THE FINAL ESCAPE - Abbots Leigh To Shoreham
Abbots Leigh and on to freedom!
This web site at present covers Charles's progress through Central England after his escape from the Battle of Worcester, but for completeness below is a brief summary of happenings after day 9.
The party arrive at Abbots Leigh just south of Bristol and Charles stays 3 days trying in vain to get a boat. There is panic when Pope the butler recognises Charles, but in fact this turns to the Kings advantage as Pope can stand between Charles and other of the household servants in order to allay any suspicions.
By 16 September, there is fear that the party have stayed too long at Abbots Leigh. A message is invented to the effect that Jane Lane is required at home due to the illness of her father and on this pretext the King with Mrs Lane and Lascelles move on to Trent the home of Colonel Francis Wyndham hoping for a boat from Weymouth, Lyme or a Devonshire port, but without luck.
On 17 September, Wyndham arranges for a boat through William Ellesdon and on 22 September, in the guise of a runaway wedding party, Charles in the company of Juliana Coiningsby and others, ride to Ellesdon’s house and stay several hours before going on to Charmouth. The party spend the night at an inn at Charmouth, but the promised boat does not materialise.
On 23 September, the party move to Bridport, where disaster nearly strikes. Charles is almost recognised but the party move on before the recognition is confirmed. The party are pursued but manage to give their pursuers the slip, and go on to Broad Windsor. Here they stay the night at an inn along with about forty enemy soldiers.
On 24 September the party return to Trent. Here Charles remains while friends try to arrange a boat. Charles is taken on 6 October to Heale House, where he hides in a secret hiding place, but his identity becomes clear to the house owner, Mary Hyde, and for his safety he spends the next day away from the house - in fact taking in some heritage tourism of his own – examining Stonehenge!
On 13 October, Charles is taken to the house of Thomas Symonds at Hambledon for the night. The following day, the king travels to Brighton and stays at the George Inn.
At 2.00 am on 15 October, Charles is awoken and taken to Shoreham, where he embarks on a boat and after a last minute scare from a French warship, they disembark on the morning of 16 October.
Charles is reunited with his mother in Paris, where he remains, leading a somewhat wasteful life until, after the death of Cromwell, he was in 1660 restored to the throne, entering London on his thirtieth birthday.
Charles is reunited with his mother in Paris, where he remains, leading a somewhat wasteful life until, after the death of Cromwell, he was in 1660 recalled to London and restored to the throne, entering London on his thirtieth birthday.
If you have followed the story through, we hope that you have enjoyed it.
As mentioned on the first page of this section, there is a book that is well recommended, and hard to put down, it is out of print but obtianable very cheaply on the internet. Richard Ollard's book is called "The Escape of Charles II after the Battle of Worcester", and it reads like an adventure book rather than a dry history book. ISBN 1-84119-517-0. The linked bookseller below has sites for many countries.
The Fugitive Kng