Understanding Popular Violence in the English Revolution: The Colchester Plunderers

By John Walter | Go to book overview

2.
The Attacks

The rude multitude in divers counties tooke advantage by these civill & intestine broales to plunder & pillage the Houses of the Nobilitie gentrie & others who weere either knowen Papists or being protestants had sent or provided horses monie or plate to send to the King, or such as being rich they would make malignant that soe they might have some couler to robb & spoile them. Thus were Sir John Lucas & other protestants the Countess of Rivers the Ladie Audley and other papists plundered in Essex not onlie their goods or household stuffe taken away & spoiled, but their verie houses defaced & made unhabitable.

Sir Simonds D'Ewes' Parliamentary Journal, entry for
9 September 1642 (BL, Harleian MS 163, fol. 324)

The attack on Sir John Lucas was the starting point for a string of attacks, whose roll call was longer, and geographical spread greater, than previously suspected. Over the next week the crowds gathered at Colchester fanned out into the surrounding countryside to attack a whole series of other targets. They doubtless recruited support on their procession, their passage promoted other attacks. In yet other communities, news of their actions prompted independent attacks. The attacks were to continue on into September and to flare up again in the winter of 1642. This chapter offers a fuller account of the attack on Sir John Lucas and reconstructs the series of attacks in the counties of Essex and Suffolk that followed as a necessary preliminary to uncovering the meaning of these crowd actions. Any analysis of the progress of the attacks will doubtless impose a pattern that belies the confusion that characterised events at the time. But since the crowds' victims were not chosen at random, there is a pattern to be recovered.

Sir John Lucas's planned march to the king was not unexpected. Given

-31-

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Understanding Popular Violence in the English Revolution: The Colchester Plunderers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Past and Present Publications *
  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Abbreviations x
  • Introduction 1
  • Part 1 - The Event 11
  • 1. - An Event and Its History 13
  • 2. - The Attacks 31
  • Part 2 - Contextualising the Crowd 69
  • 3. - The Micro-Politics of the Attack on Sir John Lucas 71
  • 4. - The High Politics of the Attack on Sir John Lucas 115
  • Part 3 - The Confessional Crowd 159
  • 5. - The Attack on Ministers 161
  • 6. - The Attack on Catholics 201
  • Part 4 - Reading the Crowd 235
  • 7. - Cloth and Class 237
  • 8. - Anti-Popery and Popular Parliamentarianism 285
  • Conclusion 331
  • Index 353
  • Past and Present Publications 358
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