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Lady Jane Lane

When I was a child reading English history I couldn't decide whether I was a Royalist or a Parliamentarian. Both sides had ideas and people to recommend them (and people and ideas to detest), and I'm afraid I still haven't quite made up my mind. However, I always like examples of courage, and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography's online edition recently provided this one:

Following his defeat at the battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651, Charles II went into hiding, and by 8 September was at Moseley Hall, a few miles from Bentley, where Lady Jane Lane lived. He had a pressing need to leave the vicinity, so Lady Jane obtained a pass, and dressed him as her manservant. They set off on the morning of 10 September, Charles mounted on horseback before ‘Mistress Lane’ and riding under the assumed name of William Jackson. "Over the next week the king's protectress ‘comported herself with extraordinary prudence and fidelity’, particularly in the streets of Stratford upon Avon, where she and her royal companion collided with a troop of parliamentarian cavalry, a moment of extreme danger which she surmounted by a cool composure."

"After accompanying Charles to Trent, on 18 September Jane returned to Staffordshire, only to be forced to take flight herself. . . While troops fruitlessly searched Bentley Hall, she trudged on foot, disguised as ‘a country wench’ to Yarmouth, from where she took ship to France. . .

"Charles, who had landed in France two months before, greeted her with the salutation ‘Welcome my life!’"

The DNB has the whole story. The Liberty Timeline has a compressed description of the quarrel between Roundheads and Cavaliers.

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