September 1649: Colonel Popham hunts a Prince

Colonel Edward Popham reports on his search for Prince Charles, who was suspected of attempting to take refuge in Jersey, which he had already visited in 1646. Popham must have missed him, because Charles did find his way to Jersey in that month, and stayed until February of 1650.

Victor Coysh, in one of his Random Notes, wrote:

It is also popularly related that Charles II visited Guernsey, and was obliged to take shelter from his Parliamentary foes in the Chimney at the Haye du Puits. In fact, a tower of this mansion is still called Prince Charlie's Tower. Is it necessary to state that Guernsey at this time was hotly Parliamentarian, only Castle Cornet remaining loyal to the King, whilst Jersey was strongly Royalist? Is it likely, then, that Charles would have needlessly risked his life in coming to Guernsey at all, when Jersey was ready to afford him all the shelter he required? Go to Jersey he did, but we may be certain that our own island never saw him.

Edith Carey, in her Channel Islands, 1904 (2nd ed. 1924), pp. 107-8, has this to say about Charles' time in Jersey.

Colonel Edward Popham (1610-1651) commanded a fleet in the North Sea, his mandate being to stop privateers, who, having been given letters of marque by the Prince of Wales, were causing great trouble to shipping.

'The 15th the wind was at E.S.E.; we made the Isle of Wight in the morning, and stood in thither to speak with the St. George and took her along with us for Guernsey; about twelve o'clock that day we came to an anchor in Stokes Bay. Sent to the St. George to get an anchor aboard and to make way to set sail with us; about three in the afternoon we weighed again with the wind at E.S.E., made but little sail, expecting the coming of the St. George, who came not to us till past sunset, so it being late and not fit to go through the Needles with such great ships in the night, we anchored in Yarmouth Road. The next morning, the 16th, about seven o'clock, we weighed with the wind at E.S.E. and went through the Needles, and being clear of them stood over for the coast of France and that night anchored in the Bay de Lette between Cape de la Hague and Cape de Galette.

The 17th, about six in the morning, with the wind at east, we weighed again and stood away for Guernsey, and about eleven of the forenoon we came to an anchor off the banks of Guernsey; when I came thither I found the alarm of the Prince's landing at Jersey to be a false alarm.ยน I that night sent away the Constant Warwick and the Weymouth pink to Jersey to look into every road and bay of the Island to see what shipping there was there, and if possible to bring me away a boat to learn intelligence from him. The 18th, in the morning I weighed, and with the wind at E.S.E. stood away for Jersey. About one of the clock we met with the Constant Warwick and the Weymouth pink, who had looked into the road at Jersey and there saw two States men-of-war, one hoy, and a small frigate under the command of the castle, but could not learn any intelligence from thence, and therefore I sent away the Constant Warwick to St. Malo's to see what he could get there, and with all speed to return to me again, either off Jersey, or upon the banks at Guernsey. That night we anchored off the road of St. Albins on the south side of Jersey; and the next morning, the 19th, with the wind at S.S.E. we sent off the great shallop and our new little shallop with a dozen men, about five of the clock in the morning, to go in close to the shore to fetch me a fisherman or some other inhabitant of the Island to give me intelligence. I weighed and stood in towards the Island, and my shallop came off to me and brought away a boat, but the men all left her; then we discovered three small sails standing in towards Jersey; all the small vessels gave chase to them, but they got in amongst the rocks, where there was no coming for our vessels; one of them proved a small frigate of Jersey.

We saw in the roads an indifferent big ship, which we guessed might carry twenty-four or twenty-six guns, she had Dutch colours and we supposed her a States man-of-war, one other small Flemish vessel, which, if a man-of-war, might carry about sixteen guns, and a small hoy; which by our intelligence we learned had been there above a fortnight. The wind was southward, and about nine of the clock in the forenoon we stood away again for the banks of Guernsey; on the west side of the Island is a great sandy bay, very commodious for landing of men; it is called St. Anne's Bay, there is very good riding with an east wind, but a westerly makes a very great sea there. The 20th the wind was at S.S.E., towards night it came up westerly; that day the Constant Warwick returned from St. Male's, who brought me word there was no States man-of-war there. The 21st the wind was at E.S.E., about noon it came to S.S.E.

That day the Constant Warwick, the Weymouth pink, the Eagle, and the shallop went out towards Jersey. The 22nd the wind was at E.S.E., at S.E., and towards evening came at south; about four of the clock in the afternoon the Constant Warwick, the Weymouth pink and the shallop returned and brought me word that there were two ships more come into Jersey, but they could not make what they were, it being so thick a fog. The Eagle went for Granville [and] about the same time came in the Crescent with the commissioners for Guernsey, and three vessels from Weymouth bound to St. Malo's. At ten that night I sent the hoy with a packet to Portsmouth. The 23rd the wind veered about to the westward of the south, at south and by west and S.S.W. The 24th the wind continued southerly, and blew very hard; towards noon it came to the westward of the south, and so to the northward of the west till it came to N.W. and W., and blew very fresh. The 25th the wind was at N.N.W., a fine gale and fair weather. The 26th the wind came about to the south and south and by west and S.S.W., a strong gale of wind. The George went out this morning with a convoy towards St. Malo's and was forced back with the southerly wind and came to an anchor about eight in the morning. The 27th, between five and six this morning, the wind came up at N.N.W., having blown a storm of wind all night at S.S.W.

This morning my boat returning from the shore brought me word from thence that the Crescent, the day before going into St. Sampson, was cast away on the rocks; so I sent Captain Badiley, Captain Thorogood, the carpenter and others to see whether she might be got off or no, if not, to get out of her what might be preserved for the State, who brought me word that she was bulged upon the rock, and would not be got off to be brought home, and that they had taken out her guns, rigging, ground tackle, &c., to be brought away. The 28th, the next day, the wind blew fresh at W.N.W.. I sent off the boat away again to fetch away what was left in the Crescent. The 29th the wind came out S.W., and S.W., and by south, and blew hard; towards noon it flew back to the W.S.W. This day the Eagle returned about twelve o'clock at noon, having been at St. Malo's. The 30th the wind came up at south, little wind and fair weather, towards noon very thick and foggy; about one of the clock in the afternoon, it clearing up a little, we discovered two ships coming from Jersey and shortly after another, whereupon I commanded the George, the Constant Warwick and the Weymouth pink to weigh and stand towards the cape to see if they could meet with them; I cut my cable by the hawser and left my cable and anchor behind; that evening about seven o'clock I came up with one of the ships, which proved to be a French vessel come from Alexandria bound for Newhaven [Havre-de-Grace], in France, who was the day before by extremity of weather forced into Jersey, and that morning came thence with two States men-of-war; it growing very thick and dark, the pilot was unwilling to adventure through the Raze, so we and the George anchored that night three leagues short off the Raze. The first of October, as soon as it was light, we set sail with the wind at S.S.W. I sent the George towards the Downs, and myself stood towards Portsmouth, to seek out the Constant Warwick and the Weymouth pink and the States men-of-war.'

[From Report on the Manuscripts of F. W. Leyborne-Popham, Esq., of Littlecote, Co. Wilts, 1889.]