King Charles the Martyr, 1643-1649

By Esmé Wingfield-Stratford | Go to book overview

I
CONFIDENCE TRICK

ON the 27th of April, 1646, three men rode out of Oxford. They were Sir John Ashburnham, treasurer and paymaster of the army, Dr Michael Hudson, one of the royal chaplains, and a third, who passed as Ashburnham's servant, and to whom the Governor, Sir John Glenham, bade an ostentatiously condescending "Farewell, Harry!" For "Harry" was, in fact, the King himself, with his beard closely trimmed, setting forth on the three years' pilgrimage that was to end on the scaffold. He had looked his last on power and freedom. Henceforth his lot was to be one compared with which that of the humblest of his subjects would be enviable; for he was to be a helpless captive, bandied about from one set of enemies to another, and with the jaws of a foreseen doom closing gradually upon him.

Even now it does not seem as if the King's destination had been irrevocably decided. It was before all things necessary to get out of Oxford while the going was possible. But whither? To take refuge with the Scottish army seemed the obvious, if not the only choice, but almost any alternative might have been accounted preferable. For the King had now few illusions about the game the Scots were playing with him. He must have more than suspected now that he was walking into a trap. And even if, faute de mieux, he decided to take the plunge, to make contact with them at all would be a formidable undertaking. Their army was besieging his garrison at Newark, and to get from Oxford to Newark, six months previously, Rupert with his eighty sabres had had to fight a series of battles. Yet what alternative was there but to try and trust for the best?

The King had chosen his companions well. Rupert himself had been eager to share the adventure, but the King had at once perceived that his towering form and well-known features would have given them away to the first Roundhead patrol they encountered. Hudson, an Oxford don who had served as tutor to the

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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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