Joseph Bampfield

Joseph Bampfield

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Joseph Bampfield was a royalist colonel greatly involved in the turbulence of the English Civil War period.


Bampfield was, according to Clarendon
Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon
Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon was an English historian and statesman, and grandfather of two English monarchs, Mary II and Queen Anne.-Early life:...

, an Irishman, his real name being Bamford; but the assertion is not corroborated by any other authority. Bampfield himself states that he began to serve Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 at seventeen years of age, entering the army as ‘ancient’ under Lord Ashley in his first expedition against the Scots in 1639. At the end of the war he was promoted captain. He became colonel of a regiment shortly after the outbreak of the civil war
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

, and served with special distinction under the Duke of Somerset
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset
Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, 1st Earl of Hertford, 1st Viscount Beauchamp of Hache, KG, Earl Marshal was Lord Protector of England in the period between the death of Henry VIII in 1547 and his own indictment in 1549....

 in the west of England.

From an entry in Wood's
Anthony Wood
Anthony Wood or Anthony à Wood was an English antiquary.-Early life:Anthony Wood was the fourth son of Thomas Wood , BCL of Oxford, where Anthony was born...

 'Fasti' (ii. 33) it would appear that in 1642 he was created M.A. of Oxford University by virtue of the king's mandamus
A writ of mandamus or mandamus , or sometimes mandate, is the name of one of the prerogative writs in the common law, and is "issued by a superior court to compel a lower court or a government officer to perform mandatory or purely ministerial duties correctly".Mandamus is a judicial remedy which...

. In a short time his remarkable gifts for intrigue attracted the attention of the king, who, when he shut himself up in Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

 in 1644, sent him in disguise to London 'to penetrate the designs of the two parties in parliament.' He was also the agent employed by Charles in his ‘secret negotiations’ at Oxford and Newport
Newport is a city and unitary authority area in Wales. Standing on the banks of the River Usk, it is located about east of Cardiff and is the largest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Monmouthshire and the preserved county of Gwent...

, and in contriving the escape of the Duke of York
James II of England
James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

 from St. James's Palace
St. James's Palace
St. James's Palace is one of London's oldest palaces. It is situated in Pall Mall, just north of St. James's Park. Although no sovereign has resided there for almost two centuries, it has remained the official residence of the Sovereign and the most senior royal palace in the UK...

 in April 1648. To aid him in the latter plot, Bampfield secured the services of Anne Murray
Anne Halkett
Lady Anne Halkett was a religious writer and autobiographer.-Early life:Halkett's father Thomas Murray was tutor to King James I's children. He later became Provost of Eton College. Her mother was governess to the king's children. When Thomas Murray died, Halkett was educated by her mother...

, afterwards Lady Halkett, whom he had greatly impressed by his 'serious, handsome, and pious discourse,' after a very slight acquaintance. In her autobiography she gives an interesting account of the manner in which she provided a female dress for the duke's disguise, and of the circumstances attending his escape. Bampfield's disbursements in connection with the exploit amounted to £19,559, and the receipts to £20,000. After accompanying the duke to Holland, Bampfield, at the special request of Charles, returned again to England. Remaining in concealment ‘beyond the Tower,’ he again opened up communications with Anne Murray. One day he took occasion to inform her that news had reached him of his wife's death, and shortly afterwards he made her an offer of marriage, stating that he had a promise of being one of his majesty's household, and that in any case their joint fortunes would amount to £800 per annum. She agreed to marry him as soon as convenient; but the story of his wife's death was a concoction in order to enable him for his own interests to win the complete devotion of the lady by appearing in the character of a lover.

After the death of Charles he remained in England, and he was preparing to follow his mistress to Scotland when he was arrested and secured in the Gatehouse at Westminster
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom—the House of Lords and the House of Commons...

, but succeeded in escaping through a window and went to Holland. By this time it had come out that his wife was still alive; and as Sir Henry Newton
Sir Henry Puckering, 3rd Baronet
Sir Henry Newton, later surnamed Puckering, 3rd Baronet was an English royalist and politician.-Life:Baptised at St. Dunstan's-in-the-West, London, on 13 April 1618, he was a younger son of Sir Adam Newton of Charlton, Kent, by Katharine, daughter of Lord-keeper Sir John Puckering...

, brother-in-law of Anne Murray, happened to cross over to Holland in the same ship with him, the two, as soon as they landed, fought a duel
A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two individuals, with matched weapons in accordance with agreed-upon rules.Duels in this form were chiefly practised in Early Modern Europe, with precedents in the medieval code of chivalry, and continued into the modern period especially among...

, with the result that Newton was severely wounded in the head. Bampfield failed to win the confidence of Charles II, and returned to England, but in August 1652 was brought before the council and commanded to leave the country. When Lord Balcarres
Alexander Lindsay, 1st Earl of Balcarres
Alexander Lindsay, 2nd Lord Balcarres and 1st Earl of Balcarres was a Scottish nobleman.The eldest son of David Lindsay, 1st Lord Balcarres, and grandson of John Lindsay, Lord Menmuir....

, in 1653, began to put into operation a scheme for a rising in the Highlands
Scottish Highlands
The Highlands is an historic region of Scotland. The area is sometimes referred to as the "Scottish Highlands". It was culturally distinguishable from the Lowlands from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands...

, Bampfield made his way to Scotland and again sought out Anne Murray, who had always given him credit for believing that his wife was dead. So much did he commend himself to the Highland chiefs that during a temporary illness of Lord Balcarres he was entrusted with the supreme direction of the affair; but he was justly suspected by Charles II to be acting a double part, and in July 1654 he was finally dismissed from the service of the royalists.

In December of this year he had an interview in London with Anne Murray, who falsely informed him that she was already married to Sir James Halkett, upon which he took his leave, and 'she never saw him more'. In fact, he went to Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, where, and afterwards at Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

, he, as is abundantly proved by his letters in the Thurloe State Papers, acted as Cromwell's
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

 spy and agent in many ‘weighty affairs’. After the death of Cromwell, who compelled him always to remain abroad, he returned to England; but at the Restoration
Restoration (1660)
The term Restoration in reference to the year 1660 refers to the restoration of Charles II to his realms across the British Empire at that time.-England:...

 he was imprisoned in the Tower
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

 for more than a year. Finding that all hope of advancement in England was gone, he went to the Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 and entered the service of Holland, obtaining the command of an English regiment. Though now somewhat advanced in years, he still retained his 'gallantry' towards the other sex, and made use of it to aid him in his political intrigues. According to a letter in the State Papers, he had, in 1666, 'screwed himself into the Prince of Orange's
William III of England
William III & II was a sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic. From 1689 he reigned as William III over England and Ireland...

 favour;' but this he would appear to have afterwards lost, for in 1674 he had conceived a fancy for a 'hermit life' in the country. His health giving way under the ordeal, he returned, in 1679, to Leuwarden; but henceforth, according to his own account, he determined 'neither to discompose himself nor to give any umbrage to others by meddling with worldly affairs'. He did, however, trouble himself to write several letters to persons of influence in England, and in 1685 printed at the Hague an Apologie, narrating the main events of his career, and representing his whole political conduct in a very innocent light. The tract, which is now very rare, but of which there is a copy in the British Museum
British Museum
The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture in London. Its collections, which number more than seven million objects, are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its...

, is cleverly composed, and both it and his letters sufficiently support the statement of Clarendon that he was a man of 'wit and parts', although they scarcely bear out the opinion of Lady Halkett that the 'chiefest ornament he had was a devout life and conversation'.