Page:Notes and Queries - Series 12 - Volume 6.djvu/187

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As Dr. Hoskins's work is now scarce and his authorities are somewhat difficult of ^access, perhaps MB. CABBINGTON will be content to accept what I took from them as the basis of my paper (itself also, perhaps, >not very readily accessible) relative to the Prince's movements in the earlier part of 1645. In the spring of that year Charles I. determined to send his eldest son into the west, partly from the idea of giving the Prince some active work on his own initiative to do, and partly owing to the fears he enter- tained for his safety, and to the threatening aspect of his own affairs evinced by the '.active preparations being made for war by the Commons in case the negotiations for peace then pending were not satisfactorily concluded. On Mar. 5 the royal father and

son (a boy not yet 16) " parted never to

meet again." The Prince, escorted by 300 horse, and attended, amongst others, by Lords Capel, Hopton, and Culpepper, set out for Bristol, and lodged, the first night after leaving Oxford, at Farringdon, the next day 'with the garrison at Devizes, and on the third reached Bath, where the Prince stayed two or three days, and on arriving at Bristol ^kt once set up his little court. It would appear that he must have had a narrow escape of being captured, for on the 17th of the same month we find that Colonel Sir James Long, High Sheriff of Wilts for the King, returning from the convoy of the Prince to Bristol was set upon by a party of "Waller's army at Devizes, and forty of his men killed, many prisoners being also taken.

As the plague was then raging in Bristol 150 dying in a week the Prince left for Bridgwater on April 23. Here he came under the somewhat baneful influence of his old nurse, Mrs. Wyndham Anne, daughter -of Thomas Gerard of Trent, whose husband, Colonel Wyndham, was Governor of the town. Presumably this was the same Anne Wyndham, wife of Colonel Francis Wyndham of Trent, to whom Charles II. went for shelter in September, 1651, when trying to escape to France after the disastrous battle of Worcester in that month.* She was the author of the "' Claustrum Regale Reseratum,' containing an account of " The King's Concealment at Trent," one of the most interesting of all the Boscobel Tracts which began to be published soon after the Restoration in 1660. This lady was most disdainful both of the

  • See my paper in the Dorset Field Club's

Proceedings, ' Charles II. in Dorset,' vol. viii., p. 9 <<1887).

King and of his Council. Letters from the King having arrived forbidding his going further westward, the Prince returned thence to Bristol a week later.

The plague still increasing at Bristol, however, the Prince arranged to go to Barnstaple in North Devon, and with this intention reached Wells on June 22, receiving there a deputation of 5,000 or 6,000 " club men," who were dissatisfied with the excesses of the royal soldiery. Barnstaple was at length safely reached. Whilst there the news of the battle of Naseby (June 14, 1645) having been fought and lost reached the Prince, and after the subsequent surrender of Bridgwater on July 22 to Fairfax, it was thought advisable to retire further, so that later in that month the royal fugitive, as he had then almost become, reached Launceston in Cornwall. Hence, after many vicissitudes, he moved to the Scilly Islands, and later to Jersey, in the following April (1646).

MB. CABRINGTON gives the date at which he states, from the entry in the Northam registers, Charles to have been at Appledore as July 10, 1645. There is no evidence, so far as I can see, that Charles was ever in the neighbourhood of Barnstaple at any other period than that mentioned above, namely, from the latter part of June to the latter part of July. Appledore is, I believe, in the neighbourhood of Torrington as well as of .Barnstaple ; but the battle of Torrington in which the Prince's army was defeated and dispersed and the royalist cause in the west received its death wound was not fought until the 15th of the following February, long after he had left Barnstaple for the south. As undoubtedly Prince Charles did stay some few weeks at Barnstaple " a pleasant town in the north of Devonshire," and with which, we hear, he was " much delighted " and this period would cover the date in the Northam registers -he may, of course, have paid a visit to Appledore during that time. It would be interesting to know if the entry in the register is a contemporary one or a later interpolation.

It was during his stay at Barnstaple that if we believe Clarendon the Prince appears to have been exposed to that risk of " moral contamination " and which in later years was so pronounced a feature in his character which led his council, after inquiry, on the principle that " evil communications corrupt good manners," to banish from the court and the precincts of the town a certain young fellow named Wheeler, who, although not