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Knyvett was the ancestor of Lord Berners. The Knyvetts or Knivetts of Ashwellthorpe are an old family of large property in Norfolk ;' their seat, Ashwellthorpe, is still one of Lord Berners's. Hapton is a Parish and Hamlet some seven or eight miles south of Norwich, in the Hundred of Depwade; it is within a mile or two of this Ashwellthorpe; which was Knyvett's residence at that time. What' Robert Browne your Tenant' had in hand or view against these poor Parishioners of Hapton, must, as the adjoining circumstances are all obliterated, remain matter of conjecture only. He dimly shows himself in this Letter as an Unfriend to Puritans, who, however, have now found a Friend. They apply to Oliver; who is in those parts, on Association business, with a company of devout troopers. This Letter, full of civility and backed by devout horsemen with petronels, would doubtless procure them relief. We can fancy the date of this Letter to be, both in time and place, adjacent to that of the former. We shall fall in with Mr. Knyvett, in still graver circumstances, speedily again.
municated to me; the original, it seems, is now lost or mislaid. There never was any date of time or place on the copy, nor is the address given as verbally exact, but only as substantially so.
In the end of February, 1642-3, 'Colonel' Cromwell is at Cambridge; 'great forces from Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk' having joined him, and more still coming in.* There has been much alarm and running to and fro, over all those counties. Lord Capel hanging over them with an evident intent to plunder Cambridge, generally to plunder and ravage in this region; as Prince Rupert has cruelly done in Gloucestershire, and is now cruelly doing in Wilts and Hants. Colonel Cromwell, the soul of the whole business, must have had some bestirring of himself; some swift riding and resolving, now here, now there. Some 12,000 men,' however, or say even '800 men' (for rumor runs very high!) from the Associated Counties, are now at last got together about Cambridge; and Lord Capel has seen good to vanish again.†
On Monday, 13th March, 1642-3, Thomas Conisby, Esquire, High Sheriff of Herts, appears visibly before the House of Commons, to give account of a certain Pretended Commission of Array,' which he had been attempting to execute one Market-day not long since at St. Albans in that county. Such King's Writ, or Pretended Commission of Array, the said High Sheriff had, with a great Posse Comitatus round him, been executing one Market-day at St. Albans (date irrecoverably lost),—when Cromwell's dragoons dashed suddenly in upon him; laid him fast, -not without difficulty: he was first seized by 'six troopers,' but rescued by his royalist multitude; then twenty troopers' again seized him; barricadoed the inn-yard;'§ conveyed him off to London to give what account of the matter he could. Here
* Cromwelliana, p. 2; Vicars, p. 273.
Vicars; Newspapers, 6-15 March (in Cromwelliana, p. 2).
§ Vicars, p. 246; May's History of the Long Parliament (Guizot's French Translation), ii., 196.
he is giving account of it,-a very lame and withal an 'insolent' one, as seems to the Honorable House; which accordingly sends him to the Tower, where he had to lie for several years. Commissions of Array are not handy to execute in the Eastern Association at present!
Here is another adventure of the same kind, with a similar result. The Meeting at Laystoff,' or Lowestoff in Suffolk, is mentioned in all the old Books; but John Cory, Merchant Burgess of Norwich, shall first bring us face to face with it. Assiduous Sir Symonds got a copy of Mr. Cory's Letter,* one of the thousand Letters which Honorable Members listened to in those mornings; and here now is a copy of it for the reader,-news all fresh and fresh, after waiting two hundred and two years. Old Norwich becomes visible and audible, the vanished moments buzzing again with old life,-if the reader will read well. Potts, we should premise, and Palgrave, were lately appointed Deputy Lieutenants of Norwich City ;† Cory I reckon to be almost a kind of Quasi-Mayor, the real Mayor having lately been seized for Royalism; Knyvett of Ashwellthorpe is transiently known to us. The other royalist gentlemen are also known to antiquaries of that region, and what their 'seats' and connexions were but our reader here can without damage consider merely that they were Sons of Adam, not without due seats and equipments; and read the best he can :
"To Sir John Potts, Knight Baronet, of Mannington, Norfolk: "These.
"Norwich, 170 Martii, 1642.*
Right honourable and worthy Sir,-I hope you came in due time to the end of your journey in health and safety; which I shall rejoice to hear. Sir, I might spare my labor in now writing; for I suppose you are better informed from other hands; only to testify my respects:
"Those sent out on Monday morning, the 13th, returned that night,
* D'Ewes's Mss, f. 1139; Transcript, p. 378.
† Commons Journals, 10th December, 1642.
Means 1643 of our Style. There are yet seven days of the Old Year
with old Mr. Castle of Raveningham, and some arms of his, and of Mr. Loudon's of Alby, and of Captain Hamond's, with his leading staff-ensign and drum. Mr. Castle is secured at Sheriff Greenwood's. That night letters from Yarmouth informed the Colonel,* That they had, that day, made stay of Sir John Wentworth, and of one Captain Allen from Lowestoff, who had come thither to change dollars; both of whom are yet secured;-and further, That the Town of Lowestoff had received-in divers strangers and was fortifying itself.
"The Colonel advised no man might enter in or out the gates 'of Norwich,' that night. And the next morning, between five and six, with his five troops, with Captain Fountain's, Captain Rich's, and eighty of our Norwich Volunteers, he marched towards Lowestoff; where he was to meet with the Yarmouth Volunteers, who brought four or five pieces of ordnance. The Town of Lowestoff' had blocked themselves up; all except where they had placed their ordnance, which were three pieces; before which a chain was drawn to keep off the horse.
"The Colonel summoned the Town, and demanded, If they would deliver up their strangers, the Town and their army?—promising them then favor, if so; if not, none. They yielded to deliver up their strangers, but not to the rest. Whereupon our Norwich dragoons crept under the chain before mentioned; and came within pistol-shot of their ordnance; proffering to fire upon their cannoneer,-who fled: so they gained the two pieces of ordnance, and broke the chain; and they and the horse entered the Town without more resistance. Where presently eighteen strangers yielded themselves; among whom were, of Suffolk men: Sir T. Barker, Sir John Pettus ;-of Norfolk: Mr. Knyvett 'our friend' of Ashwellthorpe, Mr. Richard Catelyn's son,—some say his Father too was there in the morning; Mr. F. Cory, my unfortunate cousin, who I wish would have been better persuaded.
"Mr. Brooke, the sometime minister of Yarmouth, and some others, escaped, over the river. There was good store of pistols and other arms: I hear above fifty cases of pistols. The Colonel stayed there Tuesday and Wednesday night. I think Sir John Palgrave and Mr. Smith went yesterday to Berks. It is rumored Sir Robert Kemp hath yielded to Sir John Palgrave; how true it is I know not, for I spoke not Sir John yesterday as he came through Town. I did your message to Captain Shewood. Not to trouble you further, I crave leave; and am
"Your Worship's at command,
* viz., Cromwell,' adds D'Ewes.
"Postscriptum, 20th March, 1643.-Right worthy Sir, The abovesaid on Friday was unhappily left behind; for which I am sorry; as also that I utterly forgot to send your plate. On Friday night the Colonel brought in hither with him the prisoners taken at Lowestoff, and Mr. Trott of Beccles. On Saturday night, with one troop, they sent all the prisoners to Cambridge Castle.' Sir John Wentworth is come off with the payment of 1000l. On Saturday, Dr. Corbett of Norwich, and Mr. Henry Cooke* the Parliament man, and our old 'Alderman' Daniell were taken in Suffolk. Last night, several troops went out; some to Lynn-ward, it's thought; others to Thetford-ward, it's supposed,-because they had a prisoner with them. Sir, I am in great haste, and remember nothing else at present.
"Sir Richard Berney sent to me, last night, and showed and gave me the Colonel's Note to testify he had paid him the 507.—a forced contribution levied by the Association Committee upon poor Berney, who had shown himself 'backward:' let him be quiet henceforth, and study to conform.
This was the last attempt at Royalism in the Association where Cromwell served. The other Associations,' no man duly forward to risk himself being present in them, had already fallen, or were fast falling, to ruin; their Counties had to undergo the chance of War as it came. Huntingdon County soon joined itself with this Eastern Association.† Cromwell's next operations, as we shall perceive, were to deliver Lincolnshire, and give it the power of joining, which in September next took effect. Lincoln, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridge, Herts, Hunts: these are thenceforth the Seven Associated Counties,' called often the 'Association' simply, which make a great figure in the old Books, -and kept the War wholly out of their own borders, having had a man of due forwardness among them.
* Corbett is or was Chancellor of Norwich Diocese; Henry Cooke is Son of Coke upon Lyttleton,—has left his place in Parliament, and got into dangerous courses.
† 26th May, Husbands' Second Collection (London, 1646), p. 163. Ib., p. 327.