Of Mean Creatures

This being the account of the early childhood to show the true pedigree and standing of Lucy Walter, as a response to false pamphleteers.

Covent Garden, May 1695

Download the file:  The-Savage-Truth-Of-Mean-Creatures.pdf

It has been stated by a pamphleteer[1] that Lady Lucy Walter’s parents are ‘some very mean creatures of the name of Barlow’[2] and therefore from ignoble pedigree. It is a sad reflection on the character of this poor man, that he neither had the ability or desire to find the facts. It is therefore hard to believe anything he now writes if everything in this single sentence is so far from the truth.

To begin, Lucy Walter was my half-sister, just a few months older than me. How this happened was not some miracle or godly natural incident, but simply an act of my father’s wondering cock. For nine months was far too long for his desires to remain dormant. Therefore, the necessary maid for Mrs Walter lived up to the job.

So, we shared the same father, William Walter of Roche and Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire. Our grandfather was Rowland Walter, and our grandmother, Frances Griffith, the heiress of Griffith. After the death of old Rowland, grandmother re-married to become Mrs Nicholas Chappell, of Exeter. They were both from noble welsh lines. Lucy’s mother was Elisabeth Protheroe from the welsh line that goes back to King Edward I, and includes Lady Kathrine Howard, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Norfolk. She was also connected through blood to the noble houses of Thomas and Vaughan[3]. Of Lucy’s many aunts[4], only Margaret and Anne are well known to me as they had many useful connections.

Whilst Lucy had noble blood, I have that of a common maid. For our father was always free with his love, but alas not his money or property. My mother was Mary Savage and I arrived four months after Lucy in November ‘30. We were both born in Roche Castle, one above and one below the stairs. But my unfortunate mother died soon after my christening as Willian Savage with Small Pox, so my father insisted that I be brought up as ‘Justus’ Walter. Although, Lucy always called me ‘William’.

Father insisted that I was treated as part of the family, first in Roche, then later in Covent Garden. This created many problems in the family, but I knew nothing of this until much later. My father’s loose britches were one of the reasons that Lucy’s parents became estranged and the family was split apart by separation, then divorce in ‘41.

We had two brothers; Richard and David. Alas like me, David was another bastard, and therefore my half-brother but he has taken the name Walter.  I saw little of David as a child, for he was born when we lived in London and moved to Temple with his mother after the family was broken apart in ‘41. However, he did come to something as Parliamentary clerk, and became a useful contact.

Lucy and I grew up together and became very close from an early age. She was always a clever and playful girl, with a boyish interest in things. She spent time within her Grandmothers’ circle in Covent Garden, mixing with nobility and even the young Prince Charles[5]. Even so we remained close and shared the same tutoring. This gave her an air of breeding and education that rubbed off on me.

I have far too many fond memories of Lucy to share in this Paper, as our childhood together included many adventurous escapades, especially after we all moved to the back of King Street, in Covent Garden[6], where I live once again.

Sadly, before the great civil war took hold, I was forced to return to Roche Castle with my father, as Elisabeth had no room or any love for me.  Whilst Lucy and Richard moved to St Giles[7] with their mother and grandmother until the divorce case was settled by the Lords.

Our father had avoided siding with King or Parliament. However, the Kings[8] forces in Pembrokeshire had garrisoned Roche Castle and as the war ebbed, in late February ’44, we had been besieged by Parliament and taken in just a few days. Luckily, father was not the military commander of the Castle, for his military ability was far inferior to his bedding skills or his drinking virtues. Yet, the drama of the siege did give me a taste for adventure, that sadly has still not passed.

So, in March ‘44, the household became refugees and I was on the road once more, and once again homeless. Father took me to the ‘safety’ of Exeter and into the care and rigour of my grandmothers’ household, the home of Frances Chappell[9], which was Brockhill House, Broadclyst near Exeter. This became my home for the next two years.

In September ‘43, Exeter had fallen to the Royalist forces of Prince Maurice and there were now great hopes that the King would win the war. The city had been restored and peace was in the air. It was early May of the same year when Lucy arrived at Brockhill. She had been granted a pass by the House of Lords to travel to Exeter to join father, as the Lords[10] had decreed that the ‘Children’ should be with this rogue. Richard was now nineteen and had thrown his cloak into the ring, much to fathers’ distaste and possibly for that very reason, for Parliament. After a year in the Orange Regiment of the London Trained Bands, he gained a commission in Lord Robartes Regiment as an Ensign, then quartered at Windsor. Richard later became High Sheriff of Pembrokeshire, like his grandfather.

So, Richard and Aunt Margaret travelled together with Lucy in early February ’44. First to Windsor, where Richard joined his Regiment and then to Oxford. Leaving there in April they came via Bath and Wells to reach Exeter in early May ‘44. Therefore, it was not until then, that Lucy and I came back together. As it had been hard to write during the intervening years, I remember our reunion in Exeter was warm.

And it is in the journey to Exeter, where the story really starts for both of us. The great civil war had been raging for some years and there was no sign of peace. Food shortages and chaos were everywhere. It had become noticeable how much the prices for winter vegetables in the market had increased yet crops also went to ruin. Worst still was that the increases had pushed up the price of wine! So, whilst some men are making their fortunes and others lay bleeding on battlefields, or stabled and robed by the rogues and highwaymen. The levy men from both sides of the argument came begging for silver plate.

So, with Kings, Earls and Half Sheriffs in the family, even the highest born are all ‘mean creatures’ in the eyes of this pamphleteer.

William Savage

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