A lengthy and rare document rewarding William Hay with a grant of £5000; with the King soon on the run Hay likely never received his full bequestThe English Civil War refers collectively to the civil wars in England and Scotland that began with the raising of King Charles I's standard at Nottingham on August 22, 1642, and ended in September 1651 at the Battle of Worcester. In October 1642, two months after the beginning of the war (that pitted the King and his royalist supporters against Parliament and its advocates), Charles I made his headquarters at the strongly royalist Oxford. It was the best strategic situation short of pro-Parliament London, as it was protected by rivers and meadows and ringed round with fortified strongpoints. His courtiers brought a new style of life to the university city; many years later John Aubrey recalled that as an undergraduate at Trinity, “I was wont to go to Christ Church and see the King at supper”, and that “the ladies and their gallants” would walk in Trinity Grove. The rivalry of competing factions at Oxford, all seeking to influence the King, made it a center of frenetic political intrigue.William Hay was the Earl of Kinnoull, and he was a Clerk of Session of the Courts and royalist supporter. During the Civil War he escaped not once but twice from Edinburgh Castle.Document signed, Oxford, March 18, 1643, confirming a grant to Hay of £5000 for his “guid and faithfull service”. Interestingly, the document goes on to state that this money was to be paid to Hay in annual increments of £400 as an annuity, not all at once. So in 1643 and 1644 Hay would have been paid. However, in 1646 the King suffered a series of defeats, and had to escape from Oxford disguised as a servant in April 1646. He would have been in no position to continue to pay Hay his annuity thereafter, so likely Hay never received the full bequest promised in this document.The Earl of Lanark, who has countersigned this document, was appointed Secretary of State for Scotland largely because of the importance and influence of his elder brother the first Duke of Hamilton. He died at the age of 34 from wounds received leading his regiment against Cromwell's infantry at the Battle of Worcester in September 1651. (Inventory #: 11089)
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