Even More Parliamentarian Commanders

There were more Royalist commanders, so only a matter of time before there were more Parliamentarian command figures.

First up Sir William Waller, an unadulterated figure, Sir William has a spare regiment of foot flag  on his base. Pure bunkum, as a found/captured ensign would be paraded rather than just left on the floor. Normally Maverick flags need sealing with a PVA/water mix but I didn't think I'd be able to get the close folds that I wanted. Trimmed very carefully with a new X-Acto blade I cut the flag so that I had the side I wanted and just enough to wrap around the flagstaff (a spare pike I had lying around), I superglued the flag in position, and once dry I washed the flag with a 75/25 mix of PVA and water, left it to dry for a few minutes then made the folds. Frequent adjustment was required whilst it dried, then any loose strands of fabric were trimmed once it was thoroughly dry.

Waller's history is entwinned with that of his good friend, and opponent Sir Ralph Hopton. The two epitomising the way in which the war wrenched the country apart. 

Waller was born in Kent, the son of the Lieutenant of Dover Castle. William 'the conqueror' was blessed with an amazing ability to escape death by a hair's breadth on numerous occassions: as a child he survived a number of illnesses that often proved fatal, and he narrowly missed a stray shot as he lay in his cradle; during his service abroad he had his horse shot from under him and survived many direct shots, dodged the Inquisiton at Bolonia because his belongings weren't searched (which no doubt would have condemned him), and managed to avoid catching the plague in Calais despite holding the hand of Sir Philip Stapleton as he lay dying of plague; he narrowly missed being shot by one of his own men at Farnham Castle; he failed to wear his helmet at Cheriton and managed to get separated from his men, he and his three colleagues somehow managing to survive; whilst holding a council of war at Cropredy the building collapsed around him; he somehow managed to survive being one of the Eleven Members of Parliament excluded by the Army, was excluded again during Pride's Purge, and arrested under suspicion of being involved in Booth's Rebellion.

Next is Sir Arthur Hesilrigge, wearing full armour as at Roundway Down a fully armoured Haselrigge was repeatedly assailed by Captain Richard Atkyns – Atkyns discharged his pistols when he felt their barrels touch his opponents armour, "he was too well armed all over for a pistol bullet to do him any harm".  

Sir Arthur held radical political and religious views and was an outspoken critic of King Charles' Personal Rule. He was brought before the Court of High Commission several times for non-payment of fees and taxes and was briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London. He would play a leading role in the impeachment of Lord Strafford.

When the First Civil War broke out, he raised a troop of horse and fought at Edgehill under Sir William Balfour. During the latter part of 1642, Hesilrige served as second-in-command to Sir William Waller on his campaign in southern England.

In 1643 his troop suffered heavy losses at Ripple Field, he returned to London where he raised a new regiment of horse his famous lobsters. He would resign his commission as a consequence of the Self Denying Ordinance.

After Cromwell's death Sir Arthur  refused to support his successor Richard. Believed by many to  unwittingly set in motion the train of events that would lead to the Restoration, he called for  the impeachment of Lambert. Lambert's response ejected Parliament and dissolved the Council of State. Hesilrige was one of nine members of the Council who refused to accept the dissolution and appealed to General Monck for support against Lambert and the military junta that had seized power.
During the brief final revival of the Commonwealth, Hesilrige was the unofficial leader of Parliament. Hesilrige realised too late that Monck intended to recall Charles II and is said to have dropped his opposition to the Restoration when Monck promised that his own life would be spared. Nevertheless, he was excepted from the Act of Indemnity and imprisoned in the Tower of London in May 1660. He died there in January 1661 before he could be brought to trial.

Lord Saye and Sele completes the trio, the ECWTravelogue visited his home Broughton Castle last summer, the Castle became a meeting place for dissidents where opposition to the King's policies was orchestrated prior to the outbreak of open warfare. William Fiennes was the 8th Viscount Saye and Sele, nicknamed 'Old Subtlety' by the King for his cunning political machinations. Disheartened by Charles's execution in 1649, he retired from public life. He spent much of his time during the Commonwealth and Protectorate years at his property on Lundy Island. He accepted the Restoration in 1660 and was appointed a privy councillor to King Charles II, he died at Broughton Castle in April 1662.

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  1. Hesilrige was an interesting cove, for sure...

    1. There certainly was an abundance of 'characters' during the Wars

  2. Lovely trio of Parliamentary commanders!
    Best Iain


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