At the onset of the English Civil War the inhabitants of Cumberland and Westmorland can’t be described as being very enthusiastic for war – although they were largely nominally Royalist. In the North East, the Earl of Newcastle levied a force and roused some stronger feeling although his tenants did, on occasion, simply ignore his warrant.
The Earl, no doubt feeling that the west of the country should be more proactive, appointed Sir Philip as commander-in-chief of the two counties. Sir Philip Musgrave of Edenhall was already a militia colonel and based on the content of a letter in his correspondence had taken steps to act against known parliamentarians in the area – Sir Patrick Curwen of Workington found it expedient for his friends to intercede with Musgrave on his behalf for instance. He was not very active but the musters he did insist upon were sufficient to irritate Sir John Lowther – who didn’t want Sir Philip to do anything at all. Essentially he felt undertaking the minimum would increase the likelihood of drawing Parliament’s attention on the northwest while Sir Philip hoped that doing very little would ensure that Newcastle would stay on the opposite side of the Pennines. Somewhat bizarrely Musgrave and Lowther engaged on a long drawn out feud over who had the right of the matter which involved several of Cumberland’s leading families including the Dacres who resisted Musgrave’s command.
Sir Philip was the son of Sir Richard Musgrave, the 1st baronet of Hartley Castle. Sir Richard died in 1615 when his son was just eight. His career trajectory followed that of many of other gentleman of the period. He was educated at Trinity College Oxford and then was found a suitable wife- Julia Hutton- from within his own county. He became the Deputy Lieutenant for both Westmorland and Cumberland. In 1642 he was made a commissioner for array – that is to say he was responsible for raising Cumberland’s levy of soldiers for the king. There were problems over the exact nature of his commission from Newcastle and assorted feuds to contend with. However, by 1644 he was able to supply a force to join with Prince Rupert’s army.
Things changed in 1644 because of the intervention of the Scots. On one hand York was captured by Parliament thus causing royalists to come north and secondly Carlisle now stood in danger of capture. When the city finally fell to Parliament Edenhall had been damaged and Sir Philip had to ride south with a royalist troop to join with the king. At the battle of Rowton heath in September 1645 Sir Philip was injured and subsequently captured. Records indicate he was sent to York and from there to Pontefract. Meanwhile his lands were sequestrated.
Sequestration was a means by which that Parliament was able to fine Royalists and confiscate their goods. Sir Philip’s belonging were valued at £308 in the spring of 1643. Not only were his cattle and sheep assessed but a figure was also attached to the bees in the hives on his land.
Musgrave was released at the end of 1645 and he went to Newcastle. From there he finally made his way home the following year. Suffice it to say, Musgrave was loyal to the Stewarts and became involved in the 1648 rising in Scotland which resulted in Musgrave capturing Carlisle on the 29th April. Musgrave before seeking to capture Appleby. Unfortunately for Musgrave Parliament gained the upper hand before the Duke of Hamilton and his army could take advantage of the way into England.
Rather than face General Lambert Musgrave sued for parliamentary protection which he gained, not that this prevented him from fleeing to France in 1649. As a direct result of this involvement with the so-called Scottish engagers Musgrave’s lands were confiscated in 1651. His wife was required to sue for maintenance, Sir Philip having been excluded from any act of amnesty by the Treason Act which confiscated his land.
Sir Philip did not remain quietly in France. He negotiated with the Scots, travelled to England and was even offered Governorship of the Isle of Man by the Countess of Derby. In part his apparent freedom to travel around the realm which had declared him traitor resulted from his friendship with Lord Wharton who even lent his son the money to buy the sequestrated estates back. It was however, one step too far when Sir Philip turned up at his newly repurchased estates. He was arrested and sent to London where he was charged with various conspiracies against parliament. If he himself was not involved it is probable that one or more of his sons was. Ultimately Sir Philip was released but not until £2000 bail had been paid and even then Parliament was keen for him to remain outside his home county.
Musgrave returned to Cumberland in 1660 with the Restoration. He returned to doing what gentry do – being a JP and member of parliament. He was also the mayor of Carlisle in 1666 having also been its governor and the captain of the castle.
He died in 1678 having fought at the Battle of Marston Moor and the Battle of Worcester. In between times he had fathered seven children, been granted a peerage by Charles II which he never took up and acquired the right to take tolls on cattle passing through Cumberland (of which he did avail himself).
It would have to be said Sir Philip is one of those figures in history that the more you dig around the more that you find – although sadly not a portrait.
Robinson, Gavin. Horses, People and Parliament in the English Civil War: Extracting Resources