Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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Visit to Carisbrooke Castle Museum

Rosemary Cooper showing us the bedroom of King Charles 1

On Tuesday afternoon 12th November, a group of 13 members visited Carisbrooke Castle Museum for a presentation entitled ‘King Charles I: Royal Prisoner’ given by Rosemary Cooper.

Many of us mistakenly, thought we knew the story but found we did not. Who knew that the King had escaped from his ‘prison’ that was Hampton Court Palace coming to the Island seeking security? His arrival in November 1648 came as a shock to the Governor, Colonel Robert Hammond, he then gave the King his own apartments to use. Charles had brought a large retinue with him and had been free to roam the Island in his coach initially, but his political manoeuvrings and supporters on the Island, seeking his freedom led to his close confinement in the Castle. He tried twice, unsuccessfully, to escape from his bedroom at night, with the help of his loyal page, Henry Firebrace.

It was his attempts to get the Scottish army to come to his aid fighting Cromwell’s forces, that was his downfall. He left the castle for a few weeks being then kept in Newport while negotiations took place with Charles to enable him to remain as King, but these ultimately failed as the patience of Parliament finally ran out. He was charged with High Treason and he left the island within the year to face trial in London and execution in January 1649.

Rosemary Cooper was easy to listen to having a good grasp of her subject. After refreshments we had a tour of the royal apartments, which have changed substantially since King Charles slept there, the fireplace being original, much else, especially the windows, he had only 1 small window that had not been wide enough for him to climb through. This had been altered when Princess Beatrice had been the castle’s Governor.

Photograph by Colin Hunt