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The Black Legend of Prince Rupert's DogWitchcraft and Propaganda during the English Civil War$

Mark Stoyle

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780859898591

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780859898591.001.0001

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‘Lapland Lady’

‘Lapland Lady’

The poodle and the pamphleteers, January–February 1643

(p.50) 4 ‘Lapland Lady’
The Black Legend of Prince Rupert's Dog

Mark Stoyle

Liverpool University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores how, in early 1643, the rival polemicists shifted their attention from the prince to his dog. First, it shows how a series of disparate events – including a meteor shower near Cirencester – helped to inspire the publication of a pamphlet entitled Observations on Prince Rupert's White Dog, a pamphlet which assured its readers that the prince's canine companion was in fact, a beautiful woman from Lapland who had transformed herself into the shape of a dog through occult art. Second it will demonstrate that it was the anonymous author of this manipulative masterpiece – the anonymous author who is here tentatively identified as the uber-Royalist poet, John Cleveland - who was the true begetter of the Boy myth. Finally, it will investigate the wave of excitement which the appearance of the Observations provoked and the stream of copy-cat publications which swiftly followed. [143 words]

Keywords:   Cotswolds, Apparitions, John Cleveland*, Familiars*, Bestiality*, Espionage, Lapland*, Witch-finders, Invisibility, Puritans*

Early in the morning of Friday 6 January 1643, Prince Rupert clattered out of Oxford with five regiments of horse and two regiments of dragoons and rode off to the east.1 The prince's destination was Cirencester, the honey-coloured Cotswold town which was one of the strongholds of Gloucestershire puritanism and which had long been a thorn in the Royalists' side.2 Cirencester contained a strong Parliamentarian garrison—one which not only blocked Oxford in to the west, but also made it difficult for men and supplies to reach the king from Wales. Now Rupert was determined to capture the town and to teach its inhabitants a lesson. The prince's mid-winter foray to Cirencester has frequently been touched upon by his biographers, by historians of Gloucestershire and by historians of the Civil War in general.3 Yet what nobody has remarked on before is that it was in the wake of this expedition that Rupert's famous dog made its first known appearance in print—an appearance which was fleeting indeed, but which served to herald, and perhaps in part to inspire, the crucial pamphlet entitled Observations Upon Prince Rupert's White Dog Called Boy which would be published shortly afterwards.


Having left the Royalist capital behind them, Rupert and his horsemen initially made their way to the little town of Burford, which lies some fifteen miles to the west. Here they met up with a substantial force of Welsh Royalist soldiers under the command of William Seymour, Marquis of Hertford.4 The Welsh troops—whom a correspondent in Oxford estimated to consist of ‘600 horse, 250 dragooners and 1500 foot’—now fell in behind Rupert's cavalry and together the combined Royalist force set off for Cirencester.5 The prince was clearly pushing his men hard, in the hope of taking the Parliamentarians by surprise, and an anonymous Royalist who rode alongside the prince and kept a ‘journal’ of his marches later (p.51) recalled that ‘[on] Fryday, [we] martcht all daye and night’.6 It may well be that this exhausting pace proved too much for Hertford's foot-soldiers to sustain, and that they were unable to cover the thirteen miles from Burford to Cirencester in time, for, when the prince's cavalry finally drew out and prepared to assault the town at first light on Saturday morning, the Welsh troops whom they were expecting to second them failed to appear. The author of the ‘journal’ subsequently recorded, with characteristic terseness, that on ‘Satterday [we] faced Cirencester, in Glocestershire [but] the Erle of Hertford came too late to the tother side’.7 Other Royalist sources provided rather different accounts of what had gone wrong. Edward Hyde, for example, later blamed the failure of the Cavalier horse and foot to make their appointed rendezvous on ‘the extreme foulness of the ways, the great fall of rain at that time … and some mistakes in orders between the two generals’.8 The editor of the official Royalist newsbook Mercurius Aulicus—the very first issue of which was published in Oxford that same week—simply reported that, upon arriving at Cirencester, Rupert and Hertford had found ‘that by reason of the overflowing of the waters there was no approaching of it with their Foot, [so] they came back again and left the action’.9 What all of the Royalist sources agreed upon was that, as a result of the unexpected difficulties which he had encountered during his approach to Cirencester, Rupert had been forced to abandon his planned attack and to retreat towards Oxford so that the ‘design was disappointed’.10

Most Parliamentarian sources gave a very similar account of events, reporting that the Cavaliers had simply drawn up before Cirencester and then drawn away again, without any shots having been fired, although one London pamphleteer claimed that there had been several skirmishes between the rival forces in which the Royalists had come off worst.11 The comment of the Royalist author of ‘Prince Rupert's journal’—‘that night, wee marcht away to Biberrye [i.e. Bibury, to the east of Cirencester]: [and] stayd there for Prince Maurice’—gives little away, although his statement that the main body of the Royalist troops had had to wait for Maurice to catch up with them does suggest that the Cavalier retreat may not have been quite as orderly as Rupert would have liked.12 If this was indeed the case, one possible reason for the Royalists' disarray emerges from the next comment of the journal's author, one which is startlingly different from his usual brief notation of dates and places: ‘this night, we sawe the strange fire falling from heaven, like a bolt; which, with several cracks, brake into balls, and went out, about steeple height from the ground.’13 Such unusual meteorological phenomena were regarded by contemporaries as freighted with occult significance, and several Roundhead writers later claimed that the Royalist soldiers had been terrified by what they had witnessed in the night skies over Cirencester.14

‘It is also informed this day by some private letters from Cicester,’wrote the editor of A Perfect Diurnall of the Passages in Parliament on (p.52) 17 January, ‘that Prince Robert with his Tropes of horse … comming in the night tyme, intending … to enter the same, as his forces were placed about the Towne, there was seen a very strange apparition in the Ayre, and there fell a Blazing Starre from the Skie in the middst of them, which put them all into a great fright and forced them all to runne away and quit the place, many of them being so affrighted at the sight, that they ranne madde upon it.’15 Another, very similar, report appeared in the journal Certain Informations a few days later. The editor assured his readers that:

by an expresse from Cirencester … it is certified that, when … Rupert … besieged that Town, one night about midnight the inhabitants thereof saw a flame of fire descending directly from Heaven downewards, which fell amongst the Cavaliers and dispersed a whole Troupe of their horse, and burnt 6 colours, whereat Prince Maurice, being amazed, began to pray … and ever since the Cavaliers have called that towne ‘Little Hell’.16

The first of these reports was roundly mocked a few days later by John Berkenhead, the twenty-five-year-old former protégé of Archbishop Laud, who had recently assumed the role of co-editor of Mercurius Aulicus. Having summarised the Roundhead pamphleteers' description of the ‘ball of fire’ which had fallen on Rupert's men near Cirencester, Berkenhead scornfully remarked that ‘assuredly, these men who can coine such miracles, will never want occasions for publike thanksgiving unto God; by which both men may be deceived and God daily mocked.’17 Here we see the relish that Berkenhead habitually took in ridiculing Roundhead reports of what they claimed to be ‘supernatural’ phenomena—the same relish that John Cleveland had recently evinced in his panegyric to Prince Rupert.

Berkenhead was right to be sceptical, up to a point. The evidence suggests that Rupert's men had witnessed the unusual lights in the sky as they were marching away from Cirencester, rather than as they were preparing to attack the town, and there is no independent testimony to show that the appearance of what was, in all probability, a meteor shower had caused a wholesale panic to occur. There can be no doubt that the episode took place, though, for the Royalist author of ‘Prince Rupert's journal’ also attests to it, and it does not seem too far-fetched to suggest that this extraordinary sight in the heavens might have caused a certain amount of disorder among the Royalist troops as they made their night-time retreat.18 What is clear is that, whether purely as a result of the derision which the defenders are known to have expressed as the Royalists withdrew from before the town or perhaps in part as a result of other reverses which they had suffered during the course of their retreat, some of Rupert's men felt that the affair had damaged their martial reputations.19 On 10 January, a troop of Cavalier horse under the (p.53) command of one Captain Snead passed through Thomas Wyatt's village of Ducklington at ‘about 10 a clock in [the] morning’. According to Wyatt, who clearly spoke to the soldiers, ‘some of them yt went to Ciceter sayd they came back with dishonour’.20 The fact that ‘Captain Snead’ was probably Robert Snead, an officer in Prince Maurice's regiment of horse, is interesting, and again hints that Maurice's troops may have run into particular difficulties as they withdrew from Cirencester.21 In any event, Rupert himself can hardly have felt very pleased with the outcome of his expedition as he rode back into Oxford that night—and, according to one Parliamentarian source, the prince had personal, as well as professional, reasons to rue his recent foray to the Cotswolds.22

On 17 January a newsbook was published in London which included a brief account of Rupert's abortive attempt on Cirencester. According to the journal's editor, some of the letters which had been sent up from Gloucestershire to London in recent days had reported that after the Cavaliers had ‘faced’ the town, they had ‘returned, not making any attempt’. But, he continued, ‘other letters say, they had severall Encounters, and that … [the Royalists] were well beaten. And that they write from Oxford, that Prince Rupert hath kept his chamber severall dayes for griefe that his blacke dog is taken prisoner.’23

What are we to make of this latter comment—the very first reference to a dog belonging to Rupert which is known to have appeared in print? The implication seems to be that Rupert's ‘blacke dog’ had somehow been captured by the Parliamentarians during the recent attempt on Cirencester, but, unfortunately, the diurnalist says nothing more about this episode. It is easy enough to imagine how the prince's dog might have been snapped up by Roundhead scouts while Rupert's troops were facing the town, or, perhaps more likely, during the course of the Royalist retreat—especially if that retreat had been disrupted by bizarre heavenly phenomena.24 What is rather more puzzling is that the dog should have been described as black, for, as we have already seen in Chapter 1, almost all previous historians have assumed—on the basis of statements made subsequent to 17 January—that Rupert's dog was white.25 The answer to this conundrum may well be that the prince owned several dogs. This was certainly true of his mother, and of his uncle Charles, who, at the time of his execution in 1649, owned both a greyhound called ‘Gypsy’ and a spaniel called ‘Rogue’.26 It does not seem to be straining the bounds of possibility too far to suggest that, at the beginning of the Civil War, Rupert may also have possessed a brace of dogs, one black and one white,—and this conjecture is considerably strengthened by the fact that, in the wake of Boy's death at Marston Moor in 1644, a Parliamentarian writer was later to crow that ‘now Prince Rupert hath lost both his Doggs’.27 However contemporary references to the colour of Rupert's dog(s) are so hopelessly inconsistent that they cannot be (p.54) relied upon to distinguish one animal—if there really was more than one—from another.

If the statement which appears in the newsbook of 17 January is significant because it provides us with our first printed reference to a dog belonging to Prince Rupert—and, indeed, our first precisely dateable reference to such a creature—it is also significant because it provides us with our first hard evidence that the dog's fame had begun to spread beyond Oxford. The editor's words show that the beast had by now come to the attention of Parliament's supporters in Cirencester and London—but this is not quite all that the newsbook has to tell us on the subject of the animal's growing notoriety. As we have seen, the editor's allusion to the dog's capture was tantalisingly brief. A few lines later, however, he returned to the subject of the prince's pet, averring that Cavalier sympathisers in London ‘drinke healths, when they come together, to Prince Rupert and his dogge’.28 What should we make of this bizarre statement? Why should the king's supporters in London have been raising their glasses to the prince's dog at this time? The most likely explanation is that manuscript copies of Cleveland's poem ‘To Prince Rupert’ had by this time reached the capital—and that the poem was proving a big hit with the London Royalists.

Throughout the 1640s, the reading, and even the secret performance, of Royalist literature continued to thrive in many districts under Parliamentarian control.29 It was commonplace for the anti-Parliamentarian libels and songs which circulated so widely—both in manuscript and in print—to be read out or sung by small groups of Royalists meeting in private dwellings and alehouses, and it seems perfectly plausible to suggest that Cleveland's poem was being disseminated in London in this way during January 1643.30 Once London Royalists had encountered Cleveland's satire, moreover—a text that praised Rupert to the skies while mocking the Roundheads for their supposed terror of his dog—it would have been natural for them to seize on the conjoined image of the prince and his pet as a motif which they could deploy to exalt their own side while simultaneously ridiculing that of their opponents. Nor would there have been any easier, or more pleasurable, way of deploying this motif in public than through the drinking of healths—a ritual which was especially favoured by the Cavaliers, and which has been well described by Lois Potter as ‘both a secular liturgy and a way of parodying the authority of a government they refused to recognise’.31 Our writer's comments raise the possibility that Cleveland's jesting lines about the prince's dog may already have evoked a powerful response among many of the king's supporters, then, while his own brief references in print can only have had the effect of raising the beast's profile still further. The fact that the animal was reported to have been taken prisoner during the course of a military expedition which had culminated in the appearance of ‘strange fire … (p.55) from heaven’ may also have caused certain minds to return to Cleveland's previous claim that the dog was ‘a Devill’. Certainly, it seems unlikely to be mere coincidence that, soon after the reports discussed above had appeared in print, an entire pamphlet devoted to Prince Rupert's dog was published.


This publication was the famous tract entitled Observations upon Prince Rupert's White Dog, Called Boy. At least three different editions of the pamphlet still survive today, two of them in the collection that was compiled by the Oxford antiquary Anthony Wood shortly after the Civil War and one of them in the much bigger collection that was amassed by George Thomason while the conflict was still raging.32 The text of the three editions is exactly the same, apart from a few very minor discrepancies in terms of spelling and punctuation. The most important, and most obvious, difference between the three is that one of the two editions in the Wood collection includes a striking woodcut illustration of the prince's dog on the title page (see figure 4), an illustration which will be discussed in more detail in the next chapter. The fact that several different editions of the pamphlet had been produced was clearly recognised by Wood himself for, at the bottom of the title page of the pamphlet featuring the woodcut, he noted that ‘another edit[ion] of this pamphlet was printed also the same yeare [1642], & another in 1643, but neither of them hath the picture of Boy in the title as this hath’.33 None of the three editions provides any specific details about the identity of the printer, or about the place or precise date of publication, beyond the words ‘Printed in the Yeare 1642’—or, in one case, ‘Printed in the Yeere MDCXLIII’, that is to say ‘1643’—which appear on the title pages.34 Fortunately, Thomason comes to our assistance here, at least as far as the date is concerned, for he has scrawled ‘feb 2d 1643’ at the foot of his copy of the Observations, which may be taken to mean that it was on 2 February 1643 that this particular edition of the pamphlet came into his hands.35 (It should be noted here that, while some contemporaries, like Thomason, dated the beginning of the calendar year from 1 January, as we do today, in the so-called ‘New Style’, others persisted in dating it from 25 March, in the so-called ‘Old Style’. It is this that explains why two editions of the Observations bore the printed date ‘1642’, even though, as we shall see in a moment, they were clearly published during the first few weeks of what we would now term the year 1643.)

The fact that Thomason's edition of the pamphlet is annotated ‘2 February 1643’ suggests that his copy can have been published only a few days before this date. But might one or both of the other two editions have been published some days, or even weeks, before Thomason's version? It is (p.56)

‘Lapland Lady’The poodle and the pamphleteers, January–February 1643

4 Title page of Observations Upon Prince Rupert's White Dog, Called Boy (1643). This was the first image of Boy to be put into public circulation. Note Anthony Wood's handwritten comments on the pamphlet, scrawled in the right-hand margin and at the bottom of the page.

(p.57) impossible to be sure which of the three editions is the earliest—though the fact that both Thomason's copy and the illustrated Wood edition contain a typographical error, which the un-illustrated Wood edition does not, hints that the latter may have been the first in the series.36 Fortunately, there is a whole series of clues embedded within the text which make it possible to establish that none of the editions of the pamphlet can have been published before the second week of January, at the earliest. Among other things, we should note that the text refers to a series of demonstrations in favour of peace by the London apprentice-boys and others which are known to have taken place between circa 22 December 1642 and circa 16 January 1643;37 to an unsuccessful attempt by six members of the London common council to broker a peace-deal, which is known to have been made between 2 and 5 January;38 to the foundation of a Royalist mint in New Inn Hall Street, Oxford, which is known to have been established between 3 and 6 January;39 and to the collection of gold and silver plate from the various Oxford colleges, which is known to have been initiated on 10 January.40 Further clues push the initial date of publication later still. The text of the pamphlet refers to ‘Mr [John] Booker's Almanacks’.41 As Booker's almanac for the year 1643 is known to have been published on 20 January it seems plausible to suggest that the author of the Observations—who is identified only as T.B. in all three editions—may have had this particular almanac in mind.42 More interestingly still, the text suggests that, by May Day next, there will again be ‘a lawful Lo[rd] Mayor’ of London—something which strongly suggests that the author had read a royal letter published in Oxford on 22 January in which Charles I had declared that the current holder of that office was ‘not lawfully admitted, nor duely sworne, and therefore that he was not to be reputed for the Mayor of London’.43 Taking all of these pieces of evidence together, it is fair to assume that the original edition of the Observations was published at some time between 23 January and 2 February 1643. In any case, the text of the pamphlet clearly postdates both Cleveland's poem and the references to Rupert's ‘blacke dog’ which appeared in the Parliamentarian newsbook of 17 January.


What is the pamphlet about? It takes the form of a letter: a reproduction, it is clearly implied, of an original letter sent to an important figure on the Parliamentarian side by a Roundhead spy—the mysterious T.B.—who was operating undercover in the king's wartime capital at Oxford. (For a complete transcription of the original text, see Appendix.) ‘Right Worshipfull,’ the letter begins, ‘I have, according to … [your] direction … had a very strict eye upon Prince Rupert's Dogge called Boy, whom I cannot [but] conclude to be a very downright Devill … or a spirit.’ Next, T.B. goes on to voice his conviction that the creature who would (p.58) henceforth be known to the world as ‘Boy’ is ‘certainly some Lapland Lady, who by Nature was once a handsome White Woman, and now by Art is become an handsome white Dogge’. (The reference to Lapland reflects the fact that that country was commonly believed to be full of sorcerers.44) The supposed spy then goes on to explain why he has come to believe that Boy is a diabolic figure. In the first half of the tract, T.B. lists the five supernatural ‘qualities’ which he has observed the dog to possess. First, he claims, Boy can ‘prophecie’, in other words, he possesses the gift of telling the future; second, ‘he hath the art of finding out concealed goods’; third, ‘he is endued with the gift of languages’, and ‘speakes as many languages and as hard ones as Satan’; fourth, ‘he is weapon-proofe himself, and probably hath made his master so too’ (this, of course, was a reference to Rupert's allegedly shot-proof status); while fifth, and last, he is able to ‘goe invisibly’ and to change his shape at will.45

Of the five supernatural ‘qualities’ in this list, it is the last two—significantly, perhaps, the very powers which Rupert himself had previously been claimed to possess—which most exercise T.B. The dog's ability to make himself ‘weapon-proofe’, T.B. avers, is the reason that ‘my self & the rest whom you have employed to be of the conspiracie against him have always failed of our attempts [to kill him], as if something more then witchcraft watcht over him’. T.B. confesses that he himself once attempted to assassinate the dog, and gave him ‘a very hearty stroke, with a confiding dagger’, but that the weapon simply ‘slided off his skin as if it had beene Armour of Proofe [a]nointed over with Quick-silver’. The common rumour that Boy ‘usually sets his mouth as a trap, and catcheth bullets as they fly’ is ‘a meere slander’, T.B. admits, ‘but it is most certain that he doth things neere as strange. For when his master the Prince hath forgot to put his characters between his shirt and his skin, some bullets he [i.e. Boy] blows by, other he breakes the force of, so that they either no more touch him [i.e. the prince] than if they were aimed at the edge of a Pen-knife, or, if they do, doe him no more harme, then they would have done if he had had his characters about him.’46 T.B.'s allusion to the prince donning his ‘characters’, or protective amulets, would have been well understood at the time, for many Civil War soldiers wore such talismans about their persons in the hope of preserving themselves from harm. John Aubrey later recalled that the Scandinavian soldiers of fortune who had served in the Parliamentarian armies had been especially convinced of the efficacy of such ‘sigills’, which they had regarded as sure tokens ‘against a sword’, and added that ‘I have heard from some Brokers (that buy old clothes) that in the time of … [the] warres they found in severall cloathes of soldiers they bought, sigills in metall, which they wore about them as preservatives’.47

Turning to the question of Boy's alleged powers of metamorphosis, T.B. next declares that it was the dog who had led the London apprentice-boys in their recent demonstrations against the Parliament—first drawing up (p.59) their plan of campaign ‘in one shape, and then lead[ing] them on to the Action in another’. Nor is this the only way in which Boy exploits his ability to transfigure his form, T.B. continues, for ‘when he would find out our counsells, he mingles himself with the good [i.e. pro-Parliamentarian] apprentices, [and] sometimes appears like Ezekiel … and sometimes like Nathaniel … [and] under these disguises he brings us [i.e. the Parliamentarians] false information and carries them [i.e. the Royalists] true’. In the course of this discussion, T.B. blurs the relatively workaday practice of donning disguises with the altogether more outré practice of shape-shifting, just as the author of Prince Robert's Disguises did in November 1642. That T.B. was influenced by this pamphlet is quickly confirmed by the fact that he goes on to refer to some of the specific incidents mentioned within it. Thus, after having alleged that Boy ‘doth usually … [breath] a black cloud around Prince Rupert … in which he goes …. invisible’, T.B. avows that it was ‘by this mysticall meanes … that the Prince so often passed our Guards undiscovered, and by so many disguises entered those townes of ours, which the book to that purpose sets down so edifyingly’. ‘By this meanes he was the appleman in Dunsmore Heath, the Netseller in Coventry, and the Old woman in Warwick,’ T.B. solemnly affirms, concluding that ‘by this meanes he is all things and nothing, and no doubt is often [present invisibly] at our Common Council at London.’48

Having made these specific charges against the prince's dog, T.B. then proceeds to make a number of further remarks about Boy's activities around the royal court. To begin with, he alleges that Boy is ‘very loose and strumpet-like’ in his behaviour and that he ‘kisseth the Prince, as close as any Christian woman would, and the Prince salutes & kisseth him back again as savourly as he would … any Court Lady’. Nor is this the limit of the intimacy that exists between the two, T.B. confides, for ‘then they lye perpetually in one bed, sometimes the Prince upon the Dog, and sometimes the Dog upon the Prince, and what this in time may produce none … can tell’.49 Not only is T.B. implying that Rupert and Boy are having sex together, but he is also suggesting that some sort of monstrous birth may well occur as a result of their unnatural liaison. These statements are outrageous enough in themselves, of course, but what makes them particularly interesting, from the point of view of the present discussion, is that they represent a clear nod to the contemporary belief that witches and their attendant spirits, or ‘familiars’, sometimes engaged in carnal intercourse.50 While Cleveland had previously jested that the Parliamentarians believed the prince's dog to be ‘a Devill’, neither he nor anyone else had so far specifically stated that the animal was the prince's familiar—a statement which would obviously imply that Rupert himself was a witch. T.B., on the other hand, is perfectly happy for this inference to be drawn. Not only does he describe the alleged sexual activities of Rupert and Boy, as we have already seen, but, in case any of his readers (p.60) should have missed the point, at the very end of the Observations he returns to the same theme and baldly states that Boy ‘communicates with that bloudy Prince, as his familiar’.51

Next, T.B. reports what he has observed about the dog's spiritual life. ‘In all exercises of Religion,’ he notes, Boy:

Carries himselfe most Popishly and Cathedrally. He observes our [i.e. the Parliamentarians'] Fasts no more than we doe their [i.e. the Royalists'] Feasts. He is never at any private prayers, and very seldome at any conscionable sermons. But as for publique prayers, he seldome or never misseth them: and he no sooner enters the [Church] Quire, but he presently trots up towards the East end, where there is a painted window above, and an altar below … Then he is much taken with their Copes and Surplices, and singing books & … with the singing men too.52

Boy is here being characterised as a Laudian, even crypto-Catholic dog, who eschews those aspects of religious observance that were most favoured by puritans—such as special days of fasting, sessions of private prayer and long and earnest sermons—and embraces instead those aspects of religious observance that were most favoured by their conservative, High Church opponents—including the feasts of the traditional church calendar, the reading of public prayers in accordance with the established liturgy, the ornate decoration of churches, the retention of formal clerical garb and the use of singing and organ music in church-services. To emphasise just how reprehensible all of these preferences are, T.B. later comes back to the subject and reminds his readers that Boy ‘loves Organs, and true singing and such Diabolicall Charms’.53 Boy's ‘Popish’ religious leanings, in other words, are just another sign that he is an instrument of the Devil.

T.B. then moves on to discuss Boy's relationship with Charles I himself, declaring that ‘next to his master, [Boy] loves the king’. According to T.B., Boy is an honoured guest at the royal table, where ‘the king himself never dines or sups but continually he feeds him with Rumps and sidesmen of Capons [tender pieces of chicken] and such-like Christian morcells’. Oddly enough, the king's willingness to indulge Boy in this apparently harmless respect arouses T.B. to paroxysms of fury. ‘And if this be not too prophane,’ he storms:

I know not what is. For let his majesty professe and professe, as long as he will … either he knows this dog is, or is not a witch. If he knows hee is a Witch, [then] hee profanes against that place in Scripture that sayes, Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. [But] if he knows he is not a witch, then he prophanes against that other place, Cast not that which is Holy unto Dogges. For if the Rumps (p.61) and Sidesmen in crammed fowle be not the holy parts, [then] I discerne not what are.54

T.B.'s conviction that ‘the rumps and sidesmen in crammed fowle’ are ‘holy parts’ is a little difficult to explain, though it is possible that he was punning here both on the fact that there are ‘holes’ in rumps and that the word ‘sidesmen’—which he is clearly using to denote certain specific portions of a chicken—can also be used to denote the elected assistants of a churchwarden.55

Having recovered his composure, T.B. next pronounces that Charles is so immoderately fond of the dog that ‘it is thought that the King will shortly call a Councell of War, and … will make him a new Officer of State, [as] Sergeant Major Generall Boy’. (It was this statement, of course, that led so many subsequent historians to claim that the soubriquet of ‘Sergeant Major Generall Boy’ had been generally applied to the prince's pet by the Cavaliers.) But the prospect of the dog's elevation is not universally welcomed in the Royalist camp, T.B. goes on, for ‘the King's affection is so extraordinary to him that some in the Court envy him, and others nourish feares and jealousies of him’. Indeed, T.B. remarks, ‘I heard a Gentleman Usher sweare the other day, that it was a great shame the Dogge should sit in the Kings Chaire, as he alwaies doth.’56 The clear implication of the latter statement is that both the usher and T.B. believe that Boy, rather than Charles, is ruling the kingdom. To many contemporaries, this image of a supine king being supplanted on his own throne by the devilish familiar of a wicked favourite would have been all too familiar. During the 1620s, some had come to fear that Charles I was ruling in name alone, while true power was wielded by his favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, who was himself under the thumb of his astrologer, Dr Lambe, referred to by his enemies as ‘The Duke's Devil’.57 These sinister rumours had badly tarnished Charles I's public image during the early years of his reign, and had only subsided after Lambe had been beaten to death by a mob and Buckingham assassinated in 1628. T.B. simultaneously resurrects and updates this familiar image, by casting Rupert in the role of Buckingham and Boy in the role of Dr Lambe, with Charles I again appearing as the hapless victim of sinister forces which he either will not or cannot resist.

Elsewhere in the text, T.B. is more upfront still in his presentation of Boy as a diabolic figure who holds both Charles I and his counsellors in thrall, for, soon after his reference to the dog's habit of sitting in the king's chair, he alleges that: ‘whenever the Kings Councell is perswading his Majesty to an accommodation, and … pressing him to returne to his other Councell, the Parliament, in comes this enemy to peace, and the Parliament's purpose [i.e. Boy], and (as if he could turne mens mindes as his master doth the Winde before a Battell, by untying a knot of his (p.62) handkerchief), presently they speak of bloud and war … and vow they have not power’ to talk of anything else. ‘Now, consider, if it be accounted Witchcraft to make men impotent in their bodies,’ T.B. interjects here—in an allusion to the contemporary belief that witches had the power to lame or cripple people—‘what is it to make them impotent in their minds?’58 Having provided this vivid sketch of daily life at the wartime court of Charles I, T.B. finally reiterates the various charges which he has already made against Boy and concludes with the somewhat convoluted rhetorical question, ‘Is not this a Dog that is no Dog but a Witch, a Sorceress [and] an enemy to Parliament … that hath something of the Divel in or about him?’59


What was the purpose of this bizarre tract? The first historian to note its existence was Rupert's Victorian biographer Eliot Warburton, who described it as ‘half-unintelligible’, and added that ‘it is very witty, but with what object it was written I know not’.60 Subsequent writers have almost all agreed with Warburton that the pamphlet was designed to be humorous, but have come to very different conclusions about the political sympathies of the person, or persons, who composed the piece. As we saw in Chapter 1, most of the scholars who have written about the Observations have assumed that it was produced by a writer who favoured the Parliamentarian cause.61 Yet a smaller group of historians and literary scholars have come to the opposite conclusion, judging that the pamphlet was, in fact, a Royalist satire on puritan propaganda—and all the evidence suggests that it is they who are in the right.62 To deal with the question of context, first of all, it is significant that the Observations should have appeared so soon after Cleveland's verse panegyric ‘To Prince Rupert’ and that, in several important respects, the pamphlet appears to be modelled on the poem. For example, Prince Rupert's dog—the pamphlet's anti-hero—is a figure about whom Cleveland had been the first to write. The pamphlet is structured around a series of charges laid against the animal, very much as the relevant part of the poem had been. Moreover, the pamphlet contains several specific tropes that appeared in the poem, including the image of the dog as a ‘devil’, and as a super-ceremonious devotee of the Laudian church. In all of these respects, T.B.'s pamphlet may surely be argued to be a development of those parts of Cleveland's poem which deal with the beast, while the basic message of both pieces may surely be argued to be the same—that the Parliamentarians are superstitious fools who are frightened of the prince's dog. It must nevertheless be conceded that the precise manner in which the poem and the tract convey that message is significantly different. For whereas anyone reading the poem would at once have (p.63) understood that they were being presented with a Royalist view of what the Parliamentarians were saying about the dog, many of those reading the pamphlet might well have believed that they were being presented with what the Parliamentarians were themselves saying about the creature. The pamphlet is much more ambiguous and deceptive than the poem then—and this helps to explain why so many historians have been led astray by it over the past 150 years.

If the close correspondence that exists between Cleveland's poem and T.B.'s pamphlet indicates that the Observations was the product of a Cavalier—rather than a Roundhead—pen, then so does the frequency with which the tract alludes to well-known Parliamentarian reverses. In the very first line of the text, for example, reference is made to ‘the unfortunate death of Mr Blake’, a Parliamentarian spy who had been executed near Abingdon in November 1642.63 T.B. then goes on to refer, among other things, to the alleged failure of the Parliamentarian nobleman Lord Say to secure the college plate at Oxford in September 1642; to the killing of ‘our men’ by the Cavaliers at Edgehill during the following month and to the escape of a succession of high-profile Royalist officers—including Joseph Bamfield, William Legge and Daniel O'Neil—from various Roundhead prisons in London between October and December 1642.64 These were all episodes which a pro-Royalist writer would have had good reason to trumpet to the world, but over which a pro-Parliamentarian one might well have preferred to draw a veil. A third factor which tends to suggest that the pamphlet was produced by a Royalist author is the fact that it contains a wealth of detail about recent events in Oxford—although, of course, the claim made on the first page of the Observations that T.B. was a Parliamentarian spy who was operating in the king's wartime capital supplied contemporary readers with a very plausible explanation for this.

Some of Boy's own pronouncements also hint very strongly that the pamphlet was a Cavalier production. The dog's prophecy ‘that the king shall enter London before May-day next, with threescore thousand horse and foote’, for example, would hardly have been included in a Parliamentarian pamphlet, even in jest, while, as we have seen, Boy's subsequent prediction that, on that happy day, he would be ‘feasted by a lawfull Lord Mayor’ takes up and further publicises a recent royal declaration that the current Mayor was unlawful.65 In addition, T.B. makes mock-reverent allusion to the puritan preacher Thomas Case (who was a regular target of the Royalist pamphleteers); refers to the humble social status of prominent supporters of the Parliament, like ‘Master Green the haberdasher’ (another tactic that was much favoured by Royalist propagandists); and, in one particularly revealing passage, equates puritan religious practice—in this case, spur-of-the-moment prayer—with poison, by admitting that he had once tried to kill Boy by giving him ‘pieces of Capon and other choice morcells, as well seasoned all, as poyson and (p.64) extempore prayer could doe it’.66 The sheer foolishness of the passage in which T.B. attempts to demonstrate that, by offering Boy scraps of chicken, Charles I has gone against the word of God may also be taken as evidence that it is the supposed (puritan) writer of the letter, rather than the supposed (Royalist) subject of it, who is the true target of the unknown author's venom. Finally, we should note that, in signing off, T.B. observes to his correspondent in London, ‘thus I commit you to the protection of both Houses’, rather than, as was normal at this time, ‘thus I commit you to the protection of God’.67 This peculiar turn of phrase would clearly have indicated to the contemporary reader that, in the perverse scheme of divinity that had been adopted by T.B. and his puritan allies, the two Houses of Parliament were more highly regarded and trusted than was God himself.

Once the pamphlet has been firmly identified as a pro-Royalist work, it becomes much easier to see why it should have been written in the first place. It was written in order to capitalise on the success of Cleveland's earlier poem, and to appeal to a similar audience—including, perhaps, the sort of people who had recently been drinking healths to Rupert's dog in London. It was written in order to parody the hysterical accusations against Rupert which had appeared in the Parliamentarian press during late 1642, and which had continued to appear during the first few weeks of 1643.68 Above all, it was written in order to lampoon the puritans, and to mock them for what the pamphlet's author clearly regarded as their superstition, their credulity, their hypocrisy, their ignorance and their fear—a joke that was made all the more delicious by the fact that these failings were exposed in a work which was phrased, throughout, in an exquisite parody of what the Royalists would have regarded as the puritans' own canting idiom. As T.B. rails against ‘profanity’, studies the ‘edifying’ tales of Rupert's ‘shape-shifting’ which have appeared in the London pulp-press and despairs at Boy's failure to attend ‘conscionable sermons’, one can almost hear the guffaws of the pamphlet's intended Royalist readers. Yet we may surmise that at certain points in the text, those same intended readers might also have felt a frisson of unease. For while T.B.'s asseverations that Rupert is a witch, that Boy is his familiar, that the prince and the dog are having sex, and that, between them, they have usurped the king's throne are clearly meant to be risible—evidence of nothing more than the fact that T.B. and his godly confreres are utter dunderheads—the appearance of such charges in print would nevertheless have struck many contemporaries as deeply shocking. Certainly, it is hard to imagine that Charles I himself would have given his imprimatur to a publication which aired such outrageous claims, so it may well be that the various editions of the Observations were printed on private presses in London, rather than on the official Royalist presses in Oxford. T.B.'s scurrilous pamphlet was a piece of Royalist propaganda then, but it was (p.65) Royalist propaganda with a twist—black propaganda, un-attributed and, at least on the surface of things, un-attributable. In which case, after the passage of nearly four centuries, is there even the faintest chance of establishing the identity of the true author(s) of the Observations?


It seems likely that the question of the pamphlet's authorship would have aroused a good deal of speculation at the time, but unfortunately there is no hard evidence to prove it. The first person who can definitely be shown to have pondered on the true identity of the pamphlet's author, is, in fact, Anthony Wood. For having noted, on the front of one of his own copies of the tract, that at least two other editions had been published, Wood then scribbled the still briefer aside that ‘in this & other imprisions [of the pamphlet] are set the letters of T.B. [on the front cover] but in ye end in all, are the letters T.P. subscribed’.69 The fact that the tract is ascribed to T.B. on the title page, but that, on the final page, the supposed author subscribes himself as ‘T.P.’ is indeed a puzzle, and—as Wood, who was the first to point out this curious discrepancy, surely recognised—the confusion makes it even more difficult to hazard a guess as to whom the true author of the pamphlet may have been. It was commonplace at this time for writers of partisan political tracts to hide their true identities behind a pair of initials, and, in one of his broadsides against the Roundhead pamphleteers, Rupert himself had recently lambasted one of his antagonists as ‘an unknown Esquire, [who is] ashamed to expresse his name more than S.W.’.70 The initials that appeared on the front of such tracts were not necessarily those of their real authors, though—and as the Observations was an especially controversial publication, as the alleged initials of the tract's author were inconsistent, and as T.B. (or ‘T.P.’) himself was, in any case, quite clearly a fictional construct—it seems highly probable that the initials supplied in this particular case were false ones, which tell us nothing at all about who was really behind the pamphlet.

The one near-contemporary comment on the subject of the pamphlet's authorship may be said to further muddy the waters, then, rather than to help to clear them. What of the judgements of later scholars? None has ventured a specific opinion as to who might have written the Observations, while, of those who have speculated about this subject in even the broadest terms, most have unhelpfully concluded that the tract was produced by the Parliamentarians. The one scholar who has identified what appears to be a plausible line of enquiry is Kathleen Briggs, author of what is still the most sophisticated treatment of the Observations, who, in 1962, observed that ‘very possibly the writer of the pamphlet belonged to Cleveland's set’.71 As the previous discussion has shown, Cleveland's poem (p.66) appears to have been what inspired the publication of the Observations in the first place, so Briggs' suggestion that its author might have been an associate of Cleveland's rings true. Nor is this the only piece of evidence to hint that the pamphlet's anonymous author may have belonged to the same tight-knit coterie of Royalist polemicists in Oxford as Cleveland. It is interesting to note that at one point in the Observations, T.B. is made to report that Boy's ‘prophecies’ will shortly be printed by the Royalists ‘here in Oxford, in opposition to Mr Booker's [pro-Parliamentarian] Almanacks’, because ‘now at last’, as T.B. significantly puts it, ‘they begin to turn our own arts upon us’.72 In this comment, it is tempting to hear the voice of the hidden Royalist author exulting in the fact that ‘now at last’, the Cavaliers are beginning to fight fire with fire and to counter the steady stream of pro-Parliamentarian printed propaganda that had dominated the English public sphere for so long with their own printed propaganda. The words with which the very first edition of the Royalist court journal Mercurius Aulicus had opened just a few weeks before—‘The world hath long enough beene abused with falsehoods’—had exuded precisely this same sense of relish in the fact that the ‘paper combat’ was finally about to be taken up on more equal terms, and it seems probable that such sentiments were widespread among the Royalist polemicists who led the propaganda offensive which was launched from Oxford during early 1643.73

Which of these individuals might have written, or helped to write, the Observations? It seems unlikely that we will ever know for sure, but perhaps the likeliest candidate is John Cleveland himself. It was Cleveland who had first joked that the Roundheads regarded Rupert's dog as a ‘Devill’ in the poem which he had written just a few weeks before. The subsequent report that Royalist sympathisers were drinking healths ‘to Prince's Rupert's dog’ in London hints that Cleveland's jeu d'espirit had enjoyed considerable success, and he may well have hoped to capitalise on that success—and to bring his mockery of the Parliamentarians to a much wider audience—by producing an entire pamphlet on the same theme soon afterwards. We know that Cleveland later went on to become a highly successful pamphleteer. Several of his pamphlets—including, most famously, The Character of a London Diurnall—enjoyed a huge public response and were reprinted many times.74 His pro-Parliamentarian opponents were forced to acknowledge his mastery of the genre, one of them subsequently referring to him as ‘the wittiest knave of the whole [Royalist] crew’, and adding ‘give the devil his due, he is the court-jester, the Cavalier's fool, the chief squib-crack, [and] arch pamphlet puppy’.75 As this list of attributes makes clear, Cleveland was widely regarded as a joker, as a jester, as a perpetrator of sarcastic lampoons—as just the sort of man, in other words, who might well have been behind a mocking literary deception like the Observations.76 We should also note (p.67) that, like the anonymous author of the Observations, Cleveland possessed a keen—albeit intensely sceptical—interest in the supernatural.

The occult themes that run through Cleveland's poem ‘To Prince Rupert’ have already been discussed. Nor should it be thought that these verses are in any way atypical, for, in the poetry and prose which he produced before, during and after the Civil War, Cleveland frequently referred to the occult and seems to have been particularly intrigued by the subject of witchcraft. Within the relatively small corpus of his surviving works, Cleveland not only writes about witches in general, on a number of different occasions, but also touches upon familiars; upon the alleged ability of witches to turn themselves into animals; upon the dark powers supposedly possessed by ‘Laplanders’; upon the occult practice of conjuring up a wind; upon the use of magical salves to render oneself invulnerable to weapons; and—with heavy irony—upon what he terms the ‘sagacity’ of the puritan-Parliamentarian ‘brotherhood of witch-finders’.77 All of these subjects are also discussed in the Observations—indeed, mockery of the Roundheads' alleged propensity to swallow any tale about witchcraft, however preposterous, may fairly be said to be that pamphlet's central theme. So, taking all of the evidence together, it seems very likely that Cleveland's was the directing hand behind the Observations, although the fact that the pamphlet's style is rather different from that of Cleveland's other prose works suggests that, if so, he may have composed the piece in collaboration with at least one other writer.78

Who this other writer, or writers, may have been it is impossible to say, although the sheer verve of the pamphlet's prose and the scabrous nature of its humour hint at the influence of John Berkenhead, soon to become the high-priest of Royalist polemicists. The youthful co-editor of Aulicus certainly shared Cleveland's contempt for puritan superstition, as we have already seen, and was later to pen an obscene ballad entitled The Four-Legg'd Elder which not only utilised an adapted version of Cleveland's nickname for Prince Rupert's dog—‘The Four Legg'd Cavalier’—as its title but which echoed the Observations in other ways, too, most notably in its deployment of the motif of a sexual relationship between a dog and a human being—in this case a Presbyterian Elder's maid.79 Cleveland and Berkenhead were certainly acquainted with one another, they were both in Oxford in early 1643, and they shared many common attitudes—including a heartfelt admiration for Archbishop Laud.80 Their Roundhead opponents would later characterise the two Royalist writers as chips off the same block—indeed, in 1645, the editor of one London newsbook went so far as to refer to Cleveland as ‘a whelp of the same litter with Aulicus’.81 So the notion that these two witty, irreverent and violently anti-puritan young men might have joined forces in order to pen the Observations in early 1643 does not seem at all implausible.

(p.68) Attempting to establish the identity of anonymous Royalist pamphleteers is a dangerous game, however. As P. W. Thomas has wisely observed, the fact that Cavalier propagandists shared ‘so much material’, including ‘jokes, phrases, attitudes and so on’ makes the process of attributing particular anonymous tracts to particular Royalist writers ‘especially difficult’.82 My own research, outlined above, has led me to suspect that Cleveland may have been the lead-author of the Observations, and that Berkenhead may have acted as his collaborator—but honesty compels me to admit that, for the moment at least, I have no way of proving that my suspicions are correct. Perhaps this does not matter all that much, though, for what the foregoing discussion has surely established beyond any reasonable doubt is that, whoever may have written the Observations, their basic allegiance lay with the king. The vexed question of the tract's underlying political sympathies may therefore be said to have been resolved. But a far more complex question remains to be addressed—that of the pamphlet's intellectual ancestry. What can have prompted its author—assuming, for the moment, that the Observations had a single author—to build up such an elaborate fantasy around the figure of Prince Rupert's dog in the first place? From where—Cleveland's poem apart—did he derive his inspiration? What were the sources which he drew upon while he was conjuring up the figure of the ‘Devil Dog’? How, in other words, did he go about the intricate mental process of imagining ‘Boy’? In the following chapter I will attempt to find out.


(1) E.244 (30), Mercurius Aulicus (1–7 January 1643), p. 7; HMC, Thirteenth Report (1892), Appendix 1, Portland MSS, I, p. 86; and A. Clark (ed.), The Life and Times of Anthony Wood, Volume I (OHS, Oxford, 1891), p. 81.

(2) See D. Rollison, The Local Origins of Modern Society: Gloucestershire, 1500–1800 (1992), pp. 126, 155; and B. Manning, The English People and the English Revolution (1991), pp. 250–1.

(3) See, for example, F. Kitson, Prince Rupert: Portrait of a Soldier (1994), p. 119; A.R. Warmington, Civil War, Interregnum and Restoration in Gloucestershire (Woodbridge, 1997), pp. 37–8; and C.V. Wedgwood, The King's War, 1641–47 (1958, London 1983 edition), p. 175.

(4) These troops had originally marched into England in December 1642, see M. Stoyle, Soldiers and Strangers: An Ethnic History of the English Civil War (2005), p. 28.

(5) HMC, Portland MSS, I, p. 86.

(6) C.H. Firth (ed.), ‘The Journal of Prince Rupert's Marches’, EHR, volume 13, no. 52 (October 1898), p. 732.

(7) Ibid. For another Royalist account which inclines to the view that Hertford's soldiers were chiefly to blame, see Clark, Wood, p. 81.

(8) W.D. Macray (ed.), The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England … By Edward, Earl of Clarendon (six volumes, Oxford, 1888), II, p. 447.

(9) E.244 (30), p. 7. On Mercurius Aulicus in general, see P.W. Thomas, Sir John Berkenhead: A Royalist Career in Politics and Polemics, 1617–1679 (Oxford, 1969), pp. 29–64; J.L. Malcolm, Caesar's Due: Loyalty and King Charles, (p.193) 1642–1646 (1983), pp. 141–4; and L. Potter, Secret Rites and Secret Writing: Royalist Literature, 1641–60 (Cambridge, 1989), p. 8.

(10) Macray, History, II, p. 447. A subsequent, rather longer, report in the court newsbook reiterated several of the explanations which had previously been advanced by Royalist writers, see E.86 (22), Mercurius Aulicus (8–14 January 1643), p. 12.

(11) See, for example, E.85 (25), Anon., A True Relation of the late attempt made upon the Town of Ciceter (circa 19 January 1643), passim.

(12) Firth, ‘Journal’, p. 732; and E.85 (25).

(13) Firth, ‘Journal’, p. 732. Firth ascribes this incident to both 7 January and 6 February, but it is clear from other sources that the former date is the correct one.

(14) C. Durston, ‘Signs and Wonders and the English Civil War’, HT, volume 37 (October 1987), pp. 22–8.

(15) E.245 (17), A Perfect Diurnall of the Passages in Parliament (16–23 January 1643), unpaginated.

(16) E.88 (17), Certaine Informations (30 January to 6 February 1643), p. 23.

(17) E.246 (16), Mercurius Aulicus (29 January to 4 February 1643), p. 8. For the suggestion that Berkenhead had begun assisting Peter Heylin, the original editor of the newsbook, the week before, see Thomas, Berkenhead, p. 33.

(18) Firth, ‘Journal’, p. 732.

(19) For the defenders' mockery of the retreating Royalists, see Clarke, Wood, p. 81.

(20) Bod., MSS Top. Oxon, C.378 (‘The Journal of Thomas Wyatt’), f. 359.

(21) S. Reid, Officers and Regiments of the Royalist Army (Leigh-on-Sea, n.d.), pp. 124–5.

(22) For the date of Rupert's return to Oxford, see Firth, ‘Journal’, p. 732.

(23) E.85 (9), Speciall Passages and Certain Informations (10–17 January 1643), p. 188 (my italics).

(24) The Royalists themselves admitted that one of their officers had been taken prisoner during the retreat, having missed his way and fallen ‘into the hands of some of the Parliament's scouts’, see E.86 (22), p. 12.

(25) The trend was set by Rupert's first modern biographer, see E. Warburton, Memoirs of Prince Rupert and the Cavaliers (three volumes, 1849), I, p. 99.

(26) C.V. Wedgwood, The Trial of Charles I (1964), p. 165.

(27) E.2 (4), The Scottish Dove (5–13 July 1644), p. 312 (my italics).

(28) E.85 (9), p. 188.

(29) See Potter, Secret Rites, passim.

(30) For examples of such performance in Exeter in August 1642 and in London in 1644, see DRO, Exeter Quarter Sessions Order Book, no.64 (1642–1660), f. 7; and Potter, Secret Rites, p. 15.

(31) Potter, Secret Rites, p. 138.

(32) Bod., Wood, 614 (58), ‘T.B.’, Observations Upon Prince Rupert's White Dogge Called Boye [sic] (1642); Bod., Wood, 377 (27), ‘T.B.’, Observations Upon Prince Rupert's White Dog Called Boy (1642); and E.245 (33), ‘T.B.’, Observations Upon Prince Rupert's White Dog Called Boy (circa 2 February 1643). There is a second copy of the first of these editions at BL, 3580 (12), and of the third of these editions at Bod., G. Pamph. 2132 (11). In the following discussion, I have generally cited the Thomason edition of the text, (p.194) for ease of reference. As this edition—like both of the others—is unpaginated, I have supplied page numbers in brackets.

(33) Bod., Wood, 377 (27), title page. On Wood's habit of annotating the prints which he collected in order to ‘indicate their inaccuracies … or to fill in the gaps where individuals were alluded to rather than named’, see A. McShane Jones, ‘Rime and Reason: The Political World of the English Broadside Ballad, 1640–1689’ (unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Warwick, 2004), p. 105.

(34) It is the edition in Thomason's collection which is ascribed to ‘1643’—see E.245 (33), title page.

(35) E.245 (33), title page. For Thomason's practice when it came to dating his tracts, see Potter, Secret Rites, p. 1.

(36) See Bod., Wood, 614 (58), p. 5, where it is stated that ‘the dog doth usually breath a black cloud about Prince Rupert’. In the other two editions, the word ‘breath’ is mistakenly rendered ‘break’.

(37) See E.245 (33) [pp. 3–4]; E.669, f. 6, 100, To the Parliament. The Petition of the Well-affected Prentices and Young Men of London (circa 22 December 1642); E.244 (46), England's Memorable Accidents (2–9 January 1643), pp. 137–8; E.244 (2), An Humble Declaration of the Apprentices and other Young men of the City of London (circa 3 January 1643); E.244 (30), p. 5; K. Lindley, Popular Religion and Politics in Civil War London (Aldershot, 1997), p. 253; and CSPV, 1642–43, pp. 222, 224, 228.

(38) See E.245 (33), [pp. 4–5]; Clark, Wood, p. 80; and E.244 (30), pp. 4–6.

(39) See E.245 (33), [p. 2]; Clark, Wood, p. 80 and E. Besly, Coins and Medals of the English Civil War (Guildford, 1990), p. 33.

(40) See E.245 (33), [pp. 1–2]; and Clark, Wood, p. 81.

(41) See E.245 (33), [p. 1].

(42) See E.245 (13), J. Booker, The Bloody Almanack: by that famous astrologer Mr John Booker (20 January 1643).

(43) E.245 (13), [p. 1] (my italics); and E.246 (9), Mercurius Aulicus (22 January to 28 January 1643), p. 1.

(44) E.246 (23); James I, The Workes of the Most High and Mightie Prince James (1616), p. 129; and E.690 (6), Sir Robert Filmer, An Advertisement to the Jury-Men of England Touching Witches (circa 28 March 1653), p. 6.

(45) E.245 (33), [pp. 1–4, 8].

(46) E.245 (33), [pp. 2–3].

(47) J. Aubrey, Remaines of Gentilisme and Judaisme (J. Britten, ed., 1881), p. 76. On this subject generally, see also F. Valletta, Witchcraft, Magic and Superstition in England, 1640–70 (Aldershot, 2000), pp. 97–8.

(48) E.245 (33), [pp. 3–4].

(49) Ibid., [p. 4].

(50) J. Sharpe, Instruments of Darkness: Witchcraft in England, 1550–1750 (1996), pp. 73–4.

(51) E.245 (33), [p. 7].

(52) E.245 (33), [p. 5].

(53) Ibid., [p. 7].

(54) Ibid., [p. 6]. See also Exodus, chapter 22, verse 18; and Matthew, chapter 7, verse 6.

(55) The OED does not record an instance of the word ‘sidesmen’ being used in the way that T.B. uses it here in specific relation to fowl. It seems probable that the ‘sidesmen’ of a chicken were its wings, especially as a later (p.195) tract refers to Boy eating ‘the rumps and wings of Capons’, see E.92 (13), Anon., The Parliaments Unspotted-Bitch (circa 8 March 1643), sig. A2v.

(56) E.245 (33), [p. 6].

(57) On Lambe, see A. McConnell, ‘John Lambe’, in New DNB, pp. 296–7; L.M. Goldstein, ‘The Life and Death of John Lambe’, Guildhall Studies in London History, 4 (1979), pp. 19–32; A. Walsham, ‘Vox Piscis, Or the Book-Fish, Providence and the uses of the Reformation Past in Caroline Cambridge’, EHR, volume 114, no.457 (June 1999), pp. 585–6; M. Gaskill, ‘Witchcraft, Politics and Memory in Seventeenth-Century England’, HJ, 50, 2 (2007), pp. 292–7; and A. Bellany, ‘The Murder of John Lambe: Crowd Violence, Court Scandal and Popular Politics in Early Seventeenth Century England’, P&P, 200 (August, 2008), passim.

(58) On the witch's alleged power to lame, see A. Macfarlane, Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England: A Regional and Comparative Study (1970), p. 181.

(59) E.245 (33), [p. 7].

(60) Warburton, Memoirs, I, p. 99.

(61) See, for example, E. Scott, Rupert, Prince Palatine (Westminster, 1899), p. 79; C. Wilkinson, Prince Rupert the Cavalier (1934), p. 117; and Valletta, Witchcraft, Magic and Superstition, pp. 54–5.

(62) See K.M. Briggs, Pale Hecate's Team: An Examination of the Beliefs on Witchcraft and Magic among Shakespeare's Contemporaries and his Immediate Successors (1962), pp. 28–9; P. Morrah, Prince Rupert of the Rhine (1976), p. 105; and D. Purkiss, Literature, Gender and Politics during the English Civil War (Cambridge, 2005), pp. 214–15.

(63) E.245 (33), [p. 1]. On Blake, see E.242 (6), England's Memorable Accidents (31 October to 7 November 1642), p. 71; Clark, Wood, p. 70; and P. Young, Edgehill 1642: The Campaign and the Battle (Kineton, 1967), pp. 78, 130, 285.

(64) E.245 (33), [pp. 1–3]. See also Clark, Wood, p. 61; A. Marshall, ‘Joseph Bampfield’, in New DNB, p. 630; I. Roy, ‘William Legge’, in New DNB, p. 195; and J.I. Casway, ‘Daniel O'Neill’, in New DNB, p. 829.

(65) E.245 (33), [p. 1]; and E.246 (9), p. 1.

(66) See E.245 (33), [pp. 1–3];M. Mullett, ‘Thomas Case’, in New DNB, pp. 469–71; A. Laurence, Parliamentary Army Chaplains, 1642–51 (Woodbridge, 1990), p. 110; and Malcolm, Caesar's Due, p. 141.

(67) E.245 (33), [p. 7].

(68) For the ongoing battle between Rupert and the London pamphleteers, see Wing, R2306, Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert His Reply to a Pamphlet Entituled The Parliaments Vindication (Oxford, 1643); E.85 (24), ‘P.B.’, A Declaration against Prince Rupert (19 January 1643); and E.89 (25), Anon., An Answer to Prince Rupert's Declaration (16 February 1643).

(69) Bod., Wood, 377 (27), title page.

(70) Prince Rupert, Prince Rupert his Reply, p. 3.

(71) Briggs, Pale Hecate's Team, p. 28.

(72) E.245 (33), [p. 1].

(73) E.244 (30), p. 1.

(74) [J. Cleveland], The Character of a London Diurnall: With Several Select Poems by the Same Author (1647), pp. 1–8.

(75) B. Morris and E. Withington (eds), The Poems of John Cleveland (Oxford, 1969), p.lxviii.

(76) The characterisation of Cleveland as ‘arch pamphlet puppy’ was probably intended to suggest that he was a callow youth, rather than to hint at any perceived connection between Cleveland and dogs. For another young writer's characterisation of himself as ‘a Satyrical Puppy’ in 1620, see A. MacRae, ‘The Literary Culture of early Stuart Libelling’, MP, volume 97, no.3 (February 2000), p. 3.

(77) See Cleveland, The Character of a London Diurnall, pp. 2, 4, 16, 17, 26, 34, 36, 49, 52; and J. Cleveland, Poems by JC, with Additions, never before Printed (1653, Menston, 1971 edition), pp. 17–18, 61, 74, 99–100 and 97 (quotation).

(78) On the propensity of contemporary Royalist writers to collaborate, see McElligott, Royalism, Print and Censorship, pp. 99–105.

(79) Thomas, Berkenhead, p. 145; and E.669 f. 11 (70), J. Berkenhead, The Four-Legg'd Elder: Or, a horrible Relation of a Dog and an Elders Maid (circa 1 September 1647). It is conceivable that Berkenhead may have drawing here on memories of a genuine case of 1633, when Susan Morris, the servant of Sir Edward Cary of Devonshire, had been ‘questioned and indicted for buggery with a Spaniell dog’, see H.J. Hopkins, ‘Thomas Larkham's Tavistock: Change and Continuity in an English Town, 1600–1670’ (unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Texas, 1981), p. 211.

(80) On their shared admiration for Laud, see Thomas, Berkenhead, p. 119, note 8. Anthony Milton has described Berkenhead as a man of ‘impeccable Laudian credentials’, see A. Milton, ‘Anglicanism and Royalism in the 1640s’, in J. Adamson (ed.), The English Civil War: Conflict and Contexts, 1640–49 (Houndmills, 2009), p. 66.

(81) Thomas, Berkenhead, p. 119; and E.269 (25), Mercurius Britanicus (10–17 February 1645), p. 549.

(82) Thomas, Berkenhead, pp.vii, 39. For some considerably more forceful strictures on this subject, see J. McElligott, Royalism, Print and Censorship in Revolutionary England (Woodbridge, 2007), p. 105.