The great thing about the Crabchurch story, is that many of those who fought and died during the course of its twists and turns, will have descendants still living in the County and that is why I decided to list many of them at the back of the book. One sure way to engender interest in history, especially local history, is to personalise it and the following little story is a case in point.
Before the English Civil Wars (1642-1651) each English county was obliged to fund and maintain a force of fighting men called The Trained Bands. They were led more often than not by a local landowner who, if the men were lucky, had served in the continental wars and actually knew what he was doing. Many had not though and therefore the bands’ fighting quality was very often, an unknown quantity and most didn’t even want to leave their home county to fight. It was the nearest thing that England had to a standing army however as the country had not been at war for decades. But in 1640, that was about to change.
The Dorset Trained Bands marched north to fight the Scots, but the expedition was fraught with mutiny and dissent from the start. At Faringdon in Berkshire an officer named Lieutenant Mohun virtually severed his drummer’s hand with a sword after they quarreled.
This so incensed his soldiers that they chased him and two other officers, a Captain Lewknor and an Ensign, into the upstairs of an inn. The three men were forced to flee out of a window and onto the swinging inn sign outside, where they tried to defend themselves with their swords. Lewknor and the Ensign jumped down and escaped, but Mohun was eventually dislodged with stones and fell heavily to the ground. The soldiers then seized him and “smashed his brains out” before throwing him in an open sewer. This still did not quite finish him though and upon seeing him attempt to get up, they then dragged him out and hung him upon a pillory where he finally succumbed to his injuries. Two men were eventually hanged for their part in the murder. Other officers on the ill-fated journey included Troilus Turbeville and Bullen Reymes.
Of the known ‘trained bands units, few individual soldier’s names are known, however many of them would probably have joined their officers’ when they formed proper fighting units as the war began in earnest. One man that is known is Captain Gould’s clerk, John Daniell.
Another Company which was either a trained band or possibly a Dorset volunteer unit was commanded by a Captain Churchill. This could possibly be the Royalist William Churchill, who was Deputy Governor of Dorchester and was captured by Captain Francis Sydenham in December 1643.
*** = Christian name not known
The names of some of this unit are known:
Lieutenant William Paty, Ensign William Whiteway and Sergeant *** Bale
Common Soldiers: Thomas Poole, John Bragge, Joseph Culfe, John Lobb, Richard Scobile, Samuell Bushros(e), William Lasilburie, Benjamin Gould, William Cleark, William Polden, Richard White, Joseph Underwood, Lidrid Baylie, Philip Suds, Thomas Coulsons, John Strong, Ellis Eursitt.
Is your family name among these old soldiers ?