WISBECH AND THE CIVIL WAR
The ship money controversy
affected Wisbech to the extent
that two journeys were made by
members of the Corporation
'concerning the King's Majesties Shippinge' and 'about
the Towne business to get abatement for the shippmoney', though the results are not recorded. (fn. 71) The
town as a whole sided with the Parliament, though
there were a few Royalists; after the war John Fisher
was fined £80 for having been in arms against the
Parliament, and Edward Buckworth and Thomas
Wragg pardoned. (fn. 72) Bishop Wren as a staunch Royalist
was unpopular in the town, and in 1640 was dissuaded
from attending a Commission of Sewers in the castle.
A crowd of soldiers however clamoured for him,
crying: 'give us Wren, that damned Bishopp Ely, wee
will have him or else fyer the town and cutt the throats
of all the Commissioners'. On his absence being discovered the shops of some of his supporters were
plundered. (fn. 73) During 1643 the castle and town were
put into a state of defence. £11 12s. 6d. was spent on
ironwork for the castle drawbridge. £7 17s. 6d. was
spent on other fortifications, including an outpost at
the Horseshoe, the object of which was to prevent the
Royalists of South Lincolnshire from penetrating into
the Eastern Counties. (fn. 74) The Parliamentary forces
garrisoned locally took part in the siege of Crowland
(1643), for which the capital burgesses granted them
two barrels of beer. (fn. 75) The following year a mutiny
occurred, for the suppression of which Captain Richard
Le Hunt received a gratuity of £5. (fn. 76) In April 1643
Captain Dodson borrowed £100 from the burgesses to
raise the Crowland force, which he commanded. This
sum was still outstanding more than three years later
and apparently was never repaid. (fn. 77) The effect of this and
other loans is shown in 1656, when the burgesses presented a petition to the House of Lords. The town had
raised a troop of horse for the Parliamentary army, (fn. 78)
and it was claimed that Cambridgeshire had been overtaxed in comparison with neighbouring counties. The
burgesses prayed to be exempted from arrears, especially
since in the previous winter 14,000 acres in Wisbech,
Elm, Outwell, and Upwell had been drowned by
floods. (fn. 79) In answer to this petition the town received
£170 from delinquents' estates in return for moneys
lent during the war. (fn. 80)
The Restoration festivities cost £3, including £1 to
the waits of Lynn, and 40s. was distributed in bread
to the poor at the coronation of Charles II. (fn. 81)
||Corp. Rec. iv, 79a, 89a (12 Dec.
1634, 31 Oct. 1638).
||W. Watson, Hist. Wisb. (1827), 223.
For an account of Buckworth's case see
Cal. S.P. Dom. 1645-7, 37-38.
||Hist. MSS. Com., 12th Rep. App. iv,
Cal. S.P. Dom. 1644-5, 325-6;
V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 407; Brit. Arch. Assoc.
Proc. xxxv, 65; Corp. Rec. iv, 106b, 112b.
||Corp. Rec. iv, 107a.
||Ibid. 103b, 115b.
||£250 was borrowed at 8 per cent. for
its upkeep in 1648 (Corp. Rec. iv, 119a).
This troop was still in existence in 1690,
when £4 was voted for the expenses of
a horseman to serve therein (ibid. 246b).
||Walker and Craddock, Hist. Wisb.
(1849), 223, quoting L. J.
Cal. S.P. Dom. 1655-6, 120.
||Corp. Rec. iv, 142b, 145a.