Hugh and Elizabeth 1640-1681

The work of a curious fellow
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Hugh Hallowell arrived at Bristol in the fall of 1640 and rejoined his father John and his mother Mary’s household. His older brother Mark had moved with his family to St. Ives. His younger sister Faye was still living at home but engaged to marry Robert Dodge in November when he returned from France.

Hugh shared stories of his adventures in the New World and heard from his father and his father’s circle of friends of conditions in England. The country was dividing itself along the line between the old feudal system and a new growing middle class and also along the line between Catholics and Protestants, with the Anglican Church seen as neither.

These fault lines did not exactly coincide but generally King Charles I, although Protestant, was thought to be a Catholic sympathizer and clearly represented the old feudalism. Parliament represented the new upper middle class and the “Pure” Protestants. The merchants of Bristol were firmly behind Parliament.

In 1639 Charles sent a revised prayer book to Scotland in an attempt to check the fervent Presbyterianism in that country. The Scots reacted by abolishing the King’s church authorities and substituting their own. The King could not get the help of Parliament in England to raise an army to punish the Scots so he gathered his sympathizers and hired Irish mercenaries to invade Scotland. The Scots conducted a pre-emptive invasion of England to the cheers of English Parliamentarians, soundly defeating the Royal/Irish force. This was pretty much the state of affairs when Hugh returned to England.

Among Hugh’s father’s friends were Goodman Cooper and his son William. William and Hugh being about the same age became good friends. William was an experienced horseman and encouraged Hugh to ride with him. Hugh learned quickly and soon he and William were racing over the countryside.

Hugh was introduced to William’s younger sister Elizabeth who was seven years younger than Hugh. She did not join the men in their outdoor activity so Hugh spent little time in her company. An exception came on the day that the weather drove Hugh and William indoors. Hugh, William, Elizabeth and her suitor Charles Gascoyne enjoyed an afternoon of cribbage and conversation.

The conversation turned to Hugh’s adventures in the Colonies and he told how he came into possession of the Maria del Mar, glossing over Kaylene t’Hooft’s occupation out of respect for Elizabeth’s sensibilities. The card game was forgotten as the others pressed Hugh for more details of his experiences. In particular Elizabeth was entranced with Hugh’s sometimes humorous stories. For his part Hugh was surprised by Elizabeth’s sense of humor and thoughtful questions about life in the Colonies.

Charles departed for home and as Hugh was preparing to leave he took a few moments alone with William.

“Will,” asked Hugh, “How serious is Charles with Elizabeth?”

“Charles has been calling on Elizabeth for over a half year. There has been no announcement of engagement. He, as you have found, is pleasant enough company but I get the sense that Elizabeth is not pushing for anything more than that. Should I ask her about it?”

“If you would, I would be glad to hear her response. You may tell her that I would like to get to know her better.”

“Hang on a minute,” William said and before Hugh could speak, he was off to talk to Elizabeth.

“Blast.” Hugh muttered to himself. “I didn’t’ mean right now you hasty pup.”

Hugh could do nothing but wait to see what developed. Before long Elizabeth approached.

“Double blast.” Hugh sighed before pasting a smile on his face.

“William is never one to dilly dally when he is given a task,” Elizabeth said as she sensed Hugh’s discomfort. “Don’t be concerned Hugh. I am glad he spoke to me. I want there to be no misunderstanding between us. Charles is a dear friend to me, for reasons I may be able to tell you some day, but that is all he will ever be, as he well knows. I would like to get to know you better also. Please come back as often as you like to spend time with me.”

Hugh did that, and he and Elizabeth were married late in 1641.

In August of 1642, Hugh and William joined the rebel army against Charles I. Being practiced horsemen, they found themselves in the Parliamentary cavalry under the command of the Earl of Essex on the road from Worcester to London in October of 1642. The bulk of the cavalry was drawn from the English gentry. Less than a quarter were from the merchant class.

The Royalist forces under the command of Charles I were headed for London by a different road. The armies converged by accident but the commanders decided to fight it out. On the 23rd of October at Edgehill, after a brief exchange of artillery, The Royalist cavalry under Prince Rupert charged the Parliamentarian cavalry on the left flank.

Battle of Edgehill (14K)
Battle of Edgehill

By prior arrangement a great many of the gentlemen horsemen riding for Parliament immediately defected to the Royalists and turned on their former comrades. In the resulting chaos the Royalists broke through and the infantry in the rear turned and ran, with the Royalist cavalry in hot pursuit. At the height of the confusion a horse stumbled and fell, pitching its rider to the ground at Hugh’s feet. The man, wearing the uniform of the Royal cavalry, lay stunned with Hugh’s sword at his throat.

“Lie still.” said Hugh when the man tried to rise. “I’m new at this war business. Did you ever see such a damned mess? Bless me if I can tell friend from foe and I suppose that according to the rules I should murder you where you lie, but I cannot. My name is Hugh Hallowell of Bristol and I choose to let you walk away if you can.”

“My name is Richard Nichols of Ampthill.” said the man. “I am much obliged to you.”

Hugh backed away and the man grabbed a horse and rode off.

Hugh and William, not knowing who to trust, fled to the Parliamentarian center and joined the reserves, which had been brought up by Essex. From there they charged around the unprotected Royalist infantry center and cut them up from the rear, mortally wounding the commanding officer, Lord Lindsey.

Then in a loss of the big picture, Essex disengaged and withdrew, leaving the London Road open to the Royalists. His blunder was matched by Charles I, who had lost his most experienced soldier in Lord Lindsey. The King chose to proceed cautiously and by the time he reached Reading, Essex had fallen back to London and mustered reinforcements. For the time being the city remained in Parliament’s hands.

Nothing had prepared Hugh for the confusion and terror of battle. He never forgot the treachery of his fellow cavalrymen and conducted himself with honor but caution for the remainder of his service.

William had been wounded at Edgehill and Hugh was granted leave to accompany him home where he was to recover. He arrived in Bristol on October 28 to find that Elizabeth had given birth to a healthy boy on the 23rd, the very day of the battle. They called him John after Hugh’s father.

In 1643 while Hugh was fighting now in Cromwell's army, Prince Rupert captured Bristol for the Royalists and the family property was seized. Hugh's father died during the conflict. Hugh received word of this and moved his mother, his son John and Elizabeth, now pregnant, to the village of Folkestone in Kent, into Parliament territory and away from the fighting.

In 1644, after Cromwell's victory at Marston Moor, Hugh retired to Folkestone and settled down to raise his growing family. He went into business sailing goods and passengers back and forth across the English Channel.

Hugh and Elizabeth had in all five children:
John Hallowell 10/23/1642
Dorcas Hallowell 2/16/1644
Mary Hallowell 1/20/1647
Faye Hallowell 4/23/1650
Abbie Hallowell 6/21/1654

Hugh received a curious letter in 1655 from France from a Richard Nichols. He had trouble placing the name at first but eventually put the letter together with the image of a fallen cavalry office at Edgehill. The letter said, “…When the Protectorate collapses I may be in a position to repay you…”

Hugh became disenchanted with the Cromwell's politics during his time in power and adopted the attitude that any government with too much influence in daily affairs was more trouble than it was worth. By the time of the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 he was pretty much indifferent to who held the power in London.

Hugh missed the free roaming days he had enjoyed in the colonies and often spoke of going back, but never did. The family escaped the plague of 1665 and Hugh and Elizabeth saw their children happily married. They had fifteen grandchildren in 1680 when Elizabeth died in December of that year. Hugh survived his wife by only five months, dying in May of 1681.

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