Jane Lane and Charles II

Jane Lane and Charles II

Friday, October 7, 2011

October 7, 1651 - Heale House and Stonehenge

Now that Charles was safely hidden at Heale House and expected to be on a boat to France soon, Juliana Coningsby and the Wyndhams’ servant Henry Peters returned to Trent on October 7.  Charles was pretending to be Colonel Carliss’s servant, but Mrs. Hyde thought that in order to evade curious eyes, it would be better if they both left in the morning as if for good.  So, as Charles told Samuel Pepys, “Robin Phillips and I tooke our Horses and went as farr as Stoneheng; and there we stayd looking upon the stones for sometyme.”
According to Phelips, they “rid about the Downes, and tooke a view of the wonder of that country, Stoneheng, where they found that the King’s Arithmaticke gave the lye to that fabulous tale that those stones cannot be told [meaning counted] alike twice together.  But this ariseing was the effect rather of convenience than curiositie, for that day being a faire at Salisbury, Mistris Hyde gave leave to all her servants to goe thither, whilest the King, who went away in their sight with Coll. Phelipps in the morning, after his toure taken about the Downes, returned to Hele again that afternoon in theire absence.”

Phelips had to make contact with Colonel Gounter about Charles’s passage, so “that same afternoon [he] having safely delivered the King into the hands of Dr. Henchman in the field nere Hele, went that evening (leading the Horse the king rode on) to his most faythfull friend Mr. Jones his house at Newton-Tony.”

Racton House, Col. Gounter's home, in 1789
from Alan Fea's The Flight of the King
Meanwhile, Lord Wilmot had already reached the home of Colonel Gounter at Racton  As Gounter recalled, “Betwixt eight and nine of the clock at night, the Colonel came home. Entering in att his doore, the Colonel’s ladye mett him and told him there was in the parlour a Deavonshire gentleman sent by Mr. Hyde aforesaid about a reference ‘which none besides yourselfe can decyde.’  At the Colonel’s coming in, he found his Devonshire gentleman setting at one end of the chimney, [his brother] Captaine Thomas Gounter att the other, and his lady (which was gone in before) in the middle.  The gentleman rose and saluted him.

Col. Gounter in 1642
“The Colonel presently knew him to bee the Lord Wilmot.  Which the noble Lord perceyving, tooke the Colonel aside to the windowe: ‘I see you know mee (said he); do not owne mee.’”  Throughout his journeys, Wilmot continued to be surprised that people who knew him recognized him, even though he was not in disguise.

“After a bottle of sack, which afforded some matter of discourse by reason of twoe wasps, or rather hornets, which came out at the opening, a short collation being made readie as soon as could [be] … my Lords man, one Swan, comming in to waite, whispered his master in the eare and told him my Lord Wentworth’s boy Ponie was without, and wished him to be carefull, for feare the boy should knowe him.”

After supper, “the noble Lord and Colonel being alone, he broke the busines unto the Colonel with these words, sighing: ‘The King of England, my maister, your maister, and the maister of all good Englishman, is neere you, and in great distresse.  Can you helpe us to a boate?’ The Colonel, looking very sadly, after some pause said, ‘Is he well? Is he safe?’  He said ‘Yeas.’  The Colonel replyed, ‘God be blessed.”

Wilmot told Gounter that the plan when he had left Salisbury was that the king should be brought to Gounter’s house on Wednesday.  Gounter was very willing to help, but told Wilmot “for all he lived so neere the sea, yet there was noe man living soe little acquainted with” seafaring men, but he would do all within his power.
Interior of Racton House in 1789
When he left Wilmot and went to his bedroom, he found that his wife was very suspicious.  She was sure that Wilmot was not the Mr. Barlow he claimed to be, and that his presence surely meant danger.  He tried to reassure her that all was well and she didn’t need to worry, but she said “Shee was confident there was more in it then soe, and enough, shee doubted, to ruine him and all his family,’ … breaking out into a very great passion of weeping.”
So, “the Colonel … tooke a candle, pretending to goe into the next roome; but privately to my Lord Wilmot.”  He told Wilmot how upset his wife was and asked permission to let her know what was going on.  Wilmot agreed.  Gounter explained the situation and “wiped the teares of his ladyes eyes, whoe, smiling, said ‘Goe on, and prosper.  Yet I feare you will hardly doe it.’”

Mrs. Hyde of Heale House

Back at Heale House, Charles was safely ensconced in a hiding hole, and no one but Mrs. Hyde and her sister knew he was there.

1 comment:

  1. Such a beautiful bell. It puts me in mind of the great bell of Mossflower, made by Joseph the Bellmanker.