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  • Haydn Wheeler

The Clubmen and the Western Campaign 1645

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

"A Tumultuous and Insolent Way" Western Campaign July 1645.





Tensions and fears of plunder, loss of provision and being pressed into the warring armies had in the English Revolution caused a meeting of the generality of those affected by quartered and passing through troops. Fairfax and Colonel Massie's arrival in Wiltshire and Dorset in June of 1645 saw the beginning of the Western Campaign. Tensions already heated were ramped up by an uptake of troops in the west. Goring and Lewis Dive were both now in the sights of Parliament. A quashing of Royalist activity in the South West now the focus. A rising of The Clubmen in a "A Tumultuous and Insolent Way'' was not accounted for.




Levellers Day Burford 2017


In early March of 1645. Sir Lewis Dives (Royalist commander Dorset) trying to quell the Clubmen's anger made promise to put an end to the Royalist plunder ( Goring's Crew ) of Dorset. This it seems was to no effect, as by May the threat to Sir Lewis by the Clubmen to join the Parliamentarians commanders in the West of General Graves and Weldon was being voiced. This followed a then issuing of horse and furniture (tackle) by Dives so The Clubmen could defend themselves.


Both Royalist and Parliamentarian alike were seen as unjust by The Clubmen at different intervals in Dorset. In the example as mentioned above, a tool most handy in getting a desired result. Playing off one side against the other.


A rendezvous of Clubmen was held at Badbury most likely Badbury Rings in May of 1645 where 4000 thousand Clubmen came to listen to a Thomas Young, a lawyer from Manston.


A rereading of the Dorset and Wilts Clubmen Desires and Resolutions declaration at Badbury Rings in Wimborne took place in 2016 as part of Wimborne Minster Literary Festival, over 370 years from when first heard in 1645. This gathering was to highlight and acknowledge this third party called Clubmen.


After agreement at a place called Gorehedge-Corner and finalised at Sturminster Newton the Desires and Resolutions of the inhabitants of Wiltshire and Dorset was put to paper as a declaration. Calling for a cease to the war agreement and an accommodation of the Royalist and Parliaments present differences, the Clubmen had through association and organising become a voice for those not in the business of soldiery.

A report from the parliamentarian news sheet Mercurius Civicus spoke of the Clubmen in Dorset in May 1645.

"It was the fame day certified out of the Weft, that there was a great party of club-men again in Dorfetfhire, the intendtion of their rifing among others is , that they will not admit of any Inland garrifon in that County, It was then reported, that they had fent to Sir Lewis Dive, requiring that he would demollifh his-crarrifon at Sherburne".


Desires And Resolutions 25th May 1645

We the miserable inhabitants of the said county, being too too deeply touched with the apprehension and sense of our past and present sufferings (occasioned only by these Civil and unnatural wars within this Kingdom.) and finding by sad experience, that by means thereof the true worship of almighty God and our religion are almost forgotten, and that our ancient laws and liberties, are altogether swallowed up in the arbitrary power of the sword; and foreseeing that famine and utter desolation will immediately fall upon us, our wives and children, (unless God of his in infinite mercy shall look upon our true humiliation be graciously pleased, speedily to put a period to these sad distractions, are unanimously resolved to join in Petitioning His Majesty and the two Houses of Parliament for a happy peace and accommodation of the present differences, without future effusion of Christian blood; without which accommodation we cannot expect the enjoyment either of our Religion, Liberties, or proprieties: mean while, that we whose names are under written, Resolve, and do here Declare.


1. To defend and maintain with our lives and fortunes the true reformed Protestant Religion.


2. To join with and assist one another in the mutual defence of our Laws, liberties, and properties, against all plunderers, & all other unlawful violence whatsoever.


3. We do faithfully promise each to other, that the damage or loss which in the execution here of shall happen to any one, be accounted as the loss of the generality, and that reparation be made to such party or parties by the whole County; and in case of loss of life, provision be made for his wife and children, by the County.


4. To declare all such unworthy of the general assistance, as shall refuse, or delay to join with us in the prosecution of these our just intentions.





Desires and Resolutions


We have another early gathering of Clubmen on June 2nd 1645 by Clarendon's account at Marshalls Elm in Somerset or in Fanshawe's account at a field near Castle Carey. Marshalls Elm was a place where a clash took place between Royalists and Parliamentarians early in 1642. A petition was agreed on and took to the Prince of Wales in Wells. The petition with a desire for a public peace was seen as sincere, but the organised rendezvous and public meetings of these Clubmen was a thing looked upon as without warrant. A reply in description talks of "their place being a seat of war". The view of The Clubmen gathering without warrant would be in agreement between Royalist and Parliamentarian alike.


This meeting of Clubmen in early June is of interest if Marshalls Elm as the nearby hill-fort of Dundon Hlll fits in with the modus operandi of the Clubmen. As we know, accounts of nearby can be anything but on occasion.


We have an account of The Clubmen via General Fairfax in July of 1645 when heading South West with the New Model Army via their passing through Salisbury in Wiltshire.


"They will obey no Warrants further than they are compelled" So General Fairfax observed when describing his encounters with these Clubmen.


Serving under their own warrant?


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


This warrant from The Clubmen June the 13th 1645 was to raise money and pay a weekly allowance to the garrisons of Faulstone and Longford. The Clubmen of Wiltshire and Dorset met the leaders belonging to the said garrisons of King and Parliament in New Sarum. What followed was a direction of travel through 1645, a formation of a third party.

"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.

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.

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 Lord's 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..




With Fairfax now with orders to move into the west in June, July of 1645 he was given the extended provision of pressing men ( forced into the army). After the decisive Battle of Naseby the New Model Army had lost men. In a letter written on the 26th of June Fairfax noted "some stragglers being gone from him to carry their rich plunder home", "Loss and lack of things" also noted included the wounded, loss of horses and saddle and the army of foot halved to what was thought by the establishment.

The pressing of men had been used by both sides in the war. The issuing of provision for those families who suffered loss through this recruiting method was put into the Clubmen declarations. The Somerset declaration of June 1645 went as far as stating "those that could prove of being pressed in this unnatural and cruel war and leaving army or garrison be accepted when retiring to their homes".



Goring's Royalist troops garrisoned in Godmanstone had a clash with the Clubmen in February of 1645. Now with Fairfax heading west for the relief of Taunton and Massie's men and the Parliamentarian troops quartered at Sturminster Newton Castle, another bloody meeting with the Clubmen was to be had on June 29th 1645.


Massie's Brigade as it was called had a reputation itself of doing as it wished as did the notorious Goring ( Goring's Crew ) previously mentioned.

In a letter written by Colonel Massie from Shaftesbury on the 29th June 1645 he describes the bloody clash with The Clubmen at Sturminister Newton Castle where his troops were quartered. The Clubmen numbered between four or five thousand at least, a loss of life on both sides and the taking of the quartered troops Dragoons horses. "A quarrel not provoked by soldier but by The Clubmen" Massie would later go on to describe this encounter.

What is of note, thereafter Parliament was to write to Fairfax and Massie. The nature of these letters was to put assurances to The Clubmen and of the armies desires. The Armies intention to advance to the relief of Taunton a desire for them to depart, every man to his habitation and they will not be prejudiced by their rising, case they be obedient to this order. The letter then gives Fairfax and Massie the okay to implement martial law and make examples of the leaders if this command was not acted on. As the Western Campaign continued meetings between the army and Clubmen on intentions and desires from both parties would continue.

Letter from Colonel Massie on the clash with The Clubmen, Sturminster Newton Castle 29th June 1645.





Perfect Occurrences June 27th 1645




General Fairfax. Image Stewart MacArthur


General Fairfax and army on the 30th June were in Amesbury in Wiltshire. Fairfax himself was staying in what is now The George Hotel. In a letter written back to Parliament that night of the 30th he spoke of his plans to march next morning and a later rendezvous with Massie in Blandford. The Clubmen if encountered "if the Clubmen interrupt not, whom we shall endeavor to quiet with fair words, and courteous usage, but if that not prevail and necessary enforce it, they will be sharply dealt with all".







Letter, Perfect Occurrences June 1645



George Inn Amsbury


Marching next day to Broad Chalke near Salisbury the New Model Army while on route encounter a Mr Christopher Dale. Following this Dale is captured where after he writes a deposition describing his joining of The Clubmen. "That of late he hath associated himself with those that call themselves "The Club-men of Salisbury;" that he knoweth no other end of that association, but to defend themselves and their Goods against all plunderers, but not to oppose either Army". The deposition gives a list of localities where the Clubmen have met and those who among are leaders of. Of note is a reference to the articles written to King and Parliament with instruction to resolve their differences. This it seems this was achieved on a local level in Wiltshire as said June 13th it appears as Fairfax later writes in a letter to Parliament of the opposing garrisons near Salisbury of Longford and Faulston House meeting and drinking together.





Reaching Blandford in Dorset on the 2nd of July we see Fairfax writing a letter on the 3rd informing Parliament with a description of The Clubmen.


Fairfax letter with description of Clubmen, Blandford 3rd July 1645.


My former Letter acquainted your Lordships with my Resolutions to march Westwards, for the Relief of Taunton; in Pursuance whereof, I am advanced as far as Blandford. I could not hitherto give your Lordships an Account of the Conditions of these Counties of Wilts and Dorset, in Arms under the Name of Club-men. They pretended only the Defence of themselves from Plunderers, but not to side either with the King's Forces or the Parliament's, but to give Free Quarter to both: The Heads of them are all (so far as I can learn) such as have either been in actual Service in the King's Army (nay, some having Commands at the present with the King), or those that are known Favourers of that Party. I hear they have drawn up certain Articles, where unto they have subscribed, for the managing and maintaining this new Party. They have drawn up Petitions, one to the King, the other to the Parliament, the Copies whereof I have here with all sent unto your Lordships. 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. They list themselves under several Officers daily, and meet in great Bodies at their Rendezvous, and boast they can have Twenty Thousand Men at Four and Twenty Hours Warning for assembling them together. Their Heads send out to the several Towns; and, by ringing of Bells, and sending Post from one Rendezvous to another, into the several Towns and Hundreds, they draw into great Bodies. For Distinction of themselves from other Men, they wear White Ribbon, to shew, as they say, their Desires of Peace. They meet with Drums, flying Colours, and for Arms they have Muskets. Some, I hear, have been sent them from Sherborne; Fowling-pieces, Pikes, Halberts, great Clubs, and such like. They take upon them to interpose betwixt the Garrisons of either Side; and when any of their Forces meet in Places where they have a sufficient Power, as Salisbury and the like, they will not suffer them to fight, but make them drink together, and so make them Part to their several Garrisons. They come into our Horse Quarters, and steal Horses where they find them at Grass, and carry them into the Woods. They will obey no Warrants further than they are compelled, for sending in Provisions for the Army, or Draughts for the Carriages. In these Two Counties, they are abundantly more affected to the Enemy than to the Parliament; and publicly declare, what Party soever falls on them, they will join with the other; and those of the Inhabitants of these Counties who are really affected to the Parliament do not join with them, but are daily threatened by them, and suspect the Issue of it will be very mischievous. I have the Enemy before me, towards whom I am advancing with all Expedition; and in my Rear these Men, who, being very numerous, and acted by Men so dangerous as for the most Part their Leaders are, I know not what they may attempt. I desire your Lordships Advice in this Business, being uncertain what to do, until I hear from your Lordships. I am careful to prevent any just Cause of Clamour from the Country through any Disorders in the Army; and hope there will be Care taken for the sending Money to us, that they may be able to give Contentment to the People, by discharging their Quarters: But I do not at all doubt, that, if some speedy Course were taken for their quieting, or suppressing them, it would be no hard Work: I know not what it may prove to in Time; I find them generally very confident of their Cause and Party; and, if hereafter they should presume to give Laws to the Armies, as they do to the Garrisons, it might be of evil Consequence. For the present, I shall offer to your Lordships the commanding of Colonel Fines and Colonel Norton's Regiment of Horse into these Parts, who, with the Assistance of Colonel Ludlowe, the Sheriff of Wilts, and the Garrisons in these Parts, may be able at least to keep them from drawing into any great Bodies, to the Disturbance of the Country. I desire your Lordships speedy Answer; and remain

"Your Lordships most humble Servant,

Blandford, July, 3d 1645, 7 in the Morning.


This is followed by a meeting with a party of Clubmen in Dorchester the same day, seeking warrant and allowing them passage to King and Parliament with petition.


Those to the King were Doctor Henry Goche, and Thomas Bravel, Divines; St. Loe, Peter Hodskins, Esq; Thomas Young an Attorney, and Robert Pawlet Gent.

To the Parliament were directed Melchisedec Woltham and Richard Cook Club-teachers or Preachers; Tho. Trenchard and Robert. Culliford, Esqs; George Hawle and Richard Newman, Gent. And together with Hollis Desre, he delivers the Petitions themselves with their devised Articles concerning an Association of the County independent of either Armies.



The effect of the Articles. That those Associate shall find Arms for themselves to keep peace, unless in opposition of disorderly Soldiers on either side to be brought to the next adjacent Garrison. - That they will submit to Quarter and Contribution to their abilities, till their Petitions be preferred, and timely answered Not to favour either party, nor to protect any, not so associated. Then in their Petitions. - They desire a renewed Treaty of King and Parliament, with cessation of Arms.That the Garrisons of Dorset and Wiltshire be put into their hands, till the King and Parliament agree about the disposal of them. That they be free from all charge but maintenance of those Garrisons. That all Laws not repealed be in force, and to be executed by the ordinary officers. - That all men that desire, may lay down Arms, and others who have abſented themselves from their Dwellings may have liberty to return home.


Meeting with Fairfax 3rd of July 1645


This was given reply by Fairfax on July 4th. The requiring of garrisoned troops to come under the warrant and command by The Clubmen until a peace is attained, is given a focus in the reply. The threat of a foreign invasion through the three sea port garrisons is mentioned as a need to keep under parliaments control, and a promise to impose discipline in said Parliament garrisons and the grievances commonly imposed by troops marching through the counties brought to a stop. A quiet and orderly passage by troops from now on is mentioned. The garrisons particularly of the three seaports are of great importance, and as mentioned the given up of to put under command of the Clubmen was never going to be. What the letter shows is Fairfax dealing with The Clubmen in a cautious manner, given a communication with and a reassurance of keeping troops in order. This would play dividends as the Western Campaign continued.


Although the Paper brought to me being not subscribed cannot challenge any answer, yet to clear myself from any answers to the satisfaction of the country, who are pretended to be in-trusted in these petitions, I return this. That my affections, and the affections of this Army, are as much inclined to peace, as any mens whatsoever. And we undertake the War for no other end than the establishment of a firm and happy peace.......


Fairfax and The New Model Army by the night of the 5th of July had marched to Beaminister and were quartered on the top of a hill over the town with a few in Beaminister. A description of the state of the town makes for how the occupation of towns with soldiers had in many accounts caused a miserable and devastating effect on the people of those towns.


" a place of the most pitifulest spectacle that man can behold, hardly a house left not consumed by with fire; the town fired by the enemy in five places at once ".


Fairfax with the army were now in camp between Crewkerne and Beaminster on the 5th-6th of July had dispatched with The Clubmen ambassadors from Dorchester. Receiving word of Goring's Royalist troops from his scouts, he hears of Goring's departure from Taunton and was marching for Yeovil. A report in a Parliament newsletter speaks of Goring and a "sharp farewell, where he has spit his last venom". The march from Marlborough by Faiirfax's troops in five days on course for the relief of Taunton was now focused on the chase of Goring.

The report also mentions a coming together with the Governor of Lyme. The Clubmen assembling, they were approached by the Governor of Lyme who "put those in a condition to receive the worst of answers" whereupon they "rudely tore his papers and increased their sedition's" This resulted with the Governor approaching them and the loss of 50 to 60 Clubmen. A comment is made "they will not understand reason till it be beaten into them".

( Fairfax himself reported on this clash with the Clubmen in Lyme with the added note of the messenger of Colonel Martin Pinder losing his papers to The Clubmen and 80 being killed. )


The 5th of July 1645 The Clubmen take 100 of Goring's men and draughts (Horses) and Fairfax is in Crewkerne Somerset. Parliament debate the Somerset Clubmen petitions. The debate is centered on these Clubmen making laws upon themselves.


The Somerset Clubmen had been organising throughout the county since early June, mainly in objection to Gorings soldiers. With Fairfax and a more disciplined New Model Army now in the county, this would later play as an advantage in winning The Clubmen to be more sympathetic to Parliamentarian cause. The pushing of warrant and hopes of the Royalists in gaining recruits via The Clubmen, up to this point was still at play. Goring himself had a ploy in preparation regards The Clubmen which would come to light late July.


A petition from the Somerset Clubmen prepared in late June was published in a Parliamentary Newspaper in early July. One of the leaders of these Clubmen was a Humphrey Willis who came from Woolavington. Willis had taken the demands and petitions of The Clubmen to both warring sides.


The Clubmen meeting on Cattle Hill was presented in 'Some Queries presented by Mr Willis at the Clubmen's Rendezvous June 30th 1645'.





Clubmen Petitions Somerset Reported 5th July 1645


Fairfax succeeds in beating the Royalist troops at Yeovil on the 7th of July. The defeat of Royalist Lieutenant-General George Porter near Taunton at Isle Abbott's by General Massey on the 8th and Goring's troops at The Battle of Langport on the 10th saw the Western Campaign gain ground. An exchange with Cubmen Thomas Hawles and Fairfax before the Battle of Langport saw Fairfax seeking Hawles restrained. Hawles was still demanding the Clubmen propositions early requested be honored.




Goring now fled back into Devon. The Clubmen with the recent history of Goring and his deprivations on them took revenge on those fleeing back to Devon, killing those caught.

This Clubmen revenge upon those fleeing was a result also in part because of the Royalist garrison under the command of Francis Mackworth in Langport. Goring had kept the garrison at Langport short of supplies. The gathering by force of supplies had been instructed by Mackworth and this brought a resistance to that force upon the surrounding area. The Clubmen had set upon the garrison on a previous occasion. Capturing some of the Royalist troops they confronted the Langport garrison with musket fire. Mackworth had set his horse ( cavalry ) on them, killing one or two and forcing the rest to flee.



A letter from Fairfax at this time shows the toll of the marching being put upon the army.




After the Battle of Langport and marching the same day the New Model Army arrived at Pensy-Pound. Fairfax and the New Model Army were now quartered at Weston Moor, Penzoy Common part of 'The Kings Sedgemoor'.


The following day July 11th 1645, and being informed of a gathering of Clubmen with banners and aprons of white being seen on Knoll Hill, he ( Fairfax ) with officers and the Lieutenant General (Cromwell ) went out to meet and talk with The Clubmen. On advancing upon the Clubmen, Fairfax and his officers were friendly received and thereafter a volley of shot was fired in salute. A neutral speech was made by the leader Humphrey Willis where as in common with other Clubmen demands, peace and a treaty for was proposed.

Fairfax assured The Clubmen pay for supplies for the New Model Army, and appealed for help against the Royalist garrisoned in Bridgewater, before heading back to the army quartered now in Chedzoy.


The King was now at Raglan Castle by the 3rd July where later on the 8th of July he would meet with a delegation of Clubmen from Dorset with another petition.




The Humble Petition of the Inhabitants of Dorset is in keeping with other Clubmen petitions. A desire for peace and the suffering imposed on them by garrisoned troops ( ten in number, Dorset stated ) with payment by taxes and a supply of food and provision brought to an end to those garrisons. The arbitrary power of the sword is once again highlighted.


The Somerset Clubmen make another appearance on the 23rd July 1645. The loss and surrender of Bridgewater to the New Model Army also on the 23rd July saw General Goring see fit to send a warrant in the hope of recruitment as mentioned earlier. According to reports from a Parliamentarian Newspaper this was a ploy to see who was willing, some to be forced and the rest scattered. This was of little success.


Fairfax and the New Model Army now being headquartered in Wells Somerset late July, and with the surrender of Bath to parliamentarian forces, Fairfax now had on mind, the Royalists and Clubmen in Dorset. The paying of quarter and provision that had swung the Clubmen in West Somerset would prove to be a different matter in Dorset. Bristol could wait. With a fear of this third force of Clubmen behind them on a return through Somerset, Dorset, Fairfax made a choice. Chasing Goring’s troops into Devon, Cornwall could wait. Fairfax with the New Model Army set course for Sherborne in Dorset, a Royalist garrisoned castle under the command of Sir Lewis Dives and the defeating of was now the armies focus.


With the New Model Army now quartered in Sherborne Dorset and Sherborne Castle now under siege the Clubmen were to become a priority.


Sir Lewis Dyve as Royalist Governor of Sherborne was 1st approached by the Clubmen in March of 1645. With the continued outrage being inflamed by Royalist General Goring's forces in the South West, Sir Lewis Dyve saw fit to quell their anger.


With colour , 40 horse and their furniture (tackle) Lewis Dyve's boosted the Clubmen's arsenal. The Clubmen were reported as

"we with great courage are now resolved to die, as to suffer the intolerance and outrages as put upon us by Goring's forces."


By May of 1645 things between the Royalist garrison under Sir Lewis Dyve's in Sherborne Castle had now taken a turn for the worst. The continued outrages being enforced upon the people in the South West by General Goring's forces had put Dyve's out of favour with the Clubmen. At a place between Shaftesbury and Blandford a meeting of Clubmen was held. Here it was agreed to stop the payments to the Royalists in Dorset, and a threat made to join the Parliamentarian forces in the West, under command of General Graves and Weldon.


A threat only. The Clubmen were still very much a force of their own through May, June, July in Dorset, as can be seen in their resolve to keep petitioning and demand a stop between King and Parliament in hostilities.


The focus on Goring is of great importance here also. The Clubmen were prepared to do whatever was needed. Royalist or Parliamentarian. Goring was the focus of their ills, but the exploits of Parliamentarian Edward Massey in the area and passing through troops from both sides were a reason for the Clubmen's anger also .


By August with Fairfax and army now in Dorset, and the siege Sherborne, the ongoing communications between the Clubmen and the Governor of Sherborne Castle were seen as a threat by Fairfax. It gives us good reason as to why the Clubmen had decided to meet at Shaftesbury on August 2nd-3rd and why Fairfax was eager to quash this third force before it was able to ignite as a revolt. Both King and Parliament had no desire to see the Clubmen succeed in a vision of their own making.


Fairfax in a letter addressed to his father on the 4th August 1645 speaks of his arrival at Sherbourne and his desire to push Goring into Cornwall. The Clubmen of Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire are seen as dangerous if not quashed.





Letter front image, courtesy of Dorset History Centre


"We have taken 13 or 14 of their chief leaders, Lieutenant Cromwell is gone out with some horse to hinder the Clubmen's meeting which I here they have appointed to command and demand their leaders return. We most not neglect their business for their violence is probable to lead them to some foolish attempt, which I hope may make them repent their errors."

What follows after is Fairfax's concerns and wishing to be advised on further actions to be took when dealing with these Clubmen.

What is to be done with those captured in Shaftesbury?


Castle Hill Shaftesbury.

On the 2nd-3rd August 1645 Fairfax, now knowing of a planned meeting of Clubmen in Shaftesbury, sent Colonel Charles Fleetwood with a thousand horse to quash. Fleetwood surrounded these Clubmen at a place called Castle Hill, he then captured the leading members and then returned with them to Sherborne, where Fairfax was stationed.

List of Clubmen leaders taken prisoner in Shaftesbury..








Luck would have it, the Reverend Dr. Thomas Bravell one of the leading men in the Clubmen movement was not taken prisoner. With anger rising at the arrests the Reverend would hold a large part in what played out after on the 4th August at Hambledon Hill.







Cromwell Meets With Clubmen at Duncliffe Hill 1645 “a place full of wood and almost inaccessible”,







On the 4th August 1645 Lieutenant General Cromwell having been given intelligence of a Clubmen rendezvous in the county of Dorset, set forth to engage. With a party of 1000 Dragoons from Sherborne heading towards the town of Shaftesbury his first encounter came at Duncliffe Hill a heavily wooded area near the town. Seeing "colours" <flags> flying from the top of the hill Cromwell sent a Lieutenant with a small party to see the meaning of the flying colours and to inform the holders of, that the Lieutenant General of the army stood at the bottom of the hill.



Upon hearing that and knowing Cromwell in person was at the bottom of the hill a Mr Richard Newman descended to meet with and question Cromwell as to why the Gentlemen < leaders of the Clubmen> had been taken (arrested) in Shaftesbury the previous Saturday. Cromwell replied that they had been taken on General Fairfax's authority and were to be tried judicially for raising a third party (a body of people, not Parliamentarian or Royalist) in the Kingdom. Fairfax did not want to see their places plundered and they could defend any violence coming upon them. They should also bring any grievance against them to the New Model Army whereupon the culprits would be punished. The Clubmen leaders taken in Shaftesbury if found guilty would face charges to that nature, if innocent would be freed by Fairfax himself.

Cromwell himself somewhat surprisingly with a small party went with Mr Newman to meet with the Clubmen gathered at the top of the hill (some climb!) whereupon they agreed to Cromwell's assurances and returned to their homes, which seems rather surprising, Maybe they knew that a mass of body of Clubmen were gathering at nearby Hambledon Hill to confront Cromwell's dragoons.


Richard Newman ( the man who spoke to Cromwell at Duncliffe Wood) and his part in the Clubmen risings in Dorset, was later on 25 November 1648 giving a pardon. The pardon was issued under The Great Seal Of Charles I and issued at Westminster by the order of Parliament. It states,"To Richard Newman of Fifehead Magdalen, for his part in the late rebellion.


A tree dedication project by the Woodland Trust has as one of its designated sites Duncliffe Wood. In October 2017 ( 800th anniversary of the Tree Charter) a tree was dedicated with a thought to the Clubmen in mind who met there in 1645.





Hambledon Hill the large-iron age earth Fort the gathering of 2-4000 Clubmen were preparing to march upon Sherborne to free as mentioned before by Newman and the account at Duncliffe the leaders captured in Shaftesbury under General Fairfax's authority. After leaving Duncliffe Cromwell’s dragoons were soon to come upon a very different situation when confronting a second body of Clubmen on Hambledon Hill.




Being led by Reverend Thomas Bravell from Compton Abbas this body of men were to change tact and take up a defensive position on the hill after hearing Cromwell was heading their way.

On arriving Lieutenant General Cromwell and his dragoons were met by a man at the foot of the hill holding a musket. When asked what he was doing he said he was joining the Clubmen. After being told to lay down his weapon he cocked his musket and aimed at them. Forced to the ground his weapon was taken while he was left unharmed. Cromwell saw the hill fort was well defended due to the earth ridge fortifications with a narrow channel where only his dragoons could enter just three abreast. Sending a Lieutenant and 50 dragoons to ask someone from the Clubmen entrenched on the hill to negotiate this request was met by being fired upon. Cromwell had by now a Clubmen by the name of Mr Lee who was going back and forth and in two attempts passed the message that if they disbanded no harm would come upon them. After being fired on, Cromwell sent Captain Lieutenant Gladman's troop to approach them, where they were fired on again. Two dragoons were shot and killed, four horses and up to 9 troops wounded. Thereafter followed Major Desbourogh with his dragoons, where on finding or maybe being told of a rear entrance to the hill fort, charged at the Clubmen. Reverend Thomas Bravell could be heard above the chaos shouting,


"they must stand to it now and that rather then lose their armies he would pistol them that gave back"


The battle went on for several hours not the so called one hour as in the parliamentarian report but the balance was always in Cromwell's more disciplined troops. Finally with the resistance over, Cromwell's dragoons defeated this stand by the Clubmen. Taken 12 Clubmens colours, the loss of life is recorded as Cromwell had lost 3 men one an officer and 12 wounded with the Clubmen a loss of 12 men, some reports say 60, many injured some fleeing and with the prisoners put into St Mary's Church in the local village of Shroton over night now being used as a goal.


A later account by Joshua Sprigge in "England's Recovery for the Public Good" 1647 gives an account of the aftermath of the battle regarding parliamentarian prisoners.

"Captain Pattison was sore hurt on our side of which afterwards he died, and about 12 more. We found among them 16 of our men whom they had disarmed and taken prisoner, and threatened to hang some of them, but the tables were turned. We quartered that night in Shawton, and kept the Clubmen in the church., and with them four vicars and curats, which were taken with them upon the hill, whereof, Mr Talbot of Milton and Mr Lawford of Aukford".


Cromwell, with the prisoners gathered in St Mary's Church the day after the battle, spoke from the pulpit, with warning on the consequences of opposing the New Model Army.

The Clubmen were to have the liberty to defend themselves against plundering, but were to refrain in the future from stopping any soldier going about their business, and meetings such as had the day before would not be countenanced. Any man who was on the list just made deserved to be hanged if he should be taken again opposing parliament.

Clubmen and the Battle of Hambledon Hill.


Fairfax and the New Model Army were to take Sherborne Castle later in August of 1645 after a 16 day siege the Castle surrendered on the 17th of August 1645.


An interesting account of The Battle of Hambledon Hill with regards to Robert Frampton is of note. Who with his four brothers fought against Cromwell's Dragoons on Hambledon Hill. Ref,

The Life of Robert Frampton Bishop of Gloucester.


Frampton and his four brothers had been in the engagement. His brothers all wounded, one so bad and bleeding much, he had to crawl to the church St Mary's now being used as a gaol on his hands and knees. Frampton's sister went into the night upon Hambledon Hill for two hours with a lantern after her father had been told of her brother's death in the battle. The search for her brothers among the dead proved to be false.


With the release of the prisoners in the morning after, all of the Frampton's were seen to be alive.

Robert Frampton


Robert Frampton wrote of the defiance of preachers and must have witnessed Thomas Bravell's in his call to hold Cromwell at bay. In an account of a Dorset neighbour later during the civil war concerning a Chaplin named William Estmond, Frampton said.


"To the horror of his congregation soldiers violently dragged him from the readers desk over his refusal to deliver the common prayer book, with wounds upon him inside and out he died soon thereafter."



Robert Frampton who was born in Pimperne Dorset in 1622 and graduated with a BA from Oxford. In 1655 he was appointed Chaplain to the Turkey Company's factory at Aleppo. After his return to England he married then returned back to the east. On his final return to England in 1671 he became the Dean of Gloucester in 1673, and then became the Bishop of Gloucester in 1681. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 saw him in a bad position where he could not take an oath to William of Orange and Mary due to not being released from his previous oath to James II. Frampton was thereafter removed from his position of Bishop of Gloucester and saw his days out in Standish until his death in 1708.


Frampton continued to conduct services at the Church in Standish from the chancel step as he was barred from the Pulpit.



Picture is of the Church at Standish where Frampton is buried. He was still seen in high regard among the clergy who before accepting preferment would visit him in Standish to obtain his consent.




Standish Church.

Richard Newman ( the man who spoke to Cromwell at Duncliffe Wood) and his part in the Clubmen risings in Dorset, was later on 25 November 1648 giving a pardon. The pardon was issued under The Great Seal Of Charles I and issued at Westminster by the order of Parliament. It states, "To Richard Newman of Fifehead Magdalen, for his part in the late rebellion."

A List of the Country-Gentlemen called the Leaders of the Club-men for Wilts, Dorset, and Somerset, brought Prisoners to Sherborne on the Lord's day August 2nd-3rd. 1645. taken at Shaftsbury,

  • Mr. Hollis a younger brother out of meanes, who is one of the Commanders in chiefe, a kind of Generall unto them.

  • Mr. Joliffe of Blackmore another younger brother, who is Lievtenant-Generall to them, a notable great stlckler for them.

  • Mr. Yong, Advocate to them, whose habitation was at Manson in Blackmore, and was of old a Star-Chamber Clerk.

  • Captaine John Carew, the great Grand Jury man that lived at Everith.

  • Captaine Edward Davis of Lamhead.

  • Capt. Thomas Bennet of Pithouse.

  • Capt. William Blunt, a notable Cavalier.

  • Capt. Richard Craddock, the malignant Merchant of Blanford.

  • John Saintlo, a Gentleman of Wilt-shire, a notable Agent for the King.

  • Richard Burbidge, son to Burbidge the Attourney in Sturminster.

  • William Smith, sometimes Vnder-Sheriffe for Wilt-shire.

  • Thomas Jervis, the same that was wont to go up and downe to sell cloth from place to place.

  • John Lovell of Sommerset-shire, a notable stickler against godly men.

  • John Eastwood of Dunhead in Wilt-shire.

  • Francis Craddock of Blackmore.

  • John Pope of Marnhill, a man of a verie good estate, but a notable Ma∣lignant.

  • Thomas Rose of Chisgrave, a man also of a faire estate, but malignant.

  • John Bennet, brother to Captaine Bennet of Pithouse.

  • Nicholas Bingham of Hensridge; it is pitie any of that family are Ma∣lignants.

  • Francis Abbot, son to Jeremy Abbot of Horsington.

  • Robert Hollis of Dorset-shire.

  • William Filloll, a Gentleman of a good estate, that lived in Marvell, but averie violent Malignant.

  • Charles Studley of Langhton by Blanford.

  • John May of Melbury, a notable Rogue.

  • Iohn Phill of Lidlinch a Grasier, who rise in hope to recruit his grounds by plunder.

  • Laurence Hide a malignant Priest, Mr. Hides son of Hatch.

  • Sarnuel Forman, the Curate of Gillingham.

  • William Laning, a young malignant Priest that lived at Cerne.

  • Mr. Rock, a desperate malignant Person, that was borne at Buttle, and Chaplaine to Banfield at Chafield.

  • Mr. Willams a malignant Priest.

Mr. Henry Hayward, Henry Gouge, John Every, Edward Boone, Thomas Roes, Robert Squier, Thomas Marvell, Richard Alborne, Charles Simms, Robert Sapist, Thomas Brooke, John King, Edmond Clerke, Martin Marble, Thomas Bunce, William Sanders, John Corbet, Robert Fry, William Ford, Matthew Martin, and Henry Good∣win. All which are notoriously knowne to be dangerous Malignants, besides divers others which were taken next day by Lievtenant-Generall Cromwell, in an old Roman Work on Hambleton-Hill, where he routed 2500. of them that were gathered in a Body, and killed some 12. ann tooke almost 300. prisoners, and almost all their Armes and Colours, the rest fled home.

Besides these, there is remaining still amongst the Clum-men divers great Malignants.

  • Capt. George Moore of Winborn.

  • Capt. William Whiting of Spetsbury.

  • Capt. Henry Burley of Beer Regis.

  • George Sexton of Beer Regis, a man of a great estate but a desperate rogue and violent against the Parliament and good men.

  • Robert Arnall of Cheslebourn another desperate Agent.

  • Raughly Radford of Divelish, and more divelish Malignant.

The great ones that were the Ring-leaders that are taken, are to be brought up to London, and may be made examples.

But there are many silly people who have been mis-led by them, that will now (it is hoped) be laid, and in divers parts the Club-men are firme for the Porliament, and laugh at the folly of the rest.

Source. Anglia Rediviva England's Recovery For The Publique Good Joshua Sprigge 1647





The Somerset and Devon Clubmen would be active throughout August, September and October in the county. A meeting at Goosmoor near Halberton was held in late July as was a meeting in Triscombe in July.



A clash with Goring's troops and the Clubmen in North Molton in August led later to a bloody coming together in Bampton on the 29th September. The Clubmen at Bampton had earlier, on the 2nd September been in talks with parliamentarian troops gathered in nearby Milverton, under the command of Edward Massey. Massey had agreed to leave 60 of his troops in Bampton after this meeting.




Bampton In Devon


With Fairfax occupied in the siege of Bristol, Goring was free to set upon the Clubmen in Bampton and Massey's 60 troops. Heading from Tiverton along Stony Lane the resistance from Massey's troops was dealt with near the town and the quashing of the Clubmen ensued. Some fled for the church as Goring went about firing the houses along Brook Street where he then spent 6 days in town plundering what was to be had by force.


We have a connection again with The Clubmen in the South West again in 1655. With the arrest of Leveller John Wildman in Easton a connection can be traced with those involved in the Penruddock Rising. Wildman who later became friends with Thomas Hawles junior of The Close Salisbury also knew Thomas Hawles senior the Clubmen captain of 1645. We see in later documents both Hawles junior, senior and Wildman names together. A deed relating to Brownsea Island and the copperas mines was also later signed by Hawles and Wildman.

Regards the Penruddock Rising, John Penruddock and John St Loe of Wiltshire who were captured and put on trial in 1655 were both Clubmen in 1645. Fairfax in his account of those in Salisbury and those wanting passage granted to deliver petitions to both King and Parliament include John St Loe. Penruddock is mentioned as a leader of. In a twist of fate the capture of those involved with the Penruddock Rising were the troops of a certain General Desborough. Desbourgh with his Troop of Horse, the same man that attacked The Clubmen from the rear on Hambledon Hill in August of 1645.





Triscombe Stone, Quantocks



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