Jane Lane and Charles II

Jane Lane and Charles II

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October 13, 1651 - Charles as "Brother Roundhead"

At two o’clock in the morning of October 13, Charles left Heale House by the back way to meet Colonel Phelipps for the clandestine journey to Shoreham, where Captain Tattersall was to be waiting with his coal-brig Surprise, to carry the king to safety.  
Phelipps was bringing the king’s horse from where it had been hidden at a neighbor’s house, but according to his account, he “came to the place at the time appointed, but had the misfortune to have the King’s horse, at the entring of the meadowe gate, to breake his bridle and run upp the river – which, after some short time, with noe small trouble, he recovered and brought back.  And having in some tolerable manner amended what had bin broken, the King and the Collonel sett forward to Brighthempson.”

As the king later told Samuel Pepys, he and Phelipps were to meet Gounter and Wilmot “some 14 or 15 Myles off on my way towards Shoram, and were to lodge that night at a place called Hammelton, 7 Myles from Portsmouth, because it was too long a Journey to goe in one day to Shoram.” 

The plan was that Charles would spend the night at the home of Mr. Hyde or possibly with Gounter’s sister, but Wilmot and the Gounters needed a plausible reason to be seen riding around while they waited for Phelipps and the king.  So, as Gounter recalled, “the Lord Willmot, Colonel Gounter and Captaine Thomas Gounter, being alltogether att dinner, agreed to ride upon the Downes.  The Colonel, for a blinde, went to Hambledon, hard by, to give his sister a visit, and there borrowed a brace of grey-hounds,” telling her “that his Cozin Gounter and other gentlemen were upon the Downes and had a mind to have a course att a haire.  And ‘twas possible, if they did not beate to farre and should stay out late, they might all come and bee merry with her that night… ‘If you doe, you shall be heartily welcome,’ was her answer.

Hunting fallow deer with greyhounds
“The Colonel brought the greyhounds, and beate with my Lord and his cozin untill his tyme served, and then left them, resolving to ride untill he mett the King.  And just as he came to Warneford townes-end from old Winchester, he met Colonel Phillips conducting the King.  Beeing near the houses, the Colonel ridd by them and tooke noe notice, went to an inne in the towne, called for some beere and tooke a pipe, and stayed soe long, that they were atop old Winchester before he overtook them.”

Drinking and smoking in a 17th century inn
Having “directed them the safest way,” Gounter went to find Wilmot, and all the men gathered.  When they reached “Brawde-Halfe-Penny, a little above Hambledon, the King spake to the Colonel: ‘Canst thou get mee a lodging hereabout?’  The Colonel told him that his Cozin Hyde’s house aforesaid was taken up for him and was very convenient, beeing neere and in the way.  But whether his Majestie thought it to publick a place, or what other reason I know not, hee said, ‘know you noe other?’ ‘Yeas, may it please your Majestie, I know divers yeomanly men where for a night we may be welcome.  And here is one whoe married my sister, whose house stands privatly and out of the way.  ‘Lett us goe thither,’ said the King.

Pension granted to Robert Swan, Lord
Wilmot's man, after the Restoration
“Whylest wee were consulting this affaire, Captaine Thomas Gounter … and Swan, my Lord Wilmot’s man, ridd scouting about Broade-Halfe-penny … the Colonel conducting the King, my Lord Willmot, and Colonel Robert Philipps to his sisters house, a private way and the backside of Hambledon, it being but halfe a mile from the place aforesaid.”

The party arrived at the home of Gounter’s sister at “about candlelighting.”  She brought them “wine, ale, and biskets … with a very cheerefull countenance, as though the Kings presence had had some secret influence upon her [and she] suspected nothing lesse then that a king was present.

“In an hower’s space wee went to supper, being all sett promiscuously att a round table: and having halfe-supt, in comes the Colonel’s sister’s husband, Mr. Thomas Symones, whoe, as it plainly appeared, had been in company that day.  ‘This is brave,’ said he, ‘a man can noe sooner be out of the way, but his house must be taken up with I know not whome.’”

Symonds welcomed his brother-in-law Gounter, but “peeping in the King’s face, said of him, ‘Heer’s a Round-head’; and addressing his speech to the Colonel, said, ‘I never knew you keepe Round-heads’ company before.’  To which the Colonel replyed, ‘’Tis noe matter; he is my friend and, I will assure you, no dangerous man.”  Att which words, he clapt himself downe in a chaire next the King, and tooke him by the hand, shaking him, and saying ‘Brother Roundhead, for his sake thou art wellcome.’ …

Roundheads, with their cropped hair on the right,
Royalist Cavaliers, with their long hair, on the left
 “Now and then he would sweare before he was aware, for which the King reprooved him, ‘O deare brother, that is a ’scape: sweare not, I beseech you.’  Nevertheles, in that humor he was, hee plyed us hard with strong waters and beare…

A punch bowl that Charles presented to the
Symonds family after his Restoration
"Supper being ended, it beeing tenn of the clock, the Colonel began to bethinck himself that the King had ridd neere fourty miles that day, and was to undergoe a very hard journey the next; and how to get the King out of his company and to bed, he could hardly devise.  Yet the Colonel whispered his kinsman in the eare, saying … “hee is a Round-head indeede, and if wee could gett him to bed, the house were our owne, and wee could bee merry.’  Hee readily submitted, and the Colonel presently (leaving the Lord Wilmot behind) conducted the King and Colonel Rob. Philips (whoe lay in the Kings chamber) to bed.

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