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  • Haydn Wheeler

"Putting an end to the great distractions and miseries fallen upon this Kingdom.

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

Peace in this civil war, untitled 1642-1647

As Civil War began to take it's hold across the Country, prominent gentlemen in the county of Cheshire saw fit to see the said county of Cheshire stay neutral in this Civil War most horrid.

So was the aim of both parties King and Parliament in Cheshire and agreed on. The Bunbury Agreement of December 23rd 1642 was a result of both sides having been engaged in several skirmishes in the county, and seeing this as undesired. The agreement is of note as it concerns two opposing armed warring parties and a coming together of and not mediators of a neutral background.

The neutrality proposed at their meeting at Banbury by Henry Mainwaring and Mr. Marbury of Marbury Hall for Parliament and Lord Kilmorey and Sir Orlando Bridgeman, "son of the Bishop of Chester", for the Royalists not only calls for a recognised neutrality of the county but also for its demilitarisation .

The agreement was urged to be agreed upon and was put upon the national commanders with also a settling of their national grievances by a peaceful route.

Giving the positioning of Cheshire strategically this agreement by the national interests of the commanders of the warring parties was not to be. The demands for a local and national peaceful settling of King and Parliament agreement was described by Parliament as "no private parties could enter into such agreements" and a singular county demand was seen as prejudicial and dangerous to the interests of the other counties of the Kingdom.

Cheshire and holding of by either side was an important western route to north west England and Scotland as well as an important route into north Wales.

The Bunbury Agreement as with the later Clubmen petitions and locality declarations were as mentioned earlier urged to be recognised and to be taken into consideration on a national scale.

Being heard on a national scale is a cry through the ages. What is of a consideration with the Bunbury Agreement of December 23rd 1642 is the coming together of two opposition sides in a national through the Kingdom civil war in a mutual defence of one another within a county.

The Clubmen movement of 1645 saw fit to adopt this strategically, with it at the later stage in the Civil War, as a generality, and not a joining of opposing sides but as a unified third party.

The suspicions of each side no doubt felt on the other side in the Bunbury Agreement of 1642 and as such the weakness of had by 1645 been overtaking by events in the Civil War. Hence the rise of the Clubmen third party approach.

Parliament paper concerning Cheshire’s attempt to be neutral, 9 January 1643 The National Archives

Below the Wording of the Banbury Agreement of the 23rd December 1642

"An Agreement made at Bunbury, in the County of Chester, for a pacification and settling of the peace of that county by us whose names are subscribed, authorised here unto by the Lords and Gentlemen nominated Commissioners of Array and Deputy Lieutenants of the said county".

"And it is further desired that all the parties join in a petition to his Majesty and both Houses of Parliament, for putting an end to the great distractions and miseries fallen upon this Kingdom, by making a speedy peace".

1. It is agreed that there be an absolute cessation of arms from henceforth within this county, and no arms taken up to offend one another but by the consent of the King and both Houses of Parliament, unless it be to resist forces brought into the county.

2. That all but 200 of either side shall be disbanded tomorrow, being Saturday, and on Monday all the rest on both sides, both horse and foot, shall be disbanded.

3. That all prisoners, on both sides, shall be enlarged. As for Mr. Norton, who is now prisoner at Manchester, the gentlemen appointed deputy-lieutenants do declare that he was taken without their priority or encouragement by some Manchester troops, upon a private quarrel, for taking powder and other goods belonging to one of Manchester; yet they will use their utmost endeavours to procure his enlargement, and do desire the like endeavours be used by lords and others, Commissioners of Array, for enlarging Mr. Daniel, of Dasbury.

4. That the fortifications of Chester, Nantwich, Slopford, Knutsford, or any town in Cheshire, lately made by either party, be presently demolished.

5. That all goods and arms taken on both sides now remaining in the county in specie be forthwith restored, and for all others that are taken out of the county, it is promised on both parts that since the benefit of this Pacification redounds to the whole county, they will use their utmost endeavours for a joint contribution of the county towards satisfaction of the owners.

6. That the lords and gentlemen, Commissioners of Array, before the 8th day of January next, procure from his Majesty a letter thereby declaring, That in regard a peace is made in the county he will send no forces into the county, and if any other person shall, contrary to such declaration, bring forces into the county (passage for forces without doing any hostile act only excepted) the said lords and gentlemen will join to resist them. And if any forces without the consent of the King and both Houses of Parliament shall come into this county (the passages for forces without doing any hostile act only excepted), the said gentlemen nominated

deputy-lieutenants will join to resist them and use their

utmost endeavours therein.

7. In regard by the blessing of God there is like to be a peace within this county, if this agreement be, it is agreed that the Commissioners of Array shall not any further put the Commission of Array in execution, nor the gentlemen nominated deputy-lieutenants, the ordinance of the militia, or execute their commission.

8. Lastly, all the said parties do agree and promise each to other, on the word of a gentleman, as they do desire to prosper, that as well themselves as also their friends, tenant servants, and all others in whom they have any interest, shall as much as in them lies perform the agreement. And it is further desired that all the parties join in a petition to his Majesty and both Houses of Parliament, for putting an end to the great distractions and miseries fallen upon this Kingdom, by making a speedy peace. And it is agreed that Sir George Booth, and all others within this county who have appeared as Commissioners of Array or as Deputy Lieutenants, by reason of the ordinance of Parliament, shall with all convenient speed subscribe this agreement.



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