Thursday 24 March 2016

Jack for the King

Today we step back a little earlier than the Georgian era in the company of the wonderful MJ Logue, with a look at the tangled history of Trerice. Do be sure to find MJ on Twitter and her own site; her Uncivil War books are not to be missed, whatever your era!


The fine Elizabethan manor house at Trerice, at Kestle Mill in Cornwall, was built in 1572 by the Arundell family, and you may have seen glimpses of it in various historical TV dramas.

A beautiful, peaceful house, nestled in the hills above Newquay, and full of lovely little details and period character - the kayles court and the stone lions at the front door, spring to mind, not to mention the beautiful portrait of Amy Seymour and her lovely jacket - very much like the Laton jacket, but with a bigger motif... 

A little glimpse into a vanished past.

And a little glimpse into the tortuous familial relationships of Cornwall of the 1640s.

Trerice was the home of Sir John Arundell, "Jack-for-the-King" - the seventh of that name, who was an MP for the prestigious county seat of Cornwall and for his family's pocket boroughs of Tregony (1624), Mitchell (1597) and St Mawes (1624), and who was governor of Pendennis during the five-month siege of that castle - he responded to Fairfax as follows: "I wonder you demand the castle without authority from His Majesty, which if I should render, I brand myself and my posterity with the indelible character of treason. And having taken less than two minutes resolution, I resolve that I will here bury myself before I deliver up this castle to such as fight against His Majesty, and that nothing you can threaten is formidable to me in respect of the loss of loyalty and conscience". 

He obtained an honourable surrender from Thomas Fairfax - or rather, from Colonel Fortescue who was left commanding the siege, since the Royalists weren't going anywhere - but in 1651 he was compounded for delinquency to the sum of £10,000 by Parliament: that is, he was permitted to pay a fine of £10,000 to Parliament if he pledged not to take up arms against Parliament again. (This was later reduced to £2,000. But that is still a lot of money, for the seventeenth century.) When you consider that Arundell was born in 1576, he was seventy years old when he first shut the gates of Pendennis against the New Model Army. 
- They didn't think he was going to hold out long, either. Poor old chap, they thought, doddery old bird, won't be up to much. Five months later they were eating their words. (And Arundell, on the inside, was eating the horses, but that is a whole other story...)

So. You get the idea that Jack-for-the-King was, well, for the King. 

His sister, Catherine, was married to John St Aubyn of Clowans - the Parliamentarian officer who was appointed Captain of St Michael's Mount in 1647 with the remit of securing peace in the neighbouring area... that would be his brother-in-law, then. 

And his brother Thomas, of Duloe, up in East Cornwall, was MP for West Looe during the Long Parliament and remained in parliament until his death in 1648. Which gives you the idea that he may not have been the most Royalist member of the family either. 

And who was Thomas's brother-in-law? The man who wrote the "Survey of Cornwall", Richard Carew. Whose sons were Alexander and Richard, of Antony near Torpoint: Alexander, the eldest, came out for Parliament and was made Governor of the crucial defensive point of Plymouth, St Nicholas's Island.  In 1643, after the Royal victory at Stratton, Alexander secretly contacted the commander of the Royal forces besieging Exeter offering to surrender Plymouth in return for a pardon for himself.

Predictably, it ended badly. (I'll write about the Carews another time - a sad story all round.)
Alexander's half-brother, John, then became an MP in 1647, and ended up as one of the Court that tried the King in 1649: being still alive at the end of the Interregnum, he was hanged, drawn and quartered as a regicide.

By the sword divided? There must have been times poor John Arundell must have wished they had been!

About The Serpent's Root

After Marston Moor. After Naseby. War returns to the West Country.

Book 5 in the bestselling Uncivil Wars series, featuring the adventures of Hollie Babbitt and his rebel rabble of Parliamentarian cavalry.

Cornwall, 1646.

Thomas Fairfax and the Army of Parliament are on the verge of victory, bringing the King’s Army to bay in Cornwall.
But Hollie, far from his wife and the future he's fought so hard to build, is bound by honour to stay with his company in the West Country, though it may cost him everything he holds dear at home in Essex.

And a bitter choice lies before the Cornish captain Kenelm Toogood - freedom of his conscience, or freedom for his homeland?

About the Author

 M J Logue has been passionate about the English Civil War since writing her first novel over 20 years ago. After a brief flirtation with horror and dark fantasy, she returned to her first love, historical fiction, and now combines the two. She has a degree in English literature, trained as an archivist, and likes Jacobean theatre, loud music, and cheese.  

When not attempting to redeem the reputation of the Army of Parliament, she lives in Cornwall with her husband and son, three cats, and a toad under the back doorstep. 

There is little more to divulge, other than - "I had rather have a plain, russet-coated Captain, that knows what he fights for, and loves what he knows, than that which you call a Gentle-man and is nothing else. "

Thank you, Oliver Cromwell!

Written content of this post copyright © MJ Logue, 2016.


Christoph Fischer said...

Thanks for the recommendation. Must check out The Serpent's Root!

Catherine Curzon said...

Please do!

Francine Howarth said...

Fab series, and TSR is on my TBR list of must reads!

Catherine Curzon said...

You'll love it!