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THE LINTON REBELLION 1648

During the 1st Civil War from 1642 until 1646 the Royalist forces in East Anglia were forced to flee to other parts of the country, or to remain in the region maintaining a low profile and await the chance to rise in support of Charles 1st. The Cambridge Colleges were strongly royalist and 68 out of the 155 local area clergymen were ejected from their livings in 1644 for refusing to accept the Presbyterian Covenant signed by Parliament in 1643. Amongst those ejected were the local vicars / rectors of Bartlow, Carlton, Burrow Green, Castle Camps and Linton. Roger Ashton, the Linton vicar was ejected in 1644 and fled to Oxford. Bishop Wren of Ely was confined to the Tower for 18 years until freed at the Restoration in 1660.

Linton itself was clearly divided during these momentous years. Charles Parys, the lord of Great and Little Linton was a RC royalist but lived as a recusant at Pudding Norton in Norfolk. He let Catley Park and Little Linton farms to tenants. Parliament sequestered his estates in 1656. John Millicent, the lord of Barham Hall Manor fled to the King’s HQ at Oxford in 1643 and was listed as a royalist prisoner when the city fell in 1645. He was an Anglican.

Other royalist Lintonians were named by the Committee for Compounding in 1646.  John Appleyard of Little Linton gent was at Oxford when the royalists surrendered to Fairfax on June 27th, 1646. He had failed to take the oath or covenant and now pleaded to be spared on the vote of the Commons. On December 31st, 1646 he was fined £92, a tenth of the value of his estates. John Appleyard was the son of Alexander Appleyard who died in Balsham in 1615 and Jane who died in 1629. Alexander had a shop and stable in Linton Market Place at the end of butchers’ row. His son John gent married an Ann and was in Linton in 1656 when he was a signatory of the Town House lease. In 1659 he was the tenant of Little Linton farm after John Hockley. The couple had two children – Thomas baptised in 1640 and Mary in 1641 (died 1642).  

At the close of the 1st Civil War John Millicent was forced to petition the House of Commons for a pardon for his misdemeanours. The Journal of the House dated June 10th, 1647 states, “Resolved that this House doth accept of the sum of £162 of John Millicent of Linton Esq. for a fine for his delinquency………his offence is leaving his dwelling and residing at Oxford.” Captain Adams Lawrence of Linton was an officer in Cromwell’s 10th Troop of Horse and had discovered 200 musket balls hidden in a box at Barham Hall. Lawrence then owned property in the Coles Lane, Swan and Chandlers areas of Linton. Other local royalists fined were – John Appleyard the tenant of Little Linton farm, Lawrence Mynott of Horseheath and Thomas Appleyard of Dullingham.

Having lost the 1st Civil War, King Charles 1st was able to attempt to recover his power because Parliament split over religion and the role of the New Model Army. By 1648 the King had acquired new allies – the Scottish Army, and the majority of the members of the House of Commons as well as the staunch Royalist party.

General Thomas Fairfax was quartered at Walden in 1648 and there was now widespread discontent across the whole region. In April and May, 1648 there were spontaneous risings at Norwich, Bury St. Edmunds, Stowmarket, Thetford, Cambridge, Wisbech, Soham and Newmarket. There was also trouble at Trinity College in Cambridge. Meanwhile, the Scottish army invaded England and moved south towards London and there were also serious Royalist uprisings in Kent and East Anglia. In June, 1648 some 4000 Royalists seized Colchester under the command of Lord Goring, Sir Charles Lucas (from Colchester) and Sir George Lisle. Lucas had hoped to march on London but was foiled by Fairfax’s forces and forced to withdraw to Colchester. On June 13th, 1648 General Fairfax left Walden with 5000 men to besiege the city. Oliver Cromwell was in the north dealing with the Scottish invasion so the New Model Army was split, a golden opportunity for the rebellion in the south to succeed.  

The rebels at Colchester now aimed to provide a focus for a more general uprising across East Anglia. The siege of Colchester in 1648 was to last for about 11 weeks. The royalists were able to defend the old Roman wall and plug the gaps with earthworks. There were ample supplies of food and ammunition in the city.

The meeting place for all the royalist rebels in East Anglia for the march on and relief of Colchester was Linton where they would assemble. Some 500 horsemen came here from Newmarket, Cambridge and Walden and were led by Captain Reynolds, the deputy lord lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and Captain John Appleyard of Dullingham and Little Linton (at Oxford in 1646). Other prominent royalists included – Sir Anthony Cage of Burrow Green: John Curd of Ickleton: Giles Jocelyn of Babraham: Francis Frost of Brinkley: John Byatt of Sawston, Thomas Appleyard of Willingham, John Humphrey of Brinkley, John Sendall of Brinkley (slain in June, 1648), John Byatt of Sawston, Thomas Mynott of Horseheath, Simon Jackson of Cambridge, Thomas Bassingbourne of Linton, and Robert Giles of Newport (slain June, 1648) The Quartermaster in charge of all the supplies was Barnaby Richmond, a tanner who resided at 65, High Street in the property today called Richmonds (name used after 1919).

John Sutton outlined the background events in the Rising / Rebellion in a talk at Walden in May, 1998. The Jermyns of Rushbrook Hall near Bury and John Morden of Exning supplied horses to convey messages in preparation for the Rising. On May 1st, 1648 Bury was the centre of the East Anglian Rising and the cavaliers joined the apprentices who were opposed to the godly puritan reformation – Christmas had been abolished in 1647. Shops and Churches were open but there were no celebrations in December, 1647. The rebels put up a maypole in Bury market place (maypoles banned after 1644) and running battles took place from May 1st to the 12th. The riot on the 12th led to the town council appealing to Parliament to send troops. Provisions to the town were cut off and the town was fortified. However, the rebels lost their nerve and surrendered on May 15th.

Other royalists exploited the discontent in East Anglia and a Captain Barker of Kentford is linked to the Linton Rebellion. In late May and early June, 1648 Newmarket become the focal point of royalist discontent. People assembled here under the guise of attending horse race meetings. The Barnadistons from Kedington came and arrested 5 or 6 of the royalist leaders there. King Charles was a prisoner on the Isle of Wight but Queen Henrietta Maria planned this second War from the Louvre. She was in touch with the Germaines of Rushbrook Hall and commissions to the rebel gentry were issued on her behalf. Prince Charles was off Yarmouth with renegade units from the fleet and Lord Capel from Hertfordshire was to take command of the Rebellion in East Anglia. In May, 1648 there was an insurrection in Kent which was crushed on June 1st, 1648 at the battle of Maidstone by Fairfax. 2000 to 3000 royalists led by the Earl of Norwich managed to cross over to Essex and occupy Colchester. Sir Charles Lucas in the town joined the rebels. Some 4000 royalists marched from Chelmsford on June 9th and on to Colchester. Walden rebelled and the royalists seized the town on June 11th when 100 soldiers led by Captains Wright and Hodson captured the town centre.

The Linton Rebellion was based on men from three sources – strangers from Kent – there were four Kentish men with guns and powder in Linton on the 16th of June: cavaliers in Walden like Eustus Andrews, the secretary to Lord Capel and led by Sir Barnaby Scudamore: local elements from constables in the local villages. Cavaliers forayed from Walden on Wednesday the 14th of June and Scudamore rode along Newmarket High Street to the King’s Arms. The royalists recruited in Newmarket market place but when Parliamentary troops arrived from Bury the four royalists colonels barricaded themselves in the pub. They soon surrendered. Soon after a second group of Royalists from Walden arrived but were too late to help. Recruits were gathered and Captain William Barker from Kentford left Newmarket for Walden with 100 men. He travelled via Burrough Green to Weston Leas near Little Walden where they rendezvoued with recruits from all over Cambridgeshire. Bottisham rebels joined them at Weston Leas on the Wednesday. In Cambridgeshire five constables including Giles Jocelyn of Babraham gave men money to join up – Giles gave three men 17/6d each. John Humphrey of Brinkley claimed he was forced to donate a horse to the rebels or be hanged. The rebel leader was Thomas Appleyard , a prosperous wheat and cattle yeoman from Dullingham. The cavaliers then went to Walden but left midday on the Thursday for Audley End. Here the Earl of Suffolk claimed that the rebels were unwelcome visitors. Rebel scouts looked out for signs of Parliamentary forces and then the rebels left for Linton.   

John Appleyeard of Little Linton was recorded as urging the 500 assembled rebels in Linton , “ to play their parts like men, for if we should lose the day now they should be overthrown for ever.” General Fairfax was informed of the Linton Insurrection whilst on his way to Colchester and so despatched five troops of horse from Walden under Colonel Sparrow to crush the assembled force in Linton.

Some say the royalists were defeated at Westow Leas before retreating to Linton. An exhibition at Walden in March, 1998 claimed that the royalists held Audley End house before fleeing via Little Walden to Hadstock. They then went to Haw’s Hill on Chalky Road and fought a battle. The royalists then retreated to Long Lane where it meets Chalky Road. At Haw’s Hill there are two fields, one called Red Field and the other Traitors Field (on a right angled bend on the road from Hadstock to Bartlow). Donald Stewart of Church Path cottage in Hadstock (tel. 891969) dug up two stone cannon balls in 1998 in his garden near the Church. The Walden museum identified them as Civil War ones.

In the ensuing skirmish in Linton Colonel Sparrow routed the royalist forces, “ capturing Major Reynolds, a Colonel with a wooden leg and Major Mustamp.” On June 16th the Colchester rebels heard the news about “the crushing of their friends at Linton.”

John Sutton (78, Churchill Avenue. Scaltback Paddocks. Newmarket. CB8 OBY. Tel. 01638 – 661383 kindly mailed me (October, 1998) extracts from contemporary sources about the Linton Rising. The sorces were – Thomason Tracts : E448(18), An Exact Narrative of Every dayes Proceedings since the Insurrection in Essex, June 20th, 1648: E448 (20), The Kingdomes Weekly Intelligence 13th to 20th June, 1648: and E499 (13), The Moderate Intelligencer June 15th to 22nd, 1648.

John wrote as follows – “The enemy Royalists were raising forces about Saffron Walden where they had gotten 400 foot and 100 horse – possibly assembled at Westoe Leas. John Appleyard of Dullingham was one of the principal royalists. To suppresse these General Fairfax (HQ outside Colchester at Lexden Heath) dispatched away two troops of his own horse, and three troops of Collonell Harlackendon’s regiment under Major Sparrow (so 5 troops in all under Captain Wallington – units from Fairfax and Cromwell troops plus some dragoons -  source Peter Newmans  - Dictionary of Royalist Officers) . On June 16th towards evening Major Sparrow (from Wickhambrook) resolved to dispute their quarters, but upon arrivall found the birds were flown, about three in the afternoon to a place called Linton about four miles away. Their weariness however inviting the Parliamentary troops to a refreshment for certain houres and take what pleasure a grass close within a mile of Walden and a rainy night would afford. The entertainment of the place affords them little encouragement to stay, and therefore they decided to march on and surprise the Royalist insurgents by daybreak. This was accordingly performed through the courage and resolution of the forlorne hope. Captain Wallington with the Lieutenant General’s own troop, who had the van equalises their resolution. But the work seems difficult by the enemies barrocading of the way to Linton with carts, and in the faces of some Royalist musquetiers and pikes who wanted no valour. Captain Wallington was gallantly opposed by Major Muschamp, a Scotch man with 20 musquets, a stand of pikes and 20 resolute horse. The service was hot on both sides but disputed in a short time. The weather on the night of June 15th was very wet and windy and the royalists were taken by surprise by the early Friday morning attack. A trumpter of Wallington’d was shot through the head and some of our horse slain. Of theirs, slain Major Muschamp and 10 more.

Our party then entered the town, scoured the streets and made all clear till they came to the Church. Here was the main guard of about 100 foot commanded by a stout old soldier. The passage thereto being very narrow causede our men to retreat. Upon debate it was resolved to summon them upon which a treaty was desired and granted. The countreymen should go to their own houses leaving their arms behind, and never to bear arms against the Parliament for the future. That 6 horsemen should march away with their horses and swords to Colchester to tell the rebels of their defeat – they arrived on the 18th. . There were taken for the publicke store a hundred arms, besides a hundred more the souldiers had amongst them. Also two colours of foot, four drums and two barrels of powder. Also surrendering was a considerable party of horse but few prisoners. Our party was not able to surround the town and effect a surprise at once. Some rebels escaped – like William Barker of Exning. The Parliamentarians took Major Reinolds whose brother was a JP neare Castle Camps who was very active in this business. Also a Colonel with a wooden leg. This knot had been stronger tyed by eleven o clock that day, if not timely broken.”

John Sutton then referred to the aftermath of the battle. PRO – SP19/133 f128 the depositions taken in 1649 to 1650 by the Cambridgeshire Sequestration Commissioners on the various malignants taking part in the Linton Rising. The Royalist prisoners were taken to the Griffen Inn after the encounter in the small hours of June 16th, 1648. A William Axie, the servant of Mr. John Morden of Exning who fought for the King at Linton testified that after he had been captured there that he and others were taken to the Griffen Inn by Major Robert Sparrowe’s soldiers. Sparrowe’s men had led the party which routed Captain Wright, a royalist captain from Walden. Sparrowe’s men gave Axie a tickett to “goe home wch he did accordingly.” John also told me that Sir William Compton, an inveterate cavalier was residing at Linton in the 1650s.

The Linton PR’s record four entries which must refer to the Skirmish at Linton. The June 16th entry under deaths stated – John Sendall gent of Brinkley slain in a skirmish by Parliamentary forces, was buried: Robert Giles of Newport slain at the same time and upon the same occasion, was buried: a stranger at the same tyme slain, was buried: and August 8th, 1649 entry – Mr. Claiden “ murthered by souldiers and buried” (GC – Christopher Claydon / Claiden gent had married an Ann and they had 10 children between 1617 and 1634. Two were baptised in Hadstock, three in Great Chersterford and three in Linton. The Linton ones were – Elizabeth 1622, John 1624 – died 1639 and Frances 1627).       

Fairfax had earlier besieged Colchester and set up his HQ at Lexden. He constructed defensive walls to encircle the city. On June 23rd, 1648 he fired on the town with 40 guns. On June 30th, 1648 Fairfax called for its surrender and his frontal attack just failed to breech the defences. Captain Adam Lawrence of Linton was a parliamentarian and he was killed by the royalists in the first parliamentary charge early on in the siege. Lawrence was in the 10th troop of Cromwell’s Horse, the Ironsides which was set up in the autumn of 1643.  

On July 6th, 1648 Lucas made a sortie from the East gate to add to his food supplies but this failed and he retired back to the town with his forces still in good order.

In July and August the royalist cause was lost and there was widespread distress within the walls – starvation meant the garrison ate cats and dogs. The bombardment destroyed buildings and the cold and wet weather that summer made the rebel position even worse.

The rebels finally surrendered on August 28th, 1648 after a 75 day siege. The three leaders were condemned to death but only two were executed. They died by firing squad in the castle – Lucas and Lisle. Lord Goring was pardoned. The other prisoners were punished – every thirteenth man of the Essex Batchellours was executed: every tenth man of the married men: every fifth man of the Londoners and the Kentish men: the remaining married men were allowed to go home: the remaining batchelours were sent beyond the seas.

The town paid a nominal fine of £14,000. The siege stirred up anti - royalist feeling and calls for retribution against Charles 1st. In 1660 the two rebel leaders were reburied in the church and inscribed tombs were erected. 

After the Linton Insurrection the delinquents were dealt with over a period of several years. The Cambridge Committee for Compounding fined royalists for their part in the rebellion at Linton. Sir Anthony Cage of Burrow Green was fined £244 on July 27th, 1650 for sending three horses to Linton on a commission given to Captain Appleyard. The Linton rebels lost two thirds of their Estates and were forced to pay huge fines. The Millicents of Barham appear to have stayed aloof. Giles Jocelyn of Babraham who later became tenant of Little Linton farm was mentioned (he later became a quaker and seems to have deserted the royalist cause after 1660). Barnaby Richmond, a tanner living at present day Richmonds was the quartermaster of the rebels. John Byatt of Sawston was fined in January, 1650 because in 1648 he sent a horse and arms to the late King’s party for the relief of Colchester. On March 11th, 1651 Thomas Appleyard of Willingham begged the Committee for Compounding to compound (fix a fine ) for being in the insurrection at Linton. He asked forgiveness since he acted under force. Earlier at an inquest of delinquents held on October 12th, 1649 Thomas Appleyard was found guilty of assisting the rebels with horses and arms – he had marched to Stetchworth to raise forces for Linton and entertained some officers at his house. Again on November 10th, 1650 he was said to have encouraged the rebels in person at Weston Leas.  He was fined one sixth of his estate value of £235 and let off further payments on March 25th, 1651. On August 16th, 1650 John Humphrey senior of Brinkley was sequestered on suspicion of sending a horse to Linton at the late commotion there. On November 14th, 1651 Simon Jackson of Cambridge was sequestered for joining the force of the late King at the rising in Linton. November 13th, 1651 the committee reported that Simon Jackson had been sequestered for joining the forces of the late King at the rising at Linton – by April 1st, 1652 the committee reported that most of the sum owed had been collected in money.  

Trouble persisted throughout the period from 1649 until 1651 until Oliver Cromwell consolidated his hold on the nation. The 1984 discovery of a hoard of money / coins in the Ashdon area has obvious links with this period of unrest. The hoard had two gold and 1201 silver coins and the newest was said to have been coined in 1644-1645. 

Committee for Compounding for Cambs 1653. Robert Pratt (who was the tenant of Little Linton) petitioned that he became tenant on November, 1646 at £80 a year rent for the lands in Linton sequestered for recusancy from Charles Parys. He held them until Michaelmas last (GC – 1652 or 1653, unclear). At that time his crop was seized for arrears of rent without any allowance made for repair costs and taxes paid. Pratt stated that he was an agent to the Worcester House Trustees for the sale of the King’s lands and wasa unable to finalise his Linton accounts. He had already gone twice to Linton where the county commissioners put him off. Now Pratt begged them to let someone in Linton or Cambridge settle and sort the farm accounts, and let two of Pratt’s servants and an agent thrash and sell his crops at Linton. Wants the servants and agent to keep his other goods (they would get wages) till Pratt could make up his accounts and he would then pay all that was due.    

After the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660 the royalists exacted their revenge and all their estates were returned to them. Notable Cromwellians such as Robert Pitches who lived in the large tannery house in Green Lane, now called the Old Manor House was heavily fined by the local royalist courts and committees of inquiry. Prominent amongst the royalist J.P.’s were John Millicent of Barham and Sir Thomes Sclater of Catley Park. Millicent’s monument can be seen behind the organ in the north aisle of Linton Church (see my article under my notes on Barham Hall or Linton Church). The Quarter Sessions in April, 1661 ordered payments of 10/- each to be made “to souldiers wounded or who lost limbs in the late wars.” One such was Richard Larrence of Lynton. In 1662 he received four more payments from the County treasurer of 20/-. In 1662 John Richmond received two payments of 20/-. Between October, 1662 and 1672 Thomas Appleyard of Brinkley received 39 payments of 20/-. Between 1663 and 1665 Thomas Bassingbourne of Linton received ten payments of 20/-.