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  • Writer's pictureHaydn Wheeler

"Loyal Song of the Royal Feast" "Frank Wortley hath a jovial soul, Yet never was good Clubmen.

Updated: Jul 18, 2020


Sir Francis Wortley (1591-1652)

On the 19 August 1647 according to the Moderate Intelligencer Charles Ist sent the prisoners in the Tower a brace of fat bucks for a feast. Sir Francis Wortley the poet and a prisoner since 1644 celebrated the feast, in writing a ballad containing characters of the different prisoners in his midst titled "Loyal Song of the Royal Feast". Of himself he wrote, "Yet never was a good clubman" (with a sense of irony, I would suggest, considering his own reputation for plundering).

In raising his sword for the King in April 1642 to a large gathering in York with the cry "for the King" Sir Francis Wortley was met with little response.

The History of Parliament writes.

Wortley’s sister, the wife of Sir Edward Radcliffe was disgusted by his behaviour, and described him in a letter to Sir Ralph Verney as a "foolish man ... full of vanity’, who deserved ‘great punishment’, although she conceded that he also had ‘many good parts, had he wisdom to have managed them’."

The Wortley's had a history through the 16th and 17th century of ejecting residents from land that they wanted to enclose. Were the family the subject of description and their actions the inspiration for the 1685 ballad "The Dragon of Wantley"?

Or is it a tale of the 16th century Reformation?

A verse from.

All sorts of cattle this dragon did eat,

Some say he ate up trees, And that the forest sure he would Devour up by degrees;

For houses and churches were to him geese and turkeys;

He ate all, and left none behind,

Either case, the actions of both have a connection in plunder and land grab

Woodcut. An image with The Reformation in mind?

(Reference for Wortley, see the "Moorlands of north Staffordshire 1642" for his plundering days).

The verse in description of himself "Loyal Song of the Royal Feast"

Frank Wortley hath a jovial soul, Yet never was good clubman; He's for the bishops and the church, But can endure no tubman

(In old english law a tubman referred to a barrister in the Court of Exchequer).

Of The Levellers John Lilburne, he wrote later in the verse of "Loyal Song of the Royal Feast"

John Lilburne is a stirring blade And understands the matter He neither will King, Bishops, Lords Nor th' house of commons flatter John loves no power prerogative But that derived from sion As for the mitre and the crown Those two he looks awry on

Sir Francis Wortley full ballard is as follows. Ref, source, RoboKopp Musica International.

God save the best of kings, King Charles! The best of queens, Queen Mary! The ladies all, Gloster and Yorke, Prince Charles, so like old harry! God send the King his own again, His towre and all his coyners! And blesse all kings who are to reigne, From traytors and purloyners!

Chorus: as bracketed below

( The King sent us poor traytors here (But you may guesse the reason) Two brace of bucks to mend the cheere, Is't not to eat them treason? )

2. Let Selden search Cotton's records, And Rowley in the Towre, They cannot match the president, It is not in their power. Old Collet would have joy'd to 've seen This president recorded; For all the papers he ere saw Scarce such an one afforded. Chorus:

3. But that you may these traytors know, I'll be so bold to name them; That if they ever traytors prove Then this record may shame them: But these are well-try'd loyal blades (If England ere had any), Search both the Houses through and through You'ld scarcely finde so many. Chorus:

4. The first and chiefe a marquesse, Long with the State did wrestle; Had Ogle done as much as he, Th'ad spoyl'd Will Waller's castle. Ogle had wealth and title got, So layd down his commissions; The noble marquesse would not yield, But scorn'd all base conditions. Chorus:

5. The next a worthy bishop, Of schismaticks was hated; But I the cause could never know, Nor see the reason stated. The cryes were loud, God knowes the cause, They had a strange committee, Which was a-foot well neere a yeare, Who would have had small pitty. Chorus:

6. The next to him is a Welsh Judge Durst tell them what was treason; Old honest David durst be good When it was out of season; He durst discover all the tricks The lawyers use, and knavery, And show the subtile plots they use To enthrall us into slavery. Chorus:

7. Frank Wortley hath a jovial soule, Yet never was good club-man; He's for the bishops and the church, But can endure no tub-man. He told Sir Thomas in the Towre, Though he by him was undone, It pleased him that he lost more men In taking him then London. Chorus:

8. Sir Edward Hayles was wond'rous rich, No flower in Kent yields honey In more abundance to the bee Then they from him suck money; Yet hee's as chearfull as the best - Judge Jenkins sees no reason That honest men for wealth should be Accused of high treason. Chorus:

9. Old Sir George Strangways he came in, Though he himself submitted, Yet as a traytor he must be Excepted and committed: Yet they th' exception now take off, But not the sequestrations, Hee must forsooth to Goldsmith's-hall, The place of desolation. Chorus:

10. Honest Sir Berr's a reall man, As ere was lapt in leather; But he (God blesse us) loves the King, And therefore was sent hither. He durst be sheriff, and durst make The Parliament acquainted What he intended for to doe, And for this was attainted. Chorus:

11. Sir Benefield, Sir Walter Blunt, Are Romishly affected, So's honest Frank of Howard's race, And slaughter is suspected. But how the devill comes this about, That Papists are so loyall, And those that call themselves God's saints Like devils do destroy all? Chorus:

12. Jack Hewet will have wholesome meat, And drink good wine, if any; His entertainment's free and neat, His choyce of friends not many; Jack is a loyall-hearted man, Well parted and a scholar; He'll grumble if things please him not, But never grows to choller. Chorus:

13. Gallant Sir Thomas, bold and stout (Brave Lunsford), children eateth; But he takes care, where he eats one, There he a hundred getteth; When Harlow's wife brings her long bills, He wishes she were blinded; When shee speaks loud, as loud he swears The woman's earthly-minded. Chorus:

14. Sir Lewis hath an able pen, Can cudgell a committee; He makes them doe him reason, though They others do not pitty. Brave Cleaveland had a willing minde, Frank Wortley was not able, But Lewis got foure pound per weeke For's children and his table. Chorus:

15. Giles Strangwayes has a gallant soul, A brain infatigable; What study he ere undertakes To master it hee's able: He studies on his theoremes, And logarithmes for number; He loves to speake of Lewis Dives, And they are ne'er asunder. Chorus:

16. Sir John Marlow's a loyall man (If England ere bred any), He bang'd the pedlar back and side, Of Scots he killed many. Had General King done what he should, And given the blew-caps battail, Wee'd make them all run into Tweed By droves, like sommer cattell. Chorus:

17. Will Morton's of that Cardinal's race, Who made that blessed maryage; He is most loyall to his King, In action, word, and carryage; His sword and pen defends the cause, If King Charles thinke not on him, Will is amongst the rest undone, - The Lord have mercy on him! Chorus:

18. Tom Conisby is stout and stern, Yet of a sweet condition; To them he loves his crime was great, He read the King's commission, And required Cranborn to assist; He charged, but should have pray'd him; Tom was so bold he did require All for the King should aid him. Chorus:

19. But I Win. Bodnam had forgot, Had suffer'd so much hardship; There's no man in the Towre had left The King so young a wardship; He's firme both to the church and crowne, The crown law and the canon; The Houses put him to his shifts, And his wife's father Mammon. Chorus:

20. Sir Henry Vaughan looks as grave As any beard can make him; Those come poore prisoners for to see Doe for our patriarke take him. Old Harry is a right true-blue, As valiant as Pendraggon; And would be loyall to his King, Had King Charles ne'er a rag on. Chorus:

21. John Lilburne is a stirring blade, And understands the matter; He neither will king, bishops, lords, Nor th' House of Commons flatter: John loves no power prerogative, But that derived from Sion; As for the mitre and the crown, Those two he looks awry on. Chorus:

22. Tom Violet swears his injuries Are scarcely to be numbred; He was close prisoner to the State These score dayes and nine hundred; For Tom does set down all the dayes, And hopes he has good debters; 'Twould be no treason (Jenkin sayes) To bring them peaceful letters. Chorus:

23. Poore Hudson of all was the last, For it was his disaster, He met a turncoat swore that he Was once King Charles his master; So he to London soon was brought, But came in such a season, Their martial court was then cry'd down, They could not try his treason. Chorus:

24. Else Hudson had gone to the pot, Who is he can abide him? For he was master to the King, And (which is more) did guide him. Had Hudson done (as Judas did), Most loyally betray'd him, The Houses are so noble, they As bravely would have paid him. Chorus:

25. We'll then conclude with hearty healths To King Charles and Queen Mary; To the black lad in buff (the Prince), So like his grandsire Harry; To York, to Glo'ster; may we not Send Turk and Pope defiance, Since we such gallant seconds have To strengthen our alliance? Wee'l drink them o're and o're again, Else we're unthankfull creatures; Since Charles, the wise, the valiant King, Takes us for loyall traytors.

26. This if you will rhyme dogrell call, (That you please you may name it,) One of the loyal traytors here Did for a ballad frame it: Old Chevy Chace was in his minde; If any suit it better, All those concerned in the song Will kindly thank the setter. Wee'l drink them o're and o're again, Else we're unthankfull creatures; Since Charles, the wise, the valiant King, Takes us for loyall traytors.

The prisoners in the Tower were discussed on many occasion, of what their fate did await. A letter wrote in 1647 June 16th and referenced in "Catalogue of tracts of the civil war and commonwealth period relating to Wales and the borders" is titled of their imprisonment as.

'A True Relation of the cruell and unparallel'd Oppression which hath been illegally imposed upon the Gentlemen Prisoners in the Tower of London.'

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