POLITICAL HISTORY reoccupied Reigate. Aimless and uncertain throughout, Holland tried to return to Reigate on the 7th, having heard that Gibbons had not remained there the night before. Learning the truth he turned about to march to Kingston whence he came. What motives directed him it is impossible to say. His last hope really was to get into Sussex and join the Royalists there already stirring and to raise more. He could not now expect to find help from London. Two hours after he had started Livesey was in pursuit. He left a garrison of twenty men in Reigate Castle, showing that it was not wholly indefensible. Livesey had now five troops of his own regiment, two which had come with him out of Kent, three which had joined under Audeley, and three troops of Rich's horse under Gibbons. These pursued in haste, three foot com- panies of Livesey's men coming up after them. Eight troops of horse nearly equalled Holland's members if he still had 600 men. 1 The Royal- ists being some horse and some foot retreated slowly, and despite their two hours' start were overtaken near Ewell. Here a few shots were fired. Close by at Nonsuch there was a smarter skirmish. At last the Royalist horse turned about where the road rises over what was Kingston Com- mon, about a mile south-east of where Surbiton station is now. The infantry pushed on towards Kingston and Holland himself with them. The combat that followed is almost Homeric in incidents, and shows that there was good metal in Holland's force wasted by his incompe- tence. Certain troopers came out of either force and engaged in single combat, ' playing valiantly.' Then Rich's cavalry charged and the Royalists fell back fighting towards Kingston, covering the retreat of their foot. Lord Francis Villiers, younger brother to the Duke of Buckingham, was fighting in their rear. His horse was killed, but he stood against an elm on the east side of the road, says Aubrey, to whom was pointed out the site of the tree felled in 1680. There he kept several troopers at bay, till one came behind and reaching round the tree struck off his steel cap and wounded him in the head, when he was slain. Clarendon laments his youth and beauty, and a general com- miseration seems to have been expressed for his fate. The report in London was that he was a wounded prisoner, and orders were sent for his careful treatment. But he was dead, says Audeley, ' and good pillage found in his pocket.' In the outskirts of Kingston the Royalist infantry turned about and checked the pursuing cavalry. These drew off and waited till their infantry should arrive, intending to attack next day. In the night Holland's force dispersed.* Many went to London and escaped notice. The leaders with a few horse fled northwards. Scrope's regiment of cavalry, detached by Fairfax from the Colchester leaguer, came across them at St. Neots in Huntingdonshire about July 10, 1 The numbers in a troop varied at different times. At this time Rich's three troops ought to have been about 300 men. The troops of militia varied more widely than those of the regular army, but the additional five troops would probably bring the total to about 600 men. 1 For the whole account see ' A True Relation,' etc., by Major Lewes Awdeley, Kings Pamphlets, 375, 30. Clarendon's account is nonsense. 419
Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/497
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