King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649

By Esmé Wingfield-Stratford | Go to book overview

3
HURST CASTLE AND PRIDE'S PURGE

IT was the road that passes through Calbourne to Freshwater that the little cavalcade with its attendant troopers must have taken, in order to avoid the then unbridged Yar; a tedious and a dismal drive, over a surface barely negotiable, after the night's rain, by the lumbering vehicles containing the King and the dozen or so attendants that were all they had allowed him to retain of his suite. Whatever may have been his thoughts, he showed no sign of discomposure, chatting with his gentlemen, Harrington and Herbert, and smiling at their attempts to guess their destination. From Freshwater they struck north to reach the coast opposite Hurst Castle. On the lonely stretch of beach between Sconce Point and Cliff End there stood another and smaller fortress, of which all traces have long disappeared, called Worsley's Tower. To this inhospitable lodging they consigned the King while a boat was being fetched from Yarmouth Harbour to take him across the Solent, and we have Herbert's statement--which even of the shipping of those days one finds a little hard to believe-- that with wind and tide favourable, the crossing took three hours.

Arrive they did however quite soon enough, for a more dolorous prospect it would have been hard to imagine than that presented under the leaden sky of a mid-winter evening by the isolated stone structure, compact and grey with its enormously thick walls, pierced by embrasures so narrow as to make perpetual night within, so that in the King's apartments they had to burn candles at noonday. It had the advantage, however, from the standpoint of his captors, of forming a perfectly escape-proof prison, or condemned cell, until such time as the preparations were complete for his final elimination.

Even more forbidding than the aspect of the fortress, was that of its acting commandant,* who stood waiting to receive them on the landing stage; a ferocious looking desperado with bushy black hair, a huge black beard, a partizan grasped in his hand and a long sword with a great basket hilt, Swiss fashion, at his side. He was doubtless one of the New Model ranker promotions, and

____________________
*
The real commandant, Colonel Eyre, seems to have been away at the time of the King's arrival.

-295-

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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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