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  • Haydn Wheeler

"Horse cut and hacked many of them" Lomers Ash. The Clubmen of Sussex.

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

Lomers Ash shown on old map by Norden 1595.

The Sussex Clubmen declaration of September 26th 1645 as with the Dorset, Wiltshire declarations before focused on the unaccountably of persons put upon them.

The insufferable, insolent, arbitrary power that hath bin used amongest us, contrary to all our ancient knowne lawes, or ordinances of parliament, upon our persons and estates by imprisoning our persons, imposing of somes money, light horses and dragoons and exacting of loanes by some particular persons stept into authority whoe have delegated their power to men of sordid condition whose wills have ben lawes and commands over our persons and estates by which they have overthrown all our English libertyres and have endeavored thereby to make us desperate.

Extract from Sussex Clubmen Petition

"This third party, not having the least show or pretence of any authority, and contrary to the chiefest power of this kingdom, the Parliament called by his Majesty at Westminster, tumultuously assembled themselves together", An eyewitness account, part of above, can be read in full at the bottom of page.

The Civil War had imposed a form of committeemen into the generality of people which represented the interests of Parliament or King and ran roughshod over locality jurisdiction. Both sides could not afford to leave the local justices to make rulings and decisions. The free quartering of troops, paying of garrisons and keeping of those garrisons with supplies had a cost for the local people and parish administrations.

Sussex Clubmen Petition September 1645

The Sussex Clubmen as with the Dorset Clubmen earlier in August 1645 were now in September of 1645 to be seen as an inconvenience.

On the 18th September 1645 A Mr Cawley and the Sussex Committee reported up to a 1000 Clubmen had met at Rowkeshill (The Trundle an ancient iron age hillfort) near Chichester.

On the previous day 600 had met at Runcton Down and with a meeting planned at Bury Hill near Arundel prompt action was taken to quash the uprising.

Colonel Norton (idle dick) a friend of Oliver Cromwell was ordered into Sussex where he was to be reinforced with a thousand horse. The committees of Hants, Surrey and Sussex met and were directed to consult on "how to prevent any inconvenience that may happen by reason of these Clubmen"

Perfect Occurrences September 19th

An eyewitness account to the speaker of the House of Commons William Lenthall speaks of warrants sent by the ring leaders of the Clubmen to neighbouring towns and hamlets to join with them in keeping at a rendezvous on Runcton Hill.

With great numbers meeting at their quarters in Walberton, a Colonel Morley, Captain Morley and Major Young after consultation saw fit to fall on them at there quarters.

In the early hours of Sunday morning the 21st September 1645 Major Young set on their quarters in Walberton, killing who went to warn by bell ringing. With the warning quashed most fled. The report records two malignant ministers taking prisoner and some stragglers who were to be made examples of to deter further Clubmen activities.

Scottish Mercury September 1645

Walberton Clubmen

A bloody encounter with the Parliamentary troops was also to occur at Loomers or Lomers near Winchester, the scene of a Clubmen battle with Colonel Norton , Major Harrison and Colonel Fleetwood's Regiment.

Lomer was once the place of a medieval village and one of the 91 deserted villages in Hampshire. Beacon Hill was called Lomer Beacon on Saxton's map of 1579

Colonel Norton when coming upon the Clubmen gathered at Lomers Ash on September 1645 and ordering them to go home they chose to retaliate. The outcome was bloody. Norton ordered the horse on them after being shot at. The killing of four to five Clubmen followed and many were injured. The leaders were apprehended with fear of them causing later mischief.

Two accounts of their plight were written in the news letters.

The City Scout 0ctober 7th 1645 writes.

"When being surrounded by parliamentarians horse, the Clubmen shot upon them. With this the horse (cavalrymen) set on them."

Recorded in "The Kingdom Weekly Intelligencer" is another account of the battle.

"Horse cut and hacked many of them, took all their chiefs and ringleaders and about a 1000 arms. Killing four to five of them, and wounding many."

Looking over Lomer Farm towards Beacon Hill, once called Lomer Beacon.

An account of the encounter between the Parliamentarian troops and the Clubmen was recorded by Colonel Norton and sent to the Committee of the Two Kingdoms Sept 26th 1645. Now having a regiment and having the Clubmen gathered in one place he decided to quash their momentum in gaining support from the people in the county.

"There were only two towns that resisted us ( Bishop's Waltham and Petersfield) which were very ill-affected and it pleased God to separate them from the rest before they gave us occasion to fall upon them. I believe we took from them above 500 arms, their colours and drums. Truly it was high time, for it is evident by the heads of them that they intended mischief and I am persuaded it is the last and most devilish plot that the enemies of God and good men have left them. I have three of the most notorious rascals prisoners, though they are not the chief men. Hope to get the rest. I wish I might have power to hang some of them if they rise again."

The dispersing of the Hampshire Clubmen was also seen as a warning to the Clubmen of Sussex.

Colonel Norton wrote.

"It made their neighbours in Sussex to shrink in their heads and we hear most of them have departed to their homes."

Lomers Ash, Clubmen encounter with Parliamentarian Troops.

One of these men apprehended was a man called Richard Shallett of Sussex. In December 1646 he was returned by the County Committees. As one of the chief ringleaders and formenters of the mutinous and unlawful assemblies of the Clubmen in Hampshire and fined £50.00.

Sheila Wiggins from Retro it Ain't looking over Wallers Ash.

A curious account of a Clubmen battle is also recorded at Wallers Ash in Hampshire, so named it seems after the Parliamentarian General Waller.

When construction work was being carried out for the Railway Tunnel which runs through Wallers Ash, the records of work contain a note of artifacts found. The records are labelled, "weapons found are from a Clubmen battle. Time, as being from the Civil War, which commenced there. The 1842 records also give description of tragedy concerning construction workers who perished when the tunnel collapsed.

Hampshire 1595 (Nordon)

A true Relation of the Rising of the Club-men in Sussex, as it was related to William Lenthall, Esq: Speaker to the Honorable House of Commons, by an eyewitness of the same. Published by Authority. London : printed for John Field, Sept. 23, 1645.

" This third party, not having the least show or pretence of any authority, and contrary to the chiefest power of this kingdom, the Parliament called by his Majesty at Westminster, tumultuously assembled themselves together, not only in the west, but also through their instigations have caused many thousands of the ignorant in the adjacent counties to rise up together with them as far as Hampshire. Divers of which county, not contented with their own preposterous courses, have proceeded to inveigle divers people of the next adjacent county of Sussex to follow their evil courses, amongst which they have prevailed upon one Aylen, son to one Mr. Aylen, formerly Captain of a trained-band, also one Mr. Peckham, besides some of the Fords, and some others yeomen of the said county, to join together as ringleaders in a confederacy with the vulgar multitude. Who, being ignorant of manners, much more of such things as concern their liberty and peace, did accordingly send for warrants into the several towns and hamlets next adjoining Hampshire, as also in and about Midhurst, to join with them in keeping of a general rendezvous upon Runcton Hill, which is between Midhurst and Chichester in the said county, which was accordingly done last Wednesday. Since which time they have further proceeded to call in the rest of the country betwixt Chichester and Arundel to join with them in a general rendezvous to be held at Bury Hill within one mile of Arundel upon Monday the two and twentieth of this present. Many people of the said places, especially about Eastergate, and Walberton, and so down to the sea-side, and upon the western side of the River of Arundel towards Petworth have joined with them, and drawing themselves into great numbers upon Saturday the twentieth of this present, they kept their quarters at Walberton and divers other places thereabouts. Their number being greatly increased, and they rendering no account of their said tumultuous proceedings, the honorable Colonel Morley, Captain Morley, Governor of Arundel Castle, and Major Young, upon consultation thought fit to fall on them in their quarters at Walberton, as being the next place to them, and within five miles of Arundel, hoping thereby to dishearten and disappoint them in continuing their tumultuous proceedings. And accordingly upon Sunday morning about three hours before day, Major Young with about ten horsemen and forty footmen fell upon them in their quarters at Walberton, killed him who went to ring the bells as the most dangerous man, by his doings, to call in the rest of their adherents to their aid, which by his death was prevented ; whereupon the rest of them so far lost their courage, that everyone shifted for themselves, and fled all save two malignant ministers, and some other stragglers of that place, who were taken pri- soners, and are committed in safe custody unto Arundel Castle, where it is believed they shall receive, according to their demerits, such exemplary punishment as will give good warning to the rest of their tribe to beware how they follow them, and proceed in the like preposterous courses."

Sussex in the great Civil War and the interregnum, 1642-1660

by Thomas-Stanford, Charles

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