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merous overpowering force, on that black and white day, September the third, 1651; in the dusk of which fatal evening, when the ashamed sun had blushed in his setting, and plunged his affrighted head into the depth of luckless Severn, and the night, ready to stain and spot her guilty sables with loyal blood, was attiring herself for the tragedy. The King (whose first and conspicuous valorous essay so exceeded all comparison, that it cannot but oblige fate to preserve that matchless courage, and never again to venture, or expose it to any hazard) compelled to abandon the city of Worcester, whose fidelity and affection deserved perpetual memory. After he had quitted his court and lodgings, to which he retired from the field, and having rallied his most faithful and considerable friends, divers English lords and gentlemen, who were resolved to accompany him in his flight, was presented by the late renowned Earl of Darby, with one Charles Gifford, Esq. .a person of note, then of that country, and of much manifested honour since to the world) to be his Majesty's conductor in this miraculous blessed escape; who forthwith called for one Francis Yates, whom he had brought with him, under the command of Colonel Careless, in a party that met the King, in his advance to Worcester, to be guide-assistant, for the surer finding the by-ways for his Majesty's speed and safety.
In the mean time, Colonel Careless, a gentleman of very gallant and noble endowments, was commanded to sustain the brunt of the pursuing enemy, and to keep them off, while the King might be somewhat in his way; which, with excellent prudence and valour, he did to effect, and afterwards fled to his old retreat and coverture, passing by Hartlebury castle, then garisoned by the enemy, whom he courageously fought with, and broke through, and came safe to his designed shelter.
Towards three o'clock, Thursday morning, the fourth of September, the King, in company with the said Earl of Darby, Earl of Shrewsbury, Earl of Cleveland, Duke of Buckingham, my Lord Wilmot, and others, to the number of fourscore, came to a place called White Ladies, in the parish ofTong, in the confines of Stafford and Shropshire, being twenty-five miles distant, or thereabouts from Worcester, which space of ground he had rid that night.
The White-Ladies was a house belonging to one Fitz-Herbert, where one George Pendrill, hearing somebody knocking at the gate so early, and opening the window, espied the aforesaid Francis Yates, who washis brother-in-law, with Mr. Gifford; to whom he presently opened the door, and enquired of his brother Yates, what news from Worcester; who told him, that the King was defeated, and in pursuit, and, therefore, bid him to make haste/and put on his cloaths: But, before he could make himself ready, the King, with most of his lords, had entered the house, and come into the hall; where, after a short consultation held amongst them, the Earl of Darby called for William Pendrill, the eldest brother; (you must know, that my lord of Darby had taken this place for a subterfuge, after the defeat given him by Colonel Lilburn, near Wigan, in Lancashire, and was acquainted there, and, by them, conveyed to Worcester to the King; as also, several other gentlemen before had used this for their sanctuary) who being come, George was sent to Tong, to one Robert Beard, an honest subject, to enquire of him, whether there were any scattered parties of the King's thereabouts, or any of the enemies appearing; who brought word, that the coast was yet clear, and no parties at all to be seen. In his return, he met with his brother Richard; for now those few inhabitants, that lived there, were awaked with the noise, and their own ill-boding thoughts and fears of the success at Worcester.
Richard was no sooner come in, but Esquire Gifford called for him, and bid him make haste, and bring with him his best cloaths, which were a jump and breeches, of green coarse cloth, and a doeskin leather doublet; the hat was borrowed of Humphry Pendrill, the miller, being an old grey one, that turned up its brims; the shirt (which in that country-language, they called an hurden, or noggen-shirt, of cloth that is madeof the coarsest of the hemp! wa< had of one Edward Martin, George Pendrill's band, and William Creswel's shoes; which the King, having presently unstripped himself of his own cloaths, did nimbly put on. His buff-coat, and linnen-doublet, and a grey pair of breeches, which he wore before, he gave into these brothers hands, who forthwith buried them under ground, where they lay five weeks, before they durst take them up again. The jewels, off his arm, he gave to one of the lords then departing.
Then Richard came with a pair of shears, and rounded the King's hair, which my Lord Wilmot having cut before with a knife, had untowardly notched; and the King was pleased to take notice of Richard's good barbering, so as to prefer his work before my Lord Wilmot's, and gave him the praise of it; and now his Majesty was a-lamode the woodman.
Hereupon, William Pendrill was brought to the King, by the Earl of Darby, and the care and preservation of his most sacred Majesty, committed to his charge, and the rest of the brothers (my lord would have staid too, but there was no undertaking security for them both) and presently the lords took their heavy leave, and departed, every one shifting for himself. Only my Lord Wilmot was conveyed, by John Pendrill, to Mr. Thomas Whitgrave's; but he would have left him at several other places, which my lord did, in nowise, approve of; first, atone John Shore's of Hungerhill, thence to John Climpson, thence to one Reynolds of the Hide, so to John Hunspatch's; where passing by Coven, they had notice of a troop of horse in the town, and seeing some men coming behind them (which proved to be friends, though my lord suspected the country rising upon them) they betook themselves into a dry pit, where they staid all evening, and then arrived safely at Mr. Whitgrave's.
The company being all departed, a wood-bill was brought, and put into the King's hand, and he went out with Richard into the adjoining woods. William departed home, and Humphry and George went out to scout, and lay hovering in the woods, to hear or see if any one approached that way. But the King had not been an hour in the wood, before a troop of horse, of the enemy's, came to White-Ladies, and enquired, if some of the King's horse, and himself, passed not that way, and if they could give information of him; to which the town afolks answered, that, about three hours ago, there was a party of horse
came thither, and they supposed the King with them, but they made no stay in the village, but presently departed; they were, hereupon, so eager in the pursuit, that, after enquiring which way they took, they followed the rout, and made no further search there; the King straight heard this, by the two aforesaid scouts, who straggled for intelligence into the town.
All this day, being Thursday, the King continued in the wood, upon the ground, Richard Pendrill being constantly with him, and sometimes the other two brothers: it proved to be a very rainy day, and the King was wet with showers; thereupon, Francis Yates's wife came into the wood, and brought the King a blanket, which she threw over his shoulders, to keep him dry; she also brought him his first meat he eat there, viz. a mess of milk, eggs, and sugar, in a black earthen cup, which the King guessed to be milk and apples, and said he loved it very well. After he had drank some of it, and eaten part in a pewter spoon, he gave the rest to George, and bid him eat, for it was very good. There was nothing of moment passed this day in court, but only the King exchanged his wood-bill for Francis Yates's broom-hook, which was something lighter.
They had much ado, all that day, to teach and fashion his Majesty to their country guise, and to order his steps, and straight body, to a lobbing Jobson's gate, and were forced, every foot, to mind him of it; for the language, his Majesty's most gracious converse with his people, in his journey to, and at Worcester, had rendered it very easy, and very tuneable to him.
About five o'clock that evening, the King, with the retinue of Richard, Humphry, George, and Francis Yates, left the wood, and betook himself to Richard's house, where he went under the name of William Jones, a wood-cutter, newly come thither for work. Against his coming, the good wife, for his entertainment at supper, was preparing a fricasy of bacon and eggs; and, whilst that was doing, the King held on his knee their daughter Nan. After he had eat a little, he asked Richard to eat, who replied, yea, Sir, I will; whereto his Majesty answered, you have a better stomach than I, for you have eaten five times to-day already. After supper ended, the King, according to his resolution to pass into Wales, prepared, when it should be dusky, to depart; before he went, Jane Pendrill, the mother of the five brethren, came to see the King, before whom she blessed God, that had so honoured her children, in making them the instruments, as she hoped, of his Majesty's safeguard and deliverance. Here Francis Yates offered the King thirty shillings in silver; the King accepted ten, and bid him put the other up. Humphry would have gone before, to see and view about, but the King would not let him; it being now near night, they took their leave of the King upon their knees, beseeching God to guide and bless him.
So the King and Richard only departed, to go to one Mr, Francis Wolfe of Madely, there to take passage into Wales. On the way, they were to pass by a mill, at a place called Evelin, and going over (it was about nine o'clock at night) the bridge cf the said mill, the miller steps forth, and demanded, who goes there; having a quarter-staff, or a good cudgel, in his hand; to which Richard, being foremost, thought it not safe to reply; but, the water being shallow, leaped off the bridge into it, and the King did the like, following Richard by the noise and rattling of his leather breeches; the miller being glad he was so rid of them, for, as it afterwards appeared, here were some of the King's scattered soldiers in his mill, and he supposed the other to be parliamentarians, that were upon the scent for his distressed guests.
Being come to Madely, to the said Mr. Francis Wolfe's, late that night, they understood there was no passage over the water into Wales, and that it was very dangerous to abide there, the country being, every where about, laid with soldiers; nor durst he entertain them in his house, but shewed them a hay-mow, where they might lodge; and there the King and Richard continued all that night, and the next day, being Friday; and that night, with the conveyance of a maid of this Mr. Wolfe's, who brought the King two miles on his way, they retreated back again to Richard's house. Master Wolfe lent the King some small sum of money.
This design being crossed, Saturday morning, without any stay at Richard's, the King and he went to a house of Mrs. Giffard's, called Boscabel, where William Pendrill and his wife dwelt as housekeepers for the said Giffard, v.ho received him joyfully; but the King's feet were so blistered, with travelling in such coarse and stiff accoutrements, as he wore on his feet, and lying in them, that he was scarce able to stand or go; which William's wife perceiving, she stripped off his stockings, and cut the blisters, and washed his feet, and gave the King some ease.
The same time, or near thereupon, that noble colonel, Careless, who, as is said before, made good the King's rear at Worcester, and had fought his way through; after he had been two days at one David Jones's, living in the Heath in Tong Parish, and there by him secured (for this colonel had lain three quarters of a year before obscured in this country, when he had been narrowly, every where, searched after) was brought, by one Elisabeth Burgess, to this same house of Boscabel; and there his Majesty and he met, but the colonel was so overjoyed with the sight of the King, his master, in such sure andsafe hands, that he could not refrain weeping, and the King was himself moved with the same passion.
After a short conference, and but inchoated counsel of the King's probablest means of escape, it was resolved by them, to betake themselves to the wood again; and accordingly, about nine of the clock, that Saturday morning, the sixth of September, they went into the wood, and Colonel Careless brought and led the King to that so much celebrated oak, where before he had himself been lodged. This tree is not hollow, but of a sound firm trunk, only, about the middle of it, there is a hole in it, about the bigness of a man's head, from whence it absurdly and abusively, in respect of its deserved perpetual growth to out-last time itself, is called hollow; and, by the help of William Pendrill's wood-ladder, they got up into the boughs and branches of the tree, which were very thick and well spread, full of leaves; so that it was impossible for any one to discern through them.
When they were both up, William gave them up twn pillows to lie upon between the thickest of the branches, and the King, being overwearied with his travel and sore journey, began to be very sleepy; the colonel, to accommodate him the best he could, desired his Majesty, to lay his head in his lap, and rest the other parts of his body upon the pillow, which the King did; and after he had taken a good 'nap (William and his wife Joan still peaking up and down, and she commonly near the place, with a nut hook in her hand gathering of sticks.) awaked very hungry, and wished he had something to eat; whereupon, the colonel plucked out of his pocket a good lunchion of bread and cheese, which Joan Pendrill had given him for provant for that day, and had wrapped it up in a clean liunen cloth, of which the King fed very heartily, and was well pleased with the service, and commended highly his good chear; and some other small relief he had, which was put up in the tree, with a long hook stick.
In the mean while, Richard Pendrill, the first esquire, was sent to Wolver hampton, some three miles thence, being a market-town, to buy wine and bisket, and some other necessary refreshments for the Ring; and withal to speak with one Mr. George Manwaring, a person of known integrity and loyalty from Colonel Careless, with some instructions about the King's removal, though not expresly the King, but one of that ruined party; in effect it was to know of him, whether he knew of any sure privacy,for two such persons; to which he answered he had not himself, but would enquire if a friend of his, one Mr. Whitgrave of Mosely, formerly and again to be spoken of here, could do it. So that we may see what a loyal honest combination and secrecy there was between all these persons; and then Richard returned with his wine, &c. to the King, who, towards the evening, came down by the same. ladder from the tree, and was brought into the garden of Boscabel house, where he sat in the bower of it, and drank part of the wine till towards night.
Neither was Humphry Pendrill, the miller, unemployed all this while, but was sent to get intelligence, how things went. And, the easier to come by it, he was sent to a captain of the Rump, one Broadway, formerly a heel-maker, under pretence of carrying him twentyshillings, for the pay of a man in the new raised militia of their county for their mistress. While he was there, in came a colonel of the rebels, and asked for Captain Broadway, on purpose to know what further enquiry had been made at White-Ladies for the King, relating to Broadway the story of it; to which he replied he knew nothing of it further than rumour, but that there was one of that place, in the house that could give him an account of it. So Humphry was called, and several questions put to him, which he evaded, but confessed that the King had been there, as was supposed; but there was no likelihood for him to stay there, for there were three families in the house, and all at difference with one another. The colonel told him there was a thousand pounds offered to any^ that would take or discover him, and that they doubted not, but within a day or two to have him delivered into their hands. |
These tidings Humphry brought with him, and omitted not to tell hig