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The Forest of Dean by H. G. Nicholls

Colonel Massy marched on forthwith to Lydney House


Corbet

next goes on to recite how Colonel Massy followed up these exploits by marching to Newnham the next day, "where," says he, "a strong party of Sir John Winter's forces kept garrison in the church, and the fort adjoining," (on a spot which has been turned lately into public pleasure grounds,) "of considerable strength, who at that instant were much daunted and distracted by the losse of Congrave, their governor. Our men were possest of the town without opposition, and recovered the houses, by which they got nere the workes. The Governour (Massy) commanded a blind of faggots to be made athwart the street, drew up two pieces of ordnance within pistoll shot, and observing a place not well flanked where he might lead up his men to the best advantage, himself marched before them, and found that part of the work fortified with double pallisadoes; the souldiers being provided with sawes to cut them down, and having drawn them close within a dead angle, and secure from their shot, and drawing the rest of his forces for a storme, the enemy forthwith desires a parley, and to speake with the governour, which he refused, and commanded a sudden surrender. In this interim some of the enemy jumpt over the workes, and so our men broke in upon the rest, who ranne from the out worke into the churche, hoping to cleare the mount which we had gained. But our men were too nimble, who had no sooner entred the mount, but rushed upon them before they could reach home, and tumbled into the church altogether.
Then they cryed for quarter, when, in the very point of victory, a disaster was like to befall us: a barrell of gunpowder was fired in the church, undoubtedly of set purpose, and was conceived to be done by one Tipper, a most virulent Papist, and Sir John Winter's servant, despairing withall of his redemption, being a prisoner before, and having falsified his engagement. The powder-blast blew many out of the church, and sorely singed a greater number, but killed none. The souldiers, enraged, fell upon them, and in the heate of blood slew neere 20, and amongst others this Tipper. All the rest had quarter for their lives (save one Captaine Butler, an Irish rebell, who was knocked down by a common souldier), and an 100 prisoners taken. The service was performed without the losse of a man on our side."

Emboldened to proceed, and anxious to take advantage of Sir John Winter's absence at Coleford, Colonel Massy marched on forthwith to Lydney House. He did not attack it, however, so well was it fortified and provided, and courageously defended, by Lady Winter, who, upon being pressed to deliver, answered--

"Sir,--Mr. Winter's unalterable allegiance to his King and Sovereign, and his particular interest to this place, hath by his Majesty's commission put it into this condition, which cannot be pernicious to any but to such as oppose the one and invade the other; wherefore rest assured that in these relations we are, by God's assistance, resolved to maintain it, all extremities notwithstanding. Thus much in Mr. Winter's absence you shall receive from

"MARY WINTER."

To inconvenience so daring a lady would be contrary to the Colonel's gallantry, and he drew off to the adjoining hills towards the Forest, the better to meet Sir John Winter and Colonel Mynne, who were reported to be returning with a considerable strength of horse, assisted by the Lord Herbert's forces. But the Royalists not appearing, Massy contented himself with setting fire to Sir John's iron-mills and furnaces, and in the evening marched back to Gloucester.

Lydney House and Berkeley Castle remained the last strongholds of the Royalists in the county of Gloucester. The restless proprietor of the former was perpetually engaged in attempts to restore the King's declining cause, and in particular to reduce the inhabitants of the Forest, which was an object of some importance, as their iron-works, &c., afforded supplies to Bristol, then besieged by the Parliament forces. The foresters had declined in their loyalty, through Sir John Winter's occupying their woods, from which his enclosures excluded them. Accordingly his name is rarely absent from the accounts given by contemporary writers, of efforts made in this neighbourhood for the Crown. Most likely he assisted Prince Rupert in his first attempt made in the month of September, 1644, to fortify and establish a permanent guard on the promontory at Beachley, but from which they were quickly dislodged by Massy. We know he was present when the same effort was renewed a month later, and had a second time to be relinquished, Sir John Winter only effecting his escape by hard riding, and making a desperate descent upon the river Wye, by which he was only just enabled to reach the Prince's ships lying at its mouth.


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