|The Lowther Town Guard practising the Stand of Pikes manoeuvre - needs work|
Having received word of the Parliamentarian troops at Ringrose, heading north, Lord Porteous sent word to Col Broadhurst, at Dransfield House, to bring his cavalry garrison back to Midlawton. This force had a brief skirmish with some Parliamentary horse at Hobden’s Mill [Boot Mills on the map] on 19th March, in which Broadhurst’s troops (first time in the field against organised troops) performed tolerably well, and got the better of the clash, continuing their march towards Midlawton via the old drover road over Penitent Way and thence Erneford.
The reinforcement from Northumberland, commanded by Sir John Darracott, has now reached Woodhouses, on the northern edge of the area map. Porteous is still very fearful that Darracott will replace him as overall commander of the (newly named) Royalist Army of North Lonsdale, and has stated his intention of keeping their two forces separate, which has produced a violent disagreement among the Royalist command. Lord Sefton is said to have stormed out of a meeting at Lowther, which did, at least, produce sufficiently complete orders to result in a general advance to Midlawton.
Force A (Lord Porteous with the brigades of Fulwood & Parkfield) march from Lowther to Midlawton, leaving the Lowther Town Guard behind – the Town Guard become new Force G at Lowther
Force B (Lord Sefton with a brigade of horse and the Midlawton Town Guard) to hold position at Midlawton, doing what is possible to place defensive obstructions at street ends in the town.
Force C (Capt Grove’s Firelocks) to march from Cark Ferry to Midlawton.
Force D (Col Broadhurst, with a brigade of horse and dragoons, the former garrison at Dransfield House) to march to Midlawton without delay. On the way, this force was involved in a skirmish with Parliamentarian horse at Boot Mills, and have resumed their line of march along the more northerly route – the so-called Penitent’s Way.
Force E (Col Rice’s brigade of foot) to march from Erneford to Midlawton.
Force’s A, B, C and E to re-organise as revised Force A.
Lord Porteous has had some rough sketches produced for a portrait of him in his new blue suit.
The Scots have arrived – General Geddes’ Covenanters are now at Briskhill, recovering from their lengthy march. They should be ready to join the main field army in a week or so.
Following the disappointing performance of Lord Alwyn’s brigade of horse at Hobden’s Mill, Alwyn has had the acting commander of Chetwynd’s Horse, Major Trimbell Chetwynd (son of the colonel, Thomas Chetwynd) arrested on charges of treason. This is a result of the failure of that regiment to advance against the Royalist horse, and is seen as a blame-shifting manoeuvre on the part of Alwyn. Since the inaction of Chetwynd’s Horse had little bearing on the outcome of the skirmish, it is generally felt that the arrest is inappropriate, and the morale of Alwyn’s brigade has suffered as a result. They have marched back to Old Claiffe. There are rumours of a threatened duel between Lord Alwyn and Col Thomas Chetwynd, but since Chetwynd is currently sick, at home in Fylde, it is hoped that nothing will come of it.
Force A (Genl Figge-Newton, at Fernbeck House with a regiment of foot and the siege train), Force B (a regt of horse, at Bradshaigh) and Force C (another regt of horse, at High Haddon)to march to Hatrigg, on the Pacefield road. The intention was to meet up with Geddes’ Scots, but Geddes has arrived further south than expected. Forces A, B and C will merge to form a new force A, which is intended to join with Geddes at Hatrigg as soon as the Scots are able to reach that place.
Force D (Alwyn’s force, as described above) were ordered to advance to Patondale, but after their skirmish of the 19th they have retreated to Old Claiffe to recover.
Force E (Col Allington’s brigade of horse, at Frinckus Abbey) are ordered north to Patonfield, to hold the vital river crossing at the fords there.
Force F (Col Bryanston’s brigade of foot, at Hoskett Castle) and Force G (Genl Aspinall, with two brigades of foot at Thorkeld) to march to Duke’s View Hill, south-west of Pacefield, and form new Force F.
Force I (Geddes, with the Covenanter force, to rest one week at Briskhill.