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arms and thighs, in addition to the ordinary “breasts, backs, and pots.” A group of these sable suits may still be seen in the Tower of London, ranged behind the equestrian row of tilting knights who occupy the centre of the room.
The King's western army which at this moment was advancing out of Cornwall, comprised many of his Majesty's Wiltshire adherents, such as the Marquis of Hertford, the Earl of Marlborough, Lord Arundel of Wardour, and Sir George Vaughan the Sheriff. After several skimishes with Waller on the south side of Bath, they threw themselves upon Marshfield, north of the city. Waller, whose design was to prevent their juncture with the King's forces at Oxford, thereupon tempted them to an engagement, by shewing himself on the ridge of Lansdowne Hill; and a fiercely contested battle was the result, fought on the 5th day of July, 1643, Waller retired to Bath; and the Royalists, who claimed the victory, discovered that they had won it very dearly. The greater part of their cavalry was lost, their ammunition spent, Sir Bevill Granville slain, Lord Arundel of Wardour and Sir George Vaughan severely wounded, the latter fatally, and Sir Ralph Hopton blinded on the following day by the explosion of an ammunition waggon. A monument stands on the spot where Granville and so many of his brother officers fell, near the boundary line which separates the counties of Somerset and Gloucestershire. In form it resembles that subsequently erected, for a more pacific purpose, on Etchilhampton hill near Devizes, except that it is surmounted by a different crest. Sir Bevill's monument was raised by his descendant, the first Lord Lansdowne, who took his title from that “well-foughten field,” and from whom it has descended through a female channel to the present Marquis.
As Waller quitted the brow of Lansdowne, and “led back from strife his shattered bands” he had the city of Bath as a post of refuge in his rear, and a garrison of men to recruit his ranks. Here therefore he refitted his army, and borrowed
moreover of Colonel William Strode the sum of £500 for present necessities, a debt which the Parliament eventually repaid, by an order of 6th Sep. 1645. Not so the Royalists. As their only resource lay in pushing for Oxford, they broke up from Marshfield on the 8th and marched towards Chippenham and thence on the following day to Devizes; carrying Sir Ralph Hopton in a litter. Here it might at first sight excite surprise that, Oxford being their aim, they should have thought it necessary to deviate so much to the right as Devizes lay. The reason is perhaps to be found in the exposure to which their infantry would have been liable from Waller's numerous cavalry, had they traversed the (then) open unenclosed country between Chippenham and Malmesbury. The dangerous proximity of the Malmesbury garrison was also to be taken into account. But more likely still, (as subsequent events suggest) the desire to reach Devizes was in accordance with their own arrangement that a reinforcement of powder should advance to meet them by way of Marlborough and the Roundway-Hill route.
The result was, that as Chippenham was no farther from Bath than it was from Marshfield, Waller speedily came up with them, and fell upon their rear as they were quitting Chippenham, and again at Bromham House the seat of Sir Edward Baynton. From this point to Devizes a running fight from hedge to hedge was maintained by the Cornish musketeers who, under Sir Nicholas Slanning, ably kept the rear-guard and effected for the royal artillery a safe entry into the town; in the afternoon of Sunday 9th July.
In order to render this last movement perfectly intelligible to the modern residents in Devizes, it should be observed that Bromham-hall is not to be confounded with any building in the village of Brombam. This would have been out of the line of the army's march. The house of the Bayntons stood (indeed a fragment still stands) near that part of the parish called Netherstreet; and a portion of the ancient straight road leading thence towards the Iron-pear-tree-farm is still in existence, though not marked in the Ordnance map. It may have been by this passage therefore, rather than through Rowde, that the town was attained.
W ALLER having failed to intercept the Royalists before
they reached Devizes, encamped for the night on “a large moor near Roxde," which we may suppose to indicate Edith marsh and Netherstreet. Early on the next morning he led his whole army, consisting of about 5500 men of all arms, through the Roundway passes, and thus at once cut off all further retreat in the direction of Marlborough. The activity of his scouts at the same time made him aware that a large supply of ammunition was approaching the town from that quarter, to intercept which he immediately dispatched Major Francis Dowett, who in half an hour discovered the waggons approaching with a convoy of dragoons under the command of the Earl of Crawfurd. A short conflict ensued, but the Royalists being greatly over-matched, the Earl abandoned his charge and hardly escaped with his life, leaving behind him 200 prisoners and five loads of ammunition. This skirmish appears to have taken place at Beckhampton.
Francis Dowett, a London trooper, who from this time forward becomes a very conspicuous personage in Wiltshire, was a sturdy little citizen of French extraction, and an officer of great energy and skill, though somewhat erratic and insubordinate. He eventually went over to the King's army, but before that took place he was thus stigmatised by one of the Royalist journalists. “ Dowett, a foreigner and a colonel fit for their cause and service, who most nobly carried Captain Fleming's colours into London along with the Earl of Essex, pretending very bravely that he took them at Newbury, till one of Fleming's troop knew the colours and challenged them
as belonging to his [own] captain.” Mercurius Aulicus 25th Oct. 1643. Another contemporary, speaking of Dowett, describes him as "a low man but of tall resolution,” the word "low" here indicating shortness of stature; as Fuller, discoursing of the low but learned Baconthorpe” says "I had almost overseen John Baconthorpe, being so low in stature as but one remove from a dwarf; of whom one saithIngenio magnus, corpore parvus erat. His wit was tall, in body small.” Church History i. 402.
While this was passing on the plain, Sir William drew nearer to Devizes, and perceived that a large body of the Royalists, both horse and foot, were drawn up on a rising ground east of the town, looking out for Crawfurd's approach. They had watched Waller's army descending the edge of the down, over the village of Roundway, and believing it to be their own friends, had placed themselves in battalia on the aforesaid rising ground in order to form as early a conjunction with them as possible. On discovering their mistake they retreated into the town, and Waller taking possession of the ground they had quitted, constructed on its summit a battery of seven guns and poured in his shot without intermission. The hill here alluded to is the ridge of Coate-field, a few hundred yards to the east of the Green Church.
In the town meanwhile where the Royalists at once dis. covered that there was no sufficient accommodation for the cavalry, "it was unanimously advised” says Clarendon "and consented to, that the Lord Marquis [Hartford] and Prince Maurice should that night break through with all the horse to Oxford; and that Sir Ralph Hopton, (who-by-this time was supposed past danger of death, and could hear and speak well enough, though he could not see or stir) with the Earl of Marlborough who was General of the artillery, the Lord Mohun, and other good officers of foot, should stay there with the foot and cannon, where it was hoped they might defend themselves for a few days, till the General might return with