King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649

By Esmé Wingfield-Stratford | Go to book overview

18
ESCAPE FROM PRISON

JACK Ashburnham, after being driven from the King's presence, had betaken himself no further than to the opposite side of the Thames at Ditton, and about a couple of days afterwards asked Sir John Berkeley to come out from London, to dine with him and Colonel "Will" Legge, whose once sorely tried loyalty nothing had been able to shake, and who alone of the old Cavaliers recalled to the King's service was now permitted to remain in attendance. Before the meal was served, the other two took Berkeley aside and informed him that His Majesty was now in fear of his life from the extremists in the army and had resolved to make his escape with the aid of the three of them. Sir John, it need hardly be said, eagerly accepted the perilous honour, and it was two days later that Legge brought him by a back entrance to hear from the King's own lips of the peril he was in, but without receiving any indication of whither he proposed to escape--a matter not too easy to decide.

It was felt however that it was necessary to get the King away immediately at all hazards, and that the need was too urgent to allow of the careful planning that such an attempt would normally have demanded. The King was every day in receipt of anonymous communications warning him of designs on his life, and though he naturally tended to regard these with suspicion, verbal confirmation was not lacking from trustworthy persons who procured access to him. And then came a letter from Cromwell himself notifying his "Dear Cos Whalley" of rumours of some intended attempt on His Majesty's person, enjoining him to have a care of his guard, and adding that "if any such thing should be done it would be accounted a most horrid act." Whalley took care to show this letter to the King, but all the care he took of his recently doubled guard was so to dispose it that the King, accompanied by Legge, was able to make his way by the staircases and corridors leading from his apartments to a door opening into the park, and so, through the dark of a November evening, to a boat that was waiting to take him across the Thames to where the other two were posted with horses--and all this without challenge or notice of any sort.

-224-

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King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations xiii
  • I - The Clinch 1
  • I - The Court at Oxford 3
  • 3 - Newark and Cheriton 7
  • 4 - A Desperate Situation 11
  • 5 - Adieu! 16
  • 6 - The King's Strategy 19
  • 7 - A Night March 21
  • 8 - Rupert's Flank March Through Lancashire 25
  • 9 - The Relief of York and Cropredy Bridge 30
  • 10 - Marston Moor--The Challenge 33
  • II - Marston Moor--The Decision 36
  • 12 - The Escape of the Queen 50
  • 14 - Second Newbury and the Cavalier Recovery 54
  • 15 - Artist as General 58
  • II - Defeat 71
  • I - Tertium Quid 73
  • 3 - "Three Things I Will Not Part With" 76
  • 4 - The Liquidation of the Primate 81
  • 5 - A Foredoomed Negotiation 88
  • 6 - An Irish Imbroglio 92
  • 9 - Prelude to Naseby 97
  • 10 - Naseby 102
  • 12 - The King's Cabinet Rifled 112
  • 13 - The King Takes His Stand 116
  • 15 - Meeting and Reconciliation 124
  • 16 - Last Days at Oxford 130
  • 17 - Hobson's Choice 141
  • III - Captivity 149
  • I - Confidence Trick 151
  • 2 - Third Degree at Newcastle 155
  • 4 - "Barbarously Baited" 159
  • 5 - Foreshadowing Martyrdom 162
  • 6 - A King for Cash 168
  • 7 - Holdenby Backwater 171
  • 8 - The Mutiny of the New Model 173
  • 9 - The Commission of Cornet Joyce 178
  • 10 - The King at Newmarket 189
  • 15 - The Fall of London 203
  • 16 - Cromwell on the Turn 208
  • 17 - A Darkening Prospect 219
  • 18 - Escape from Prison 224
  • 21 - The Engagement with the Scots 232
  • 22 - The Trap Shuts 244
  • 24 - Escape Barred 247
  • 26 - Jane Whorwood 256
  • IV - Martyrdom 285
  • I - The Train is Laid 287
  • 3 - Hurst Castle and Pride's Purge 295
  • 4 - Journey to Windsor 299
  • 6 - Conspiracy to Murder 301
  • 7 - High Court of Justice 308
  • 8 - By What Authority? 313
  • 13 - Cromwell Takes Charge 344
  • 14 - Preparation for Death 348
  • 16 - "Cruel Necessity" 354
  • Appendices 369
  • Index 381
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