1645, the inhabitants of the distressed county of Cumberland complain to the House of Commons about punitive taxes and the Scottish army

The inhabitants of the distressed county of Cumberland. SP 16/507 f. 170 (1645)

To the honourable the knightes cytizens and burgesses of the House of Commons assembled in the court of Parliament

The humble remonstraunce and peticion of the inhabitantes of the distressed county of Comerland.

Humbly sheweth.

That although the most part of the gentry of the said county being tainted with an evill disposition and inticed by honours and other court favours have adhered to the popish and malignant partie in this unnaturall warr yet the sedulity of the commons within the countie have allwayes beene well affected towarde the Parliament as with the enemye of the cause who have found their backwardnes and freindes since who have seene their forwardnes for it we are confident will witnes the same with us: that then the horse and dragoones of the Scotish army [advanc…?] to the said countie about the 1o of September last, there being then severall regimentes both of horse and foote within the said county makeing a great strength which might have opposed yet many of the said inhabitants who were maied and drawen to take armes against their wills refused to fight against the Scots, soe as they entered the said county and Westmerland without any opposition at all and both the said counties willingly yeelded themselves unto the obedience of Kinge and Parliament. That when the Scotish forces came amongst them they were with much willingnes and cheerfullnes entertained as brethren and accommodated with plenty and what the country could afford, but by their continuance upon free quarter being seven regiments of horse and dragoons for the most part from the first of September to the 7o of October and disorders increaseing amongst them, the poore country quickly found them a burthen to heavy for them to beare haveing in that moneth and 7 dayes free billet sessing at the very great value as will appeare upon examinacion, that from the 7o of October untill the 9o of November there being but two regiments left they had in provision and mony dureing that tyme to the value of 2560 pounds that upon the takeing of Newcastle the Committee of Both Kingdomes agreed of a way for the present entertainment of the whole Scotish army for one moneth out of the severall countys where they were quartered videlicet a third part paid to officers and halfe to souldieres to be delivered in provision or in mony where provision were not to be had, which agreement and orders with the scedule of rates and declaration from his excellency conferming them being sent by the commissioners of Parliament to the standing committee of this county they were ready to conforme to the same (though heavy burthens) but the Scotish officers who commanded the horse in the said county not being content therwith refused to observe the said agreement and orders of the Committees of Both Kingdomes and the Lord Generall and that their owne will demanded and exacted full pay both for officers and souldiers of two regiments of horse and one regiment of dragoons which the poore country was constrained to advance for the moneth of November comeing to 3850 pounds…

[For the rest of this petition, see the full transcription here.]

Report by David Moffatt

This unusually long petition seeks to gain relief from the punitive taxes placed on the inhabitants to fund the cost of feeding a Scottish Army, which had invaded the county. The funding was to be limited to one month but eventually costs £40,000. Richard Barwis, the inhabitant’s representative in Parliament, presented the petition and was supported by Thomas Lamplugh.

Richard Barwis (1601–1648)

Richard Barwis was born in 1601 and his parents were Anthony Barwis (1580–1616) and Grace Fleming, He lived at Ilekirk Hall, 12 miles from Carlisle, which his family acquired on the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1544.[1] He was orphaned at 14 and raised by his catholic uncle John Fleming and Sir John Dalston. He later criticised them for failing to maintain and develop his property.

He was known as Great Richard because of his strength which he regularly demonstrated. He is said to have walked round the courtyard of Ilekirk Hall, carrying, at arm’s length, his wife (Frances Musgrave) on one hand, and an enormous stone on the other. It is also said that he once walked along Eden Bridge holding his wife seated on his hand held over the battlements.[2]

In 1628 he was elected to Parliament representing Carlisle which continued until his death at the age of 47 in 1648.  He had no children. He supported the Parliamentarian side during the English Civil War.[3]

He was High Sheriff of Cumberland in 1635 and one responsibility was collecting Ship Money. He was also Mayor of Carlisle for 1636–37 and 1648–49.  In 1634 he leased the Crosscanonby Salt Pans for 21 years with the intention of building of saltpans and cottage. In 1645 Parliament authorised Barwiss et al to be authorised to call to account people for the collection of Excise Duties.

In summer 1645, in an incident known as the “Barwis Affair”, Barwis and his associates were accused by the Scots commissioners in London of protecting royalist delinquents and of depriving the Scottish forces in the area of proper maintenance. He was a key player in the campaign against the Scottish army in 1644. He was rewarded with the appointment as deputy lieutenant of Cumberland.  He was imprisoned by the Royalists and never really recovered from the ordeal.

Thomas Lamplugh (c. 1589 – 1670)

Lamplugh was born in Ruston Parva, Yorkshire one of three sons and one daughter of Thomas Lamplugh and Jane (Fairfax) Lamplugh.

Thomas Lamplugh lived initially at Bursthill, near Brandesburton and in 1619 he married Margaret Strickland, but she died in 1627. In that year he married Grace Barwise, a Cumberland heiress, and moved to Ribton Hall, Cumberland. He became High Sheriff in 1644. Following the death of his brother Christopher, in 1622 he became the guardian of his nephew Thomas (later Archbishop of York).

He had a son Richard Lamplugh (1632-1705) who served as an MP for Cumberland (1679) and as High Sheriff (1688) and married his first Cousin Grace Lamplugh of Lamplugh Hall. Thomas Lamplugh died in 1670 in Ribton, Cumberland.[4]

Response from Parliament to the petition

On the 24 June 1645, the House of Lords gave a long summary of the events surrounding the garrisoning of the Scottish Army in Cumbria and Westmoreland.[5]

The Scottish army was Protestant and had been in conflict with Charles I since he imposed a Laudian Book of Common Prayer. Parliament was therefore supportive of the Army and how it acted.

The Lords state that many of the local gentry, commanders and committee members of the counties were Royalist and also motivated by their own greed. The claims of financial loss were overstated, and that they should be brought to trial.

The following is extracted from their report:

That, since those Gentlemen who subscribe that Petition have taken the Liberty and Freedome to speake soe liberally against the Scottish Army, wee doe hould it a Duty necessarily incumbent to us, to make knowne unto the Honnorable Houses of Parliament some Informations delivered to us by Two Commissioners of the wel-affected of the Countyes 0f Westm’land and Cumberland, sent thither by them to present Articles to the Honnorable Houses against the Subscrivers of this Petition, and diverse others in those Countyes.

The Information wee received from them under their Hands, and which they declare themselves ready to make appeare, is, That many of the Comaunders and Members of the Committee, who were in actuall Rebellion against the Parliament, under the Earle of Newcastle, and did take the Oath prescribed by him, are still continued in their former Charges and Employments.

That generally the Gentry of those Countyes are Papists, Malignants, and very disaffected to the Parliament.

That, to their best Judgments, that which hath bin taken upp in those Countyes by the Scottish Army will not amount to the Halfe of what is informed by those Petitioners

That Sir Wilfured Lawson, Brother to Mr. Richard Barwis (a Member of the House of Commons, and One of the Committee of both Kingdomes with the Scottish Army), is a knowne Malignant, was actually in Rebellion under the Earle of Newcastle against the Parliament, and continued in Armes till those Countyes were reduced to the Obedience of the Parliament; and yet, notwithstanding, is now entrusted with the Commaund in Cheife of the Parliament’s Forces in those Countyes, is now made High Sheriff of Cumberland, and One of the Grand Committee for the Northerne Association.

That Sir Wilfured Lawson, with the Assistance of John Barwis Uncle to Richard Barwis the Commissioner, and William Brisko Cousen to Mr. Barwis, have, without the Consent of the rest of the Committee, leavyed greate Somes of Money upon the County, and distrained the Goods, and committed their Persons to Prison who refused it; and have alsoe raised greate Sommes of Money, under Pretence for the Publique Service, which they doe still deteyne in their owne Hands.

That where the Country was damnifyed One Peny by the Scottish Souldiers, they were damnifyed Twelve Pence by Sir Wilfured Lawson’s Souldiers.

That Complaint was never made to the Comaunders of the Scottish Army, and Particulers condiscended upon, but the Persons were punished, and the Goods restored.


[1] ‘BARWIS Richard (1602-1649), of Ilekirk Grange, Westward Cumbria’, The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1604-1629, ed Andrew Thrush and P. Ferris, 2010 http://www.histparl.ac.uk/volume/1604-1629/member/barwis-richard-1602-1649

[2] ‘Richard Barwis’, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Barwis

[3] David Scott, “Barwis, Richard (1602–1649), politician.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 23 Sep. 2004, https://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-74210.

[4] Wikitree article https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Lamplugh-16

[5] ‘House of Lords Journal Volume 7: 24 June 1645’, in Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 7, 1644 (London, 1767-1830), pp. 451-456. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/lords-jrnl/vol7/pp451-456 .


This report is part of a series on ‘Petitioners in the reign of Charles I and the Civil Wars’, created through a U3A Shared Learning Project on ‘Investigating the Lives of Seventeenth-Century Petitioners’.