370 years ago this month in the twin-towns of Weymouth & Melcombe, the Parliamentarian faction held the towns and ports for their cause. Unbeknown to them though, certain royalist sympathisers within the towns had hatched a plot to help royalist forces within the County of Dorset to retake the towns, some say, so that the King, Charles 1, could land a huge French Catholic army in the ports to help him turn the tide of the war. Charles Stuart, later referred to as ‘That Man of Blood’, was prepared to put a foreign army on the sacred soil of England, give a foreign power free reign to murder its citizens and pound them into submission, merely to keep a hold on his faltering crown.

The Parliamentarians inside Weymouth & Melcombe however, had no idea of what was about to be unleashed against them, as a puritan preacher to the garrison, Peter Ince wrote in his diary ….

“In the beginning of February 1645 we were in as sweet a quiet and security as any garrison in the Kingdom; no enemy near us but one at Portland, and that not very considerable, being but about three hundred or four hundred men.”

The Royalists also did not take in to account the fact that the towns’ garrison was commanded by Dorset man, Colonel William Sydenham, who would later rise to prominence and power as Cromwell’s right hand man in the Protectorate.