Shropshire

in the Civil War

  

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Civil War Events

 

22nd August 1642

Charles I raised his standard at Nottingham. The event regarded as the start of the Civil War.

 

19-20th September 1642

Charles I and his Army of about 4,000 troops arrived at Wellington, Charles himself staying in a building that stood in what is now Crown Street, next to the former Crown Inn (now the premises of Wellington News).  On the following morning, Charles addressed his troops at the nearby Orleton Hall, an event known as the “Declaration of Wellington”.  He declared that he would uphold the Protestant Religion, the Laws of England and the Liberty of Parliament. The Declaration was held to be so important that the Royal Mint stamped its slogans on the reverse of the 10/- silver coins RELIG:PROT:LEG:ANG:LIBER:PAR and silver half crowns REL.PRO.LEG.ANG.LIB.PAR that it produced at that time. The inscriptions abbreviate the words "RELIGIO PROTESTANTIUM, LEGES ANGLIAE, LIBERTAS PARLIAMENTI", which is the declaration in Latin. From Wellington he marched to Shrewsbury and took up quarters at the Council House, where he was joined by his two sons Charles and James, Prince Rupert and great numbers of noblemen and gentlemen.

 

28th September 1642

A general muster of the Royalist Army was held on the Gay Meadow (this is said to have taken place in a field near Monkmoor still known as the Soldier's Field).

 

 

The equipment of the troops varied greatly.  Weapons were in short supply, with most of the troops being armed only with scythes, pitchforks and even sickles.   There were no uniforms and men wore the same garments in which they had left their native fields. In contrast to these was a mounted troop of guards commanded by Lord Barnard Stuart.  This was composed of noble Cavaliers, whose united income was calculated to have equalled that of all the Lords and Commons on the other side. The sash and plume of the old Barons were still worn, with the glittering cuirass and a broad, ornamented sword belt across the shoulder. The tassels or “garde a reine” protected the body; together with steel roldrans, vambraces, mailed gauntlets and cuirasses.  Over the cuirass was sometimes worn the cargel, a richly embroidered collar that fell on the cuirass, in every respect like the Knights of Agincourt, except the boots, which were of leather, large and square toed, and capable of covering half the thigh, though ordinarily doubled down below the knee. Their weapons were a straight basket hilted sword, pair of pistols and a battle axe at their saddle bow. The camp followers were classified as :-

·        wives of the generals and principal commanders, who were chiefly carried in coaches

·        those who ride on horseback, with the baggage of the regiment to which they belong

·        those who walk on foot, with the baggage of the regiment to which they belong.

 

A force of Roundheads captured Wellington and Apley Castle but were driven out by some of Colonel Vaughan's cavalry, who captured or killed over 200 of them.

 

1st October 1642

Charles I began to collect contributions towards the cost of the war.  Sir Richard Newport paid £6,000 to the King for a patent of nobility, Thomas Lyster of Rowton gave a purse of gold, £100 was presented to Prince Charles and £66 to the Duke of York. Fine silver to the value of £100 was sent from mines in Wales and a mint was set up in Shrewsbury, with pieces of 20 shillings, 10 shillings, crowns and half-crowns being coined.

 

The influx of so many persons made provisions scarce and Lord Herbert of Chirk wrote to his brother, Sir Henry Herbert, at his house near Bewdley. "We are here in almost as great strait as if the war were amongst us. Shrewsbury, which is our ordinary magazine, being exhausted of wine, vinegar, hops, paper and pepper at 4d the lb; and shortly a want of all commodities that are not native with us, will follow the intercourse between us and London being interdicted.” Lord Clarendon claimed that “the Army was in good order and discipline during the King's stay at Shrewsbury, there was not any remarkable disorder, the County being very kind to the Soldiers, and the Soldiers just and regardful to the County; and by the free loans and contributions of the gentry, and substantial inhabitants the army was so well paid, that there was not the least mutiny, or discontent for want of pay".  Like many of Clarendon's statements, it represents what he wished rather than what was the fact; for another source reported, "The army is in much disorder, for want of pay" which is probably true, as the money coined at Shrewsbury was not distributed to them until after they had left the Town. A letter to Mr Wynne of Peniart reports "Our Country is now in a woeful condition, by reason of the multitude of soldiers daily billeted upon us, both of horse and foot; I have had of these guests all this week, and expect little better next week. We had in Town on Thursday night last, some 12 or 14 Captains, besides other Officers, and near 2,000 soldiers belonging to them. All the Country over within 12 or 14 miles of Shrewsbury are full of soldiers, your father hath some four for his part, being some of those that came from Nantwich, which after they had made what spoil they could there, are now billeted a good many of them in Prince Parish, they are of my Lord Grandison's regiment, and such for condition, that I think the earth affords not worse; they have plundered diverse men's houses in a most woeful manner : your friend hath had in money and goods taken from him about £50. A gentleman of quality was enforced to shift for himself, and leave his house, and they have taken possession of it, and live upon the spoils of his household provisions, corn and cattle ; near 20 men, and at least 40 Horses, since Monday last, and show no signs of parting as yet, but endeavour the ruin of his house and goods, and if any fault be found, threaten to burn it to the ground. We have escaped reasonable well in town as yet with some little loss, I praise God for it. I have none as yet, but how long I, and many others, shall be free the Lord above doth know, for we hear one outrage or other committed daily, they ride armed up and down, with swords, muskets and dragoons, to the great terror of the people, that we scarce know how in safety to go out of doors; they take men's horses, break and pillage men's houses night and day in an unheard of manner, they pretend quarrel against the Roundheads as they call them, but for aught I see they will spare none if they may hope to have good booty." Sir William Vaughan had raised a regiment in Ireland and Sir Edward Stradling of St Denet's Castle had brought 1,000 men from South Wales to join the King at Shrewsbury; besides Lord Newport's and other troops that had come with the King.

 

7th October 1642

Troops from the Earl of Essex's army advance to Bridgnorth in Shropshire to guard against an expected attack by the King's army down the Severn valley but withdraw because the position is too exposed.

 

10th October 1642

Prince Rupert marches from Shrewsbury towards Wolverhampton to cover the King's intention of marching straight for London.

 

12-15th October 1642

Charles I with a reinforced Army marched to Bridgnorth, where he stayed 3 days.  From there he headed towards Oxford but, on the way, the first pitched battle of the Civil War was fought at Edge Hill, in Warwickshire. This was won by the Royalists and Prince Rupert then scoured the Shropshire countryside for arms, money and recruits.

 

11th February 1643

Sir William Waller commissioned Major-General of the Western Association, comprising the counties of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire and Somerset.

 

March 1643

Royalist garrisons were established at Caus Castle, Shrawardine Castle, Langford Castle, Lilleshall Abbey and Apley Castle.  The latter was of importance from its vicinity to Shrewsbury.  Sir Basil Brooke of Madeley Court and of Mr Benthall of Benthall, who were Royalist sympathisers, were compelled to quit their houses and to see them converted into Roundhead strongholds.  The object of getting command of garrisons near the Severn was to control the passage of boats, thus ensuring a supply of coal, arms and food as well as depriving the enemy of the same. 

 

6-11th May 1643

Roundheads laid siege to Ludlow Castle.

 

30th May 1643

Whitchurch was surprised by a Roundhead force under Sir William Brereton, with 28 soldiers killed and 3 taken prisoner.

 

10th July 1643

Oswestry Castle was strengthened as a Royalist garrison, "The Lord Capel went lately to Oswestry, with 1,000 horse and dragoons to fortify the Town, and told the inhabitants that it must be entrenched and strengthened, because he heard that some rebels were coming from London, into that County, meaning thereby the Earl of Denbigh, Sir Thomas Middleton, Colonel Mytton and other lovers of their religion and country, who are consigned by his Excellency, the Parliament's Lord General, with men, arms, ammunition and ordnance to go down thither, and to free all the Marches of Wales, from their great oppressors and protectors of Papists, who are rebels and traitors by the laws of the land; but now observe his Lordship's kindness and courtesy to that town, where instead of procuring their love and compliances, he hath gotten their perpetual hatred for he put all his horses into their meadows, which have eaten and spoiled ail their grass, and thereby he has bereft them of all sustenance for their cattle the next winter, so silly are the Cavalier party in committing such acts, as make themselves odious wheresoever they come." Oswestry erected a new gate and the drawbridge of the Castle was strongly fortified.  The steeple of the Church was taken down to prevent its being used as a point from which to molest the Castle, in the event of the town falling into the hands of the rebels.

 

July 1643

Dawley Castle captured by Roundheads. “Captain Yanington informed the house of a design of Sir Henry Lingen, and other delinquents to surprise Dawley Castle, and other places, which the Captain by his endeavours prevented, and the house ordered him £500 out of Lingen's estate.”  It was not retained for long and the Royalists soon re-captured it.

 

30th August 1643

Sir William Brereton captures Eccleshall Castle in Staffordshire.

 

9th September 1643

Sir William Brereton and Sir Thomas Myddelton advance into Shropshire and summon the county for Parliament.

 

11th September 1643

Sir William Brereton and Sir Thomas Myddelton seize Wem in Shropshire for Parliament and establish a garrison under the command of Colonel Mytton.

 

15th October 1643

Lord Capel advances from Shrewsbury to attack the Roundhead garrison of Nantwich in Cheshire but his forces are repulsed by the Nantwich garrison.

 

17th October 1643

Lord Capel set out from Prees Heath with 4,000 men, 120 wagons, three cannons, two drakes (5lb field guns) and a great mortar piece capable of firing a 30lb shot, to storm Wem on behalf of the King. He was foiled, however, by a token garrison under Colonel Mytton of 40 soldiers and the women of Wem. This gave rise to the taunting verse, "The women of Wem and a few musketeers, beat Lord Capel and all his cavaliers".

 

18th October 1643

Lord Capel's army retreating from Wem is caught at Lee Bridge by Sir William Brereton and severely beaten.

 

4th November 1643

A contemporary report stated, ''that there had lately been some division, or mutiny between the townsmen and garrison soldiers at Shrewsbury, and that many of the gentry of the County have deserted and joined with Sir William Middleton. I wish it may hold true, for by that means we should be quickly able to stop the cruel torrent of the enemy that have for a long time infested these parts."

 

30th November 1643

Lord Byron arrives in Shrewsbury with 1,000 cavalry and 300 infantry from Oxford to reinforce the Royalists in North Wales and the Marches.

 

December 1643

Lord Capel was recalled to the King’s headquarters at Oxford in December 1643, and there is evidence that without effective local leadership, Royalist support, morale and administration in Shropshire began to crumble. One Cavalier colonel described how the defences of Shrewsbury were in ‘great neglect’.

 

6-10th January 1644

A contemporary report stated, "Out of Shropshire, we hear, that there are above a thousand in arms about Clun and Bishop's Castle, standing out against both sides; neither for the King, nor for the Parliament, but stand only upon their own guard, for the preservation of their lives, and fortunes. The occasion of it was, the friendly usage which they received from his Majesty's Officers in these parts, and particularly from one Col. Van-Gore, a Dutchman. They are absolutely resolved (notwithstanding all the entreaties used by Commissioner of array) not to lay down their arms unless his Majesty grant them their own conditions, which are these,

 

1st, to have restitution of all wrongs done by Van-Gore.

2nd, to have him and all his soldiers expelled their Country.

3rd, that the King's two garrisons at Stokesay and Leigh Hall shall be removed and demolished.

4th, that they may have commanders of their own.

 

We hope the kind discipline, wherewith they have been tutored by the Cavaliers will teach them how to wheel about to the Parliament, and so make out a faire introduction to a quick dispatch in Wales."

 

12th January 1644

Colonel Mytton and a force of Roundheads captured a Royalist munitions convoy at Ellesmere, routing the escorting cavalry regiments and capturing a number of high-ranking Cavaliers. 

 

January 1644

An ammunition convoy on its way to Nantwich was ambushed and captured by Colonel Mytton and Parliamentarians from Wem. One of the prisoners was William Scoggan and, after they had been brought to Wem, he escaped to Shrewsbury. At that time the soldiers from Wem garrison greatly distressed the country thereabouts and frequently came almost to the walls of Shrewsbury. To prevent their insolence, the Governor of Shrewsbury placed a garrison at Albright Hussey, near Battlefield, and made Scoggan Governor of it. A party of Roundhead cavalry came one Sunday afternoon and sat down before this small garrison. Scoggan had at that time only eight men in the house with him but, in order to intimidate the horsemen, he placed himself near a window in an upper room and cried aloud that they might hear him, “let ten to such a place, ten to another place, and twenty come along with me, and we'll drive the rascals”, upon which he came to the window, and with a fowling piece shot one Phillip Bonney, a tailor of Hadnall, who was with the enemy; the shot went through his leg, and killed his horse. The Roundheads being frightened took up Bonney and retreated. This garrison was soon after recalled at the request of Sir Pelham Corbet, he being apprehensive the soldiers would return and destroy his buildings.

 

19th February 1644

Prince Rupert arrived in Shrewsbury leading about 700 experienced cavalrymen to direct Royalist operations in Wales and the Marches. Other Royalist reinforcements, from as far afield as Bristol and Ireland, were not far behind. The arrival of the charismatic prince no doubt heartened loyalists and swayed others to the Royalist cause.

 

25th February 1644

Sir Michael Woodhouse and a force of Royalists laid siege to Hopton Castle, which was under the command of Samuel More, who wrote, “The enemy came before it, who, facing us with a body of horse first, within an hour sent a body of foot, who approached the outer walls (we not being able to hinder them, because the work did not flank, being an old wall made round) and burnt the lodging where K. Steward lay, they brought ladders to scale the walls, but upon our killing three of them, they sent Mr Sutton to tell me the Prince desired the delivery of the Castle of Hopton. I sent word that I understand no message that comes without drum or trumpet, and on the Friday following they retreated, and went out of the town, but kept court of Guard near to us with horse and foot ; at this time we were but 26 men in all, and we set to making some works, in which we were as industrious as any men could be, Major Phillips advised to send for more men from Brompton Castle, and they lovingly sent us 12, who meeting with the enemy, six of them at that time went back, but afterwards we had about eight men, in all 31 men.

 

4th March 1644

Prince Rupert mustered 14,000 men on Prees Heath for the cause of the King and defeated Colonel Mytton at Market Drayton, routing a Roundhead cavalry force encamped there, including a regiment from Yorkshire. Whitchurch also re-captured.

 

A Roundhead supply convoy was captured near Tong.

 

11-23rd March 1644

The Royalist siege of Hopton Castle continued.  Samuel More wrote, “The Friday fortnight after the first assault, they marched as we guessed about 500 horse and foot, and entered the town ; thereupon they sent a summons by a drum, subscribed by Sir Michael Woodhouse, who demanded the Castle in the name of Prince Rupert ; my answer was, that I kept it by authority of Parliament, and by the consent of the owner, Mr Wallop, for King and Parliament; and that night they approached part of the wall about two hours before day, and made a breach, which our sentinels discovering, gave the alarm, and there we fought with the enemy at push of pike, throwing stones and shooting ; and some of them, reported being 200 got into the breach, where we killed many, among the rest Captain Vaughan, then we repulsed them, and took six muskets, ten pikes and clubs, which they call roundheads, and after this repulse they marched away. About a week after they returned again ; next day came in carriage of cannon, baskets and such things, and in the night three pieces of ordnance, by Monday eight of the clock, there came a drum, and summoned the delivery of the Castle, which if we did not yield before shooting one piece of ordnance we must not expect quarter, we returned the same answer as before, and as soon as it came, they shot at us, and continued shooting with culverine, and doing culverine from nine till five. They shot 96 shots at our outer wall, and made a breach, which we defended for the space of two hours at least, so we gave them a repulse with the loss of one man that was killed, and three or four that were hurt, but they lost, as they said afterwards 150 of theirs. On Tuesday night they came again, and set Gregory's house on fire ; our men, weary of working all night, and not out of their deaths for a fortnight's time, it was moved we should desire a parley, which being done, they bade us send our conditions, which Mr Phillips and I contrived to this effect, that we should march away with our arms and ammunition, which they denied, we should have no conditions, but yield to the Colonel's mercy. Mr Phillips and myself, and six men did plainly hear them working under us, and as the enemy told us when I was in prison, they had blown us up in two hours. We agreed to propose to the enemy, we would yield the Castle, upon quarter for our lives, answer was brought no other conditions could be yielded to, but to be referred to Colonel Woodhouse's mercy, and being brought into this condition, it was thought better to yield, than to be blown up : but indeed we all thought we should only be made prisoners, and did not think of such a death as hereafter appears."

 

15th March 1644

Prince Rupert arrives at Bridgnorth with 800 cavalry. He is met by Colonel Tillier with over 1,000 musketeers drawn from the regiments returning from Ireland.

 

18th March 1644

Apley Castle was captured and sacked by the Roundheads and the lead from the roof was stolen for use at Shrewsbury Castle. 

 

19th March 1644

At Longford, near Lilleshall, 600 Roundheads under Colonel Mytton were defeated by a similar number of Royalists. With their last mobile force defeated, the Roundheads were pinned down in their garrisons.

 

24th March 1644

Hopton Castle captured by Royalists.  The defenders made a deal with the Royalists whereby they would leave and surrender the castle but only if it was guaranteed that their lives would be spared. The Roundheads walked out of the castle believing that the Royalists would keep their end of the bargain but in fact they did no such thing, as they believed the garrison had defended a hopeless cause for too long and so lost any right to name a deal or be shown any mercy. “Mr More was seized upon and carried away prisoner and the 24 soldiers tied back to back, and then some of them had their hands cut off; some with a hand, part of an arm, and the rest cut and mangled both on hands and arms, and then all of them thrown into a muddy pit, where as often as any of them endeavoured to raise themselves out of the mud, striving to prolong their miserable lives, they were straight by these bloody villains beat down into the mud again with great stones, which they hurled at them, and in this sad manner lamentably perished. Two maids were in the Castle, one they killed, and the other they wounded, and let her go, bidding her to go to Brompton Castle, and tell her brother roundheads there, so they would serve them next ; but I hope they, nor any other of our forces will trust any more to such perfidious violators of conditions, as usually they have experienced themselves, seldom or never performing anything, but their own threatenings. The castle was so far dismantled as to render it incapable of being held by either party as a stronghold. “

 

It is said that there were two other survivors of the atrocities at Hopton. Major Phillips, Deputy Commander, was severely beaten up but thrown into the moat alive and a member of the garrison hid in a gap in the wall. He escaped to Brampton Bryan Castle, where he is said to have married the maid from Hopton Castle. The Royalist army then set about making sure that Hopton Castle could never be used against them again and they tore the castle apart and set fire to it.

 

Royalist troops, including a Welsh regiment, occupied Wellington and re-captured Apley Castle. 

 

25th March 1644

Sir William Vaughan and Colonel Ellis defeat Colonel Mytton at Lilleshall.

 

30th March 1644

At Ellesmere, 600 Royalist soldiers from Shrewsbury joined forces with Byron’s men to threaten Wem.

 

March 1644

Roundheads under Sir Thomas Fairfax made an attempt to capture Oswestry Castle but were repulsed by Prince Rupert in person, who was in the Castle at the time. Roundheads capture Wellington.

 

The local populace began to object to garrisons from either side, since they were expected to feed and pay them.  Avaricious Governors, either by plundering or claiming pay for a larger number of soldiers than they had under their command, became the pests rather than the protectors of their neighbourhood.  The distances from which they drew their supplies left little chance of escape for the locals, who were liable to be assessed by both sides. Month after month came the collector to their doors and, if neither money nor provisions were to be had, he was empowered to wring from them such articles of stock or furniture as would satisfy the demand; and in the last extremity soldiers were sent at free quarters among them. If the country was so disturbed that the collector could not act, the parishes were made responsible for their assessment to the garrisons, and individuals, styled parish pledges, were seized and held in durance till the money was paid. The writer of a satirical ballad entitled "the Devonshire Ditty" thus insinuates that there was one point on which both parties thought, and acted alike.

 

I had six oxen t'other day,

And them the Roundheads got away

A mischief to their speed.

I had six horses in a hole,

And them the Cavaliers stole,

I think in this they be agreed.

 

4th April 1644

Prince Rupert returns to Shrewsbury after relieving the siege of Newark.

 

6th April 1644

Tong Castle captured by the Royalists under the command of Prince Rupert.

 

16th May 1644

Prince Rupert leaves Shrewsbury to relieve the siege of York with three cavalry regiments, five infantry regiments and a regiment of dragoons.

 

17th May 1644

On his way from his winter quarters at Oxford to Leicester, Charles I arrived at Chetwynd, near Newport, the seat of Mr Pigot.  He stayed three nights there and then travelled to Beaten, near Market Drayton, the house of Mr Church, where he stayed two nights.

 

29th May 1644

Captain Devilliers had been appointed Governor of Caus Castle and Leigh Hall and he issued the following summons to the surrounding areas, “To the petty Constables of Stocken, Walcott, and Chirbury and to every one of them. These are in his Majesty's name strictly to will and require of you, and every of whom these may concern (by virtue of his Majesty's warrant to me directed) to all men within your liberty from the age of sixteen to threescore, to be all ready with what arms you can get to attend me upon the next summons; furthermore you are to give warning to all the inhabitants of your several Constable's week that they bring no money or provisions into any of the rebel's garrisons. And upon any approach to them made, you are to give present notice thereof to his Majesty's next adjoining garrisons, as also you and every one of you with your forces are to aid and assist any of the party that shall oppose any party, or parties resisting them : and whereas I am informed by the Governors of his Majesty's garrisons here in the County of Salop, that upon the going with any of his Majesty's parties, you do suddenly rise in arms, and ring bells and the like,  these are to certify you, that if henceforth you offend in the like nature that such  town or towns so doing shall be burnt and set on fire. All which our proclamation, you and every of you are to take special notice at your perils.”  He further threatened that if the arrears of money and provisions are not brought in by a certain day, two-pence in the pound shall be charged beyond the sixpence due for the month, and that whoever fails in their accounts shall have their cattle driven, and other charges put upon them.

 

13th June 1644

Roundheads won the Battle of Naseby. On the King's side alone it is stated that 20 Officers and 600 private soldiers were left dead on the field, above 100 Officers and 4,500 soldiers taken prisoner and Charles himself had a narrow escape. All his baggage containing his dispatches and private letters, together with one of his coaches, 8,000 weapons and 300 horses fell into the hands of the enemy. It became evident to everyone after this that the Royal cause was doomed.  Charles himself wrote to Prince Rupert, "He that will stay with me at this time must expect, and resolve either to die for a good cause, or which is worse, to live as miserable in the maintaining it, as the malice of insulting rebels can make it, for I confess there is no probability but of my mine. But as a Christian I must tell you whatsoever personal punishment it shall please God to inflict upon me, must not make me repine”.

 

17th June 1644

An attempt was made to capture Colonel Lloyd, the Governor of Oswestry Castle, and thus take over the castle.  Colonel Mytton is said to have been aware of a weak point in Colonel Lloyd's character, ie a love of good food, and he devised a scheme by which to turn it to advantage. Lloyd was invited to dinner at a house in the neighbourhood and, after he had eaten, a party of Roundheads from Wem were to enter the dining room, take him prisoner and thus to possess themselves of the castle. Two scouts were sent ahead to see that the road was clear but they fell into the hands of some Royalists.  Colonel Lloyd had time to escape but he was subsequently removed from his post because of this affair. 

 

19th June 1644

Colonel Mytton captures a Royalist ammunition convoy at Dudelston en route from Oswestry to Chester.

 

23rd June 1644

Oswestry captured by Roundheads.  A contemporary report stated, “The noble and valiant Earl of Denbigh advanced towards Oswestry, and with the forlorn hope consisting of 200 foot, and two troops of horse faced the town on the 23rd of June, at two of the clock in the afternoon, and within an hour's space made his approaches so near, and played so fiercely upon the enemy with small and great shot that a breach was made in the wall of the town, and with the loss of one man, and three wounded, entered the town ; the enemy fled into the Church, and then to the Castle who were so closely pursued, and the pioneers so nimble in undermining, (wherein Colonel Mytton showed much dexterity) that they condescended to surrender the Castle, to have quarter for their lives, which accordingly was done. My Lord at night called a council of war, and ordered a strong guard and designed a party of troops to fire the Castle gates with pitch ; but our men wearied out, slept the opportunity. My Lord by break of day waking came to Captain Keme in the same house with him, and desired him to go forward the design, which immediately he did with great cheerfulness, and valour ; but on his way there met him a party of women of all sorts, down on their knees, confounding him with their Welsh bawlings, that he was fain to get an interpreter, which was to beseech him to interest my Lord before he blew up the Castle, they might go up and speak to their husbands, children, and the officers ; which he moved, and my Lord condescended to, so Captain Keme might go with them, and two trumpets which he did courageously, and carried this message. Then my Lord to avoid the effusion of blood yet offered them mercy, if they would accept of it ; they threw down this paper, viz "To the Right Hon the Earl of Denbigh. Propositions propounded by us, for the delivering up the Castle of Oswestry.

1st. To march away with our arms, bag and baggage, officers and all other persons whatsoever being in the Castle.

2nd. That we the said officers, and all other persons within the Castle may have guard through your quarters to Montford Bridge, or quietly to abide in our own habitations.

3rd. That we may march out of said Castle, over the bridge, with our muskets charged, light matches and balls in our mouths. These propositions being granted, the Castle shall be delivered by the officers subscribed. . John Birdwer, Lieutenant Colonel John Warrin, Captains Niche, Hooks, and Davenport, Lieutenant Hugh Lloyd, and Lewis Morgan.

 

Captain Keme returned, leaving the women; my Lord refused to condescend, at last the women prevailed, and cried to me to come up; then the two brave champions, Colonel Mytton, and Captain Keme went up, and they said they would repose themselves on such quarter as my Lord would sign to, which was their lives only, so they marched out, and we found 100 good muskets, eight halberds, and officers to them, one barrel of powder and suitable matches, many swords and some few pistols, twenty Gentlemen of Wales and Shropshire, diverse officers, and 200 prisoners, besides what were lost. Immediately (it being the Lord's Day) my Lord called all away to Church to praise God, which was done, and our dead buried. In all this service we had but two soldiers slain and but one horse, and but four wounded, blessed be God. This town is of great concernment."

 

Another report stated, "The attack was so furious that in the short space of an hour and with the loss of only one man killed, and three wounded, a breach was made in the walls, by which the infantry entered. The cannon then played smartly against the New Gate, which was soon destroyed, when a bold youth named George Cranage went with his hatchet, and let down the chains of the drawbridge, over which the horsemen passed immediately. The royalists retired into the Castle, and the inhabitants in consternation fled there for shelter. Thither they were soon followed: Cranage was persuaded by some of the Parliament Officers, to fasten a petard to the Castle Gate. Being enlivened with wine, he undertook the dangerous enterprise, with the petard hidden he crept unperceived from one house to another, until he got to that one next the Castle, from which he sprang to the Gate, fixed his engine, set fire to it, and escaped unhurt. This by the force of its explosion burst open the Castle Gate, when the Garrison finding it was useless to make further resistance, surrendered. Among the prisoners taken was Francis Newport, son to the Lord Newport.”  The inhabitants pay £500 to prevent the Roundhead soldiers from plundering the town.

 

29th June 1644

Sir Fulke Huncke and Colonel Marrow, with Royalist forces from Shrewsbury, besiege Colonel Mytton's garrison at Oswestry.

 

3rd July 1644

Sir Thomas Myddelton defeats Royalist cavalry under Colonel Marrow at Whittington as they were attempting to recapture Oswestry,  “The town of Oswestry, late taken by the forces of the Parliament under my brother Colonel Mytton's command, was upon Saturday last, began to be begirt, and since strictly besieged by the King's forces, consisting of about 1,500 horse, and 3,500 foot, under the command of Colonel Marrow ; and that thereupon in pursuance of a Council of War's determination, occasioned by an earnest and importunate letter from my Brother Colonel Mytton, directed to me for speedy relief, and raising of the siege of the said town, I did upon the Lord's day last past, with such forces of horse and foot as I then had advanced to the said town of Oswestry, where the enemy endeavoured to storm the town by battering, and storming of the same, violently to have carried it. About two of the clock in the afternoon we came in sight of the town, where the enemy having intelligence of our approach was prepared to receive us, the forced of our enemy consisting of the most valiant commander and soldiers drawn out of the garrisons of Chester, Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Denbighshire, Flintshire, and other places. The enemy had taken the passage of water near to Whittington, and very furiously assaulted and charged us, but were repulsed, and forced to return. There several times the skirmish was doubtful, either side being forced so often to retreat, but in the end our foot forces coming up relieved the horse, beat back the enemy, and pursued them with such force that they put the enemy to an absolute flight, in which we pursued them five miles towards Shrewsbury, to a place called Felton Heath. In this skirmish, and the pursuit, we lost several of our horse, some of our troopers, but never a footman that I am yet informed of; many of the troopers are hurt, but I hope will recover : as for the enemy, they lost many stout men, had many of them taken prisoners, some of them being of great quality, as the Lord Newport's eldest Son, Captain Swynnerton, and besides in their flight, such was their haste, that we found in the way of pursuit of them, the highway as it were strewed with store of bread, cheese, bacon and other good provisions, clothes, and also such necessary appurtenances to an army, besides some whole veals and muttons newly killed. The enemy before the relief came, had taken the Church, being the strongest hold about the town. In the way also was taken seven carts and waggons laden with provisions, as beer, bread, and other necessaries. The town of Oswestry I find to be a very strong town, and if once fortified, of great concernment, and the key that lets us into Wales”

 

4th August 1644

Sir Thomas Myddelton and Colonel Mytton raid Welshpool in Montgomeryshire and rout a Royalist cavalry detachment under Sir Thomas Dallison.

 

21st August 1644

Sir Lewis Kirke, Governor of Bridgnorth, wrote to Prince Rupert, "That according to an order from his Highness for levying contributions, I sent a party to Tong Castle and Shifnal, on Sunday to demand the arrears of the three last months. The Lieutenant in Command, on hearing of it, escaped from them.  He then took the Constables and was carrying them off when Sir Morton Briggs encouraged the Parishioners to resist and a scuffle ensued, in which most of the soldiers were wounded and disarmed, and called Popish Dogs. They were kept prisoners for five or six hours and I wish to know his Highness’s pleasure."

 

3rd September 1644

At Newtown in Montgomeryshire, Sir Thomas Myddelton seizes a powder convoy sent north to Chester by Prince Rupert. Myddelton advances to occupy the town of Montgomery and calls upon Lord Herbert of Chirbury to surrender the castle.

 

5th September 1644

Surrender of Montgomery Castle to Sir Thomas Myddelton.

 

8th September 1644

Sir Michael Earnley and Sir William Vaughan, with Royalist troops from Shrewsbury, launch a surprise attack on Colonel Myddelton's forces at Montgomery Castle. Middelton retreats with his cavalry to Oswestry to seek help, leaving a garrison under Colonel Mytton besieged in the castle.

 

10th September 1644

Moreton Corbett Castle captured by Roundheads, ''The Shrewsbury Committee sent out under the command of Lieutenant Kinkling (a very good soldier) a party of foot and horse to surprise Moreton Corbet Castle and sent to the Lord Calvin to meet them with a party from Stoke, and upon a Saturday night about one or two of the clock they came before the Castle, every man being assigned the place where he should fall on. First, the commander gave the word, which was Will and Tom, with order that if any asked who they were, to answer, Will, and if the other answered not, Tom, they should give fire ; this being done, they sent drums at a field's distance from the house, with orders to beat a march as soon as ever the assault began, which they did accordingly, and thereby made the enemy think that there had been a great strength, whereas indeed it was no such matter ; then presently the Lieutenant Colonel calling aloud to bring up such a regiment to such a place, and such a regiment to another place, (this much daunted the hearts of the enemy at the hearing thereof) and then he sent some to discover the sentry, with an order to tell him they were friends, and to hold him in discourse until they had notice, which service was so well performed on all parts, that before the sentinel knew who we were, our ladders were mounted, and we in possession of one of their works, and then the enemy took the alarm, and our men plied the work most bravely. The Lieutenant Colonel endeavoured with but ten men to have forced a little door, where not prevailing, he marched along over the tops of the works with but four more, and with these fell upon them that were in another work, and forced them with one volley to betake themselves to the house, where out of the windows and holes they shot fiercely at us, till we by throwing in among them some hand grenades, they quitted these places, which gave way to our men to break a stone pillar of a window, where the Lieutenant Colonel and his four men entered, and after them many more; but before these were came in, the enemy being at least 80 foot and 30 horse, and fearfully supposing therefore, that a greater force then ours followed these five that entered into the Castle, they all instantly called out for quarter, which these five granted them, and by that time the rest of our forces were come up, and had entered the Castle, and so possessed themselves firmly of it and in it Major Bridgeman, Captain Maurice, one lieutenant, one Sergeant, one Quartermaster, one Ensign, two horse colours, at least eighty Soldiers thirty good horses, six barrels of powder, with much other provisions. The house was so strongly fortified that my Lord Calvin, and the Lieutenant Colonel, who behaved themselves most bravely in this action, said it might have been maintained against a great strength ; for had it been day work, they should not have attempted it In all this so resolute and even desperate service, we lost but one man, and very few wounded."

 

2nd October 1644

Sir Thomas Myddelton captures Powis Castle in Montgomeryshire.

 

19th October 1644

Sir Thomas Myddelton storms and plunders the town of Ruthin in Denbighshire but is unable to capture the castle.

 

24th October 1644

Roundheads attempted to capture Shrawardine Castle, “There came this day letters from Wem, which certify that the valiant Colonel Mytton hearing intelligence of Sir William Vaughan, and a party of the enemy's commanders to be forth of the garrison renowned Colonel Mytton losing no opportunity, marched himself with a party, and surprised Sir William Vaughan himself, twelve Captains, Lieutenants and other Officers at prayer and brought them before Shrawardine Castle, whereof Sir William Vaughan 'was Governor, and summoned the Castle who upon capitulation seemed willing to surrender; but Sir William slipping in drew up the bridge, and returned a denial (so little trust is there in their words) but Colonel Mytton carried away the other twelve Commanders prisoners.

 

October 1644

From the accounts of Leigh Hall. “To the Constable of Stockton. You are required to send me on Friday morning, at six of the clock, four men with hand barrows, and pitchforks, on pain of 2s for every man that refuses to come. Dated at Leigh, this present Wednesday. John Devilliers.”

 

“Received of John Phillips, of Stockton, the sum of £278 in part payment of the last month's contribution.  J. D. October, 1644.”

 

“These are in his Majesty's name to will and command you to bring into my garrison of Leigh Hall, on Monday next, for the week's provision beginning the 22nd of November, being Friday, as agreed by the Gentlemen of the County, as is mentioned in this warrant ; viz : one quarter of beef, one side of mutton, three strikes of oats, two of rye, fourteen pounds of cheese, seven pounds of butter, one couple of poultry, and in money 5s which if you refuse you may expect my coming to fetch it, for which this shall be my warrant this 19th of November. J. Devilliers."

 

“To the Petty Constable of Walcott and Stockton, "In regard that I was fully resolved to send to the several towns within the whole divisions to fetch in my whole contributions both for this month and the remainder that was behind for last month, upon further consideration and the request of the High Constable and other gentlemen of the Country, I will forbear, and give you time until Thursday next, to bring it in : otherwise I will forbear no longer, and if any mischief befall you by my soldiers in going forth, you must blame yourselves for it, and stand to the peril. Given under my hand the 26th of November. John Devilliers. You the said Constables of Walcott and Stockton, to return the names of the refusers, and the sum. “

 

Receipts are given for similar supplies of provisions and money in December and this appears to have been the regular supply required for the garrison. Captain Devilliers had before this time been removed to Caus Castle and David Lloyd to have been left in charge of Leigh Hall.

 

“To the Constable of Stockton. This is to certify you that I returned a warrant from the hand of the Right Worthy Captain Devilliers, Governor of Leigh Hall, whereby I am to certify you, that if you come not in between this and Monday next, to bring in your accounts, and do bring in your arrears, if not, he threatens to bum all the books, and to make you pay all anew and so I remain your loving friend, David Lloyd, Marton Hall, 23rd of January, 1645."

 

“To the Constable of Stockton. This is to let you know that I have received a warrant from the Worshipful Captain John Devilliers, whereby you are required to impress one team and five workmen out of the township and then to send them to Leigh Hall, this day, being this instant, yesterday being the 3rd of March, and then to labour as directed ; this fail not at your peril and to bring meat for the same, and spades, and pickaxes. Your loving friend, David Lloyd."

 

18th December 1644

There was a “Clubman Uprising” at Wem when 1,200 countrymen assembled to protest against plundering by Royalist garrisons at Stokesay Castle and Lea Hall. The Clubmen were led by the parson of Bishop's Castle and local minor gentry.

 

22nd December 1644

Sir Thomas Myddelton besieges Chirk Castle in Denbighshire but is repulsed after three days.

 

14-15th February 1645

During the night, the garrison of Wem advanced to within a mile of Shrewsbury to attack it, having had information of a vulnerable point.  The night was so dark, however, and the roads so wet that it became daylight before they could arrive and they would thus lose the element of surprise.  They returned unobserved to Wem to wait for a more favourable occasion.

 

22nd February 1645

Colonel Mytton and Colonel Langhorn, with a party of 1,500 Roundhead troops from the garrisons of Wem and Oswestry, surprised the town of Shrewsbury. Unfortunately for the Governor Sir Michael Earnley, two or three days before he had sent a great number of his soldiers upon an expedition. He was also sick with consumption.  Of those that remained, several were corrupted by the townsmen, with whom the above mentioned Colonels kept up a correspondence. So, in the night, the water-gate below Saint Mary's church was opened, the guard being either in the plot or made drunk, and a great body of the Roundheads was let into the town. The invaders then divided, one party running up the bank of the Council House garden, which is nearest to the Castle, and scaling the wall with light ladders reached the North or Castle Gate ; the other took the path by the river side, under the Council House, then the residence of Sir William Owen, and notwithstanding that a Fort existed on each side the Water Gate, they entered the town unmolested. By the same treachery they entered the castle, where the Governor rose out of his sick bed, but he was quickly killed.

 

Extract of a letter written by the Committee of Shrewsbury, to the Speaker of the House of Commons. “It has pleased God miraculously to deliver the strong town of Shrewsbury into our hands, with all the commanders, officers, and soldiers therein ; a list of the chief of whom we have sent enclosed to you. The manner of taking of it was briefly this : We drew out of our garrisons of Wem, Moreton and Stoke, 250 horse, and the like number of foot ; Sir William Brereton having sent us 250 foot and 350 horse, which party by our order was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Binkling (who in the marshalling and managing of this design deserves much honour) and Captain Willyer, together with Mr Hudson, a Minister, who also most bravely and valiantly led on the firelocks with 50 troopers dismounted under the command of Lieutenant Rendebne who led on their men with undaunted resolution ; after whom followed also 350 foot more, which by Severn side stormed the town, near unto the Castle wall, and marched into the Market house, and there surprised the main guard, and then sent a party to secure the Castle Forehead Gate, which was effected without much difficulty ; and after a quarter of an hour, the drawbridge was let down, and the Gate opened, where valiant Colonel Mytton, Colonel Boyer, and all the gentlemen of this Committee, with the horse entered ; and after the Castle was surrendered upon quarter, for all but the Irish to march to Ludlow, and then the enemy delivered up a strong work in Frankwell, upon bare quarter for their lives ; by twelve o'clock at noon we became absolute masters of the Castle and Town, wherein were taken many considerable prisoners, good store of ammunition, and great store of ordnance. The Committee of Wem took as much care as possibly could be that the well affected in the town might not in any measure suffer, or be plundered, and therefore the officers kept off the soldiers from plundering of the town, that we the Committee might see right done, and not but malignants only to suffer. A list of the prisoners taken in Salop : Sir Michael Earnley, Knight, and his Brother ; Sir Richard Lee, Bart. ; Sir Thomas Harris, Bart. ; Sir Henry Frederick Thynne, Bart. ; Sir William Owen, Knight ; Sir John Wylde, Knight; Sir Thomas Lister, Knight ; together with eleven Esquires, two Lieutenant Colonels, one Major, two Doctors, eight Captains, fifteen Gentlemen, and other prisoners, of whom some were Irish. One Captain and five others were slain. We also took fifteen pieces of ordnance, many hundred of arms, diverse barrels of powder, all Prince Maurice’s Magazine, diverse carriages, bag and baggage of the Prince ; we lost only two men. And was not this a most rare and remarkable mercy and joyous victory indeed I and never to be obliterated out of the tables of eternal memory.”

 

February 1645

Apley House captured by Roundheads from Wem under Sir John Price.  Sir William Whitmore, Sir Thomas Whitmore, Sir Francis Oatley and about 60 men were made prisoners.

 

8th March 1645

High Ercall under siege by Roundheads, "By the same letters we received further intelligence that by the vigilant care of the Shrewsbury Committee, there was raised a very strong work within less than musket shot of High Ercall, by means whereof the enemy could not stir, in or out, but with apparent danger. And at the erecting of this fort, they took the opportunity of the Governor's absence, and before his return they had made themselves strong, that although Sir Jacob Astley came along with him with about 1,000 horse and foot, they were enforced to retreat, and go back again, not daring to adventure on a place so gallantly manned, and made so inaccessible both by nature and art as that was”.

 

15-17th March 1645

Royalists withdrew the garrison from Leigh Hall and burnt the house, “lest it should become advantageous to the enemy.”

 

19th March 1645

Prince Rupert sent out warrants from Ludlow Castle to the surrounding areas commanding all persons from 16-60 to appear at a rendezvous at a certain day with arms, and other necessaries fit for a march.

 

March 1645

Prince Rupert joins forces with Lieutenant-General Charles Gerard at Bridgnorth in Shropshire. Rupert hopes to join Prince Maurice in opposing further Parliamentarian advances in Cheshire and Shropshire and relieving the sieges of Beeston Castle and Chester.

 

8th April 1645

High Ercall still under siege by Roundheads, "This day there were letters out of Shropshire which certified that Lieutenant Colonel Einkeling with a party of the Shropshire forces, being sent out by the Committee of Shrewsbury, came before the enemy's garrison of High Ercall, the Lord Newport's house, which our forces have stormed and followed the business with very great valour ; they have shot away 20 barrels of powder, with which they have done good execution ; they have slain and wounded many; beat down the drawbridge and made a great breach into the Church and hope in a short tune to give a good account thereof it”.

 

17th April 1645

Longford Hall captured by Royalists under Prince Rupert and destroyed.

 

6th May 1645

Ludlow Castle under siege by Roundheads, “Colonel Birch sat down before Ludlow, (with 450 foot and 250 horse of the forces of the County) with 150 foot and 40 horse of Radnorshire, on Friday, April 24th, and with some skirmishing forced the enemy into the town, and saved most of the suburbs, which the enemy would have fired has made a formidable leaguer,

 

29th May 1645

Royalist forces under Bagland, Gooderidge, and Matchfield forced to retreat from Ludlow by Colonel Birch.  Sixty horses are sent to convey the guns from Gloucester ; a summons was sent in, and a feasible answer returned. The Royalist troops in the castle comprise about 250 infantry and 100 cavalry under Colonel Woodhouse.  The cavalry made attempts to break away but were forced back into the garrison.

 

May 1645

Lord Byron meets the King's army at Market Drayton in Shropshire with news of the abandonment of the siege of Chester. The King turns east towards Newark

 

6th June 1645

Shrawardine Castle captured by Roundheads, “We marched in like posture to Shrawardine, went close under the works, took from them 24 good horses, which was the greatest part of Doctor Charles Vaughan (the Governor) his troop. We expected them also to sally out, but the Doctor, though he had forgotten his preaching since he has turned Cavalier, yet remembered his grammar rule, “Optimum est alieni sui insania” for being warned by the folly and harm as a Churchman, he was content to sleep in a whole skin, and suffer us to march away with his prize, without any of their lots, or the least disturbance.  This we did, without the loss, or hurt of any one man of ours. We ascribe the praise, and memory of that work to God, who has hitherto crowned our endeavours with success."

 

10th June 1645

General Massie defeats Shropshire Royalist forces under Sir Thomas Lunsford and Sir Michael Woodhouse at Stokesay.  "500 foot and 300 horse, part of Captain Mackworth's and Captain Lloyd's regiments, with the object of reducing the country about Ludlow and placing garrisons to secure it. They viewed Holgate and Broncroft Castles in Corve Dale and found that both had been relinquished and much demolished by the Royalists themselves. Broncroft they fell to repair and fortify and placed Lord Calvin in it as Governor, but Holgate they left as they found it.”

 

19th June 1645

Stokesay Castle captured by Roundheads, ''There was drawn out of this garrison by order from the Committee, 500 foot and 300 horse viz : part of Colonel Mackworth's Regiment, and part of Colonel Lloyd's Regiment, both of them marched along in the service ; our forces marched within five miles of Ludlow, the design being to reduce that part of the country ; and to secure it by placing some garrisons there to block up Ludlow. We sent Lieutenant Colonel Rivling to view Stokesay Castle, a garrison of the enemy; the place was conceived considerable, therefore the next morning we drew up to it, and summoned it, but the Governor Captain Dauret refused ; thereupon we prepared for a storm ; being ready to fall on, we gave a second summons, which was hearkened unto, a parley admitted, and the Castle delivered up, and is now garrisoned by us. It secures Stretton Dale, so that Ludlow is now blocked up on this side, and hath only Hereford to range it in."

 

25th June 1645

Caus Castle captured by Roundheads. A contemporary letter stated, “Colonel Hunt, with a brigade from Shrewsbury, went towards Caus Castle, a stronghold of the enemy, from whence they annoyed Shrewsbury ; the Castle was delivered, which was good store of men, horses, and ammunition ; what the conditions are, not yet known, nor can I give you any just account of it, only there were no Irishmen in the Castle". Another letter stated, “… having taken a garrison of the  enemy at Stokesay, and another near Ludlow (Broncroft) they laid siege to Caus Castle, in which were 300 men. The Governor refusing to deliver it upon summons, our forces began to storm it for a while ; at length the enemy put forth a white flag, and desired a parley ; hereupon hostages were delivered on both sides, and articles agreed upon.

1st, That the Castle, with all the arms and ammunition, matches, powder, etc should be delivered into the hands and possession of the Parliament forces, except such as are allowed in the ensuing article.

2nd, That all Officers of the garrison should march away with their colours and swords only.

3rd, That they should have safe convoy to the King's next garrison, which articles were performed accordingly”

 

1st July 1645

Royalist attempt to re-capture Stokesay Castle failed. Sir Michael Woodhouse, Governor of Ludlow, had requested help from all the King's garrisons for about 20 miles around.  A force of nearly 2,000 cavalry and infantry set out from Ludlow and was joined by Royalist troops under Sir Thomas Lunsford from Monmouth, Colonel Sands from Worcester, Colonel Scudamore from Hereford and from Hartlebury and other garrisons.  A Roundhead cavalry troop under Captain Fouke ambushed a force of 200 Royalist cavalry and routed them ; after which Roundhead infantry under Colonel Rinkling came to the main Royalist body and, after an hour's fight, routed and dispersed them. The Royalist losses were 100 killed, 300 soldiers, 6 officers and 2 gentlemen taken prisoner, all their ordnance, bag and baggage, four barrels of powder, besides match and bullet, 100 horses.  Sir William Crofts, and other gentlemen of quality were killed and among the prisoners were Colonel James Boughton, Captain Walter Neale, three other captains, two comets, three ensigns, two lieutenants, three sergeants, nine quartermasters, three matrosses, one physician, one chirurgeon, and many gentlemen of Herefordshire.

 

4th July 1645

High Ercall siege raised by Royalists, "Sir William Vaughan with a party of horse having received some more supplies from his Majesty's garrisons in these parts, marched to High Ercall, then a second time besieged by the rebels, and behaved himself so gallantly, that he totally routed the besiegers, killed 100 on the place, and took 400 prisoners, with all their baggage, without any considerable loss."

 

8th July 1645

Lilleshall Lodge captured by Roundheads, “The other day a hundred horse of Lilleshall House came abroad, fetch away many cows and other cattle, which the Committee understanding, sent one Major Brain, with fifty horse, who fell upon the enemy, killed some, took fifty prisoners, and the like quantity of arms. By this they have cleared the passage between Shrewsbury, Nantwich and Stafford. They have taken Lilleshall House and are now before High Ercall, the Lord Newport's house."

 

King Charles I, with his army of 400 cavalry and infantry plus 25 pieces of ordnance, marched from Hereford to Ludlow.  He sent out warrants for contributions towards the war, “For indeed the army is grown miserably poor, inasmuch that when Rupert came to Worcester he was fain to send to the town for contributions for a mere shift for himself, having not so much as linen left to shift himself with. But the backwardness of the Country to bring in money to continue this unnatural war, caused a Council to be presently called by the King, who sat in Ludlow Castle the same day, and concluded the return following.

1st. That every person who is worth £30 per annum, do find a foot soldier, and set him forth, and maintain him at his own charge.

2nd. That every person who is worth £60 per annum do send in two foot soldiers, etc.

3rd. That every person worth £200 per annum do send in a horse and rider at their own charge, to serve the King."

 

16th July 1645

Lieutenant General Cromwell visited Shropshire and, “riding within twice pistol shot of the town of Bridgnorth, on Friday last to view it, making some stand to speak with his Officers that were with him, a brace of musket bullets, shot from the enemy’s works, hit a comet of his regiment with whom the Lieutenant General was then talking, but blessed be God the person aimed at escaped without any hurt."

 

July 1645

A troop of Royalist cavalry defeated the garrison of Broncroft Castle, with many being killed or wounded and 50 taken prisoner.  

 

6-7th August 1645

Charles I, with a reduced Army of 3,000 cavalry and dragoons, travelled from Raglan Castle towards Chester and he diverted to Ludlow Castle.  The reception he met with does not seem to have been calculated to raise his spirits.  A contemporary report stated,His Majesty came to Ludlow, attended only with 42 horse, as puny a guard for a martial Prince, as his poor present of £20 in a pewter basin at Monmouth. He stayed there not above an hour, but he went thence with three troops of horse of the town, who attended him to his fresh impressed men, raised by Gerard, who quartered together with Prince Maurice's and Colonel Vaughan's forces within 16 miles of Worcester. At his Majesty s view of them when drawn up before him, he made a speech for their encouragement, telling them the danger he was in if they did not stand by him; promising them great rewards, and the like; but all this would not prevail with many of the country men, but away 12 of them rushed to their goats, cows and cowsheds, which caused his Majesty (because he loved his countrymen) to send out a proclamation for martial law to be executed on those who should run away, or any of the 12 country men taken must go to heaven on a string. In the evening Charles reached Bridgnorth, where he only stayed one night, and the next day marched out of Shropshire.”

 

22nd August 1645

Atcham Bridge captured by Roundheads and garrisoned.

 

23rd August 1645

Dawley Castle captured by Roundheads when the Royalist garrison abandoned it for High Ercall, "The royalists have quitted and fired Dawley Castle, it was not taken by the rebels.”

 

August 1645

Apley House, that had been briefly re-captured by Royalists, was regained by Roundheads.

 

12th September 1645

Bridgnorth was captured by Roundheads, “We received certain intelligence by a letter from Shrewsbury, that the valiant and victorious forces of that brave and most active garrison, having intelligence in what posture the enemy lay at Bridgnorth, suddenly and silently marched thither, and undiscovered fell upon the sentinels, soon surprised them, carried the town itself, and then fell upon the enemy, drove them into the Castle, slew some of them, and took some prisoner that the enemy had of ours, took about 150 horse, and some good pillage; all of which they safely brought away, and returned triumphantly to Shrewsbury.” It was only a few days, however, before the Royalists re-captured it.

 

28-29th September 1645

Before the King reached Chester, news met him that the city had been captured.  He immediately set forth with a few followers towards Bridgnorth, bypassing the Roundhead garrison of Oswestry. On the next day he bypassed Shrewsbury and arrived at Bridgnorth late that night, the rear guard only getting as far as Much Wenlock. During the journey they were challenged by five or six Roundhead cavalry from Shrewsbury.  Two of these were killed and some taken prisoner. On the following day he set out for Oxford.

 

18-23rd October 1645

Roundheads from Shrewsbury were skirmishing around Ludlow, “'The Committee of Shrewsbury sent a party towards Ludlow, about the time that all the strength of the enemy could make, were drawn against Canon Froome. They marched by Stoke, and through some part of the Forest of Mochtree, then came to Bromfield within two miles of Ludlow, where they found at the alehouse at this side of the bridge, some of Ludlow garrison drinking and bawling, which they took, to make them know better orders ; and from thence four of our men rode to the bridge at Ludlow town end, and gave the enemy an alarm; but we know not further of it, for being now amongst the enemies' garrison, the scout dare not make long stay.”

 

10th December 1645

Benthall Hall was captured by Roundheads.  A contemporary letter stated, “Since my last, we have planted a garrison at Benthall to prevent the enemy from gathering contributions in their country, and to stop coal from coming thither, and to Worcester, for at this place the coal that supplied those places is dug. This garrison doth much annoy the enemy, and at our first coming to fortify here the enemy sent forth several parties from Worcester, Ludlow, and Bridgnorth, who joined together with intent to frustrate our design here, and to that end made an attempt against us in the night, or about break of day in the morning, but were so gallantly received that it is conceived they will not be hasty to come again, for we slew diverse of them, and after about an hour's fight forced them to retire to Bridgnorth, from whence they came. In which Captain Kettleby deserves much commendation. After this they threatened to put all our men to the sword, that they take carrying coal up Severn to Shrewsbury (which sometimes are endangered by the enemy’s garrison at High Ercall) but at the last, Sir Lewis Kirke, Governor of Bridgnorth, sent a Drummer to this effect, viz: ‘That if we would permit, and suffer a free trade of coal to come to Bridgnorth from Worcester, they would not interrupt our passage to Shrewsbury’ ; unto which message, answer was returned to this effect : ‘That if they would pay the country for those they had already received, and would give us free passage with coal down the Severn by Worcester, to Gloucester and Tewkesbury, they should have coal hereafter at the rates as formerly’ : but what further effect this treaty will have as yet we do not know of.”

 

December 1645

After the battle of Naseby, the local Royalist forces were in trouble and a contemporary letter states, “We hear it confirmed by diverse letters that Worcester, Bridgnorth, Ludlow, and High Ercall, are in great distress this winter season for want of coal, the Shrewsbury forces have seized upon the coal mines at Benthall, and about Stourbridge, and planted two strong Garrisons not far from High Ercall to secure the Country from the invasion of the enemies".  Many of the Royalist garrisons in Shropshire had yielded to the Roundheads one by one, in quick succession.   By this time, Bridgnorth, Ludlow and High Ercall were the only remaining Royalist garrisons.

 

10-17th February 1646

Royalist force beaten at Stokesay, “Sir William Vaughan expecting to be besieged at High Ercall by some of Sir William Brereton's forces who were lately before Chester, did sent out a strong party to bring in provisions to maintain them if the place should be besieged, and to levy contributions, and to take what prisoners they could, intending if they were persons of estate that they should purchase their deliverance, either by ransom or exchange. Having received these orders, this plundering party marched to Clun, and so near unto Stokesay, that the Governor of it receiving the alarm in time, sallied forth against them with a considerable strength, and having followed them seven miles, our forlorn hope at the length overtook them, and set on their party, which immediately did fly towards their main body, where they grew so bold as to stand still awhile, and to look our forces in the face ; but finding that we were resolved to encounter with them, and came up in good equipage to perfect that resolution, they obeyed again the ignominious counsel of their fears, and fled from the field to take sanctuary in a Church ; but before they could arrive unto it, we slew three or four of their men took diverse prisoners, amongst which were some of note and quality. They had no sooner entered the Church, but the alarm was brought to Ludlow, and notice given in what danger they were if sudden relief was not sent unto them ; whereupon a strong party of horse immediately was drawn forth for their rescue, but our men understanding of their coming, and being wearied before with their long march, and the ill ways made more heavy by the thaw which more deeply did corrupt them, they retreated back, having not one man slain, nor one man wounded in this service.”

 

30th March 1646

High Ercall captured by Roundheads, “… after a short siege ; and having by grenadoes and other great shot battered them for the space of nine hours together without intermission ; it being I say a strong place and well fortified, and having a deep moat about it, and in regard of the situation of it, not thought feasible to be taken by storm but by the blessing of God and our continual playing of our great shot and grenadoes, which had done great execution among them, in short space we cause them to come to a parley, and whereat it was concluded, that the horse, all but 40 should march a way without arms ; that the foot should leave all their arms behind, and they should leave all their ammunition and provisions (of which there was great plenty) behind them, and that they may have a convoy to Worcester, the place they had made choice of to go to. There marched 212 soldiers and officers out of this garrison ; and thus by God's mercy, and the indefatigable industry, care and valour of their Committee, Shropshire is now well cleared of all their enemies."  This left Ludlow as the only Royalist garrison left in Shropshire.

 

Roundheads arrived at Bridgnorth with orders to capture it and the Royalist troops retreated to the castle.  “Much about the aforesaid time we were certainly informed that this most active and gallant Committee of Shrewsbury, not resting after they had taken in High Ercall, sent out a party of horse and foot upon a design against Bridgnorth, but the length of the march, and the weariness of the soldiers hindered them, and as the town took the alarm before they could refresh themselves a little and go on in the design, as was intended yet notwithstanding the next day they re-commenced it. Colonel Billingsley who commanded in chief the town, would give no answer to the summonses ; Colonel Howard who commanded the Castle gave a flat denial, whereupon in the afternoon having set out three forts the brave Salopians resolved to storm. One fort was assigned to Colonel Gaulden, another to Major Braine and the third to Major Hickson, who at the warning given, fell all three on with such a courageous, undaunted resolution, that they stormed the town, killed Colonel Billingsley in the heat of the storm, together with some others, and took diverse prisoners ; the rest of the gentry fled into the Castle. The North Gate fort stood also some hot dispute, but we likewise gained it, and so the '' town taken wholly into their possession, and in its proper place we shall certify the taking in of the Castle also, which yet awhile stands out very obstinately against them."

 

9th April 1646

Bridgnorth still under siege by Roundheads, "We had the intelligence of two most cruel and barbarous acts of the enemy, the one is, firing Bridgnorth, thus certified. That our forces in the town sending a summons to the Castle, it was accepted, and a treaty was to follow ; but in the interim the Governor sent out warrants to the Town to bring a month's provisions into the Castle, which they being in no capacity to do, our forces being quartered in the town, and the possession of the town giving the Rebels great advantage in carrying on the siege of the Castle, the latter sent the town on fire. The first house that was burnt was near the northern postern of the Castle, and from thence the fire spread to the High Street, where it was extinguished by the Parliamentary troops. The garrison of the Castle made another, and more successful attempt to fire the town, on Easter Tuesday ; the wind being high the flames spread rapidly in all directions, and houses and property to the amount of £60,000 were destroyed. The misery of the inhabitants is described as being most severe, rich and poor, old and young, were left houseless, and sought shelter in the fields round the town, in woods and under rocks”.

 

26th April 1646

The Roundheads had continued to bombard Bridgnorth Castle from a battery they had erected on the opposite hill but without effecting a breach. Colonel Lavington initiated the excavation of a tunnel from the sandstone caves beneath St Mary’s Church and the Castle with the idea of blowing up the Royalists' store of gunpowder in the church. Colonel Howard, then being aware of the total destruction of the Castle and its inhabitants that must ensue if the mine was exploded, surrendered. Once the town had surrendered, Cromwell ordered that the castle be demolished and attempts to blow up the keep left it leaning at an angle  

 

The terms on which the Garrison surrendered were more liberal than in some other cases. The Officers were allowed to march away to any of his Majesty's Garrisons within 40 miles, with their horses and arms for themselves, and a servant with a horse and sword. Sir Robert Howard, Sir Vincent Corbet, Sir Edward Acton, and Sir Francis Ottley, were allowed to take their horses, arms, and two men apiece, with their horses and swords and their master's wearing apparel, had leave to march to their several habitations, and to continue there for the space of two months; after which they were to make their election, whether they will make their peace with the Parliament, or go beyond seas, engaging themselves to do nothing prejudicial to the Parliament in the meantime. Lady Ottley with her children and maidservants had liberty with their wearing clothes to go to Pitchford or The Hay. All wounded and sick persons within the Castle had liberty to reside in the Low Town till they were able to travel, and all gentlemen, strangers, officers, and soldiers were offered the same conditions as the country gentlemen, and passes or letters to the Committees of their several counties to be given to them. Colonel Lloyd was appointed the Governor.

 

5th May 1646

Charles I surrendered to the Scottish Army at Newark.  Ludlow was the only Royalist garrison left in Shropshire by this time.

 

The following Royalist supporters had to pay “composition” to Parliament in order to retain their property.

 

Francis Newport, Esq £6,284 (with £170 per annum)

Sir Thomas Whitmore of Apley, Bart £5,000

Sir Richard Lee of Langley £3,719 (With £160 per annum)

Sir Frederick Henry Thynne of Caus, Knight and Bart £3,554 (With £200 per annum)

Sir Richard Newport £3,207 (With £170 per annum)

Thomas Edwards, gent £2,060

Sir Edward Acton £2,000

Sir Vincent Corbet of Moreton Corbet £1,588 (With £80 per annum)

Dame Emily, widow of Sir Paul Harries of Boreatton £1,622

Sir Francis Ottley of Pitchford £1,200

Sir John Weld, Willey £1,121

Sir Thomas Eyton of Eyton £976

Roger Kynaston of Hordley £931 (With £50 per annum)

Sir Robert Prince, Knight £760

John Ireland, Esq of Albrighton £716

Roger Owen of Shrewsbury £700

Francis Thomas, Esq £720

Sir John Weld, Jnr of Willey £757

Henry Baugh of Aldan, yeoman £676

Owen Pontesbury, Esq £610

Timothy Tourney £692 (With £30 per annum)

Charles Baldwin, £586

Richard Lacon £554

Humphrey Walcot of Pointe £500 (With £80 per annum)

John Perse, Esq Westbury, £560

Richard Lloyd £480

Francis Sandford, Esq of Sandford £459

Sir John Talbot, Knight £444

Ralph Goodwin, Esq of Ludlow £412 10

Thomas Pigot £440

William Owen, Esq £414 6 8

Richard Oakeley of Oakeley £400

Sir William Owen, Knight £314

Thomas Littleton, Esq £370

Robert Betton, Shrewsbury £320

Laurence Benthall of Benthall £230

Edward Owen of Condover £207

Thomas Moore of Ellesmere £154

Francis Bellenger, gent £140

Philip Jennings of Duddleston £137 4 6

John Blodwell of Shrewsbury £103

Edward Kynaston of Ottley £102 (With £50 per annum)

Katherine Wallescot, widow of William Wallescot £173

Edward Stenley £132

Richard Scriven £117

William Owen, Esq of Pontesbury £160

Thomas Smallman, Wildershope £140

Richard Philip, Esq Ketley £177

Edward Jones of Morton, gent £74 6

Roland Lacon, Esq £66

Isaac Morgan, gent £50

Hugh Morris £61

John Langley of Bromley, gent £50

Richard Gibbs £43

John Newton, Esq £32 16 4

John Langley, Broseley £60

Richard Daniel, Shrewsbury £45

John Broadhurst of Lilleshall £26

Thomas Jones £10

 

Total £46,631 14 8, with Annual Payments of £990.

 

24th June 1646

Surrender of Oxford. Ending of the First Civil War. Prince Rupert and Prince Maurice leave the country under terms. James, Duke of York, remains as a prisoner of Parliament.

 

June 1646

Broncroft Castle captured by Roundheads.

 

9th July 1646

The Royalist garrison of Ludlow surrendered to Sir William Brereton. The town and castle were besieged by a strong Parliamentarian force led by Colonel Birch. There was some fighting on the outskirts of the town and some of the suburbs suffered from fire damage but the castle was surrendered by negotiation.

 

July 1648

Parliament gives the order to demolish Broncroft Castle, Dawley Castle and Oswestry Castle and make them untenable.

 

30th January 1649

King Charles I beheaded.

 

3rd September 1651

Royalists defeated at battle of Worcester.

 

4th September 1651

Charles II arrives at White ladies Priory.

 

6th September 1651

Charles II hides from Roundhead cavalry in oak tree at Boscobel House.

 

7th September 1651

Charles II travels to Moseley Old Hall in Warwickshire.

 

15th October 1651

On 15 October 1651 Colonel John Benbow, uncle to the renowned admiral, was shot on the Shrewsbury's Castle green. In 1654, Sir Thomas Harries, in an abortive royalist uprising, fails to capture Shrewsbury Castle in a surprise attack.