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  • Haydn Wheeler

Clubmen come face to face with Cromwell's New Model Army. Duncliffe and The Battle of Hambledon

Sir Lewis Dyve as Royalist Governor of Sherborne was 1st approached by the Clubmen in March of 1645. With the continued outrage being inflamed by Royalist General Goring's forces in the South West, Sir Lewis Dyve saw fit to quell their anger.

With colour , 40 horse and their furniture (tackle) Lewis Dyve's boosted the Clubmen's arsenal. The Clubmen were reported as

"we with great courage are now resolved to die, as to suffer the intolerance and outrages as put upon us by Goring's forces."

By May of 1645 things between the Royalist garrison under Sir Lewis Dyve's in Sherborne Castle had now taken a turn for the worst. The continued outrages being enforced upon the people in the South West by General Goring's forces had put Dyve's out of favour with the Clubmen. At a place between Shaftesbury and Blandford a meeting of Clubmen was held. Here it was agreed to stop the payments to the Royalists in Dorset, and a threat made to join the Parliamentarian forces in the West, under command of General Graves and Weldon.

A threat only. The Clubmen were still very much a force of their own through May, June, July in Dorset, as can be seen in their resolve to keep petitioning and demand a stop between King and Parliament in hostilities.

The focus on Goring is of great importance here also. The Clubmen were prepared to do what ever was needed. Royalist or Parliamentarian. Goring was the focus of their ills, but the exploits of Parliamentarian Edward Massey in the area and passing through troops from both sides were a reason for the Clubmen's anger also .

By August with Fairfax and army now in Dorset, and planning siege to Sherborne, the ongoing communications between the Clubmen and the Governor of Sherborne Castle were seen as a threat by Fairfax. It gives us good reason as to why the Clubmen had decided to meet at Shaftesbury on August 2nd-3rd and why Fairfax was eager to quash this third force before it was able to ignite as a revolt. Both King and Parliament had no desire to see the Clubmen succeed in a vision of their own making.

Fairfax in a letter addressed to his farther on the 4th August 1645 speaks of his arrival at Sherbourne and his desire to push Goring into Cornwall. The Clubmen of Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire are seen as dangerous if not quashed.

Letter front image, courtesy of Dorset History Centre

"We have taken 13 or 14 of their chief leaders, Leiutenent Cromwell is gone out with some horse to hinder the Clubmen's meeting which I here they have appointed to command and demand their leaders return. We most not neglect their business for their violence is probable to lead them to some foolish attempt, which I hope may make them repent their errors."

What follows after is Fairfax's concerns and wishing to be advised on further actions to be took when dealing with these Clubmen.

What is to be done with those captured in Shaftesbury?

Castle Hill Shaftesbury.

On the 2nd-3rd August 1645 Fairfax now knowing of a planned meeting of Clubmen in Shaftsbury, sent Colonel Charles Fleetwood with a thousand horse to quash. Fleetwood surrounded these Clubmen at a place called Castle Hill, he then captured the leading members and then returned with them to Sherborne, where Fairfax was stationed.

Image courtesy of Stewart MacArthur

Luck would have it, the Reverend Dr. Thomas Bravell one of the leading men in the Clubmen movement was not taken prisoner. With anger rising at the arrests the Reverend would hold a large part in what played out after on the 4th August at Hambledon Hill.

With the chuch bells ringing the signal to gather was heard. Sherborne being the target to free those previously took in Shaftesbury, The Clubmen with white "cokeade" in their hats numbering according to accounts from Fairfax's parliamentary report 2500, (some accounts put the number at 4000).

With horse drum and banner and armed with flintlock, scythe and pitchfork. The rendezvous at Hambledon Hill was set..

4th August 1645 Lieutenant General Cromwell having been given intelligence of Clubmen rendezvous in the county of Dorset, set forth to engage. With a party of 1000 Dragoons from Sherborne heading towards the town of Shaftesbury and passing through Sutton Waldron, his first encounter came at Duncliffe Hill a heavily wooded area near the town. Seeing colours (flags) flying from the top of the hill Cromwell sent a Lieutenant with a small party to see the meaning of the flying colours and to "aquatint the holders of, that the Lieutenant General of the army stood at the bottom of the hill." Upon hearing this and knowing Cromwell in person was at the bottom of the hill a Mr Richard Newman descended to meet with and questioned Cromwell on why the Gentlemen (leaders of the Clubmen) had been taken in Shaftesbury the previous Saturday. Cromwell replied "that they had been taken under General Fairfax's authority and are to be tried judicially for raising a third party in the Kingdom. Fairfax did not want to see their places plundered and they could defend any violence coming upon them. They should also bring any grievance against them to the New Model Army where upon the culprits would be punished."

He followed in his reply to Richard Newman

"The Clubmen leaders taken in Shaftesbury (list below) if found guilty would face charges to that nature, if innocent would be freed by Fairfax himself."

Cromwell with a small party went with Mr Newman to meet with the Clubmen gathered at the top of the hill where upon they agreed to Cromwell's assurances and returned to their homes.

Which seems rather surprising, maybe they knew what mass of body of Clubmen were gathering at Hambledon Hill.

List of Clubmen leaders taken prisoner in Shaftesbury..

Clubmen leaders taken prisoner in Shaftesbury. List from the Ryland Collection, Manchester.

Hambledon Hill the large-iron age earth Fort the gathering of 2-4000 Clubmen were preparing to march upon Sherborne to free as mentioned before by Newman and the account at Duncliffe the leaders captured in Shaftesbury under General Fairfax's authority. Being led by Reverend Thomas Bravell from Compton Abbas this body of men were to change tact and take up a defensive position on the hill after hearing Cromwell was heading their way.

On arriving Lieutenant General Cromwell and his dragoons were met by a man at the foot of the hill holding a musket. When asked what he was doing he said he was joining the Clubmen. After being told to lay down his weapon he cocked his musket and aimed at them. Forced to the ground his weapon was taken while he was left unharmed. Cromwell saw the hill fort was well defended due to the earth ridge fortifications with a narrow channel where only his dragoons could enter just three abreast. Sending a Lieutenant and 50 dragoons to ask someone from the Clubmen entrenched on the hill to negotiate this request was met by being fired upon. Cromwell had by now a Clubmen by the name of Mr Lee who was going back and forth and in two attempts passed the message that if they disbanded no harm would come upon them. After being fired on Cromwell sent Captain Lieutenant Gladman's troop to approach them, where they were fired on again. Two dragoons were shot and killed, four horses and up to 9 troops wounded. Thereafter followed Major Desbourogh with his dragoons, where on finding or maybe being told of a rear entrance to the hill fort, charged at the Clubmen. Reverend Thomas Bravell could be heard above the chaos shouting, "they must stand to it now and that rather then lose their armies he would pistol them that gave back" The battle went on for several hours not the so called one hour as in the parliamentarian report but the balance was always in Cromwell's more disciplined troops. Finally with the resistance over, Cromwell's dragoons defeated this stand by the Clubmen. Taken 12 Clubmens colours, the loss of life is recorded as Cromwell had lost 3 men one an officer and 12 wounded with the Clubmen a loss of 12 men, some reports say 60, many injured some fleeing and with the prisoners put into St Mary's Church in the local village of Shroton over night now being used as a goal.

A later account by Joshua Sprigge in "England's Recovery for the Public Good" 1647 gives an account of the aftermath of the battle regarding parliamentarian prisoners.

"Captain Pattison was sore hurt on our side of which afterwards he died, and about 12 more. We found among them 16 of our men whom they had disarmed and taken prisoner, and threatened to hang some of them, but the tables were turned. We quartered that night in Shawton, and kept the Clubmen in the church., and with them four vicars and curats, which were taken with them upon the hill, whereof, Mr Talbot of Milton and Mr Lawford of Aukford".

Cromwell with the prisoners gathered in St Mary's Church the day after the battle, spoke from the pulpit, with warning on the consequences of opposing the New Model Army.

The Clubmen were to have the liberty to defend themselves against plundering, but were to refrain in the future from stopping any soldier going about their business, and meetings such as had the day before would not be countenanced. Any man who was on the list just made deserved to be hanged if he should be taken again opposing parliament.

Clubmen and the Battle of Hambledon Hill.

An interesting account of The Battle of Hambledon Hill with regards to Robert Frampton is of note. Who with his four brothers fought against Cromwell's Dragoons on Hambledon Hill. Ref,

The Life of Robert Frampton Bishop of Gloucester.

Frampton and his four brothers had been in the engagement. His brothers all wounded, one so bad and bleeding much, he had to crawl to the church St Mary's now being used as a gaol on his hands and knees. Frampton's sister went into the night upon Hambledon Hill for two hours with a lantern after her father had been told of her brothers death in the battle. The search for her brothers among the dead proved to be a false.

With the release of the prisoners in the morning after, all of the Frampton's were seen to be alive.

Robert Frampton

Robert Frampton wrote of the defiance of preachers and must have witnessed Thomas Bravell's in his call to hold Cromwell at bay. In an account of a Dorset neighbour later during the civil war concerning a Chaplin named William Estmond, Frampton said.

"To the horror of his congregation soldiers violently dragged him from the readers desk over his refusal to deliver the common prayer book, with wounds upon him inside and out he died soon thereafter."

Below is a page from Life of Robert Frampton regarding that fight on Hambledon Hill. Story of finding this written life of Frampton is something of by chance. Found in a draw of a desk being put up sale.

Robert Frampton who was born in Pimperne Dorset in 1622 and graduated with a BA from Oxford. In 1655 he was appointed Chaplain to the Turkey Company's factory at Aleppo. After his return to England he married then returned back to the east. On his final return to England in 1671 he became the Dean of Gloucester in 1673, and then became the Bishop of Gloucester in 1681. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 saw him in a bad position where he could not take an oath to William of Orange and Mary due to not being released from his previous oath to James II. Frampton was thereafter removed from his position of Bishop of Gloucester and saw his days out in Standish until his death in 1708.

Frampton continued to conduct services at the Church in Standish from the chancel step as he was barred from the Pulpit.

Below is the Church at Standish where Frampton in buried. He was still seen in high regard among the clergy who before accepting preferment would visit him in Standish to obtain his consent.

Standish Church.

Richard Newman ( the man who spoke to Cromwell at Duncliffe Wood) and his part in the Clubmen risings in Dorset, was later on 25 November 1648 giving a pardon. The pardon was issued under The Great Seal Of Charles I and issued at Westminster by the order of Parliament. It states, "To Richard Newman of Fifehead Magdalen, for his part in the late rebellion."

Pardon issued to Richard Newman in 1648.

A List of the Countrey-Gentlemen called the Leaders of the Club-men for Wilts, Dorset, and Sommerset, brought Prisoners to Sherborne on the Lords day August 2nd-3rd. 1645. taken at Shaftsbury,

  • Mr. Hollis a younger brother out of meanes, who is one of the Commanders in chiefe, a kind of Generall unto them.

  • Mr. Joliffe of Blackmore another younger brother, who is Lievtenant-Generall to them, a notable great stlckler for them.

  • Mr. Yong, Advocate to them, whose habitation was at Manson in Blackmore, and was of old a Star-Chamber Clerk.

  • Captaine John Carew, the great Grand Jury man that lived at Everith.

  • Captaine Edward Davis of Lamhead.

  • Capt. Thomas Bennet of Pithouse.

  • Capt. William Blunt, a notable Cavalier.

  • Capt. Richard Craddock, the malignant Merchant of Blanford.

  • John Saintlo, a Gentleman of Wilt-shire, a notable Agent for the King.

  • Richard Burbidge, son to Burbidge the Attourney in Sturminster.

  • William Smith, sometimes Vnder-Sheriffe for Wilt-shire.

  • Thomas Jervis, the same that was wont to go up and downe to sell cloth from place to place.

  • John Lovell of Sommerset-shire, a notable stickler against godly men.

  • John Eastwood of Dunhead in Wilt-shire.

  • Francis Craddock of Blackmore.

  • John Pope of Marnhill, a man of a verie good estate, but a notable Ma∣lignant.

  • Thomas Rose of Chisgrave, a man also of a faire estate, but malignant.

  • John Bennet, brother to Captaine Bennet of Pithouse.

  • Nicholas Bingham of Hensridge; it is pitie any of that family are Ma∣lignants.

  • Francis Abbot, son to Jeremy Abbot of Horsington.

  • Robert Hollis of Dorset-shire.

  • William Filloll, a Gentleman of a good estate, that lived in Marvell, but averie violent Malignant.

  • Charles Studley of Langhton by Blanford.

  • John May of Melbury, a notable Rogue.

  • Iohn Phill of Lidlinch a Grasier, who rise in hope to recruit his grounds by plunder.

  • Laurence Hide a malignant Priest, Mr. Hides son of Hatch.

  • Sarnuel Forman, the Curate of Gillingham.

  • William Laning, a young malignant Priest that lived at Cerne.

  • Mr. Rock, a desperate malignant Person, that was borne at Buttle, and Chaplaine to Banfield at Chafield.

  • Mr. Willams a malignant Priest.

Mr. Henry Hayward, Henry Gouge, John Every, Edward Boone, Thomas Roes, Robert Squier, Thomas Marvell, Richard Alborne, Charles Simms, Robert Sapist, Thomas Brooke, John King, Edmond Clerke, Martin Marble, Thomas Bunce, William Sanders, John Corbet, Robert Fry, William Ford, Matthew Martin, and Henry Good∣win. All which are notoriously knowne to be dangerous Malignants, besides divers others which were taken next day by Lievtenant-Generall Cromwell, in an old Roman Work on Hambleton-Hill, where he routed 2500. of them that were gathered in a Body, and killed some 12. ann tooke almost 300. prisoners, and almost all their Armes and Colours, the rest fled home.

Besides these, there is remaining still amongst the Clum-men divers great Malignants.

  • Capt. George Moore of Winborn.

  • Capt. William Whiting of Spetsbury.

  • Capt. Henry Burley of Beer Regis.

  • George Sexton of Beer Regis, a man of a great estate but a desperate rogue and violent against the Parliament and good men.

  • Robert Arnall of Cheslebourn another desperate Agent.

  • Raughly Radford of Divelish, and more divelish Malignant.

The great ones that were the Ring-leaders that are taken, are to be brought up to London, and may be made examples.

But there are many silly people have been mis-led by them, that will now (it is hoped) be laid, and in divers parts the Club-men are firme for the Porliament, and laugh at the folly of the rest.

Source. Anglia Rediviva England's Recovery For The Publique Good Joshua Sprigge 1647

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