Worcester Visit 2018/ More on Richard Lovelace
Visit to Worcester September 2018
by Ken Potts, courtesy of the Battle of Worcester Society
The 3rd September was significant for Oliver Cromwell , the date of his victories at Dunbar 1650, Worcester 1651, and his death -1658.
Was delighted to visit Worcester on the first weekend of September 2018 : On Saturday 1st September I attended The Cromwell Association visit to - The Commandery museum at Sidbury ,Worcester, where we were lucky enough to have a guided tour from Richard Shaw, current chairman of the Battle of Worcester Society, with a quick visit to Fort Royal Hill next door. ( Fair to stress at this point that the Battle of Worcester Society are neutral as it were in their approach to the British Civil Wars). It was inspiring to see how much this Society are doing to increase awareness of the battle, and The Commandery is highly recommended for anyone interested in the Civil War.
Worcester saw the first clash between Royalists and Parliamentarians involving cavalry which became known as the Battle of Powick Bridge involving cavalry, on 23rd September 1642, a Royalist victory. In 1651, Charles II, crowned as king of Scotland, invaded England leading a mainly Scottish army. He secured Worcester, and made The Commandery his headquarters. Cromwell's army arrived at the city, and on 3rd September 1651 won a decisive victory, ending Charles' attempt to secure throne by force. The city claims, with some justification, to have been the site of the first and last battles of the English Civil War. There is also some fascinating research taking place looking at what became of the Scottish soldiers from the defeated Royalist army who were transported.
The Cromwell Association held the annual wreath laying ceremony in the grounds of The Commandery to commemorate Cromwell. and to all the dead from the Battle of Worcester of 1651. This was followed by The Cromwell Association annual service, which took place at the Lady Chapel, Worcester Cathedral taken by Dr. Rev Tim Whoolley.
A further reception took place at The Commandery with a temporary bar established later that afternoon, with another trip to Fort Royal, and a drumhead service to again remember the dead who fought on both sides during the Civil Wars, complete with musket and cannon fire tribute. Fort Royal Hill is also the site of the Battle of Worcester monument created by Kenneth Potts and unveiled in 2013.
Overall a series of moving tributes to those who died in battle, and a strong reminder of how significant the Battle of Worcester 1651 was to the history of both England and Scotland.
Battle of Worcester Society
The Cromwell Association
The Commandery Worcester
Visit Worcestershire Home of Liberty and Democracy An eight minute film on the history of Worcestershire from 2015
This blog has previously covered Kent Cavalier poet Richard Lovelace, (1617- 1657)
A recent find in a charity bookshop was 'Ben Jonson and The Cavalier Poets' Selected and edited by Hugh Maclean, from 1974. And intrigued to find this poem by Lovelace -A Mock-Song, an anti-Commonwealth protest poem. Not great literature, but good insight into the Royalist psyche. The idea that rebellion and regicide are an uprising against a natural and moral order where 'our dragon has slain the St. George' . There's melodrama, bitter humour, melancholia, coupled with the knowledge that Richard Lovelace didn't live long enough to see The Restoration.
Now Whitehall's in the grave
And our head is our slave,
The bright pearl in his close shell of oyster
Not the miter is lost,
The proud prelates, too, crossed
And all Rome's confined to a cloister
He that Tarquin was styled,
Our white land's exiled
Not a court ape's left to confute us
Then let you voices rise high
As your colours did fly,
And flourishing cry,
" Long live the brave Oliver- Brutus."
Now the sun is unarmed,
And the moon by us charmed,
All the stars dissolved to a jelly.
Now the things of the crown
and the arms are lopped down
And the body is all but a belly;
Let the Commons go on,
The town is our own
We'll rule alone;
For the knights have yielded their spent gorge,
And an order is te'en
With honi soit profane
Shout forth amain,
For our dragon hath vanquished the St. George."