The Life of Sir Marmaduke Rawdon

1582 to 1646

By Ian Fisher

Sir Marmaduke Rawdon
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
The Rawdon Book
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

The Life of Sir Marmaduke Rawdon, Knight, as taken from The Rawdon Book, which contains several biographies of the family

Hals Ref 79959X

Marmaduke the third son of Ralph was baptized at Brandbee Church the 20th of March 1582 and was brought up with his parents till he was about 16 years of age. And about 1588 came up to London with his eldest brother Lawrence who placed him with one Mr Daniel Hall, with whome after he had been a small time perceiving his towardliness, he sent him [straite] to France as his factor to Bordeaux, where he was so carefull in his masters business that in a short time he raised his master to a faire state. And his owne credit now being spread abroad, he had employment from severall other merchants by which he did with a generall applause advance his owne fortune. And about the year 1610 came over into England, took a house in London and grew presently into great credit. After he had been a while in England he was chosen a Common Councell man of the Citty of London and was the first that motioned to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen that it was not fitt that they of the Common Councell (amongst whome were many Aldermen Fellowes and out of whome the Aldermen were chosen) should be bare before them. Soe it was taken into consideration and from thenceforth ordered that they should be covered, which custome hath continued ever since. He was free of the Right Worshipfull Company of Cloth Workers of which company he was afterwards Master. During his Mastership he caused part of the hall to be new built to the great beautifying of it as appeared by a writing under his coat of arms in the hall, but now that and the said hall were consumed in the late conflagration.

About the yeare 1617 he was chosen one of the captaines of the trained bands of the Citty of London, which place he did discharge with much reputation and credit for many years. A most expert soldier and Royal Merchant he was treasurer for the French Merchants and one who ordered most of their affaires. And was as well for the private negotiations of those merchants, as the publicke of the cittie imployed to the councell table in the time of King James and King Charles the First from both which Princes he received diverse favours and with whome he had often private discourse concerning severall affaires of the nation. And King James would often call at his house at Hodsden – coming from Royston – and there has pleasant communication together.

He was not only favoured by these princes but was likewise held in great esteeme by their great favourite George, Duke of Buckingham, who would often take him home from the councell table when he had been there about business and carry him in his coach with him to Yorke House, where he would keep him sometimes 2 or 3 howers together asking his opinion about concernes of state.

He was one of the first who, for the good of the nation, sent forth a ship for the discovery of the Northwest Passage, which was very chargeable to them, and in returne thereof  had only a unicorns horne of small value. He was one of the first who planted the Barbadas, where he buried above 1000 [pounds], which in his time had never any resurrection, though afterwards beneficial to others.

He was a great adventurer for France, Spaine, the Canary Islands, Turkie ( of which company he was likewise free), to the West Indies and to severall other parts of the world where he imployed much shipping and seamen to the peoples benefit and advance of the Kings revenews.

He was in the year 1627 chosen a Parliament Man for Alborough a [port] town in Suffolk, for which towne he did such good service, that for many yeares afterwards they sent him every yeare a small present of excellent fish against Lent as an acknowledgement of their thankfulnesse to him. About the year 1639 he was chosen Alderman of the Citty of London, but his fancie or occaisions not giving him leave to excecute the place, he refused it and soe paid his fine.

About the same time, he was chosen one of the Leftenant Colonells of the Citty, which place he held, till the Citty, or the most part, began to side with the Parliament, which proceedings he did withstand as much as he durst. But seeing all was to no purpose, rather than obey Parliaments orders, he laid down his commission and would act no more for them. They did what they could to winne him to their partie, knowing his great abilities and how much he was beloved of most part of the citizens, offered him what preferment he would be pleased to accept of amongst them. But finding him of too honest principals to be corrupted to doe any thing against his conscience or allegiance they began to suspect him and he them, soe to secure himselfe from being seized he went from London to Hodsden where he had a faire house of his owne building, a place of much recreation. Here he [retired] himselfe some few days till he had settled his affaires and taken leave of his friends. The 9th March 1643 he went to Oxford and presented his service to the King, who knew him well and was very glad to see him. And knowing him to be a popular man thought a great part of the citizens would follow him, as indeed many honest citizens did come and serve under him. And in particular that famous man Mr Thomas Johnson was his Lieftenant Collonel, who if he had live had without doubt left some addition to its great work in which he left behind him to the honour and benifitt of his countrey, but he was unfortunately slaine.

After he had been about a month at Oxford, by the Kings order (but at his owne charge) he raised a regiment of foot of which Sir Robert Peake was his Leiftenant Colonel, but afterward he was Leiftenant Colonel to my Lord Marquess of Winchester’s regiment, soe in his place the Collonel chose Captain Thomas Johnson.

Captain James Freeman (one of his other officers) at one of the seidges of Basing, standing neer the Collonel, who was busy upon the works, happily espied a great shott of a cannon comeing towards him, and with much dexterity puled him aside and soe saved his life, the bullet just pasing by where he stood. He had other officers, whose names we have not, all stout and gallant men, and were all very faithfull to King and their Collonel to the very last. He did likewise raise a troop of horse of which Captain Henry Henn was his Captain Lieftenant and Captain Atterbury his Cornett.

This Captain Henn, the Collonel being upon a time encountering the enemy, and having come up and discharged his pistols, wheeling off being mounted upon an unruly stone horse, his bitt unluckily broake in the middle, soe that he had nothing to governe him with but his sword and was in great danger of being taken by the enemy, which Captain Henn seing, being mounted upon a hastie mare clapt spurs to hir and got before the Collonels horse. The horse seeing the mare followed hir as fast as he could and soe they both escaped out of the danger.

Another passage hath come to my notice which is this: one of his officers was to be married at a towne neer Basing with the Collonels license, did invite severall other officers to the wedding dinner and desired the Collonel that he would be pleased to honour them with his presence. He told them it may be he might come to them, but they should not stay for him, being he was not certaine whether he should come or noe. Now the enemy lyeing not above 5 miles from the place, he imagined that they might have some notice of this wedding, and that it might be a temptation for them to come and sieze upon his officers. Soe when they went he, in his foreseeing wisdom and care got, unknown to his officers a partie of horse and foot such as he thought fitt and marched with them to a place neer the wedding house where there was a thick quicksett hedge in the way which the enemy must come by, which he lined with his men, giving them order not to discharge till a good part of them were past towards the towne and then to discharge upon the reare. According to his imagination it fell out that about noon the enemy came with a partie of horse, his soldiers did as he commanded them, lay close till most of them were past by, and then discharging upon them. Some they killed, some they took and the rest with much adoe escaped, this being done away he went to the towne for the wedding and told them that now having secured their good cheere, he would venture to stay and dine with them, which he did and was very merry amongst them.

But now to our history. Having raised his regiment, the King appointed him to be Governour of Bazing House, a noble great house in Hampshire neere Bazingstoke, belonging to the Lord Paulett, Marquesse of Winchester. It had three faire courts in it and was of a large circumference. He had not been long there, but he was besiedged by Sir William Waller, but by the valour of the defendants was beat from there and was forced to raise his siege to his great dishonour. But Sir William to recover his reputation came again in November following to beseidge it the second time with an army of about 8000 men, horse and foote. He satt down before it  on a Sunday morning singing of psalms and on  Munday the 6th November the assault began with great and small shott very fierce and continued till 10 o’clock at night, and that afternoone the enemy having possest themselves of the Grange, which consisted of about 20 houses, which were very neer the garrisons outworks, the Colonel commanded the all to be sett on fire, which was by his Lieftenant Collonel Johnson, with good success attempted and accordingly performed. In this act of the Grange they killed and burned about 300 of Waller’s men and wounded and maimed above 500 more. They took from the enemy above 100 muskets, 2 brass petards with diverse scaling ladders, half pikes, partisands, halberds, pikes, great and small shott and such like great quantity of military weapons. With this the enemy was wanting ammunition and powder gave them respite for 5 daies, but the Sunday following they resolved to storm the house and came on with great fury, bringing with them petards and store of scaling ladders. Collonel Rawdon caused his men to be ready and to keep close till they came up to the gates where they had some drakes ready laden with case shott. When they were within shott he caused the gates to be opened of a sudden discharged amongst them, and having his men ready armed, fell upon them and beat them back with a strange disorder to their great disgrace and to the noe small honour of the Collonel and his garrison. In this encounter it is thought they killed them neere 3000 men. It happened that amongst Sir William Waller’s soldiers was the Green Regiment, which was formerly commanded by the Collonel when he lived in London, and till then never knew what it was to fight against him. Many of them, as it is reported, deserted Sir William Waller, and could never be persuaded to fight against this Collonel who had not in his garrison at that time above 500 fighting men, but they were very choice stout men. There were few of them in this fight but had a number of great and small shott about their eares, yet it pleased God soe to order that only 2 men were killed and about 12 wounded. In this siege they had spent their small shott and were forced to take the lead off the tops of the turrets to make bullets with. Tis said the Lady Marquess, to her great commendations, with her gentlewomen and maids that attended on her were very busy in casting them for their supplies while they were busied in defending the works.

Of the success of this last daies fight the Collonel sent an express to advise the King who gott safe to Oxford and delivered the Collonel’s letter with which the King was very much pleased. The Queen being there present gave the messenger a golden reward and the King commanded this Collonel to come to Oxford to give him a further account of the business. Soe he went within a few daies to the King. At his approach the King gave him his had to kiss, bad him welcome and said ‘my honest citizen, I give you thanks for the good service you have done mee’ and with all bad him draw out his sword, which having done, the King took it in his hand and in the presence of a great many of the nobility and gentry, commanders and officers said ‘this sword hath gott you honour and shall give it you, and soe bidding him kneele downe in the presence of them all gave him the honour of knighthood.

After this, he was besieged by the Lord Fairfax and others twice and thrice, but they had therein no better success than Waller and his crew, Sir Marmaduke and his soldiers defending the place with an incomparable resolution and valour. One of these sieges endured 25 weeks in which they suffered very much for want of victuals insoemuch that my Lord Marquess, seeing little hope of relief, was in some doubt that they should be forced to deliver up the house upon conditions which his Lordship communicating to Sir Marmaduke. Sir Marmaduke answered my Lord you have in this house good store of sack and you have store of good tabacco. I pray let mee have some of it for my soldiers, and you may be confident, with the grace of God, as long as there is ever a horse, dog, cat or rat or anything that is eatable, I will never deliver up the garrison. And he was as good as his word and he kept it till the King sent Sir John Gage to relieve him.

But for all these good services the Marquess was not pleased to have any governour of his owne house but himselfe, and with all my Lord and his retinue being all Romane Catholicks did not soe well brooke Sir Marmaduke who was a true son of the Church of England and had his Chappel and Chaplaine within the house who preached and said prayers to him and his soldiers. Soe my Lord Marquess was resolved to be governour of his owne housen and to have Sir Robert Peake, who was as we have already said was leiftenant governour to Sir Mamaduke to be his leiftenant governour, which cost him deare noe less then the loss of his house, which not long after Sir Marmaduke’s departure was taken by the parliaments forces and raised to the ground.

In order to this my Lord Marquess went to Oxford of whose intent Sir Marmaduke having notice from some of his officers, called a counsel of warr in which it was desired by them all that Sir Marmaduke would goe to Oxford to hinder the Lord Marquess his pretences. Soe he made choice of Captain Amery to goe with him with a small guard. Passing through Oxford the townsmen saluted him with many welcomes and glad acclamations, soe going on further he mett with Sir George Binion who told him ‘Collonel, I am glad you are come, for here’s my Lord Marquess, who I am afraid hath gott order to remove you out of your government. Soe you will doe well to goe to the King presently and see if you can stopp it’. Soe Sir Marmaduke, soe soone as he was alighted from his horse and fitted himselfe, took Captain Amery with him and went to look out Endimion Porter a groome of the King’s bed chamber, and an old acquaintance and great friend of Sir Marmadukes, whome when he found when he desired to bring him to speak with the King, which he willingly did, the King then being in the garden of Christ Church College, accompanied with a great number of nobility and gentry, Endimion Porter whisperd something in the Kings’s eare , which he had no sooner done, but the King instead of sending for him lookt about and spying him went in haste to him and embraced him giving him thanks for his last service. To which he answered, ‘Sir, I give good hearty thanks that he hath been please to make mee an instrument of doing your Majestie any service and I shall endeavour to do it as long as I live, though I am afraid I shall be ill rewarded. At which the King seemed to be much displeased and asked him what he meant by saying soe, to which he answered ‘ and if it please your Majestie I am informed that I am disposessed of the government you Majestie was pleased to bestow upon me, not knowing wherefore and that it is given to my Lord Marquess. The King [answered] he was ignorant of it and said this is my cozen Rupert’s doeing and clapping his hand upon his breast said if I be King of England it shall be remedied and goe your waies to your garrison. The King was as good as his word, he stopt the proceedings and raised and order to be made that Sir Marmaduke should remain Governour during the King’s pleasure. There he remained Governour about 6 months. In all which time my Lord Marquess ceased not to employ all his friends at Court for the removal of Sir Marmaduke, and in particular The Queen from whome, as he was a Romane Catholick, he had much favour and by hir meanes obtained that Sir Marmaduke should be removed from Bazing who was to be made Governour of Waymouth and Melcomb Regis, but which in 3 daies there was news that Waymouth was taken by the enemy. At which the good King was troubled, not knowing how to dispose of Sir Marmaduke. But at last he sent for Sir George Lisle who was then Governour of Farringdon, who told him he had a request to him. Sir George desired to know what it was. The King told him he desired that Collenel might have his garrison at Farringdon. Sir George swore that with all his heart and that he would leave it to him as to any man in England because he was sure he would keep it. Soe the King sent for Sir Marmaduke and told him that he was to be Governour of Farringdon and that he should stay there till some better place offerd. He gave His Majesty hearty thanks for the great care he had of him and that if His Majesty should send him to keep a mole – hill he would defend it as long as he had life, which reply pleased the King well, and so they parted. Sir Marmaduke went to Bazing to order his affaires for his journey, which being done he marcht from Bazing to Dennington. But marching from there to Farringdon his scouts took 2 of the enemies soldiers who being brought before Sir Marmaduke & examined confessed that in such a place lay 1500 men in ambuscado to entercept them, which was very true, and but for their information they had been surprised. So Sir Marmaduke marcht back againe to Dennington where he staid about 10 daies, in which interim my Lord Goring sent  Cornett George Mason (who is now living at Hodsden & from whome we have this relation) with a letter for Sir Marmaduke advizing him not to stir till he came with the armie to convey him to Farringdon. This George Mason passed miraculously through severall of the enemies quarters and got safe to Dennington. Soe Sir Marmaduke staid and within 4 or 5 daies my Lord Goring came and conveyed him to Farringdon where we will leave him to rest awhile, till we shall shall publish to you the coppy of 2 letters which we met with by which you will see the different humours in those times and how God Almighty infatuated some of them, which was the cause of our unhappy wars and the death of our pious King.

It seems when Sir Marmaduke was at Bazing, one of his soldiers was taken by the Parliaments Armie and carried to Windsor Castle of which Collonel Venn was Governour. Soe Sir Marmaduke writt him a letter desiring him to exchange him for one of their soldiers to which Collonel Venn answers as followeth.

Collonel Rawdon Yours of the 15th instant I have received & for answer if I never had any acquantance with you, that courtissie mentioned in your letter, I should grant to a stranger, that is to exchange one common soldier for another, & in particular this partie, Robert Baites, though a trooper I will at your request exchange him for Warner, and If 40 or 400 more of prisoners in your power. Send me a list of them and I will procure exchange for them. Our prisons are all full of your soldiers, we know not what to do with them, besides those that run away from your garrisons. I hope you yourself will soe understand yourselfe & bad cause, that you will return repenting what you have done, but I leave that to God who hath your heart in his hand to turn at his good pleasure. I wonder how that you that hath been bred up in a protestant religion can draw a sword in the papist cause and abide in such a popish garrison. I will remember you to your old acquantance with me in Windsor, & did I know any with you, I would desire the like courtesie from you, but I know none and soe must confine my selfe to your selfe. Concluding with my prayers for peace and truth with the gospel that the kingdome of Christ may be set up in power and purity of worship, & that the kingdome of the Anti-Christ, which is the Pope, may fall to the ground. Soe prayeth.

Your old acquantance John Venn London the 31 January 1643

Colonel Rawdon’s reply to Colonell Venn 6 Feb 1643

I returne you thanks for releasing Baites in exchange of Warner and I shall requite any courtisie from you, for I hate ingratitude. The truth is we have not at present soe many prisoners to exchange as you vainly boast of, although we have had far more and when God pleaseth may have againe, wherof will be noe bragging, being things rather to be pittied. And for any that ran from our garrison to yours, I dare boldly say there comes ten from yours to us for one of ours that goes to your armie. And wheras you say you hope I will soe far understand my self and the badness of my cause as to repent and return, I thank God hee hath given me soe much grace, that I am soe assured of the justness of my cause, that had I ten thousand lives I would spend them to the last drop of blood in this cause. And for your wondering why I that have been bred upon a protestant religion can draw a sword in a papist cause you may very well, for there’s noe such thought in mee. It’s the true protestant religion established by King and Parliament I draw my sword for, joyned with obedience and duty I owe to our most gracious Soveraigne the best of Kings, who by his gracious promise not only in speaches but in diverse printed books of his goodness, is pleased to promise it shall be maintained. So that it appears you have noe spark of charitie in you, else you would beleive him, and wheras you would scandalize me with staying in a popish garrison, its well known to all the world wee have libertie of conscience, preaching and daily reading of the book of common prayer. And although the castle belongs to my much honourd lord the Marquess of Winchester, yet as it is a garrison it appertains to His Majesty, by whose command I am here with my regiment. Now I can not choose for the old acquaintaince I have had with you, but still pray to God to open the eyes of your understanding that you may see the abhominable, horrid and infested treason you yet live in. For all the world betwixt heaven and earth (except atheists) that knows any thing of scripture knows that we ought to obey our king though he were a tyrant, a thousand times more than this mercifull benigne King Charles, who so often hath tendered his pardon to all you rebels. God forgive you and turn your heart before it is to late.

Your old acquaintance Marmaduke Rawdon, Bazing Castle, 6 Feb 1643

But now to returne to our story: Having got with some difficulty (they having Major Generall Browne at Abingdon on the one side & Lieftenant Generall Cromwell with 1500 dragoon on the other side that laid in wait for them) they got safe to Farringdon, a Town in Berkshire of which I have formerly said, the right worthy Sir George Lisle (who was afterwards most basely in cold blood murdered by the Parliament’s forces at Colchester) was Governour. In this passage the van was led by Collonel Sir Marmaduke Rawdon, his Lieftenant Collonel Thomas Langley being left at Bazeing, sick and under some suspition of corresponding with the enemy, his wife being neice to Collonel Dolbier a great man for the Parliament, and she at that time in their head quarters. The rear was brought up by the Major William Rosewell the cheife officers then with Sir Marmaduke (Sir Robert Peake remaining with my Lord Marquess & Leiftenant Collonel Johnson unhappily slaine and Captaine Langley remaining sick) were: William Rosewell, Major; James Freeman, Captaine; Robert Amerie, Captaine; Henry Henn, Lt. Collonel; Isaac Rowlatt, Captaine of the horse; Thomas Fletcher, Captaine; Hugh Henn, Captaine of the horse; Samuel Mason, Captaine; Capt. Atterbury. Cornett.

Having now taken possession of Farringdon, Sir Marmaduke called a council of warr, the ammunition was renewed, the severall quarters assigned and disposed accordingly, each command having his post allotted, where to make good the fortification thereunto belonging. In which they were soe diligent, the country being very ready to assist them, they soe improved their work that they thought themselves I some good securitie.

But now the Parliament having worsted the King in severall parts of the North and finding the Western garrisons troublesome to their designes, drew their forces within the contribution of Farringdon first to straiten them and then by degrees to lay siege against them. Generall Fairfax marching to the West took in Highworth which was fortified as a house quarter by Colonel Henn who yielded upon quarter, and at the same time he sent summons to Farringdon which had been besieged by the Parliament forces many monthes before by Collonel Pudsey and others the summons being sent by the Lord Fairfax. Sir Marmaduke returned soe tart an answer that the Lord Fairfax would not adventure to storm them, the garrison at their approach killing many of them by their marksmen from the church steeple and other places and made often sallies out upon them with good success, some mornings killing and taking of them above one hundred.

The enemie being enraged supplied them with new forces and began to fortify themselves, making their head quarters at the West end of the towne with a strong half moon and did also at that time fortify a strong stone house at the North side of the towne. But Sir Marmaduke not liking very well their neighbourhood resolved to beat up their quarters and soe drew out 240 men divided in 3 divisions. The first was commanded by Captain Samuel Mason; the second by Captain James Freeman; the third by Captain Robert Amerie. Also he drew out 90 horse, 30 of which was commanded by Captain Gardiner who led the forelorne. the rest by Collonel Henn who charge the forelorne of the enemies horse soe fiercely that the ran into the body of foot, and our horse pursuing routed them. Then our horse returning fell on their foot killing and wounding many. The remainder in the half moon defended themselves with courage. Meanwhile Captain Amery stormed the house they had fortified which surrendered upon quarter and were taken prisoners. But this good success, as all worldly things, was mixed with some disaster. Captain Mason attacking the half moone was unfortunately slaine and Mr Goodwin his Lieutenant the same time killed and the garrison having many of their men wounded and finding they could not take them without fireing a house close by (which they were loath to do) drew off returning that day to their garrison with many armes and prisoners. That night the enemie drew a partie in to another stone house on the South East of the towne, but the next morning the garrison stormed them, killed some and brought in prisoners. The rest of them, all but one man, escaped. In these exploits Major William Rosewell did very eminent service and came up to push of pike with them, but had such a blow on his thigh with a stone that he is very sensible of the paine of it to this day.

All this made the enemy bethink themselves what to do. Soe Sir Robert Pie was sent with fresh forces whome the garrison resisted as well as they could. He made his head quarters at one Mr Purifoys house, not far from the garrison, and taking advantage of a lane on the East side of the towne raised a battery. And having mounted his cannon plaid most fiercely on the steeple which stood neer the moat towards the drawbridge and the garrison’s marksmen that had soe galled them from the steeple were some of them killed there by their cannon. The enemy plied their battery close at he steeple thinking it might fall into the moat and soe filling it they might storme the towne, which the garrison inside considering mined the steeple on the inside soe that it fell into the towne, by which meanes by the help of the stones the works were much strengthened of what they were before. The enemie continued plying their cannon shott at the towne and a mortar piece, which carried a shell of [double] weight.

But oh the good Governour who had escaped severall dangerous voyages in his youth and who by the Amighty Providence had escaped all those great dangers into which for the service of his King and countrey he had voluntarily exposed himself in these civil warrs and whome the whole strength and power of the Parliament forces was never able to conquer, was (while these things were thus acting) arrested by the great sergeant of God Almighty, death, to pay the debt due to nature by all mankind. If the love of his prince, the tears and prayers of his neer relations and friends or the incomparable affection his soldiers had to him could have rescued him, he had not died. But death being deaf to all these things, besiedging him with a sharp sickness, he was forced to yield to this unresistable conquerour of the whole world.

Works of piety done by him

He was Master of one of the hospitals in London during which time he did much to improve those charitable revenues and settled excellent orders amongst them. He was a benefactor to Allhallows Barking Church in Tower Street as appeareth by an inscription under his armes in the East Window of the church, which stood till the times of the rebellion and were then broken downe. He was a benefactor to Clothworkers Hall, which hall as is already said was repaired, he being Master of that company as appeared by an inscription under his coat of armes. which remained in the window of the said hall till it was consumed by the late dreadful fire.

He was a benefactor to St Giles, his church at the upper end of Holborne called St Giles in the Fields as appears by an inscription under his coat of armes in the window of that church

He gave a conduit of excellent spring water, which he brought a mile and a halfe in leaden pipes to the town of Hodsden in Hartfordshire where he lived, which stands in the middle of the towne in a statue of freestone representing a Samaritan woman with a pitcher under her arme, pouring out water to all comers, to the great beautie and adornment of the towne.

He was also a benefactor to the repairing of the chapple of that towne, one part of which chapel hath his motto, which is: Magna est Veritas et prevalet.

He was also a benefactor to the town house at Hodsden, and besides his advice and assistance therein he gave fortie pounds towards the finishing of it.

Wee must remember to tell you that after Sir Marmadukes going to the King, his houses were not only plundered, as you shall hear hereafter, but his houses and lands were ordered to be sold, under an Act for the Sale of Severall Lands and Estates forfeited to the Commonwealth for Treason.

This page was added on 04/08/2013.

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