The Worcestershire Clubmen Declaration. 5th March 1645
Woodbury Hill from the south. Picture courtesy of John Clift Flickr creative commons.
Woodbury Hill Clubmen video.
The NW Worcestershire Clubmen Declaration and Resolution document of March 5th 1645 was read out on Woodbury Hill.
Presented by a Mr Charles Nott, a parson of Shelsley to a gathering of a 1000 Clubmen. The declaration was in response to the continuing plunder and violence by soldiers in the county. C.D Gillbert author of The Worcestershire Clubmen of 1645 references a petition handed to the Governor of Worcester on the 28th October. "that whensover any soldiers, shall commit a robbery or violence, the county may rise upon them and bring them to justice"
The declaration of March 1645 was sought to be presented to Henry Bromley, the High Sheriff of Worcestershire.
With over a thousand gathered on Woodbury Hill, the declaration expresses a loyalty to the King, Church of England and the ancient and just privileges of Parliament.
The keeping of ones protection reads "our persons and estates" and against "the soldier or any other oppressor" very much in common with what in general was of other Clubmen statements of intent in other counties such as Dorset and Wiltshire.
The Demands and Resolutions by the Clubmen here, show that N.W Worcestershire was also feeling the effects of what was felt across the counties, of garrisoned troops (from King and Parliament), free quarter and plundering.
An information board that was placed on the top of Woodbury Hill telling the story of the Worcestershire Clubmen story, has alas been badly weathered.
I am grateful to the Knott family who passed on a photo of the information board when the writing and picture were in good condition.
Information Board in better days on Woodbury Hill. Courtesy of the Knott family.
"The Woodbury Declaration"
We having long groaned under many illegal taxations and unjust pressures and that contrary to orders presented to his Majesty by advice of the Lords and Commons assembled at Oxford And ratified and published by his Majesty's gracious proclamation. And nevertheless finding no redress of our grievances, but that we, our wives and children, have been exposed to utter ruin by the outrages and violence of the soldier; threatening to fire our houses; endeavoring to ravish our wives and daughters, and menacing our persons. We are now enforced to associate ourselves in a mutual league for each other's defence, and do declare to the world that our meetings have been, are, and shall be to no other intention or purpose than as followeth.
To maintain the true Reformed Protestant Religion contained in the Doctrine of the Church of England against all Popery and Popish superstitions and all other Heresies and schisms whatsoever.
To defend the King's Majesty's person, honour, and estate against all those that shall oppose the same.
To preserve and uphold the ancient and just privileges of Parliament and known laws of this kingdom against all arbitrary Government which shall be endeavoured to be introduced and put upon us under what pretence soever.
To retain the property of the subject by protecting and safeguarding our persons and estates by the mutual aid and assistance of each other against all murders, rapines, plunder, robberies, or violences which shall be offered by the soldier or any oppressor whatsoever, as is allowed by those orders lately signed by his Highness Prince Maurice as appeareth by the 5th Article of the said orders.
To quicken the execution of those wholesome orders abovesaid ratified by his Majesty's proclamations as also those other orders which at several times since have been agreed upon and signed by his Highness Prince Rupert, Prince Maurice, and also consented unto by the Honourable the Governor and Commissioners for the safeguarding of this county and the great Inquest at several Sessions of the peace held for the body of the same.
Our resolution is not to submit to the execution of any commission intrusted upon any pretence whatsoever in the hands of any Papist, or Papists, Recusant or Recusants or any other joined in commission with any Papist, or Papist Recusant for that by the known laws of this kingdom no Papist, nor Papist-recusants ought to be intrusted in any office of state, justice, or judicature: neither to keep any arms in their houses that may be or prove offensive to any of His Majesty's Loyal subjects.
Our desire is that this our Declaration and resolution may be presented to the High Sheriff of this County to whom alone as his Majesty's Vicegerent we conceive we are bound to render an account of these our doings. And further our petition is that he would be pleased to endeavour that all Popish Recusants within this County may be pressed to take the oaths of Allegiance and supremacy as by law is provided. And upon refusal they may be disarmed as by law they ought.
That it is our request that the Grand Inquest now intrusted for the body of this County may be moved seriously to weigh and consider how they do consent to the illegancy of such Commissions as shall be committed to the hands of Papist, or Popish Recusants lest they betray our trust and so expose both themselves and us to utter ruin.
In December 6th 1645 the Woodbury Clubmen had returned with a need to protect themselves again from plundering soldiers. A warning system was established and new demands were put upon the new Royalist commander in the county Worcestershire, Lord Astley. A call to' keep the county from rendezvous tumultuous assemblies of men without authority'.
With the tide turning into the Parliamentarians favor the Clubmen had seen fit to support the New Model Army . A stop to the miserary of the Civil War was insight.
Archaeology. Thanks to, Worcestershire County Council