The Most Noble Order of the Garter,

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Lot 243*
The Most Noble Order of the Garter,

Sold for £ 7,990 (US$ 9,659) inc. premium
The Most Noble Order of the Garter,
A rare and very unusual Garter badge 22mm x 32mm (42mm x 51mm including outer later mount). The obverse with St.George on a raised white charger holding a sword in his right hand raised across his body and over his left shoulder, with dragon below in red and green enamel, with garter surrounding in a light blue enamel; the oval gold reverse engraved in flowing script around a central shield (Y Guift of His Majy King Charles 2nd to Lady Nicholas in/w: y Arms of England in a Canton for Her Wonderfull Preservation of Him at e/y Defeat at Worcester Sepr 3: 1650), the engraved shield with owl at the base and three lions to the left and another owl to the right, separated from the lower owl by an inverted chevron. The whole piece with glazed front and back and housed within a yellow gold rococo style mounting circa 1850's. with some enamel damage to the obverse, otherwise good very fine. (1)


  • By Family Descent:

    Lady Francis Nicholas was wife of the King's secretary.

    Following the defeat at Dunbar, General David Leslie regrouped the remnants of the Covenanter army at Stirling, determined to remain on the defensive until he could build up his forces again. Charles II was undismayed at the defeat, believing that the Scots would now be inclined to turn away from the godly Kirk Party and look to the Royalists to drive Cromwell out of Scotland. Charles' leading military advisor, John Middleton, began recruiting a Royalist army in the Highlands.

    A few days after the battle of Dunbar, Cromwell occupied the city of Edinburgh, though Sir Walter Dundas refused to surrender Edinburgh Castle until December 1650. By peaceable means, Cromwell set about trying to persuade the Covenanters of the righteousness of the Commonwealth cause. An extreme Covenanting group known as the Remonstrants, led by Colonel Strachan and Colonel Ker, hoped to induce Cromwell to leave Scotland by undertaking to drive out the Royalists themselves, but Charles succeeded in gaining influence over the Committee of Estates despite doubts regarding his religious sincerity. Although Cromwell now controlled the south of Scotland, he was unable to dislodge or seriously threaten Leslie in his stronghold at Stirling, which commanded the lowest crossing of the River Forth. Meanwhile, the Covenanters and Royalists grew increasingly strong in Fife and the north-east.

    On 1 January 1651, Charles II was crowned King of Scots at Scone by the Marquis of Argyll. Charles also took overall command of the Scottish army, though David Leslie retained operational control. John Middleton was appointed Lieutenant-General of Horse and Edward Massey was appointed commander of the English Royalist contingent. Cromwell fell seriously ill with fever during February 1651 and suffered recurring bouts of sickness through spring and into the summer, leaving Lambert effectively in command of the Commonwealth army. Leslie was content to build up his strength at Stirling, making only occasional skirmishes against the enemy, but during February and March, Cromwell's subordinates Monck and Deane secured the English hold on the south bank of the Firth of Forth by storming and capturing Scottish strongholds at Tantallon and Blackness.

    In July, Cromwell sent Colonel Robert Overton across the Firth of Forth at Queensferry with a brigade of 1,600 men to establish a position on the north bank in the hope of drawing Leslie away from Stirling. When the Scots made no response, Cromwell sent Major-General Lambert across with another 2,500 troops. With the English now threatening his supply lines from Fife, Leslie sent Sir John Browne with 4,000 troops to drive Lambert back. In a fierce battle at Inverkeithing on 20 July, Lambert decisively defeated the Scots, who suffered up to 2,000 casualties. A contingent of the MacLean clan made a celebrated last stand during the battle in defence of their chieftain, and Browne himself was taken prisoner. Leslie determined to march against Lambert with his whole army, but he quickly fell back to guard the bridge over the Forth when Cromwell made a feint towards Linlithgow and Stirling. With Leslie pinned down, Cromwell crossed the Forth with the bulk of his army to reinforce Lambert, leaving eight regiments to guard Edinburgh. While Monck stormed Scottish strongholds at Burntisland and Inchgarvie to secure the English position, Cromwell took his main force northwards through Fife towards Perth, which surrendered to him on 2 August. Cromwell was aware that his advance left the road to England open. Leaving Monck to attack Stirling and Dundee, Cromwell turned back towards England.

    As Cromwell marched north towards Perth, Charles asserted his authority as commander-in-chief of the Scots-Royalist army and ordered an advance into England. Against Leslie's advice, the 14,000-strong Scottish army crossed the border on 5 August. Charles' intention was to march through the traditionally Royalist regions of Lancashire and the Welsh border, raising troops on the way, before striking towards London. However, Charles' confident belief that English Royalists and Presbyterians would rise up to support him was misplaced. Memories of the violent plundering that had accompanied the Engager invasion of 1648 were still fresh in peoples' minds and Parliament mounted an effective propaganda campaign to further stimulate anti-Scottish feeling amongst the English. As the advance into England continued, David Leslie became increasingly morose and pessimistic. By the time Charles occupied the loyal city of Worcester on 22 August, the total strength of his army was less than 16,000 troops. A force of Lancashire Royalists raised by the Earl of Derby was crushed by Colonel Robert Lilburne at Wigan on 25 August.

    Cromwell marched back through England via an easterly route, sending Lambert with the cavalry to harass the Royalist rearguard. Cromwell's intention was to gather a massive force to inflict a crushing defeat on the Scots and Royalists. Major-General Harrison, who had been left in overall command of forces in England during the invasion of Scotland, marched from Newcastle to join forces with Lambert near Preston. Major-General Fleetwood mobilised Parliamentarian forces and militia around London then marched to join Cromwell, Lambert and Harrison at Warwick; Major-General Disbrowe brought up a contingent from the south-west. When the Parliamentarian army converged on Charles' position at Worcester, it contained around 28,000 regular troops with an additional 3,000 militiamen also mobilised against the Scots. Lilburne's forces blockaded the road back to Scotland.

    Hoping to draw in reinforcements from Wales and the south-west, Charles attempted to fortify his position at Worcester. Repairs were made to the existing fortifications, in particular the earthwork known as Fort Royal, just outside the city wall to the south-east. Key bridges across the River Severn and its tributary the Teme were partially destroyed. With the eastern side of the city heavily defended, Cromwell decided to attack from both sides of the River Severn. On 28 August, Lambert with a party of horse and dragoons recaptured Upton Bridge 10 miles south of Worcester in a daring attack during which the Royalist General Massey was badly wounded. The following day the bridge was repaired. Major-General Fleetwood occupied the west bank of the Severn with 11,000 troops, intending to march to attack Worcester from the south and also cutting off Worcester from any possible support from Wales. Cromwell deployed his artillery and the rest of the army on the heights of Red Hill and Perry Wood to the east of Worcester. Contact between the two wings of the Parliamentarian army was to be maintained by two bridges of boats which were to be hauled up from Upton, one across the Teme and the other just above it across the Severn. When Parliamentarian artillery began bombarding Worcester from Perry Wood on 29 August, Lieutenant-General Middleton and Colonel Keith led 1,500 troops in an attack on the battery, but the plan was betrayed and the attack failed.

    At dawn on 3 September, Fleetwood began to advance up the west bank of the Severn. Progress was slow because the troops hauled twenty "great boats" for eight miles against the current to make the pontoon bridges. They reached the south bank of the River Teme at its confluence with the Severn in the early afternoon. Fleetwood's main force was concentrated near the confluence of the two rivers while Major-General Deane led an attack on Powick Bridge to the west. Major-General Montgomery commanded the Scots in the Powick meadows on the north bank of the Teme. He ordered Colonel Keith to hold Powick Bridge against Deane's attempt to force a crossing while Colonel Pitscottie's Highlanders opposed Fleetwood's main force. Major-General Dalzeil's brigade was held in reserve on the high ground between Powick and Worcester. A "forlorn hope" of Parliamentarian musketeers crossed the Teme in boats to cover the construction of the floating bridges. Fighting along the Teme was very bitter. Deane could make no headway across Powick Bridge and when Fleetwood's advance guard succeeded in crossing the pontoon over the Teme they were at first driven back by Pitscottie's Highlanders. Observing the difficulties on his left wing, Cromwell personally led three brigades across the pontoon over the Severn to attack Pitscottie's flank. Attacked from the front by Fleetwood and the flank by Cromwell, the Highlanders gradually gave ground. As they fell back, Colonel Keith's troops defending Powick Bridge lost heart and broke, Keith himself being captured as Deane finally crossed the bridge. The Scottish position collapsed. Major-General Montgomery was badly wounded and Dalziel's reserve fled back towards Worcester pursued by the Parliamentarians.

    Cromwell's manoeuvre in crossing the River Severn seriously weakened the Parliamentarian position on Red Hill and Perry Wood. King Charles, watching the battle from the tower of Worcester Cathedral, rushed down and personally rallied his troops for an attack on the Parliamentarians east of the river. The Royalist attack was two-pronged; Charles himself commanded the thrust against Red Hill while the Duke of Hamilton attacked Perry Wood. The Duke of Buckingham and Lord Grandison supported with cavalry. Leaving Worcester by the Sidbury Gate and St Martin's Gate and covered by the guns of Fort Royal, the attack was initially successful. The Parliamentarian foot gave way all along the line. For a time the entire right wing of the Parliamentarian army was in danger of collapsing but the Royalist attack was stemmed when Cromwell came back across the Severn. The return of Cromwell's brigades turned the tide of the battle and the Royalists were driven back into Worcester. The Duke of Hamilton was fatally wounded; David Leslie with his cavalry in reserve to the north of the city made no attempt to intervene.

    The Essex militia stormed and captured Fort Royal, turning the Royalist guns to fire on Worcester. The final stage of the battle was a confused running fight through the streets as the Parliamentarians pursued the Scots and Royalists into the city. Despite the gallant attempts of Charles and some of his senior commanders to rally the troops, panic had set in. With all hope of victory gone, the King was finally persuaded to escape. Most of the Scottish and Royalist leaders were killed during the battle or captured soon after. Only the Duke of Buckingham, Lord Wilmot and Charles himself succeeded in escaping to the Continent. Up to 3,000 Scots were killed during the battle and around 10,000 taken prisoner, many of whom were transported as forced labourers to New England. The Parliamentarian army is said to have lost only 200 men.

    The battle of Worcester was the final crushing defeat for the Royalist cause. The English Civil War ended at the place where it had started nine years previously with Prince Rupert's dashing victory at Powick Bridge in 1642. Charles Stuart escaped from the battlefield and eluded capture for 45 days until he was able to slip away to France. Oliver Cromwell described Worcester as a "crowning mercy". It was his last battle as an active commander.

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