1656, Henry Wilson and others seek recompense for their services in thwarting the Penruddock uprising in Salisbury

Transcription from ‘Petitions in the State Papers: 1650s’, in Petitions in the State Papers, 1600-1699, ed. Brodie Waddell, British History Online, Henry Wilson. SP 18/123 f. 75 (1655).

To the right honourable the counsell sitting at Whitehall

The humble peticon of Henry Wilson

Sheweth on the behalfe of thirtie five soldiers with himselfe in the county of Nottingham whoe did raise both horse and armes at there owne proper costs and charges for the good and safetie of this comon wealth when the late insurrection was at Salisbury and other places whoe were under the command of Captaine George Palmer for the space of one moneth and then disbanded without any satisfaction for there saide service. Your peticoner comeing up to London on purpose for a redresse herein, did through the meanes of Comissary Generall Whaley did gaine a warrant from your honoures directed to Master Frost the treasurer for the payment of fiftie fower pounds twoe shillinges and six pence which saide warrant Master Frost hath not discharged by reason he saith he have not money in his custody, and forasmuch as your saide peticoner haveing peticoned the lords commissioners of his highnes treasurie in the same. Whose answere of theres to your peticoner is that they cannot disburse any money without a warrant from this honourable counsell.

Your peticoner humbly prayeth your honors wilbe pleased to consider of his long stay in London which is now above ten weekes past, as alsoe of his expences, haveing nothing to subsist uppon, and graunt unto your peticoner a warrant for the receiving of the money he waites for. For himselfe and the rest whoe hath entrusted him.

And your peticoner will ever pray etc:

Report by Mary Wiggins

In his petition, Henry Wilson recounted the one-month’s service he and others gave, at their own expense, in helping to deal with the insurrection at Salisbury. They were disbanded without recompense. With the aid of General Whalley he secured a warrant for their arrears of pay but the Treasurer, Mr Frost, had not discharged this, saying he had no money. Wilson had incurred further expense while staying in London for ten weeks, attempting to resolve matters. He asked now that the necessary funds be made available.

The Salisbury Insurrection

Soldiers based in England following the battle of Worcester in 1651 were not involved in any further fighting apart from being called on to quash Royalist uprisings and insurrections, including the insurrection in Salisbury in 1655, referred to in this petition.

The insurrection was led by Colonel Penruddock of Compton Park, Sir Joseph Wagstaffe and Colonel Hugh Grove of Chisenbury in Enford. It was one of a series of co-ordinated uprisings organised by the Sealed Knot. They planned to seize Salisbury but there was little support from the city so they moved on and were defeated a few days later at South Molton.[1]

Edmund Whalley

Edward Whalley (or Whaley) was the second son of Richard Whalley, landowner and former sheriff of Nottingham. He was born around 1607, and was a cousin of Oliver Cromwell. He was married on 7 December 1626 at St Dunstan’s Church, Stepney, to Judith Duffell (or Duffield) of Rochester in Kent. He had a son, John, and a daughter named Frances.  Whalley’s second marriage was to Mary Middleton, sister of Sir George Middleton, they had two sons – Henry and Edward. By 1643 he was a Major in the Ironsides. In 1644, he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and fought at Marston Moor. His regiment guarded the captured King Charles I at Hampton Court but the king escaped, Whalley was however exonerated of any blame. He was subsequently one of the regicides who signed the King’s death warrant. Charles I was tried in 1649 with 59 of the commissioners signing his death warrant. Both Edward Whalley and William Goffe, (the husband of Whalley’s daughter Frances) were appointed as Major-Generals during the period of direct military government. They were in charge of regional areas – Whalley had a middle-sized region of between 5 and 6,000 square miles, and Goffe oversaw a smaller one of around 3,000 square miles.

Whalley and Goffe, both regicides, fled to America following the restoration. They landed in Boston in July 1660 and at first lived in Cambridge. They then moved on to New Haven as news of an imminent arrest was circulated. Agents of Charles II tried to find them but they were assisted by sympathisers and Whalley probably died in 1675 having avoided arrest. Both Whalley and Goffe were subsequently commemorated in New Haven by having streets named after them.[2]

Walter Frost

The warrant mentioned in the petition is addressed to a Master Frost who says he ‘hasn’t money enough to pay’. Master Frost was Gualter (Walter) Frost who was the Treasurer for the Council’s Contingencies 1652-60; he is mentioned in Pepys diaries. His father, also Walter (bap. 1598), was a political agent and government official who died in 1652. In February 1649 Walter senior had become chief or general secretary to the Council of State and Walter junior became an assistant secretary – they were paid £730 and £365 per year respectively and were required to attend council daily. When Walter junior became the treasurer for the Council’s Contingencies, he was paid £400 per year.[3]

The petition

The petition secured an immediate result. On the day of its receipt it was ordered that ‘a warrant be issued to the Treasury Commissioners to pay Mr. Frost 1,000l. from the first moneys that come in’ so that he could then pay the ‘other warrants owing’.[4]


[1] ‘Royalist Conspiracies & Uprisings: The Sealed Knot’; ‘Royalist Conspiracies & Uprisings: Penruddock’s Uprising’, BCW Project, http://bcw-project.org/military/royalist-conspiracies/sealed-knot; http://bcw-project.org/military/royalist-conspiracies/penruddocks-uprising.

[2] ‘Edward Whalley, D.C. 1674’; ‘William Goffe, D.C. 1680’, BCW Project, http://bcw-project.org/biography/edward-whalley; http://bcw-project.org/biography/william-goffe; ‘List of regicides of Charles I’:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_regicides_of_Charles_I.

[3] G. E. Aylmer, ‘Frost, Gualter [Walter] (bap. 1598, d. 1652), political agent and government official’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004), https://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-37436; ‘Encyclopedia/People/Gualter Frost’, The Diary of Samuel Pepys: Daily entries from the 17th century London diary, https://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/13700/; F. M. Grier Evans, The Principal Secretary of State: A Survey of the Office from 1558 to 1680(1923) pp. 109-111, https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=e0G8AAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=inauthor:%22Florence+May+Greir+Evans+Higham%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjfpqvz2avqAhX0ShUIHQGuDzwQ6AEwAHoECAUQAg#v=onepage&q=Walter%20Frost&f=false.

[4] ‘Volume 123: January 1656’, in Mary Anne Everett Green (ed.), Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Interregnum, 1655-6 (1882), pp. 88-154. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/interregnum/1655-6/pp88-154.

This report is part of a series on ‘Petitioners in the Interregnum, 1649-1660’, created through a U3A Shared Learning Project on ‘Investigating the Lives of Seventeenth-Century Petitioners’.