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In the winter of 1643, 300 Irish soldiers under the bed breakfast poole command of Lord Inchiquin landed to swell the Royalist defenders of weymouth. By the following Spring, Prince Maurice had grown bored and had moved on to lay siege to Lyme further along the coast. Colonel Ashburnham held the title of Governor of the Castle and Captain General of the County, for the Royalists. He sent word to the King's council in Oxford that he had ordered all the ordnance, bed breakfast poole arms, ammunition and provisions to Portland Castle because not only was it a defensible stronghold but it also commanded "Portland roads" and the entrance to Weymouth.
bed breakfast poole Also he ordered as many of his men to Portland Castle, he had then sent the rest of the garrison to reinforce Prince Maurice. Meanwhile dissident's in the town and sent word to the Parliamentarian Earl of Essex who was then at Dorchester begging him for help. In June 1644, The Earl of Essex with an army of 13,000 men (both horse and foot) had taken Dorchester, on his way to relieve Lyme, the only Parliamentarian town left in the county. The Earl ordered Sir William Balfour to retake Weymouth for Parliament. Colonel Ashburnham had not finished strengthening the fortifications of the town and held the opinion that it could not be defended against such a large force. So after further strengthening the force at Portland, he decided to leave.
He was later exonerated of cowardice after he produced a warrant from Prince Maurice agreeing "...that the town being untenable, he should upon the advance of the Earl of Essex, put sufficient force into Portland Castle, and retire thither...." after a second public hearing in front of the King he was again cleared of any crime or neglect. On June 15th 1644, The small garrison of men left to defend the town surrendered all the arms, ordinances and ships. The commanders and officers were allowed to proceed to Exeter on horseback and could keep their swords and pistols but the common soldiers had to walk and were allowed to keep only their staves to defend themselves. The garrison's swift surrender was helped along by the sudden appearance of a fleet, lead by the Earl of Warwick, the Parliamentarian's Lord High Admiral, which appeared off the town and threatened to bombard it. Weymouth and Melcombe and all the forts along with Sandsfoot castle were taken.
Colonel William Sydenham was to be re-appointed governor. Things calmed down and the only other incident that year occurred in October, when it is recorded that one hundred horse of the Queen's regiment were captured by the towns Parliamentary forces with the help of the local inhabitants. Early in 1644, Fabian Hodder, a Royalist merchant from Melcombe was in secret communication with both Sir Lewis Dyve, the Royalist Commander in Chief of the Dorsetshire regiments who was then at Sherborne and with Sir William Hastings, the Royalist governor of Portland Castle. Along with Fabian Hodder, one John Cade, who had served as a captain in the Royalist forces, and John Mills, one of the town's constables also added their appeals for Royalist aid. Sir Lewis Dyve, who was under orders from the King to secure Weymouth for the Crown, promised Sir William Hastings that a force of 1500 foot and horse would come to their assistance.
On the night of February 9th 1645, soldiers of the Royalist Portland garrison, guided by two men from Weymouth, John Dry, a tanner, and Walter Bond, a fisherman, were to simultaneously attack two of the most strategically important forts crucial to the defence of Weymouth (the Nothe and Chapel Forts). At the same time, villagers from the surrounding areas of Upwey, Broadwey, Sutton Poyntz and Preston who were sympathetic to the royalist cause, were to meet up with a large force of 1500 men from Sherborne commanded by Sir Lewis Dyve, and were to guide them to Melcombe where a tailor named Thomas Samways would let them in to the town. The names of the other known conspirators included John Seton, Leonard Symonds, Walter Mich, John Lock, Philip Ashe, and Samuel Tackle.
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