Home  »  Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson  »  Appendix IX: The Rendezvous at Nottingham, May and June, 1643

Lucy Hutchinson (1620–1681). Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson. 1906.

Appendix IX: The Rendezvous at Nottingham, May and June, 1643

The original design was that the troops thus collected should, in response to repeated appeals, join Lord Fairfax in Yorkshire (see Lord Fairfax’s letter in Rushworth and the Fairfax Correspondence). But directly they came together, Hotham and the other commanders began to hesitate and raise objections to the plan of marching unto Yorkshire (see the two letters of May 24th and June 2d from the commanders at Nottingham in the Fairfax Correspondence). Cromwell, who was eager to carry out a scheme which might have anticipated Marston Moor, was in desperate straits for want of money to pay and clothe his men, and obliged to borrow a hundred pounds from Nottingham to pay them (Nottingham Records, v. 210). He was also necessitated to act with the other four commanders. Whilst they still lingered at Nottingham, uncertain whether to join Fairfax or not, Lord Gray took the opportunity of attacking Wiverton House. The siege is thus described in Mrs Hutchinson’s Note-Book: ‘There is a house of my Lord Chaworth’s in the Vale called Wiverton House, this place the enemy had possessed and fortified, and done more mischief to Nottingham, by plundering passengers, market folks, and carriers, than ever Newark did. My Lord Gray with all the force, which was at that time about 5,000, went against that house, and beat them from their outworks, but left the house and marched another way. Yet within a day or two returned again to it, and planted their cannon against it within pistol shot, and were resolved to lie there that night, but news was brought that all Newcastle’s force was marched out with Newark, which news, though Major Ireton told my Lord that it would be a great deed of dishonour to him to retreat, and that they were there able to fight with them if they should come, yet they all drew off and returned to Nottingham’. The Memoirs mention also that battle was offered by the enemy and refused. This incident is thus described in the letter of the five commanders, dated June 2d: ‘Tuesday last there was towards fifty troops of horse and dragooners appeared in a body some four miles from this place; and we hear behind them stood their foot. We drew out to fight them; but they had chosen such a ground as we could not come to them without great disadvantage. At night they drew away and are still within six or seven miles, hovering up and down the country’ (Fairfax Correspondence, Civil Wars, i. 46). The queen’s march to Newark, at which place she arrived on June 16th, led finally, with the consent of Fairfax, to the abandonment of the march unto Yorkshire. It became an object of the first importance to prevent her joining the king; meanwhile Hotham’s conduct had become too suspicious to be left unnoticed. Mrs Hutchinson’s Note-Book gives rather a fuller and more detailed account of the charges against him than the printed Memoirs, but they agree in all important points. Hotham was arrested on June 18th, escaped almost immediately, and wrote on the 24th of June to the Speaker from Lincoln complaining of the treatment he had received. From Lincoln he went to his father at Hull, where both were seized and made prisoners on June 28th. For the charges against Hotham see the Commons Journals of June 21, Rushworth, part iii. vol. ii. pp. 799–800, and the letters in Sanford’s Studies and Illustrations, pp. 552–556. Many more of his letters are printed in vol. i. of the Report on the Duke of Portland’s MSS.

On June 21, according to Dugdale’s Diary, the queen’s forces attacked the parliamentary troops. According to the statement of Mercurius Aulicus they took eighty prisoners and killed fifty, ‘though with the loss of a noble gentleman who was the Baron of Donaw in Germany, who was slain with a piece of their great ordnance’. This ‘Baron of Donaw’, or ‘Baron Done’, as Dugdale calls him, is evidently Mrs Hutchinson’s Duke of Vendome’s son, which is probably a mistake for Von Dohna (see Brown’s Annals of Newark, p. 167). The queen finally gave up the idea of forcing her way through the enemy at Nottingham. On Tuesday, June 27th, she wrote to the king from Newark announcing her intention of marching on Friday (Rushworth, v. 274), and on the 2d of July she took Burton, and so made her way to Oxford, which she entered on the 14th. The dispersion of the troops at Nottingham must also have taken place at the end of June, for it is notified in Mercurius Aulicus for July 4th. It is there said that Meldrum, with 1,500 foot and seven troops of horse and dragooners, was left in command at Nottingham.