Page images

command. Other gentlemen serving with him were Edward Popham, Thomas Bennett of Norton, William Sadler, William Stroud, Francis Dowett, and (subsequently) Henry Wansey. In Colonel Popham's troop rode Mr. Locke of Bristol,' father to the philosopher John Locke whom Mr. Popham afterwards sent to Oxford University. The nine brothers Ring should also be memorialised, who fought their way, not unharmed, all through the campaign, in Ludlow's service, and lived to present their united petition for arrears. They appear to have belonged to South Wilts. The name occurs at Semley, Sedghill, and Netheravon.

This new movement took place on the 23rd of June 1644. Ludlow entered Marlborough on a fair-day; and was fortunate enough there to surprise Sir Ralph (now Lord) Hopton, and chase him out of the town. A message now arrived, earnestly soliciting his assistance in behalf of Major Wansey of Warminster, who with a slender garrison was blockaded at Woodhouse, an old mansion near Longleat. Ludlow accordingly came on to Devizes and endeavoured, though ineffectually, to augment his troop in this town. His numbers were only 280; and on reaching Woodhouse he found himself so far from being in a capacity to raise the siege, that he was in turn himself chased by Sir Francis Doddington all through Warminster, Salisbury, and Whiteparish.

This was a very untoward commencement of his new warfare, and it was followed by a scene still more painful. Sir Francis Doddington returning in triumph to Woodhouse, speedily reduced the place, and then hung up twelve of the defenders (most of them being cloth manufacturers) on a single tree in front of the house, besides two deserters. The act was said to be in retaliation for the execution of six Irish royalist soldiers recently executed; but in justice to the King it must

The authority for this statement is not decisive.


Murder of Mr, Henry Penruddocke, at West Lavington.

be added that he disowned the deed in his reply to a remonstrance from the Parliament.

But though Ludlow's first adventure was a failure, the nomination in July of a new and more powerful county committee kept his troop in the saddle, and enabled him to take part in a variety of skirmishes in South Wilts and Somerset, all which are detailed with great minuteness in his “Memoirs" and in the newspapers of the day, but cannot with propriety be pressed into the history of Devizes. We must however make room for a tragical event occurring no farther off than Lavington; the merit of which seems to belong not so much to Ludlow himself as to his Major Francis Dowett; for Ludlow had just before been sent to the relief of Taunton, and it is not all certain that he was returned. [See his Memoirs.] Besides which, he cannot be suspected of treating with unprovoked cruelty the member of a neighbouring family. The affair was as follows.

On the 28th of December, being St. Innocent's day, a party of troopers belonging to Ludlow's regiment came to the house of Mr. Beckett of Bishop's Lavington, and finding Captain Henry Penruddocke (second son to Sir John Penruddocke late sheriff of the county) in one of the rooms, where he was fallen asleep in a chair after two nights of hard service, they pulled the poor gentleman by his hair, knocked him down, and broke two pistols over his head, without so much

As these unhappy men were be- also gives the size of the tree, meaing turned off from the ladder, one sured by paces; from which it apof them broke his rope and fell to pears to have covered a circular the ground, upon which he prayed area of about 119 feet in diameter. hard that he might be allowed to Natural History of Wilts, p. 53. fight for his life with any two of A rough tumulus still marks “ the the King's men; but he was un- clothiers' grave;" but Woodhouse heeded. Aubrey, who says the vic- itself has long been destroyed, and tims were 13 in number and that the ruins of the giant oak were they had surrendered upon quarter, converted into a desk for a publio adds, that Sir Francis caused a son school. to hang his father, or e contra. He

as tendering him quarter. The gentlewoman of the house [Mrs. Beckett] and her two daughters then fell upon their knees before the soldiers begging for the life of their guest, declaring that he was a gentleman and whose son he was; upon which one of the troopers who was a collier swore that he should die for his father's sake and forthwith shot him through the body.

For the details of the above statement we are indebted only to the Royalist Journal, the Mecurius Aulicus ; the papers in the opposite interest taking no notice of the transaction; but as it is certain that Mr. Penruddocke's death did happen at this time, we must be satisfied with the solitary account we possess. An entry in the Burial Register of Bishop's Lavington parish simply records the fact that “Mr. Henry Penruddocke gent. slain by a soldier of the contrary party, was buried 31st December 1644.” It is a matter of some surprise that his name should have been overlooked in the List of Royal Martyrs, published in Charles II.'s reign, and purporting to contain all the gentlemen of any distinction who fell in the royal cause : whereas, the only member of this family therein memorialised is Colonel John Penruddocke who was beheaded at Exeter in 1654 for the part which he took in the Salisbury rising against Oliver; and yet it is certain that at the place of execution, the said Colonel stated that two of his brothers had lost their lives in the service of King Charles. It may further be remarked, as an illustration of the fickleness of fame, that while the name of Henry Penruddocke was forgotten, that of Francis Dowett was trumpeted as a “royal martyr” in consequence of having lost his life soon after his desertion of the Parliament, but whose loyalty, (to adopt the sentiment of Sir Henry Lee of Ditchley) had now ennobled him. See Scott's Woodstock.The house in which the tragedy was enacted is still standing. It is now 1858 the farm house on Mr. Beckett Turner's estate

« PreviousContinue »