Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/481

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POLITICAL HISTORY Quennell who had the king's commission and tried to get a force together even before the raising of the king's standard. The north-west of the county, beyond a line drawn from Farnham to Kingston, was involved in the operations of the first campaign of the civil wars in 1642. As early as January, 1642, there were rumours of a Royalist plot to seize Kingston. It was supposed to be part of a larger design for securing Portsmouth. Colonel Lunsford and Lord Digby were at Kingston, other cavaliers were collected about Windsor and Hampton Court. A wagon load of supplies was said to have reached Farnham from Windsor on its road to Portsmouth, and the occupation of Kingston would prevent aid from London being sent readily down the Portsmouth road. Moreover since Elizabeth's reign one of the storehouses of the arms of the Surrey trainbands was at Kingston. Perhaps it was the only magazine since Guildford Castle had become a private house. The Parliament ordered the sheriffs of Surrey and of the neighbouring counties to call out the trainbands to guard against any design. The king gave no definite orders, after his manner. Lunsford allowed himself to be arrested, and Digby left the country. In August the Civil War broke out in earnest. Sir Richard Onslow was in command of the Surrey trainbands, but at the outset any fighting seemed likely to be far away from Surrey. It was not thought that the king could assemble a really effective army. He had little money or stores. Of the three chief magazines of the kingdom, the Tower and Hull were in the hands of the Parliament, and Portsmouth was quickly seized. The king had got it into his hands after all, but Goring his governor had to evacuate it before the Earl of Hertford could succour him from the west. 1 It was hoped that Essex would overwhelm the king's half organized forces near the Welsh marches, and that no war would come near London. Kingston however, so important for its bridge, and a town of Royalist sympathies, as was natural to a place chartered and favoured by nearly every king who had reigned since Henry III. and not least by Charles, was occupied by Sir Richard Onslow. Farnham, where the bishop's palace was in a naturally strong position, and where the road passed from London to Winchester and Southampton and by one route to Portsmouth, was made a garrison. George Wither the poet, who lived near at hand in Hampshire, was made governor of Farnham Castle on October 14. We know a good deal from one side about his tenure of the post. Wither is not now a popular poet. ' The Shepheard's Hunting ' is nearly forgotten. But his poetry deserves to be remembered, and he was the kind of man who was determined that no one should forget him if he could help it. He was in his own estimation one of the moving forces of the age, and Farnham Castle received new importance from the fact that he was commander. His pamphlets Se Defendendo and Justiciarius Justificatus 1 Hertford and the Earl of Bedford had a skirmish at ' Evill,' which the editor of the Calendar of the St. P. Dam. Ch. I. 1642 seems to read as Ewell in Surrey. But it must have been some other place, probably Yeovil. 407