Magazine article History Today

Sir Allen Apsley and Sir Allen Brodrick

Magazine article History Today

Sir Allen Apsley and Sir Allen Brodrick

Article excerpt

The period after the Restoration of 1660 offered many opportunities for royalists well-connected enough to seize them. This month's Commons Sense deals with the intertwined careers of two men, whose family alliances and associations in the Civil War put them in influential and lucrative positions, but also made them vulnerable to the shifting sands of factional politics.

Sir Allen Apsley (1616-83) was the son of a Victualler of the Navy who died in 1630 with his estate encumbered with huge debts and inextricably entangled with deeply confused government accounts. Apsley and his family, pursued for years by his father's creditors, survived with the support of his mother's Wiltshire relatives, the St Johns. The Civil War saw him serving as a royalist officer in Devon, a subordinate to Sir John Berkeley, and close to the council of the Prince of Wales, on which served a distant relative by marriage via the St John connection, Sir Edward Hyde. Sir Allen Brodrick (1623-80) was also connected, via his mother's family, to the St Johns, and to other influential Wiltshire families. Though there is no evidence of his fighting during the 1640s, following a long trip on the continent Brodrick became involved in the late 1650s in royalist conspiracy, acting from late 1656 as the principal contact between the group known as the Sealed Knot and the chief strategist of Charles II's court in exile, Sir Edward Hyde.

Apsley was drawn into the same group, and although it was riven by personal and political feuds, and effectively collapsed following the discovery in 1659 of its betrayal by Sir Richard Willys, the two of them remained close allies and associates of Hyde as royalist strategy moved from fomenting rebellion to manipulating the political situation in early 1660 to secure an unconditional Restoration of the King. Brodrick secured a seat in the Convention Parliament in early 1660, and worked with a small group of other Hyde associates to co-ordinate royalist tactics. After the Restoration he was rewarded with the post of Surveyor General in Ireland and appointment as one of the Commissioners dealing with the complex Irish land settlement, while Apsley was able to draw on his old association with Berkeley--the favourite of Charles's younger brother, James, Duke of York--to secure lucrative positions in the households of both King and Duke. Both men, however, maintained their close association with Hyde, now Lord Chancellor, Earl of Clarendon and effectively Charles II's prime minister: during the 1660s they were virtually part of his household, addressed affectionately by the Chancellor as 'Nall'. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.