Massey, Edward (DNB00)

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MASSEY, Sir EDWARD (1619?–1674?), major-general, was the fifth son of John Massey of Coddington, Cheshire, and Anne, daughter of Richard Grosvenor of Eaton (Ormerod, Hist. of Cheshire, ed. 1882, ii. 729, 732). The story that Edward Massey served as an apprentice on London Bridge and ran away to Holland seems improbable, but he may have been in the Low Countries as a 'soldier of fortune' before the outbreak of the first Scottish war in 1639, by which date he had returned to England (Clarendon, Hist. of Rebellion, ed. 1888, bk. vii. § 158). Massey then took service in Charles's army as captain of pioneers in Colonel William Legge's regiment (ib.) At the commencement of the English civil war in 1642 Massey joined the king at York, but, dissatisfied with his preferment, went over to the parliament, and became lieutenant-colonel in a foot regiment under Henry Grey, first earl of Stamford [q. v.], (Peacock, Army Lists of the Roundheads and Cavaliers, p. 27). He was present at Worcester (23 Sept. 1642), after which his regiment was sent to Hereford and to Gloucester, where the Earl of Stamford was appointed governor (December 1642). The Earl of Stamford soon afterwards marched west against Hopton, and Massey was left behind as deputy-governor with one regiment.

From this time until 1645 Massey played an important part in the war in the west, first in defending Gloucester from royalist attacks, and secondly in using that city as a basis from which to conquer the surrounding country. The first royalist attack took place before Massey had been in command many weeks. On 7 Jan. 1643 Prince Rupert appeared before Gloucester, summoned and prepared to storm the city, but withdrew next day to Oxford. Massey now tried to strengthen his position by seizing the places of strength in the neighbourhood. He took Sudeley Castle, the seat of Lord Chandos, on 29 Jan., but abandoned it a few days later, after Rupert had stormed Cirencester (2 Feb.) In March a Welsh army, under Lord Herbert, advanced to Highnam, expecting to be joined by Rupert in a combined attack on Gloucester. On 23 March an attack was made on the Welsh troops at Highnam, in which Massey himself took part; and the next day, with the aid of Waller, the Welsh were defeated and Highnam taken, nearly fifteen hundred prisoners being led into Gloucester. Massey then took Tewkesbury, and, with Waller, tried unsuccessfully to prevent Prince Maurice crossing the Severn at Upton Bridge; they were beaten at Ripple Field on 12 April 1643 (Corbet, 'Historical Relation' in Bibliotheca Glouc. p. 33). Still attempting to make Gloucester secure on the western side, Massey and Waller took Hereford, and cleared the eastern side of that county. Massey now became governor of Gloucester.

The defeat of Waller at Roundway Down (13 July 1643), followed by the surrender of Bristol, exposed Gloucester to greater danger. The sole force at Massey's command consisted of two regiments of foot and two hundred horse, and a few trained bands and reformadoes—in all some fifteen hundred men. As the king's intention of besieging Gloucester became apparent, Massey opened negotiations with the royalists, either to gain time or possibly with the real intention of handing the city over to the king (see Warburton, Prince Rupert, ii. 278, 280; Clarendon, Hist. of Rebellion, bk. vii. § 158 ; Gardiner, Hist. of the Great Civil War, i. 233). On 10 Aug. the king's army appeared before the walls, and the siege continued till 5 Sept., when it was raised on the Earl of Essex's approach. The general supplied the town with ammunition (of which only three barrels remained at the end of the siege), but was unable to leave any troops behind. On 15 Sept. the thanks of both houses of parliament and a sum of 1,000l. were voted to Massey (Commons' Journals, iii. 241 ; cf. Gardiner, Hist. of Great Civil War, vol. i. chap. x.; Washbourn's Bibliotheca Gloucestrensis). Massey, now anxious to act on the offensive, vainly sought to get either supplies from parliament or another commission in the army. During October 1643 the royalists were gradually surrounding Gloucester, and frequent skirmishes took place, especially with Sir John Wintour's garrison in the Forest of Dean, at Berkeley, and Bruckthorpe Hill, where Massey was beaten. A vain attempt was made by the royalists in mid-winter to win Gloucester through the expected treachery of Captain Backhouse, who acted throughout with cognisance of Massey (Corbet, Relation, ut supra, p. 78). In March 1644 the command of the royalist forces in Herefordshire and the neighbourhood was given to Colonel Nicholas Mynne. In April 1644 Massey was reinforced and able to act on the offensive, attacking the royalists in Herefordshire and taking Westbury, Newnham (garrisoned by Sir John Wintour's troops), and Beverston Castle, and shortly afterwards Malmesbury and Tewkesbury. Lydney and Berkeley alone remained to the king in Gloucestershire, but Massey's deficiency in men and money hampered his movements.

In the early summer of 1644 Massey was again able to take the field against Mynne, who was planning a combined attack by the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire royalists on the city. The design failed, however, owing to the defeat and death of Mynne at Eldersfield (August 1644) (ib. p. 111). In September Massey destroyed Beachley Camp and took Monmouth (24 Sept.) But his success became the cause of failure. Massey could not garrison the places he had won, and Beachley was retaken after a desperate struggle, in which Massey's head-piece was knocked off by the butt-end of a musket; Monmouth and Chepstow were also taken by the royalists (ib. p. 127).

Rupert now made another attack on the counties round Gloucester, and Massey failed to take Lydney, which was, however, soon deserted by the royalists and fired. He was beaten by Rupert at Ledbury on 22 April 1645, but on 26 May took Evesham. He was made general of the Western Association on 24 May (Lords' Journals, vii. 393), i. e. of the forces raised by the five counties of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, and Wilts.

During the campaigns of 1645 and 1646 Massey co-operated with Fairfax in the reduction of the west. He joined Fairfax in July 1645 near Taunton, routed General Porter at Ilminster on 9 July, and took part in the storming of Bridgwater (Carte, Original Letters, i. 131 ; Sprigge, Anglia Rediviva, pp. 70, 77). He was afterwards sent to Taunton, apparently to prevent Goring from marching northwards. Throughout the rest of the year and the winter of 1645-6 he remained in Somerset and Devonshire, blocking the king's garrisons, especially Barnstaple, and taking Warham and other places. In July 1646 he took his seat in parliament as member for Gloucester, and on 20 Oct. his brigade was disbanded at Devizes by order of both houses (Ludlow, Memoirs, ed. 1722, ii. 181). In the struggle between the parliament and the army, the presbyterian leaders endeavoured to make use of Massey's skill and popularity, and during the summer of 1647 he became one of the leaders of the city against the army, along with Waller and Poyntz; was named Commander-in-chief of the city forces; and on 30 July joined the presbyterian committee of safety. On 2 April 1647 parliament appointed Massey lieutenant-general of horse, under Skippon, in the army intended to be sent to Ireland. But the officers of the new model were disinclined to serve under him, some alleging that he was 'a profane man, and unfit for a command,' the real objection being that he was 'not of the faction which they call the army' (Waller, Vindication, p. 84). The army on 16 June on its arrival in London impeached him and ten others on the ground of their designing to raise a new civil war (for charges see Old Parliamentary Hist. xvi. 70, 116), and on the approach of the army to London Massey fled to Holland. On 9 Aug., together with Poyntz, he published an apology explaining their flight and justifying their action (Rushworth, Collections, vii. 765). Massey, although summoned to appear in parliament before 16 Oct. 1647 and answer the charges, did not return to take his seat till early in September 1648. From that time till his exclusion by Pride's Purge (6 Dec.) he sat and voted with the presbyterians. On 12 Dec. he was imprisoned with Waller, but escaped on 18 Jan. from St. James's to Holland (ib. vii. 1394; Clarendon, Hist. of Rebellion, xi. 208; Clarendon State Papers, i. 464).

Massey now definitely took service under the king, and spent some time at the Hague and later at Breda. He was one of the few English royalists whom the Scots allowed to attend on Charles II. In preparation for Charles's invasion he was appointed lieutenant-general and second in command of a regiment of horse to be raised by the Duke of Buckingham (Heath, Chronicle, ed. 1663, pp. 505, 529). Massey was made governor of Kirkcaldy; he kept the bridge five miles east of Stirling with a brigade of horse against Cromwell, and took part in the battle of Inverkeithing on 20 July 1651 (Whitelock, p. 472). When Charles marched into England, Massey preceded him, and vainly attempted to induce the Lancashire presbyterians, with whom he had some personal influence, to join the king (Clarendon, Hist. of Rebellion, xiii. § 68). He took part in the skirmish at Warrington Bridge, and on 29 Aug. tried in vain to hold Upton Bridge against Lambert. In the fight Massey was injured, and was therefore unable to take part in the battle of Worcester (3 Sept.); he, however, accompanied Charles in his flight as far as Droitwich, where he fell behind and threw himself on the protection of Lady Stamford at Broadgate, Leicestershire (ib. xiii. §§ 73, 136; Cary, Memorials of Civil War, pp. 376, 381). When sufficiently recovered he was moved to London for trial, and, after making an ineffectual attempt to escape, was lodged in the Tower (November 1651). He escaped, however, in August 1652, and fled to Holland (Clarendon, Hist. of Rebellion, xiii. § 137), and for some years worked, as one of the leaders of the presbyterian party, to bring about the return of Charles. In spite of plotting and negotiating, Massey was looked upon with distrust by the royalists. Sir Walter Strickland wrote of him in December 1649: 'And truly I have not yet seen a man thrust himself into a business with less advantage than he did. It seems that he had rather play at a small game than stand out' (Cary, Memorials of Civil War, ii. 203). Hyde also wrote of Massey as 'a wonderfully vain and weak man' (Clarendon State Papers, iii. 144) Massey seems, however, to have been useful to Charles in negotiations with the English presbyterians. He visited England in 1654 and 1656 on this business, and again after Oliver Cromwell's death. In 1655 he was in Denmark (Clarendon State Papers, in the Bodleian, iii. 67), and in 1657 mention is made of his possible employment by the Spaniards (ib. p. 399). In 1659 Massey was busy round Gloucester preparing for a rising, but was betrayed by Sir Richard Willis and was taken. He escaped at Nympsfield Hill on 31 July 1659 (Clarendon, Hist. of Rebellion, xvi. §§ 25, 31 , 37). In January 1660 Charles empowered him to renew his attempts on Gloucester, and appointed him governor. Massey, after conferring with General Monck in London, arrived in the city in March (Clarendon State Papers, iii. 646, 647), and represented it in the Convention parliament (cf. Thurloe, vii. 854, 865, 872, 877). After the Restoration he was rewarded by knighthood (Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. p. 199), and on 16 May by a vote of 1,000l., which was increased by a second vote of 3,000l. on 19 Dec. (Commons' Journals, viii. 215). In September he was appointed governor of Jamaica, but does not seem to have gone thither, as he was elected M.P. for Gloucester in April 1661. In 1665 he was appointed one of the commissioners of prizes (ib. 1664-5, p. 245), and during the Dutch war was commander of auxiliary troops to be raised by himself (ib. 1665-6, p. 520). He continued to sit in parliament until his death, which took place, according to Le Neve, in Ireland either towards the end of 1674 or the beginning of 1675 (Le Neve, Pedigrees of Knights, pp. 51-2; Names of Members returned to serve in Parliament, i. 523; Accounts and Papers, vol. lxii.) He was unmarried.

Massey, as a strong presbyterian and a pronounced enemy of independency, was opposed to Charles I on religious rather than on political grounds. He was straightforward and honest (none of the charges brought against him have been proved), and of great personal bravery. He had also the power of winning the confidence of those about him. In person he was of a 'middle stature,' with 'brown hair' and 'sanguine complexion' (A New Hue and Cry. after Major-General Massey and some others, London, 1652). Portraits of him appear in Ricraft's 'Survey of England's Champions' (ed. 1647, chap, xv.), and with the 'Verses on the Siege of Gloucester and Colonel Massey,' 1647.

[Bibliotheca Gloucestrensis, ed. Washbourn, Gloucester, 1825, containing reprints of the most important tracts, &c., relating to Massey's governorship of Gloucester, including reprint of Corbet's Historical Relation of the Military Government of Gloucester, originally printed in 1645. For Massey's pedigree, Ormerod's History of Cheshire; for letters Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1644 and 1645. Other authorities are referred to in the text.]

G. N. R.