King Charles II visit to Charmouth in 1651
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I have been fascinated by the gentleman who planned and nearly succeeded in the attempt to assist King CharlesII in his Escape to France. His name was William Ellesdon and both he and his descendants were to dominate the lives of villagers for nearly 150 years. I have tried to build up a picture of Charmouth during this turbulent chapter in the country's history from the limited records that have survived. The year before the Civil war began in 1641, Parliament decreed that all males over 18 should take a Protestation ( declaration of loyalty) Oath . All names were listed and anyone who refused to take it was recorded. Seventy five gentleman were to sign it in Charmouth, which has shown to equate to an approximate total population of 250. In the same year there was an order that the hundred of Whitchurch and the tithings of Hawkchurch and Dalwood were ordered to contribute £ 10 per year to the Poor Rates of Charmouth -"where there are many poor people whom the parish cannot relieve".

A further insight into the state of the village can be seen in the comprehensive survey carried out by Sir William Petre when he purchased it from the Queen a century before . The original document survives in Devon Record Office and clearly shows that the majority of his tenants occupied cottages along the Street with an acre of land and a further acre of common land which they farmed.There were a number of people who had larger holdings, the most prominent of whom were the Limbrys. A branch of this family lived in what is today' s Charmouth House, but then known as The Fountain. It was one of a number of hostelries along the Street that served travellers using the London to Exeter road that passed through the village. A descendant of this family, Stephen Limbry was to feature as the seaman in the attempted escape of King Charles II. A contemporary road map by John Ogilby shows the village with its main Street lined with houses and the paths to the sea, now Lower Sea Lane and Barr ' s Lane which led to Wootton Fitzpaine.

At the beginning of the Civil War the village was mainly owned by Sir John Pole. He had sided with Parliament and in 1643 he twice helped to lead anti-royalist raids in Devon and Cornwall. However, he also participated in abortive local peace negotiations that year . His position in Devon was complicated by his son William ' s decision to fight for the king, and both Colcombe Castle and Shute Barton were badly damaged during the war, by royalist and parliamentarian forces respectively. He was active in local government but he evidently disapproved of Charles I ' s execution as he declined to serve under the Commonwealth, despite being retained on the Devon bench. He died in April 1658, and was buried at Colyton, where he had erected a lavish monument to himself and his first wife. Although he was to sell the Manor of Charmouth to William Ellesdon in 1648, he retained The Mill and 35 acres of land in the village, which was eventually to be sold by his descendants at the the end of the 18th. Century.

William Ellesdon in contrast to Sir John Pole was a staunch Royalist. No doubt his father,Anthony held the same sympathies and in buying the adjoining Newlands with its fine house, Stonebarrow Manor, the following year was making a hasty departure from Lyme Regis,where he had been Mayor no less than three times. This town had always held an independent stance and was known as a Parliamentarian strong hold. This culminated in the famous Siege of 1644,when for 8 weeks they withstood the forces of Prince Maurice, who eventually abandoned his attempt.Loyalties to each side existed within families and it is interesting to see who William's brother, John supported, for there is a later letter from Col. Robert Mohun "setting forth articles against John Ellesden, who was put into the place of Collector of Customs of Lyme by Cromwell".

The Ellesdons were originally successful merchants from Lyme Regis and were regularly Mayors of the borough. The Church still has a brass shield which extols them and records 4 generation being buried in their vault. Coincidentally the last is Anthony, father of William Ellesdon the central character to this article who is shown as dying in 1655. This same gentleman purchased the Manor of Newlands, which today forms part of Charmouth in 1649. The family lived in a large house in Church Street,near where the famous George Inn stood. It was here that William and his brother John were to be bought up by their parents Grace and Anthony. Johns life was to be spent in Lyme Regis where he was to eventually become it's Mayor in 1659 and with his wife Sarah Clapcott have four children,John,Grace,Mary, Thomas. The latter was to briefly unite the two branches of the family by marrying his cousin Mary in 1726, who by then was a widow on the death of her husband, Richard Henvill.

William Ellesdon was a Royalist and held the position of Captain and later Colonel in the army and was to risk his life in support of the King. For that would have been his fate if charged for assisting in his escape. It must have been a miracle that he was able to remain a free man until his return.He had been earlier successful in assisting Lord Berkley escape across to France after the Battle of Worcester and no doubt would have repeated this with Charles, if Stephen Limbry had not returned home to his angry wife. But King Charles was to give him a gold coin when he briefly spent the night before the planned escape at a house his father owned at Monkton Wyld, still called Elsdons. At the same time he promised that when he regained his throne he would reward him handsomely.His Majesty, on his restoration visited the village and granted to him and two successive heirs a pension of £ 300 per annum, and presented him with a medal bearing the inscription "Faithful to the Horns of the Altar". The King also gives a beautiful miniature by Samuel Cooper of Ellesdon , together with a pair of silver candlesticks. He was also presented with a coat of arms, which can be seen today on their marble memorial in St. Andrews and on a large plaque commemorating his son's later improvements to the church.

The pension was for both him and his immediate family and would be derived from taxes received from the port of Lyme Regis. There is a website called british history online that has a huge database covering parliamentary records and almost yearly there are references to those benefitting from his pension and through this I have been able to obtain important information about the family. Most intriguing was £ 1000 he was to receive in 1663 for his work for the King's Secret Service. Unfortunately the money was often not forthcoming and there are pleas from his family for these outstanding payments. It shows that he died in 1684, the year before the Monmouth Rebellion, but his pension was to continue to be received by his wife, Joanne and children - Anthony, Charles, Mary and Anne. It was his eldest son Anthony who was to take over his role and live in what was the largest house in the village opposite the Church, where he lived for almost 80 years. Little is known about him apart from the charitable work that he did that is recorded on the impressive marble monument erected by his niece's husband, Richard Henvill who inherited his estate. He no doubt had the same loyalty as his father to King Charles II, as he was still receiving a pension of £ 100 a year as a result of his support.

KIng Charles II
The Oak Tree at Boscable
Escape
An early engraving representing King Charles and his companions attempting to escape across Country to the coast.
Trent
Elsdons Monkton Wylde
The plaque above the window near the entrance to Elsdons Farmhouse which was occupied by a tenant of John, brother of William Ellesdon, signifying thta on September 22nd 1651, Charles II stayed here before entering Charmouth in an attempt to leave the shore there and flee to St Omer in France. On the death of Anthony, son of William Ellesdon in 1737, the estates passed to his nephew Richard Henvill, but the name, though shortened continued being used both for the farm and the Lane that passes it on the way to the centre of Monkton Wyld.The farm was owned with the village and many other farms by Viscount Bridport. In 1895 all his houses and lands which extended to over 5,500 acres were sold by auction.
The plaque is one of a number in the area which were placed on building associated with the Escape of king Charles II in 1651.
In the seventeenth century The Abbots House was an inn, patronised we are told by cavaliers and here King Charles II stayed whilst waiting for Stephen Limbry to take him to France. A ham stone chimney piece with the initials C.R. was put up after the Restoration, which was covered over with plaster sometime after 1815.
Abbots House Hotel in the Street in Charmouth today
The plaque above the entrance doorway at Abbots House
 
 
 
 
William Ellesdon, who subsequently furnished Lord Clarendon with the detailed account of his share in the events of September 22-3, 1651, had two sons, Anthony (born 1658)and Charles (the latter, born on June, 1661, named after the King). Anthony Ellesdon lived till 13 November, 1737, having survived his brother Charles thirty-two years. There is a monument to him in St. Andrews Church at Charmouth, removed from the older building. His mother and wife as well as his brother Charles were buried in the same vault with Anthony.
William Ellesdon of Lyme Regis purchased the manor in 1649.On his death , Anthony his son, who was born in Charmouth in 1659, was to become Lord of the Manor. He certainly lived in the Manor House, opposite St. Andrews Church. It was the not as we see it today as the eastern part being added later. Anthony Ellesdon, according to the record on his memorial in the church, was a great benefactor to the village, and there are a number of memorials to him, the most magnificent is the marble tablet commemorating his life.
Anthony son of William Ellesdon was a benefactor to the church, as appears by an inscription in St. Andrews, "Re-edifyed and beautifyed by Anthony Ellesdon. Esq. 1732"
 
Members of the Ellesdon family were Mayors of Lyme Regis seven times between 1521 and 1651, in which year Anthony Ellesdon held the office. In the ancient and interesting church of Lyme Regis is a brass in memory of four of them with the family arms and the lines : � " Men pious just & wise, each many a yeere The helme of this towne's government did steere Beyond base envious reach, whose endless name Lives in all those that emulate theire fame."
 
The Hearth Tax of 1664 for Charmouth shows William Ellesdon having the largest house, The Manor, opposite St. Andrews Church, with 6 Hearths. Lower down in the list is Stephen Limbry, who was to assist in the escape of the King with just 1 hearth. William Lymbry with 4 hearth, probably his brother is known to have been living in what is now Charmouth House at the junction of Higher Sea lane and the Street
A "Wanted" poster similar to this would no doubt have been seen by Stephen Limbry`s wife after her visit to the market in Lyme Regis the same day. It was issued by Oliver Cromwell offering a reward for Charles II`s capture of £1,000.It was to make her suspicious of her husband's actions and as a consequence she was to lock him in their house so that he could not meet the King on the beach at the allotted hour.
The Royal Oak in Charmouth today with its hanging sign recording the Escape of Charles II
The hanging sign at the Royal Oak in Charmouth
 
 
A print showing king Charles after the restoration returning in glory.

William Ellesdon, Lord of the Manor of Charmouth must have been held in high regard by King Charles as he almost succeeded in assisting in the escape of King Charles II to France after the battle of Worcester. William had formerly been a Captain for the Royalists who had since become a successful Merchant. He had assisted in the escape of Lord Berkeley to France and it was for this reason that Colonel Wyndham recommended him to the King to assist in his escape.
The King left his refuge at Trent, south of Dorchester and was to stay overnight with John, brother of William Ellesdon at his house at Monkton Wylde which still stands today and is known as Elsdon`s Farmhouse. He was then going on to Charmouth where a boat would be waiting to take him to France and safety. Unfortunately the scheme backfired when the wife of the boat man, Stephen Lymbry, found out and locked him in a room in their house. As a result the future king had to spend a night at what is now the "Abbots House" in the Street, before travelling on to Bridport. This event was to put Charmouth on the map forever more and our own William Ellesden in a long letter tells the story in vivid detail to Lord Clarendon of his part in the story, which is shown below.
In reward for Captain Ellesdon`s services and loyalty, his Majesty, on his restoration visited the village on July 2, 1671and granted to him and two successive heirs a pension of £300 per annum. He was presented with a medal bearing the inscription "faithful to the horns of the Altar". The King also gave him a beautiful miniature by Samuel Cooper, together with a pair of silver candlesticks, which are believed to be in the West Indies, when descendants settled there.
In the years 1681-3, the Mayor of Lyme Regis, Captain Gregory Alford, showed much energy in the persecution of Dissenters and accused William Ellesden of conniving in the proceedings of conventicle preachers. There is a letter dated February 18 th 1681 where Ellesden writes in his defence that: �He has no power in Lyme and is not a magistrate of the borough. He lives at Charmouth 11/2 miles away, but is willing to execute the laws under dissenters. He goes on to say that Captain Gregory Alford did read his letter to every person he did meet with in the street, to men, women & Children, by which means, having notice of it , did avoid the apprehension. He wishes for an order to arrest John Brice a conventicle preacher in Charmouth. He has no jurisdiction in Lyme�.
More than a year later William Ellesden was still living, for on July 7 1683, the Bishop of Bristol complains of his � discouraging the King`s information against unlawful Conventicle meetings, � allaging that � he refused to give to the poor of the parish, & gave always to every preacher that was convicted�. Ellesdon at that time was over 60. He was born in 1620 and purchased the Manor of Charmouth in 1648.He was no doubt still Lord of the Manor of Charmouth in 1685 when the Duke of Monmouth passed the shores of the village on his way to Lyme Regis. It is interesting to read that by 1689 his heirs petitioned the House of Commons for the payment of the arrears due of the pension granted him on account of the assistance he gave King Charles in 1651.

 
The visit of Charles II in 1671, when he rode over from Lyme to Charmouth, the nearby village, where he had a narrow escape from capture in 1651. This is the only known occasion on which he went back to the actual theatre of youthful perils and adventures incurred in the days when he was a fugitive. And yet this visit was not intentional. On the King's return to Portsmouth in 1671, after a naval tour of inspection, he was driven into Lyme by stress of weather, and in those days of sailing ships the West Bay with its Chesil Bank was justly a terror to sailors in a South West gale. Having landed at Lyme, Charles bethought him of Charmouth, thereby avoiding (among other possible drawbacks of his enforced stay) the intrusive attentions of Lyme's superheated local jingo, Gregory Alford (folio 26). The king rode out of Lyme, to a salvo of guns from the forts, by Mill Green and Colway Lane, up Charmouth Hill (when the guns went off again), and so on by the old Roman road past the golf links to Charmouth. He had three western magnates in attendance—a Courtenay, a Rolle, and an Acland. All these things are set out in figures taken from accounts of the town. Of what he did when at Charmouth we know nothing, but he would have wanted no one to jog his memory as to the excitements of twenty years ago. an extract from Lyme Leaflets -Cyril Wanklyn
An extract from �Where Dorset meets Devon� by Francis Bickley 1911

King Charles II had got safe to Trent, near Sherborne. The matter was to get him out of England, for his enemies were following every scent. One design had already come to nothing, when Colonel Wyndham, his Majesty's host, bethought him of a certain Captain William Ellesden of Lyme, who had had a hand in getting Sir John Berkeley over the sea. Wyndham went to Lyme, found Ellesden and told his story, taking the precaution, however, to name only Lord Wilmot as concerned in the adventure. Ellesden, a staunch loyalist, readily promised his aid. He brought the colonel to Charmouth to a tenant of his, Stephen Limbry, who agreed for a fee of sixty pounds to have a boat in readiness in Charmouth roads at a given date and to conduct the party, of whose names and rank he was, of course, ignorant, safely to France.
The preliminaries settled, Wyndham's next concern was to get the king to Charmouth, and also to provide that his midnight departure should not arouse suspicions. He sent his servant, Henry Peters, to the Queen's Arms; and Peters, over a glass of wine, told the landlady, a sentimental soul, a gallant story of how his master loved a lady of Devon, and she him again, how stern parents thwarted their desires, and of how the lovers had decided for an elopement. He then arranged that the best room in the inn should be theirs for the appointed evening, though they would not sleep there but leave in the small hours of the following morning.
The day came. Julia Coningsby, Lady Wyndham's niece, rode postillion behind the King. The Colonel accompanied them, while Lord Wilmot and the man Peters followed at some distance, as though uncon­nected. The King masqueraded as William Jackson. On the way they called at the house of Captain Ellesden's brother, where Charles made himself known to the captain and gave him a piece of gold " in which, in his solitary hours, he made a hole to put a ribbon in.
Then the party went on to Charmouth to wait for Limbry. They waited. A serious hitch had occurred in that well-intentioned seaman's plans. His wife, uninformed of his project, and suspicious of his secrecy, had locked him in his room, where she kept him until morning. Meanwhile the anxious Royalists had sent a message to Ellesden, who advised a prompt departure from Charmouth. So, thwarted once more, they rode on to Bridport.
Ellesden's advice was wise. Suspicion had been aroused in other breasts besides the flinty Mrs. Limbry's. The King's horse had needed shoeing and the smith, Hammet, a man who knew his trade, noticed that the beast had been shod in three separate shires, and that one of the three was Worcestershire, the county in all men's thoughts. The ostler at the Queen's Arms, already in a state of curiosity about these strange gentlemen who had kept their horses saddled all night, went off at once to Mr. Wesley, the minister. But the parson was praying, and prayed so long that the ostler could not wait for the "Amen." When Wesley was at last told the news, Charles and his friends were well on the Bridport road.
This Mr.Wesley, who was great grandfather of the founder of Methodism, was a dry man who loved not romance. He favoured the roundhead cause and would gladly have apprehended the fugitive king. It was in an ill and sarcastic temper that he walked into the Queen's Arms Inn that morning. " Why, how now, Margaret! " he greeted the landlady. " You are a maid of honour now." " What mean you by that, Mr. Parson? " quoth she." Why, Charles Stuart lay last night at your house, and kissed you at his departure; so that now you can't be but a maid of honour." Margaret fired up. " If I thought it was the King," she retorted, " I would think the better of my lips all the days of my life, and so you, Mr. Parson, get out of my house." So poor Mr. Wesley retired, but it was lucky for Mistress Margaret that those were not the days of the Bloody Assizes.
At Bridport Charles put up at the George. Here again he was all but discovered. The place was full of soldiers and servants. The King, himself acting in the latter capacity, must mingle with the crowd in the yard. An ostler greeted him with puzzled recognition, and but for that ready wit of the Stuart's it is probable that his disguise would have been pierced. Anyway, another move was thought advisable. So the party took a by-road to Broadwindsor, where once more they found themselves in an inn-parlour full of soldiers. Fate seemed fighting for the roundheads, but an unexpected ally appeared in the person of a young woman, in the excitement of whose sudden travail the strangers were forgotten. Their next move was back to Trent.
The Letter of William Ellesdon of Charmouth to the Earl of Clarendon concerning the adventures of Charles II in West Dorset on September 22, 23 and 24, 1651 (Transcribed from the Original Letter preserved in the Bodleian Library)

To the Right Hon. Edward Earl Clarendon, Lord Chancelor of England &c Right Honourable Humbly considering that a compleat and perfect narration of the many & great dangers & the late many & signall deliverances wch his Sacred Majesty met with all after that fatall rout at Worcester until his Majesties happy arrival at that porte of safety at wch Allmighhty God, his gracious & mercifull Preserver had designed for him, cannot but be very acceptable to all good Christians & Loyall hearts, wch being a work so much conducing to the Glory of God and the hono^f renowne of y! most most dread Soveraigne, and withall observing too great defectiveness in those narratives upon this subject that I have hitherto seen as to some of those eminent deliverances which God was pleased mercifully to voutchsafe his Majesty in the west : to the intent that if God shall stirre up the heart of any learned & able Historian to give a true & full account of those remarkable passages of Providence to the World, 1 may contribute my Mite to such a noble & desirable undertaking ; I have now (upon presumption of your Lordships favourable acceptance) taken upon me the boldnesse to present unto your Lordship a brief account of those memorable passages in this kind Vf^}}. my self (having been an Agent in them) had the honoi: & happinesse to be acquainted wth. The well yoL Lordship may be pleased to take as folio weth. After that his Majesty disappointed of his hopes of embarking at Bristol! (of w£t yoE Lordship may inform yo!: self in that Account wSl? a person of Quality hath given the world in his book styld the History of His Sacred Maty CharlesII printed at London Anno 1660 pag 125)his Majesty desired to be brought some miles westward to the house of a worthy gent whom hee knew to be a trusty friend & accordingly his Ma^j; being conveyed to the house of Colonell Francis Wyndham of Trent in Soml', advice was had about preparation of a passage for his Ma'I in some Westerne Port. In prosecution of wf^ myself being look't upon as a person that might be confided in, and in a capacity of giving his MaL^-in order to his transportation (having not long before been instrumental! in getting safe passage for Sir John [now Lord] Berkly) upon or about the i8^ September 1651 the afor- said honourable & truly Loyall gent Coll : Francis Wyndhame came to me at my house in Lyme (where I then lived, looking upon it as some protection to me in those times to live in that towne) when after some other discourse had, and an engagemIL* to secrecie passed betwixt us, he told me that the King had sent him to me Commanding me to procure him a vessell in order to his transportation into some part of France. Being overjoyed to heare that my Soveraign was soe neare me (the Coll had informed me he was) & even ravisht with content at an opportunity of expressing the Loyalty of my heart to his Most Excellent Majesty ) so unexpectedly presented itself, I answered that I would with the utmost hazard of my person and wtsoever else was deare unto me (as knowing my self by all obligations, both sacred & civill thereunto obliged) strenously endeavol the execution of Majesty both just & reasonable commands in this particular : being verily persuaded that either God would preserve me from, or else support me in and under any sufferings for so good a cause. Accordingly I immediatly sent one to the Custom-house to make enquiry who had entered his vessell as bound for France. Newes was brought me that one S. L. of Charmouth had lately entered his Barque, and intended a speedy voyage to St. Mallo. Not only myself but also Coll: Wyndham was much affected with these tidings, having first told him that I had an interest in the Master. The Letter of William Ellesdon (he being my Tenant) and that hee ever had the repute of being well affected to his Ma!I- Upon these encouragemts wee (resolving to loose noe time) road to Charmouth by the Sea-syde to conferre with the Master w£^ way I the rather make choice of that in y! passage thither I might show the Coll: what place I judged most convenient for His Majesty to take boat in (in case wee could work the master to a comply- ance) in order to his imbarquing, and indeed a more commodious place for such a designe could hardly be found, it lying upon the shoare a Quarter of a mile from any house, and from any horse or foot path. The Coll: being fully satisfyed of the conveniency of the place, wee rode into the towne and immeiatly sent for the Master who being very happily at home presently repaired to us at the Inne. Friendly saluations and some endearing complemi! being premised, (and a name that was not his owne being by me in the hearing of the master given to the Coll: in way of disguise) I told him that the end of our sending for him was to procure passage for a friend ot mine and this gentlemans who had had a finger in the pye at Worcester. The man being startled at this proposition (as apprehending more than ordinary danger in such an undertaking) we were necessitated to use many arguml! for the removall of his feares, w£i^ were so happily managed that in a little time wee saw the effect of them by his chear- full undertaking the businesse. Wherefore an ample reward being engaged for our one part he promised speedily to prepare his vessell, and to hale her out of the cobb the munday following, and about mid- night send his boat to the place appointed for the taking in of the passenger, and then immediatly to put off to sea (in case the winds were favourable). Thus far we were aggreed, and in all our discourse there was noe enquiry made by the master, nor any least intimation given by us who this passenger might be, whose quality we purposed concealed lest the hopes of gaining ;^iooo (promised reward of the highest Treason) might prove a temptation too strong for the master to grapple with. Having thus farre successfully proceeded in our businesse we returned to Lyme. The next day (being Friday) Coll : Wyndham resolved on returning to his house at Trent with these hopefull tidings to his Majesty I bore him company part of his journey, and chose the Land road from Lyme to Charmouth, that upon the top of a hill situate in our way betwixt these two townes, upon a second view he might be more perfectly acquainted with the way that leads from Charmouth to the place appointed for his Majesty taking boat, it being judged more convenient upon severall accounts that the Coll : & not myself should be his Majesty conductor thither. Here calling to mind that on Monday (the day appointed for his Majesty imbarquing) a Fayre was to be held at Lyme, and withall doubting lest upon that account (through the nearnesse of the place) our Inne in Charmouth might be filled with other guests, wee sent downe one Harry Peters then a servant of yf Colls (who yet was not with us there the day before) with Instructions by the earnest of five shillings to secure the 2 best roomes in the Inne ag' his Majesty cominge, who told the hostesse (to take off all suspicion) this fayre tale : that there was a young man to come thither next Munday that had stolen a gentlewoman to marry her and (fearing lest they should be followed & hindered) that he desired to have the house & stables at liberty to depart at whatsoever houre of the night he should think fittest. This menage being performed, roomes made sure of and the serv^ returned, I then shewed Coll: a country house of my father's distant both from Lyme & Charmouth about a mile & half, w^ (for the privacy of it) we determined should be the place whither his Majesty with the Lord Wilmott, who then waited on him, should repair on Munday next, that I might then & there give his Majesty a further account of what had passed in the interim betwixt myself & the master. Now being abundantly satisfyed and exhilerated in the review of the happy progresse we had thus far made, with most affectionate em- braces the noble Coll: and myself parted. He returning to his house to wait upon his Majesty & myself towards mine vigorously to prosecute what yet remained on my part to be done with the master in order to the compleating of this work thus happily begun. In the performance of w£l^ that I might approve myself faythfull, I the same day & the day following, and also on the Munday after, having diligently sought out the master, moved & pressed him soe earnestly to the punctuall per- formance of his passed promise, that he seemed discontented at my Importunity as betraying in me a suspicion of his fidelity. A little to allay his passion I told him I was assured that the Gent my friend would be at Charmouth on Munday, and that if he were not then ready to transport him, it might prove an undoing both to my friend & me. Whereuppon to vindicate himself he told me that he had taken in his ballast, that he had victualled himself & haled out his vessell to the Cobbs mouth for feare of being beneaped, because the tides at that time were at the lowest, being well satisfyed with this answer I left him (after that I had given him instructions how to prevent any jealousies that might arise in the breasts of the mariners concerning the persons to be transported) and immediatly went to the aforsaid Country house of my Fathers, whither when I was come (and perceived that I was the first comer) that I might also erect a blind for the Tenant's eyes I demanded of him whether the London Carier had passed that day or not, telling withall that I expected 2 or 3 friends, who promised to meete me there about yf time of the Carrier passing that way. His answer to me was but little to the purpose. But in half an houre after my arrivall thither came the King with Mrs Julian Conisby, a kinswoman of the Colonells who rode behind him, the Lord Wilmot, Coll Wyndham & his man Peters attending on him. After theyr coming in I took the first opportunity to acquaint his Mail of what had passed betwixt myself & the master after Coll. Wyndhams departure from me. The result of all ws!} was this, that the master had assured me that all things were in a readinesse for the intended voyage, and that, (according to instructions given him) he had possessed the Sea- men with a belief that one of the passengers viz Lord Wilmott was a merchant by name Mr Payne & the other, meaning the King, was his servant That the reason of Mr Payne's taking ship at Charmouth at such an unseasonable hour, and not at Lyme, was because that being a Town-Corporate he feared an Arrest, his Factor at St. Mallo having broken him in the estate by his unfaithfuhiesse to him, and that there- fore he was necessitated with this his serl^ speedily & privately to transport himself to St. Mallo aforll in order to the recovery of such goods of his as by his sayd Factor were detained from him, the sending of wSl} goods at severall times this serl^ of his could sufficiently testify & prove. This I the rather acquainted his Majesty & the Lord Wilmot with, that after theyr being shipped (the more to confirme the mariners) they might drop some discourses to this effect. His Ma'i' who showed his approbation of what I had done, was graciously pleased as a testimony of his Royall favor (w^J^ I have ever esteemed as a Jewell of greatest worth) to bestow upon me a piece of gold, telling me that at present he had nothing to bestow upon me but that small piece, but that if ever it should please God to restore him to his Kingdom, He would readily grant me whatsoever favor I might in reason petition him for. Upon this his Ma^' attended as is before expressed, rode towards Charmouth, commanding me to hasten to Lyme & there to continue my care that all things might be performed according to his Majesty expectations & the masters promise. Accordingly I made hast home, found out the master, acquainted him that my friend was now at Charmouth, and that I newly came from him. He replyed that he was glad of it, that he would presently repaire to Charmouth to speak with him and to tell him when he would come ashore for him, which accordingly he did. And thus farre all things succeeded according to our best wishes, both the wind & tyde seeming to be at strife which of them should most comply with our desyres. But after all these fayre hopes and the great likelyhood we had all conceived of his Majesty happy tran,The Letter of William Ellesdon portation, it pleased God Allmighty for the cleare manifestation of his Infinitely glorious wisdome & powerful! goodness in his Majesty preservation, suddenly to blast this designe, and to caste his Majesty upon a new straite & dangers. For the master either through weaknesse of judgwi or else in design to prevent a discovery had utterly forborne to acquaint his wife with his intention to goe to sea until it was almost time for him to goe aboard. Whereupon he noe sooner called for his chest, but his wife asked him why he would goe to sea having no goods aboard. The master now thought himself necessitated to tell her that his landlord Mr Ellesdon had provided him a freight w^ would be much more worth to him, than if his ship were full laden with goods, he being to transport a Gent a friend of his. His wife (having been at Lyme Fair that day, and having heard the proclamation read wherein was promised as a Reward for the discovery of the Kinge, and in wsl^ the danger of these also was represented that should conceale his Majesty, or any of those who were engaged with him at Worcester, and apprehendinge that this Gent might be one of that party) forwith locked the doors upon him, and by the help of her two daughters kept him in by force, telling him that shee & her Children would not be undone for even a landlord of them all, and threatened him that if he did but offer to stirre out of doors, shee would instantly go to Lyme & give Information both ag^ him & his Landlord to Captain Macey, who had then the command of a foot company there. Here the master showed his wisdome, not a little, by his peaceable behavior, for had he striven in the leaste it is more than probable that his Majesty & his Attend'! had been suddenly seised upon in the Inne. But I must needs awhile leave the master a prisoner in his owne house, his wife & daughters being now become his keepers, whilst I render an account of the actings of Coll: Wyndham who with his man Peters, at the time appointed, went to the place aggreed upon to expect the landing of the boat ; but no boat coming after severall houres waiting (because he saw the tide was spent) he resolves upon returning to the Inne. In his way thither he discovers a man coming, dogg'd at a small distance by two or three women. This indeed was the Master of the Vessell, who by this tyme had obtained liberty (yet still under the eyes of his over jealous Keepers) to walk towards the Sea-side with an intention to make known to those that waited for him the sad tidings of this unexpected disappointment together with its causes. The Collonel (whom they met) though he conceived it might be the master, yet being not certain of it and seeing the women at his heels, passed him by, without enquiring into the reason of the non performance of his promise. Your Lordship may easily guesse that this frustration of hopes was matter of trouble as well as admiration to his Majesty: The issue of it was that Peters very early the Tuesday-morning was sent unto me to know the reason of it. He had no sooner delivered his message, but Astonishmt seised on me, and the foresight of those sad consequencies wEl^ 1 feared might be the fruits of this disaster wrought in me such disquietmt of mind that (for the time) I think I scarcely sustained a like upon any occasion in all my life before, my confidence of his Majesty safe departure adding not a little to the weight of that load of sorrow, which afterwards lay so heavy upon me. The cause I plainly told him I was wholly ignorant of (except this were it, that in regard it was fayer day the master might not be able effectually to command his mariners out of the Ale-houses to their work), but promised speedily to search into it, and upon after enquiry I found it to be what I have before related. But here (because I apprehended y! delaies might prove in- auspicious) I presently dismissed the messenger with this my humble advice to his Majesty that his longer stay in Charmouth might indanger his discovery ; which had certainly proved the issue of it had not God King of Kings graciously & even miraculously prevented it. The hostesse of the house little thinking what manner of guests the chambers before spoken of had been secured for, had at that time admitted to be her Hostler one of Captain Maceys souldiers a notorious Knave, who observing & taking notice that the Coll: & his man went out so late at night towards the Sea-syde, and that the rest of the company during their absence were more private then travellers are wont to be, and perhaps inspired & prompted by the devill strongly suspected one of these guests to be the King under the disguize of a womans habit, & ceased not once & againe to discover his jealousies unto his mistresse. But shee (though from the fellow's words & the consederation of some circumstances which that night & some dayes before had occurred, she had some thoughts that it might be so) yet detesting as much to lodge Treason in her heart, as she would have been proud of enter- taining the King in her house, very passionately rebuked her Hostler for these insolencies, hoping by that means to put a stop to his (as she judged) treasonable projects. Yet this her honest design wrought not the intended effect upon this the heart of this her treacherous servant. For the same morning whilst Peters was with me at Lyme he went to speak with the then parson of Charmouth, intendinge to communicate his suspicions to him, found no opportunity to speak with him, he being at that time engaged in prayer with his family. Another remarkable passage we must of necessity here insist which was this : My Lord Wilmott's horse wanting a shooe, in Peter's, his absence, the Hostler led him to one Hammets a smyth then living in Charmouth, who viewing the remaining shoes, sayd, this horse hath but three shooes on and they were set in 3 severall Counties & one of them in Worcestershire. Which speech of his fully confirmed the Hostler in his former opinion. By this tyme Harry Peters being returned from Lyme, my Lord Willmot's horse shod, on the advertisemt that was sent him, his Majesty immediately departed towards Bridport a Towne eastwarde of Bridport and about five miles distant from it. The Hostler now that the Birds had taken theyre flight began to spread his net. For going a 2^ time to the parson he fully discovered his thoughts to him, and withall told him wt the smyth had said con- cerning my Lord Willmots horse. The parson hereupon hastens to yl Inne, and salutes the hostesse in this manner Why ! how now Margaret you are a maid of honor now. What meane you by that Ml Parson quoth she. Sayde hee Why Charles Stuart lay the last night at yor house & kirst you at his departure, so that now you cant but be a maid of honor. The woman began then to be very angry, and told him he was a scurvy-condition'd man to go about to bring her 8z: her house into trouble. But said she if I thought it was the King (as you say it was) I would think the better of my lips all dayes of my life. And so ML Parson get you out of my house, or else I'll get those shall kick you out. I have represented this discourse in the Interlocutors own words, by this means to make it the more pleasant to yor Lordship. But to returne to the maine intendmt of this my Narrative, I shall (before we come in our thoughts to attend his majesty in his jorney eastwards) humbly begge of yor Lord? this favor that yor Lordship would here be pleased seriously to admire with myself the goodnesse of Allmighty God in infatuating this Hostler & the rest of his majesty enemies in these parts. First of all parson (being not a little nettled at the rude & sharpe language the Hostess gave him) taking Hammet the smyth along with him he speedily applyed himself to the next Justice of the peace, to inform him of the forementioned jealousies, together with the reasons of them and earnestly pressed him to raise the County by his warrants in order to his majesty apprehension. But he (as God was pleased to order it) thinking it very unlikely that the King should be in these parts, notwithstanding all the parsonS bawling & the strong probabilities upon wch theyre Conjectures seemed to be grounded, utterly rejected his counsaile, fearing lest he should make himself ridiculous to all the Countrey by such an undertaking. As to the Hostler his imprudent managing of his mischievous intention discovered itself 2 ways, first in his having recourse to the parson, whereas, with greater likelyhood of successe he might have taken the advise Sc assistance of his fellow-souldiers, three whereof, being very desperate enemies to his majesty were at that time Inhabitants of Charmouth & his nearest neighbours. In the next place his egredgious folly was further manifested in his delaying to acquaint his Captain at Lyme with his suspicions abovenamed untill 12 of the clock that day. For had it not been for this neglect of his, his majesty escape would have been (in reason's eye) impossible, his Captain Macey having no sooner received the report of these surmizes, and Information, on wt horses & in wt equipage, wch way the persons suspected made theyr departure from Charmouth ; but, having (in all liklyhood) the promised Reward of such mischievous diligence in his eye, he instantly resolves to leave no means un- attempted, that with least shadowe of probability might conduce to his majesty Attachmt. In pursuance of which Resolves he presently mounts & Setting spurrs to his horse in a full career he rides towards Bridport, where, at his arrivell after little inquiry made he was given to understand that some persons, with whom the descriptions he had received most exactly suited had dined at ye George that day, but not long before his cominge were departed towards Dorchester. This, therefore, was the next place to which he posted (the wings of covetousness & Ambition nimbly transporting his mind then it was possible his horse could convey his body) which he no sooner entered, but (as it he had been to execute some warrant for the apprehending of the most notorious felon in the Kingdome) with the utmost hast <Sc diligence imaginable, he searched all the Inns & Ale-houses in the town. But God (who had given him no commission to violate Majesty) was graciously pleased to make this furious hunter to overrunne the Game he hunted for. Wherefore dismissing him from creating any further trouble to yor Lordship (whose principles, I doubt, rather led him to the heights of discontent at his supposed losse, then to a Christian observance of that Divine hand of providence wch was no eminently seen in the preservation Royall Personage wch he intended to make a prey of) let us now again turne to his Majesty. Who in his passage from Charmouth meeting with no interruption in his jorney, soon reached Bridport. Turning in at the George he (to the astonishment doubtlesse both of himself & his Attendants) found himself surrounded by his enemies ; There being at that tyme in the said Towne divirs foot-companies drawen together, who now designed for an expedition against Jerzy. But being as yet unsus- pected (lest he might too late bewaile the sad effects of delay), after a short repast (too short indeed at any time but this for so great & Heroicall a Prince) his majesty left this Towne going on the way that leads towards Dorchester. In wch he had not rid past half a mile, ere, by the finger of Divine Providence he was directed into a narrow lane, on the left hand of Dorchester Road : By wch meanes (though they knew not whither they went) they were that evening safely con- ducted to Broad-windsor a country parish some six miles north of Bridport.* They very fortunately lighted upon an Inne, where both the inn- holder & his wife were well known to Coll : Wyndham, they having formerly been servants to some of his Allies. The Coll : being confident he had an interest in them, upon the account of his former knowledge of them, and the relation they sometimes had to some of his kindred, persons of no mean quality, requested that hee & his com- pany might that night be lodged in the most convenient rooms for privacy theyr house would afford, Telling them that himself & his Brother Colonel Bullen Reymes (meaning my Lord Willmot who very much resembled him) had transgrest theyr limits. The Royalists at that time being confined with 5 miles distance from their homes. This they readily condescended to, and thereupon led them to the upper- most chambers in their house. Yet here the face of danger was againe discovered to them, for they had not been housed much above half an houre & before a Company of Troopers (to the number of 40) came thither, with an intention to quarter in this & other houses adjacent. Which accident might in all likelyhood have proved fatall to his (the Souldiers everywhere about that time being proudly inquisitive into the names, qualities, affairs and businesses of strangers) had not God in his infinite mercy incapacitated them for such like actings here, by cutting out work of another nature for them. For having a woman in theyr company, who not long after theyr coming thither fell in travaile, and was delivered of a child : the Officers & other inhabitants of the said parish (having notice thereof) contested so long with them, about free- ing their parish from the Burthen of its maintenance, till sleep & drouzynesse had rendered theyr heads unfit for anything but theyr pillowes. Upon which whilst they soundly slept, his majesty: together with his Attendants arising some houers before day, and taking the opportunity of that time of silence retired themselves undiscovered unto Trent. Where after his majesty had concealed himself about a weeke he departed thence to one Mistress Hyde's near Salisbury. What after- wards passed I must needs leave to others that had the honor to know it, being myself unable to spinne the thread of this History any longer. Thus have I (Right Honourable) without the least violation of Truth's Chastity made a brief Collection of those never to be forgotten miracles Providence wrought by the hands of Omnipotency for the Conservation of his most Sacred majesty in the midst of the many Perills he was exposed to in the West of Dorset, which came within my Cognizance, which I humbly lay (such as it is) at yor Lordships feet, being hereunto prompted upon the following considerations. First that I might present yor Honor with some new matter for your meditations, having frequently observed yor Lordship to be much delighted both in moving & also in hearinge discourses upon this subjects. Secondly that yor Lordship by recounting in the hearing of others these Dei Magnalia may quicken & excite them to a serious minding & due improvement of the Infinite wisdome, power & good- nesse of the Most Highe God (the great preserver even of Kings) manifested in wt hath been the subject matter of the precedent Narra- tive. Lastly, that I might leave in yor Honors hands some monument of my reall gratitude for the many Favors yor Lordship hath been pleased to conferre on me. But it is time for me to remember what the Poet said to his Augustus In publica commoda peccem, Si longo sermone mover tua tempora Lest, therefore, I showld offend through my unseasonable pro- lixity, having first with all submission craved yor Lordships Pardon for this my great Presumption in tendering to yor Lordship whom the world justly esteems so absolute a Master of Speech, such a rude & unpolisht Story, I shall only begg the honour to subscribe myself. My Lord Your Lordships Most humbly devoted servant Will : Ellesdon