I hope to find some comfort in telling you my troubles,


;il ilill'iP'^



" The Queen of Man "

for I know that you will share and if possible remedy them.
When I was in England [Lady Derby never talks of the Isle
of Man as England] and intending to come here, I was ad-
vised to send for Catherine and Amelia and to leave them
at Knowsley that they might keep possession of the house
and receive the income granted to children of ' delinquents,'
for so they call us. ... I procured passports from the Parlia-
ment, and they have been there two years without any one
ever having disturbed either them or their people ; but about
three weeks ago a man of the name of Birch, the governor
of a small town called Liverpool, took them prisoners and
confined them in the said town, where they are now in
custody. No reason is given for this, but we hear it is be-
cause they are thought to be too much liked, and that people
were beginning to make applications to the Parliament in
the hope that their father might come to terms. . . . We
hear that they are bearing it bravely, and I have no doubt
this is true of the eldest ; but my daughter Amelia is delicate
and timid, and is undergoing medical treatment by order of
M. de Mayerne.^ They are in a wretched place, ill lodged,
and in a bad air, but these barbarians think of nothing but
carrying out their damnable designs, which could not be
worse if all hell itself had invented them."

Bradshaw, who hated Lord Derby, was supposed to be at
the bottom of this treatment, which got worse and worse, till
at last Lady Catherine and Lady Amelia Stanley were not allowed
sufficient food, and their servants went about from house to
house to beg for assistance, or they would literally have suffered
from hunger. Eventually application on their behalf was made
to Fairfax, who had always shown them kindness ; and he wrote

^ Sir Theodore Mayerne, who was Charles I.^s doctor.

" The Queen of Man "

that if Lord Derby would surrender the Isle of Man to the
Parliament, not only should his children be set at liberty but
he himself should be allowed to return to England and enjoy
one moiety of his estate.^

Lord Derby, whose motto, "Sans changer," seems to have
been adopted in a prophetic spirit, again refused, saying his
children should never be redeemed by his disloyalty.

When Charles IL left Scotland in 1651 to carry the war
into England he sent for Lord Derby, who at once started
from the Isle of Man with ten ships to join his royal master,
and landed in Lancashire with three hundred gentlemen.
Marching to Wigan, a town devoted to the King, Lord Derby
was attacked by Lilburn, and he and his cavaliers were forced
to give way before the superior numbers, but not before
Lord Derby had two horses killed under him, and received
seven shots on his breastplate and fourteen cuts on his
helmet, besides wounds on his arms and shoulders. He,
however, managed to escape, leaving most of his friends dead
on the field of battle, and disguised made his way, with three
attendants, towards Worcester. On the borders of Stafford-
shire and Shropshire he and Colonel Roscarrock met Mr.
Richard Sneyd, who brought them to Boscobel House, a
small house belonging to the GiflFards, a Catholic family
who lived at Chillington, and which was only inhabited by
a family of peasants called Penderell, who acted as caretakers,
and were, like their master, Catholics. Lord Derby rested
there for two nights, and then went on to Worcester, arriving
there the day before the fatal battle where the Royalists were
completely routed by Cromwell ; King Charles would not
have escaped with his life had it not been for Lord Derby,

' Seacome's " House of Stanley."

Photo: Emery Walker.

James Stanley, Seventh Earl of Derby, K.(j.

From (he Portrait in the Xalioiial Portrait Oaiierv.

" The Queen of Man "

Lord Cleveland, and Colonel Wogan, who contrived to force
a passage for him through the ranks of the enemy, sur-
rounding him and protecting him with their swords, they
themselves remaining behind to cover his retreat. Later on
they rejoined the King at some distance from the town, and
Lord Derby recommended his Majesty to conceal himself at
Boscobel, Mr. Charles Giffard offering to conduct him there.
Lord Derby, on parting from the King, attempted to get
into Lancashire, but was taken prisoner and conveyed to
Chester, whence he wrote a letter to his wife as follows : —

" My dear Heart, — It hath been my misfortune since I
left you not to have one line of comfort from you, which
hath been most afflictive to me. ... I escaped a great danger
at Wigan, but met with a worse at Worcester, being not so
fortunate as to meet with any that would kill me. ... I
and Lord Lauderdale had quarter given by one Captain
Edge, a Lancashire man, and one that was so civil to me,
that I and all that love me are beholden to him."

Lord Derby goes on to recommend his wife to give up
the Isle of Man, which place he says she knows has always
been his darling, and make the best conditions she can for
herself and children, and so " trusting in the assistance and
goodness of God, begin the world again."

Lord Derby was declared guilty of high treason and
condemned to death, with a very short interval for fear of
an appeal. Lord Strange, Lord Derby's eldest son, on hear-
ing of his father's condemnation, travelled night and day to
London and sent a petition to the House of Commons. It
was of a most affecting nature, and the majority of the
members were inclined to mercy ; but at this critical moment

Cromwell and Bradshaw rose and left the House, taking


''The Queen of Man"

many of their friends with them, and the numbers left not
being sufficient to form a House the petition could not be
put to the vote, and the question was thus decided silently
and without appeal. Lady Catherine Stanley, Lord Derby's
daughter, also wrote a most fervent appeal to her aunt the
Duchesse de la Tremoille, imploring her to use her influence
in his favour, but before the Duchess could reply Lord
Derby had ceased to exist. He was executed at Bolton, 15th
October 1651, preserving his heroic fortitude to the last.
He was attended by his two eldest daughters and his son
and daughter-in-law, but so hurried were his last days that
Lady Derby only heard of his condemnation after he was no
more. The following beautiful letter he wrote to her two
days before his execution : —

" My dear Heart, — I have heretofore sent you comfort-
able lines, but alas I have now no word of comfort saving to
our last and best refuge, which is Almighty God, to whose
will we must submit ; and when we consider how He hath
disposed of these nations, and the government thereof, we have
no more to do but to lay our hands upon our mouths, judging
ourselves, and acknowledging our sins, joined with others,
to have been the cause of these miseries, and to call on Him
with tears for mercy. The governor of this place. Colonel
Duckenfield, is General of the forces which are now going
against the Isle of Man ; and, however you might do for
the present, in time it would be a grievous and troublesome
thing to resist, especially those that at this hour command
the three nations; wherefore my advice, notwithstanding my
great afl^ection to that place, is that you make conditions for
yourself and children and servants and people there, and such
as came over with me, to the end you may get to some place
of rest, and taking thought of your poor children, you may


"The Queen of Man"

in some sort provide for them : then prepare yourself to come
to your friends above in that blessed place where bliss is, and
no mingling of opinion. I conjure you, my dearest Heart,
by all those graces that God has given you, that you exercise
your patience in this great and strange trial. If harm come
to you, then I am dead indeed ; and until then I shall live in
you, who are truly the best part of myself. When there is
no such as I in being, then look upon yourself and my poor
children, then take comfort and God will bless you. I
acknowledge the great goodness of God to have given me
such a wife as you — so great an honour to my family — so
excellent a companion to me — so pious — so much of all that
can be said of good I must confess is impossible to say enough,
thereof I ask God pardon with all my soul that I have not been
enough thankful for so great a benefit, and when I have done
anything at any time that might justly offend you, with joined
hands I also ask your pardon. Oh, my dear soul, I have
reason to believe that this may be the last time that ever I
shall write unto you. ... I must forgive all the world, else
I would not go out of it as a good Christian ought to do ;
and I hold myself in duty bound to desire you to forgive my
son and his bed-fellow. She hath more judgment than I
looked for, and it may be of good use to him and the rest of
our children. She takes care of him, and I am deceived much
if you and I have not been greatly misinformed when we were
told ill of her. I hope you will have reason to think so too.
. . . For my sake, keep not too strict, too severe a life, but
endeavour to live for your children's sake, which by an over-
melancholy course you cannot do. The world knows you so
full of virtue and piety that it will never be ill thought if
you do not keep your chamber.

" I have no more to say to you at this time than my prayers
for the Almighty's blessing to you, my dear Moll and Ned and
Billy. Amen. Sweet Jesus ! Your faithful,


^'The Queen of Man"

After her husband's death Lady Derby still refused to
give up the Isle of Man, replying to the demand of the
Parliament that she held it for the King and would not sur-
render it to his enemies. She had for some time been
fortifying the Castle of Rushin where the crown of lead was
kept, the insignia of the King of Man, and she and her
children remained there under the protection of its governor,
Sir Thomas Armstrong. Captain William Christian, a Manx-

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Online LibraryConstance Charlotte Elisa Lennox RussellThe rose goddess and other sketches of mystery & romance → online text (page 20 of 22)