After the Royalist commander in Dorset, Sir Lewis Dyve had given his curt reply to Colonel William Sydenham’s request to “cease this useless burning” with the answer of “We refuse to parley with you and shall do as we please” … Sydenham knew that he had to do something whilst he still had a town to defend.

This snub only served to infuriate him and the very same evening under cover of darkness, he sent a small raiding party across the water in boats. They set alight several vessels and houses on the Weymouth side and caused great damage and mayhem in the Royalist camp. The next day Sir Lewis ceased the bombardment for good.

The following week offered some hope to Sydenham’s men in the shape of two hundred sailors from Poole who were landed on Melcombe beach by none other than William Batten, Vice Admiral of the Parliamentarian fleet, in his ship ‘The James’ and one other man o’ war. Batten described the Poole seamen as “some of the toughest fighting men in Dorset”. Also, by land, came another reason for hope. Lieutenant Colonel James Heane (or Haynes) managed to break through the surrounding Royalists with his one hundred strong troop of horse. Heane was a good professional soldier, but had for several months been held prisoner by William Hastings in Portland Castle. His ‘host’ had tried hard to persuade his captive to change sides, realising that Heanes’ superior military skills would be a real bonus to the King, but to no avail. Heane, a staunch Parliament man, eventually escaped with the help of Hastings’ own servant and now returned to once more defy his jailer.

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