In 1642, six months before Edgehill, the first battle of the English Civil War, Charles I made two attempts to enter the city of Hull to seize control of its armoury but was refused entry on both occasions by its governor Sir John Hotham. The king’s army was forced to retreat, probably making their way to Hessle, a royalist stronghold, while the disgruntled king declared Hotham a traitor.
By the 22nd of August, King Charles moved on to the City of Nottingham. Here he raised his royal standard thus marking the beginning of the English Civil War.
The image below is a house on High Street St. Martin's, in Stamford in Lincolnshire, it was the one time home of Lady Frances Wingfield.
Francis is said to have entertained Oliver Cromwell at this house, where in 1643 she is said to have persuaded Cromwell, using their family connections, not to attack the Stamford - she asked that the gates to the town be closed.
Stamford at this time was on the whole loyal to the crown, but there were families who sympathised with the Parliamentarian cause, notably the Willoughby's at Grimsthorpe, however the family of Cecil played for both sides. The families fine house at Burghley was caught up in events of the Civil War in the summer of 1643 when it was taken for the Royalist party under Viscount Camden - a place to hide as the Parliamentarians made their way from Northampton. Camden's forces held Burghley for just one day, the 24th July 1643, but the arrival of an army under Oliver Cromwell forced a surrender by the afternoon of the following day.
Maybe it was while all the churches in Stamford were ringing their bells backwards to summon Royalist support that Francis was doing her bit to save the town from an attack?
Francis Wingfield was the daughter of Edward Cromwell, 3rd Baron Cromwell of Oakham in Leicestershire and the great great granddaughter of Thomas Cromwell. Thomas, as you will know, was chief minister to King Henry VIII, his sister Catherine William was the great grandmother of Oliver.
You may be wondering why Oliver had the surname of Cromwell when the family's surname was William? Catherine's husband was Morgan ap William, but their family had abandoned the Welsh naming system of 'ap or son of' in favour of the English use of a surname and therefore their descendants took the name of Cromwell.
King Charles I had been executed on the 30th of January in 1649. His body was taken from the place of execution, embalmed and placed on public show at St James' Palace until the 7th of February.
Parliament had refused permission for his burial in Westminster Abbey so his final resting place was St George's Chapel at Windsor where he was interred on the 9th of February.
Of Charles's funeral author Anthony Wood wrote a snow storm, that had begun very suddenly as the King’s body was carried to the west end of St George’s Chapel, covered the black velvet pall with thick white snow, “the colour of innocency”
He lays within the same chamber as Edward IV.
On the 19th January in 1643, Sir Ralph Hopton led his Royalist forces to victory at the Battle of Braddock Down, an area that lies between Lostwithiel and Liskeard in Cornwall.
Hopton’s forces spent the night of the 18th January camped near the village of Boconnoc, the following morning they woke to find a Parliamentarian army deployed at what is now Largin Farm on the east side of Braddock Down.
The Parliamentarian forces, under the command of Colonel Ruthven, were making their way into Cornwall from Devon.
More of a skirmish than a battle this clash of arms saw the surrender of a large number of Parliamentarians, the capture of five cannons assorted weaponry and, according to the Royalist, only two of their men were lost.
In the following, May Hopton's forces would again defeat the Parliamentarian forces at the Battle of Stratton.
On the 24th September in 1645 The Battle of Rowton Moor - a Parliamentarian victory.
King Charles viewed the battlefield from the Phoenix Tower (it's often now referred to as the King Charles' Tower) on the north/east corner of Chester City walls. From this vantage point, the king witnessed the defeat of the last of his cavalry.
By the middle of the seventeenth, the tower had fallen into a dilapidated state. Largely due to the battering it had received during the Civil War siege, the upper parts of the tower had to be rebuilt.
On this day in 1651 King Charles II famously hid in an oak tree on the estate of Boscobel in Shropshire.
The following is the king’s account, dictated some thirty years later to Samuel Pepys.
"he told me that it would be very dangerous either to stay in the house or go into the wood (there being a great wood hard by Boscobel) and he knew but one way how to pass all the next day and that was to get up into a great oak in a pretty plain place where we could see round about us for they would certainly search all the wood for people that had made their escape. We got up into a great oak that had been lopped some 3 or 4 years before and so was grown out very bushy and thick not to be seen through. And there we sat all the day."
It was on this day in 1685, that trials began in Winchester that have come to be known as the Bloody Assizes.
On trial were over one thousand men - rebels who took part in the Monmouth Rebellion. Nearly all would die the horrible death by hanging, disemboweling and quartering, others were transported to the West Indies.
The judges were Sir Henry Pollexfen, Sir Creswell Levinz, Sir Francis Wythens, Sir Robert Wright and Sir William Montague and at their head, Lord Chief Justice George Jeffreys.
Judge Jeffreys was a hard, bitter and vengeful man, who Gilbert Burnet in his History of My Own Time writes of Jeffrey.
"His behaviour was beyond anything that was ever heard of in a civilized nation. He was perpetually either drunk or in a rage, liker a fury that the zeal of a judge. He required the prisoners to plead guilty. And in that case he gave them some hope of favour, if they gave him no trouble; otherwise he told them, he would execute the letter of the law upon them in its utmost severity."
Whether you were old and female made no difference as Lady Alice Lisle would find out to her cost.
Up to 1300 men were executed following the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685. But did you know that members of James II's court, including the queen, made an awful lot of money from the sale of those rebels who were sold as slaves to the West Indies.
Following the Royalist loss at the Battle of Torrington in Devon on the 16th of February 1646, the terms for surrender of the Royalist army were formally agreed and the Treaty of Truro was signed on the 14th March.
Sir Ralph Hopton's royalist forces met Thomas Fairfax's in the village of Tresillian in Cornwall at Tresillian Bridge, Fairfax's headquarters were situated just a few yards away in what is now the Wheel Inn.
You can read about the Battle of Torrington on my website at
It was on this day in 1642, that King Charles I, accompanied by a number of soldiers, arrived at Westminster with the intent to arrest John Pym, John Hampden, Denzil Holles, Arthur Haselrig and William Strode, five Members of his Parliament on the grounds that they had encouraged the Scots to invade England.
William Strode was the son of William Strode of Plympton in Devon, he married into the Meavy family of Meavy, eventually owning their estates in Devon.
The painting below, by Charles West Cope, shows the attempted arrest, it can be seen in the Houses of Parliament.
History is so interesting isn't it? Do you love the story of King Alfred's unsuccessful afternoon in the kitchen or King Cnut unsuccessful attempt not to get his feet wet? Maybe you're interested in when the Normans landing on our shores or the stories of an era closer to our time?