Lord Strafford's Warning

In the Rev. John Mastin's _History of Naseby_ is cited a story of an

apparition that was supposed to have appeared to Charles the First at

Daintree, near Naseby, previous to the famous battle of that name.

The army of Charles, says the historian, consisting of less than 5000

foot, and about as many horse, was ordered to Daintree, whither the King

went with a thorough resolution of fighting. The next day, however, to

the surprise of Prince Rupert and all the rest of the army, this design

was given up, and the former one of going to the north resumed. The

reason of this alteration in his plans was alleged to be some presages

of ill-fortune which the King had received, and which were related to

me, says Mr Mastin's authority, by a person of Newark, at that time in

His Majesty's horse. About two hours after the King had retired to rest,

said the narrator, some of his attendants hearing an uncommon noise in

his chamber, went into it, where they found His Majesty sitting up in

bed and much agitated, but nothing which could have produced the noise

they fancied they had heard. The King, in a tremulous voice, inquired

after the cause of their alarm, and told them how much he had been

disturbed, apparently by a dream, by thinking he had seen an apparition

of Lord Strafford, who, after upbraiding him for his cruelty, told him

he was come to return him good for evil, and that he advised him by no

means to fight the Parliament army that was at that time quartered at

Northampton, for it was one which the King could never conquer by arms.

Prince Rupert, in whom courage was the predominant quality, rated the

King out of his apprehensions the next day, and a resolution was again

taken to meet the enemy. The next night, however, the apparition

appeared to him a second time, but with looks of anger assuring him that

would be the last advice he should be permitted to give him, but that if

he kept his resolution of fighting he was undone. If His Majesty had

taken the advice of the friendly ghost, and marched northward the next

day, where the Parliament had few English forces, and where the Scots

were becoming very discontented, his affairs might, perhaps, still have

had a prosperous issue, or if he had marched immediately into the west

he might afterwards have fought on more equal terms. But the King,

fluctuating between the apprehensions of his imagination and the

reproaches of his courage, remained another whole day at Daintree in a

state of inactivity. The battle of Naseby, fought 14th June 1645, put a

finishing stroke to the King's affairs. After this he could never get

together an army fit to look the enemy in the face. He was often heard

to say that he wished he had taken _the warning_, and not fought at

Naseby; the meaning of which nobody knew but those to whom he had told

of the apparition which he had seen at Daintree, and all of whom were,

subsequently, charged to keep the affair secret.

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