The Real 1642 English Civil War
The real 1642 English Civil War was in fact an uglier reality than the fascinating side of 1642 life shown at LITTLE WOODHAM.
King Charles 1 had been forced to start recruiting for his Royalist Army at Nottingham on 22nd August 1642 BECAUSE the very first bombardment of the Civil War had already taken place on poor little GOSPORT, from the Portsmouth Batteries.
Already happening the Portsmouth Governor had seized the Royal Citadel & Dockyard of Portsmouth in the name of the King.
Parliament had replied by sending a “Roundhead” Court of Guard to occupy Gosport and on 18th August, the Rebel Guards ordered local carpenters to build two firing platforms for cannons on the Gosport shore opposite old Portsmouth. (south of today’s high-rise Flats). “Whereat the troubled Governor shot at them…letting fly that night at least 60 bullets.” The terrified Gosport people had never heard or seen anything like it before! One carpenter lit a candle in his lantern. He was shot and died.
The first death of the Civil War was recorded in the Alverstoke Parish Register on August 1642 as Peter Baker. He had unwisely lit his lantern to help him continue his work on the firing platform…
The clerk recorded in the Alverstoke Parish Register on 24th August, 1642 that “John Baker of Gosport was killed by a shot from Portsmouth. His was the first sad death of that cruel Civil War, which ended seven years later with the last death – King Charles 1, in 1649.
(Some difference, so have left both until can be confirmed, was it John or Peter Baker, perhaps as I have seen in the past John seems to be given to people. Do you know why this is. Ian Jeffery)
Volunteers are still needed to keep “Little Woodham” going. Leaflets of open times are at Gosport Town Hall. Also www.littlewoodham.org.uk
Mrs J Russell