During the Commonwealth period, The Civil War came to an end in 1651 with the Battle of Worcester. Charles II lost that battle and went around the country (in secret) to escape to France. In the Midlands he left Worcester on the 3rd September 1651, and by the 8th September 1651 he got to Moseley Old Hall near Wolverhampton. He continued his journey south before he escaped the country!

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The escape of Charles II after he lost the Battle of Worcester in September 1651





During the Commonwealth period, The Civil War came to an end in 1651 with the Battle of Worcester. Charles II lost that battle and went around the country (in secret) to escape to France. In the Midlands he left Worcester on the 3rd September 1651, and by the 8th September 1651 he got to Moseley Old Hall near Wolverhampton. He continued his journey south before he escaped the country!


There is a building on New Street in Worcester City Centre now named King Charles House. For many years it has been the King Charles II Restaurant. Photos below taken in September 2009, about 358 years after Charles II escaped Worcester after loosing the last battle of the Civil War in the city. King Charles House is Grade II* listed building. Including no 4 and 5 Cornmarket. And now 30 New Street. Built in 1577 for for Richard Durant and
William Blagden. Restored in 1956.

Restaurant sign of the King Charles II Restaurant.

This plaque details Charles II's escape from Worcester on the 3rd September 1651.

Close up view of the restaurant. The timber framed building was rebuilt in 1670.  This was also the site of a dungeon where Judge William Berkeley kept his victims who were awaiting trial (he was born in this building in 1684).

This building round the corner is also part of the same listing as King Charles House at 30 New Street and 4 Cornmarket. In 2009 it was a dry-cleaners. Now it is a Hearing Centre. Charles II escaped from here on his long route to get out of the country. Cromwell's soldiers would have been looking for him at the time. He disguised himself as a servant. This building was originally linked to 29 New Street. An engraving of 1799 by James Ross showed that it used to be a 3-storey building. A fire in 1800 partly destroyed the timber framed building and caused a rebuilding of 30 New Street with 5 Cornmarket.

After escaping Worcester, Charles II on the run from Parliamentary soldiers, rode to White Ladies in Staffordshire, where he was disguised as a woodsman by two of the loyal Penderel brothers. The River Severn crossing was guarded, so he headed to Boscobel where he took refuge in the house and later in the 'Boscobel Oak'. He made it to Moseley Old Hall near Wolverhampton on Monday 8th September 1651.

Now a National Trust property, the house is a Grade II* listed building. The house was built in the late 16th century, originally timber framed. Brown brick with blue dressings was later added by 1870. It is near the Fordhouses area of Wolverhampton and Featherstone in South Staffordshire. The busy M54 motorway goes past the farm and estate. The front garden is now walled off, but originally the front of the house would have been open to the main road outside. Charles II arrived at what is now the King's Door round the back of the house, and was taken upstairs.

A February 2019 visit to Moseley Old Hall, during the warm sunny spell we have been having!

The King's Room on the first floor of Moseley Old Hall. It is the darkest room in the house. It was Father Huddlestone's room, close to a hiding place with a priests hole. The bed is the one that Charles II slept on (not in). The bedspread dates to the middle of the 17th century and the curtains from the 18th century! He remained clothed that night that he slept here. After some rest Charles was taken to see Mr Thomas Whitgreave the owner of the house. Seen on the guided tour of the house.

The Priest's Hole is between the King's Room and the Dressing Room. Charles II himself went into it, but he was over 6 foot tall and there was not much room in there! A trap door would close to keep the priest (or the exiled King) hidden. Not much room to get food down there either!

Mr Whitgreave's Room. The lady on the left was out guide. And let's say that the man was Mr Thomas Whitgreave!  Charles II was brought into this room to meet Mr Whitgreave and was introduced to his mother Dame Alice. Charles watched from the window of the small study as the defeated Royalist army made their way back up to Scotland. Best not for Charles to look out the window, or someone outside might recognise him!

A portrait of King Charles II in the Entrance Hall. There was many portraits of him around the house. Probably placed there by the National Trust. Charles spent several hours in the priest hole when Parliamentary soldiers marched up to the front door accusing Thomas of fighting at Worcester for the Royalists. He told them he was too ill to travel, they accepted his story and left, never entering the house or finding Charles!

After he was moved again, he went to Bentley Hall near Walsall, the home of the Lane family. A portrait of Jane Lane hangs at Moseley Old Hall. He was then taken to Bristol disguised as a servant. But couldn't get a boat to France from there. He then headed south towards Bridport in Dorset.

Charles II arrived in Bridport, Dorset on the 23rd September 1651. He stayed at what was the Old George Inn on East Street in Bridport. Seen in May 2012. Now a Cancer Research UK charity shop. A Grade II* listed building. The former public house dates to the 16th and 17th centuries. Was altered in the early 19th century with Stucco. By 1788 it had become Dr Robert's Apothecary Shop. It was probably still a pharmacy by the 1950s to the 1970s. Not sure how long Cancer Research UK has been here, but must be more than a decade?

Dr Giles Roberts opened a pharmacy at 9 East Street in Bridport in 1804. The building was previously The George Inn. Closer detail of the sign near the top of the building about Charles II's stay here on the 23rd September 1651.

After the pharmacy closed, the contents was moved to the Bridport Museum. There is a display in one of the rooms of Dr Robert's Apothecary Shop with a dummy of Dr Roberts on the left. And a cabinet that says "Dispensing Department". This visit May 2012. All contents of the Bridport Museum remain their copyright. So no commercial use of the below photo allowed.

After leaving Bridport, Charles II continued his journey to escape to exile in France. He finally got a boat from Shoreham. He would have to wait until 1660 to be restored to the throne! After the death of Cromwell and the fall of the Commonwealth!

 

Photos taken by Elliott Brown.