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Prisoners from the Battle of Worcester, England

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Date: 3 Sep 1651 [unknown]
Location: Worcester, Englandmap
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Worcester was the site of the Battle of Worcester (3 September 1651), when Charles II attempted to forcefully regain the crown, in the fields a little to the west and south of the city, near the village of Powick, England.

Boston Public Library: New World Immigrants Prisoners from the Battle of Worcester - Page 148 -160. After the Battle of Dunbar there was a year of military jockeying for position, with Charels II avoiding a battle, and gradually marching southward towards London, hoping to find sympathizers and to reinforce his army. The Earl of Derby raised a regiment in Lancashire which tried to stem the tide, but it met defeat at Wigan in that County, and with a handful left he joined his Sovereign's forces just before the next disaster.

A year to a day after the "Race of Dunbar," the young King and his partisans decided to try conclusions once more with their Nemesis and elected to cross swords with Cromwell at Worcester. The same result ensued. Cromwell described it as "the crowing mercy of the Lord," as nightfall found the enemy in flight and Charles a fugitive, in disguise, and later forced to hide in an oak tree to escape capture. In his retreat through Gloucestershire, in the disguise of a cook, in peasant's clothing, he was afforded shelter by John Tomes, a brother-in-law of Governor Thomas Welles of Hartford, Connecticut.

More prisoners were at hand for Cromwell to transport to the Colonies. Within two days of the battle the Council at London ordered that all the officers taken with the Earl of Derby and every tenth private soldier should be put on trial for rebellion. This naturally meant that every officer and every tenth soldier would pay the supreme penalty.

There is a tradition among the descendants of one of these prisoners that when drawn in line for picking out every tenth soldier he counted down the rows and found that he would probably be one of those selected for the sacrifice. Breaking rank he took the desperate chance of escape or being shot. A mounted officer pursued and wounded him and his life was thus spared.

Further consideration was given to the disposition of these captives and they were finally brought to London under convoy and herded at the Artillery Grounds, Tothill Field, about half a mile west of Parliament House. On September 16 it was proposed that a thousand of these prisoners be sent to Bristol for shipment to New England, but there is no record that this was done. Such Scotch ministers as were prisoners were to be exported, one to every two hundred men, but these clergymen were to be free from compulsory service. As a result of various proposals, an unknown number, perhaps three hundred of the Scotch prisoners captured at the Battle of Worcester then encamped at Tothill Field, were selected for transportation to New England.

Becx of the iron works was again interested in this transaction and the ship John and Sarah was chartered to bring them to Boston. The master of this ship was John Green of Charlestown and they were consigned to Thomas Kemble, also of Charlestown, a merchant who owned lands in Maine, was a dealer in lumber and interested in sawmills at Durham and Newmarket, New Hampshire. The identity of this ship, probably a New England vessel, is not certain. A ship of this name, of the burthen of thirty-nine tons, was sold here in 1648 to Robert Allen of Norwich, co. Norfolk, and Nicholas Davison of London, but it is impossible to think of this small craft as the one which brought the prisoners over, although Davison was a resident of Charlestown at one time and had intimate business connections with New England.

All arrangements having been made, the consignors, Becx, Rich and Greene gave the following instructions to the master of the transport. London, this 11th: of November 1651. Capt. Jno. Greene - Wee whose names are vnder written freighters of your shipe the John & Sara doe Order you forthwith as winde & weather shall permit to sett sajle for Boston in New: England & there deliver our Orders and Servants to Tho: Kemble of charles Towne to be disposed of by him according to orders wee have sent him in that behalfe & wee desire yow to advise with the sajd kemble about all that may conserne that whole Intended vojage using your Indeavors with the sajd Kemble for the speediest lading your shipp from New: Eng: to the barbados with provisions and such other things as are in N. E. fitt for the west Indies where yow are to deliver them to mr. Charles Rich to be disposed of by him for the Joinct accont of the freighters & so to be Retourned home in a stocke undivided thus desiring your care & industrje in dispatch and speed of the vojage wishing yow a happy & safe Retourne we Remaine your loving friends.John Becx Signatum et Recognitum Robt Richin pncia: Jo: Nottock notar Publ: Will Greene 13 May, 1652 Captain Greene probably left the Downes December 8 and with the usual lapse of time necessary to make the voyage in the months of November and December arrived in Boston, certainly before February 24 of that year.

He landed two hundred and seventy-two of those taken on board at London, and it cannot be supposed that there were no deaths on the voyage. The usual toll of scurvy must have taken at least ten per cent of the total number.

For some reason not apparent all the documents in this transaction, together with a list of names of these prisoners, were recorded in the Suffolk Deeds, possibly for permanent record in case of litigation. While this is fortunate for historical purposes, yet this list is not to be accepted as a true record of their correct names. It offers to the student in philology many puzzles left by the scribe in his attempts to spell out clan names of Gaelic origin, spoken in a dialect that defied reproduction in English. Most of these Scotchmen were unable to write, knew little English and as a result their names have undergone curious transformations.

The prefix "Mac" was frequently dropped and the remaining part of a name was Anglicized in a convenient phonetic substitute. MacLothlan became Claflin; Maggafasset is Fassett; MacGowen is Magoon; Saint Clair is Sinkler; Farrabas is Forbes; Graham is Grimes; Montrose is Munroe, and other like decapitations and alterations illustrate the manhandling which these historic names of Highland clansmen suffered in the offices of town clerks. Few would suspect that a family bearing the cognomen of Tosh living on Block Island were once possessors of the fine old Highland name of MacIntosh. The typical Highland prenomen - Angus - was written Anguish, which might be considered a true description of the mental state of the clerk after struggling with the rolling b-r-r-r of these clansmen. Here follows the official statement of the names of these Scotchmen.

A list of the passengers aboard the John and Sarah of London John Greene m[aste]r bound for New England:

Anderson, Alester; Anderson, David; Anderson, John; Anderson, William. Banes [Bayne], William; Beames, William; Benne [Bene or Benny], James; Benne, John; Bereere, Thomas; Blacke, Daniel; Boye, John; Boye, John; Boye, Robert; Broun, John; Brounell, Henry; Buckanon, David; Buckanon [Buchanan], John. Camell [Campbell], James; Camell, John; Camell, Neile; Carmuckhell [Carmichael], John; Curmuckhell, William; Carter, Neile; Clewston, William; Coehon [Colquhoon], John; Cowe, Alester; Crag [Craig], John; Cragon [Craigen], John; Crockford, James; Croome, John; Crosshone, Patrick. Deugle [Dougall], Edward; Deugell, William; Dell, William; Dulen, Edward. Edminsheire, John; English, James; English, Patrick. Farfarson, James; Fossem, Michael; Fressell, Edward; Fressell, William. Gorden, Daniel; Gorden, James; Gurden, John; Gordon, Laughleth; Graunt, Alester; Graunt, Alexander; Graunt, Daniel; Graunt, James; Graunt, James; Graunt, James; Graunt, John; Graunt, John; Graunt, John; Graunt, Patrick; Graunt, Thomas; Graunt, William; Gunn, Daniel; Gurner, James. Hagoman, John; Hamilton, David; Hamilton, James; Hamilton, Rory; Hedricke, James; Hidrecke, William; Herron, Patrick; Highen, Robert; Hogg, John; Hogg, John; Hogg, John; Hogg, Daniel; Hogg, Neile; How, Daniel; Hudson, Daniel; Hudson, John; Hume [Home], Alester; Hume, David; Hume, David. Jackson, James; Jackson, Patrick; Jackson, Richard; Jackson, Walter; Jameson, David; Jameson, Neile; Jimson, Patrick; Johnson, Neile; Jones, Patrick. Kallendra [Callender], Alester; Kallender, David; Kallender, James; Kemper, Daniel. Lesten, Charles. Mack, Henry; Mackurnell [MacConnell], Cana; Mackannell, Daniel; Mackennell, Daniel; Mackunnell, Sander; Mackannell, William; Mackunnell, (torn); Mackalinsten [MacAllister], Alinster; Makalester, Daniel; Mackalester, John; Mackaine [MacKean], Daniel; Mackhan, Daniel; Mackaine, Daniel; Mackhene, Alester; Mackane, John; Mackane, John; Mackaine, Neile; Mackane, Neile; Mackane, Patrick; Machame, Robert; Mackaine, Robert; Mackaine, Samuel; Mackaine, William; Mackaine, William; Mackandra [MacAndrew], William; Mackally [MacCullar], James; Mackcreth, Patrick; Mackreith, James; Mackdoell [MacDowell], Sander; Mackey [MacKay], Hugh; Mackey, Hill [Neile]; Mackey, John; Machy, Rory; Mackey, Sander; Macken, William; Mackenthow, John; Mackendocke [MacIntosh], Daniel; Mackontoss, William; Macketh, David; Macketh, Neile; Mackforson [MacPherson], John; Mackfarson, Origlais (?); Mackfarson, (torn); Mackfarson, Robert; Mackhatherne, Patrick; Mackhellin, Daniel; Mackhellin, John; Mackhele, Alester; Mackhell, James; Mickell, James; Mackhoe [MacKee?], Daniel; Mackhome, David; Mackholme, John; Mackone, Neile; Macklude [MacLeod], John; Mackilude, Murtle; Macklyne, (torn); Macknester, Allester; Macknith, Daniel; Macknith, Daniel; Macknith, Patrick; Mackrore [MacCreary?], Alester; Mactentha, Cana; Macktenneth, Sennel; Macktomas, Glester [Alester]; Mackwilliam, Gellust; Man, Daniel; Mann, John; Mann, Patrick; Martin, Daniel; Mitchell, James; Micknab [MacNabb], James; Miller, Sander; Milleson, Sander; Milward, David; Milward, James; Monlow [Monroe?], Daniel; Monrow, Hugh; Monrow, (torn); Munrow, John; Montrose, Laughlell; Monwilliam, Daniel; Monwilliam, David; Morcot, Sannder; More (torn); Moore, James; Morre, John; Morre, John; Morton, Patrick; Munckrell, William; Murrow, James; Murrow, John; Murrow, John; Murrow, Jonas; Murrow, Neile; Muckstore, Neile. Oneale, Daniel. Patterson, David; Pattison, James; Perry, George; Punn, Edward, (?). Querne [Queen, MacQueen], Amos; Qiemme. George. Robinson, Alester; Robinson, Charles; Robinson, Daniel; Robinson, James; Robinson, John; Robinson, John; Robertson, Patrick; Ross, Alester; Ross, Daniel; Ross, David; Ross, James; Ross, James; Rosse, John; Rosse, John; Rosse, John; Ross, Jonas; Row, James; Roye, Donald; Russell, Simon. Scott, John; Sessor, Daniel; Sheron, Ansell; Shurron, Daniel; Shiva (torn), Samuel; Shone, James; Shume [Hume?], John; Simson, Alester; Simson, Daniel; Simson, Daniel; Simson, David; Simson, Patrick; Simson, Sander; Sinclare, Salaman; Smith, Henry; Sotherland, Ansell; Sotherland, Patrick; Sterling, David; Sterling, John; Stewart, Austin; Stewart, Charles; Stewart, Neile; Stewart, Robert; Stewart, William. Tanniell, John; Teller, David; Teller, William; Tenler, David; Tenler, John; Tenler, Robert; Terris, Andrew; Tiler, Evan; Thompson, Alexander; Tooth [Touch?], Alester; Tower, Patrick. Wallis, Nicholas; Wilson, Andrew; Wilson, Christopher; Wilson, John; Wilson, John; Woodall, John; Woodell, John; (torn) Daniel; (torn) Patrick; (torn) Patrick; (torn) . . .; (torn) . . .; (torn) Alester; (torn) . . .

The persons afore named past from hence in the ship afore mentioned and are according to order Registered heare. dat. Search office, Gravesend 8th November 1651. Giles Barrow } Edward Pelling } Searchers John Morris }

The list contains 261 names, but Becx in a subsequent letter said that Capt. Greene "had with him 240 Scots." The additional number may have been embarked at the last moment before sailing. Evidently the prisoners were marched from Boston to Lynn and the trip took two days. William Edmonds was paid for "dyett for the Scotts by the waye from Boston to the workes." Apparently a physician accompanied the caravan who attended the sick. That his ministrations were unsuccessful in one case is shown by a charge for "a windeing sheet for Davison the Scott," who dropped by the wayside. Items of human interest in their disposal after arrival include a charge of #35 for "Framing the Scotts house," the purchase of 65 pair of shoes @@ 5 s a pair, 92 pairs of stockings, 72 shirts, 92 "skines for makeing the cloathes, Hatts and Bands," while William Emmory and James Mackall got "two Stuffe Suites." Goody Burt of Lynn was paid for "Phisicke" for these who were ill. Tow hundred pounds of tobacco were bought for them, costing #13: 17: 04, and we may credit this "good deed in a naughty world" to the manager of works.

Various items under the head of diet show that in changing numbers, from sixty-one men to twenty-eight, the charge for the larger quota per week was #18: 06: 00.

The diet of twenty-eight men from December 16, 1651, to August 3, 1652, being thirty-two weeks, was #268: 16: 00. In the inventory of 1653 the manager reported thirty-seven "Scotts at 20 pounds per man" and that they must have slept three in a bed, as they had only "11 beds and bolsters with 22 Coverletts and blanckets among the Scotts."

The London Proprietors were watchful of the costs of the commissary for these prisoners. In a letter of Becx to the manager he said on this point:

We wrott you that we desired the Scotts should be dietted by some ther in the Country by those that would have (supplied the) best and cheapest and not to have it done by you at such a high Rate the Company not being willing to allow above 3 s 6 d per week and you being 5 s. And again Becx showed his anxiety for the sale of these "Scotts" so that the Company might realize on the venture:

moreover we sent you after yor 4 Monethes Arivall thes 82 Scotts which if they had beene sold for the Companys use one halfe of them would have procured you above {#} 600 for 30 of them and then you should have as yett 30 more Remaineing at the Works to have don your business compleat that you would not have wants comen [coming], hands not stocke.

This second consignment of human freight found a wider distribution among the towns of Massachusetts and the adjacent provinces, as the story of the first consignment had whetted the envy of those who had failed to procure cheap labor from this new kind of auction block. It had the sanction of John Cotton and that was enough to deaden the New England conscience. They were sold, as before, to planters and mill owners throughout the Colonies in this section.

The usual terms prevailed as to price and length of service. Based on the experience of the Unity, these two hundred and seventy-two prisoners must have netted the owners of the John and Sarah about #4,000, a tidy sum in those days and representing about ,000 in present values. More of these prisoners were sent to the southern Colonies and to the West India Islands than to New England, but the morality of the transaction is not changed by a disparity in numbers.

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