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  • Haydn Wheeler

"Peace and Safety of the County"

Updated: Jun 13, 2020

Clubmen At Faulston and Langford.

Faulstone Wiltshire, Garrison of Parliamentarian Troops.

"They will obey no Warrants further than they are compelled" So General Fairfax observed when describing his encounters with the Clubmen of Dorset and Wiltshire. Not a thing looked on kindly by the Generals of the warring parties, Royalist and Parliamentarian alike

The rendezvous and meetings between rival garrisons leaders and the Clubmen in June of 1645 would suggest it was so.

June the 13th 1645. A warrant from the Clubmen to raise money and pay a weekly allowance to the garrisons of Faulston and Longford was proposed. The Clubmen of Wiltshire and Dorset met the leaders belonging to the garrisons of King and Parliament in New Sarum. What followed was a direction of travel which if not quashed would have seen a third party in this war described as "most horrid"

"Upon Notice whereof, divers Gentlemen and Inhabitants of the said Division did meet, with the Commanders of the several Garrisons, at Sarum, the 13th of this Instant June, and there did conclude upon certain Articles, both for the Peace and Safety of the County, and the Subsistence and Maintenance of the Two Garrisons"

The maintenance of the said garrisons was to be paid for, a sum of £50.00 to each garrison a week. The money was to be collected through the parish of Ebbesbourne Wake and passed onto the sworn Constable, thereafter to Thomas Hollis who executed the payments to each garrison.

Thomas Hollis is in fact Thomas Hawles, brother of Clubmen leader George Hawles of Monkton UpWimborne, the man arrested by Fairfax before the battle of Langport July 10th.

These terms were agreed in wait of articles sent to the King and Parliament, in the form of a petition titled as below.

"The Humble Application of your most Loyal and Obedient Subjects, The Distressed Protestants Inhabiting The Counties of Dorset And Wilts"

The petition is very much in the form and wishes as the "Desires and Resolutions" petition written in May by the Clubmen of Dorset and Wilts. .

A stop to hostilities was to be honored by King and Parliament and again a point was made with emphasis on the plight of the people.

"the people of these counties more than any other of this Kingdom tasting the miseries of this unnatural intestine war"

The Clubmen had seen fit to bring order to an otherwise chaotic existence. The protection of life and property was being upheld. When the inhabitants had to put up with either sides dragoons trampling through their fields they saw it "true patriotism to harass the dragoons in return" (memories of the Civil War, Fairfax)

What we see is an effort to bring warring parties in the County under their jurisdiction and as a war seen by the Clubmen between King and Parliament to cease.

Peace and Safety in the County

Image courtesy of Stewart MacArthur

The state of affairs in Dorset and Wilts with what were meant to be opposing garrisons must have been a shock. Looking to the lords for guidance, his fear of a third party forming in the English Revolution was his growing concern. Putting at the Lords disposal Colonel Fiennes and Colonel Norton's Regiment of Horse into the Counties and with the Assistance of Colonel Ludlow he intended to stop the Clubmen gathering in great bodies. A passage of his letter is as follows.

When General Fairfax arrived in Blandford on July 3rd he took upon himself to write of his observations.

"The Heads of them have had some Treaties with the Governors of the Garrisons, both of the King and Parliament, that lie nearest to them, and have agreed to pay Contribution to both; I hear, Fifty Pounds to Tolston House, and the like to Langford House. They have appointed Treasurers of their own, for receiving and paying for the same; and the Garrisons, in Consideration hereof, are not to raise any Contribution to themselves. I have sent your Lordship One of their Warrants for raising Money, and paying it in to Mr.Hollis of Salisbury, who is One of their Heads. For that Purpose, they give Passes to One of their Party, whom they call Associates, to pass freely in the Counties without Molestation."

He awaited a speedy reply.. Below, Fairfax, letter in part with description of The Clubmen, read by Ceejay Sargent.

Below the petition in part sent to King And Parliament while in wait of repy as above stated agreed terms.

Petitions from the Club-men to the King and Parliament, for procuring a Peace.

That Your Suppliants, having more deeply than many other Parts of this Kingdom tasted the Miseries of this unnatural intestine War, which have been the more extremely embittered unto them by the Pressures of many Garrisons both here and in the neighbour Counties, and the opposite Armies continually drawn upon them by the reason thereof, did lately hope, that, by Means of the Treaty proposed by Your Majesty to the Honourable Houses of Parliament, at Uxbridge, they might once again have reaped the blessed Issue of their long-lost Peace, in the happy Accommodation of the present Differences, without further Effusion of Christian Blood: But finding themselves utterly fallen from those Hopes, and too too justly fearing that the Extremity of these Calamities (which the Continuance of this bloody War is likely to produce) will daily grow more insupportable, unless our Christian Divisions may timely be prevented by some sudden Accomodation;

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