Two Times A Ghost – The Battle of Olney Bridge

Oh the English Summer – what a joy to burble about on a Sunday dreaming of the England of yester-year…oh how my mind is haunted…..

To explain – I was going for a walk to Emberton because it was a nice day and I had spent too long slaving over a hot computer (so hot it got stuck).

The way to the country park was over a bridge. On the bridge I paused because I saw a plaque, and the plaque said that on the bridge back in 1643 The Battle of Olney Bridge took place. This had my blood racing, for I realized that at this place I was in the land of my ancestors.

I knew that at least one or two of my family were involved in the English Civil War, but  Civil War records are not kept properly, if at all.

The connections hinge on one Sir Samuel Luke who was the head honcho at the Newport Pagnell barracks. He was a staunch parliamentarian and Puritan – to the point that some wit wrote a satirical poem about him in a rather unflattering way. (‘Hudibras’ published after the restoration of the monarchy in 1663, by Samuel Butler, was basically a mock heroic poem criticising the Puritans, later the style was called ‘Burlesques’. He actually worked as a secretary for Sir Samuel Luke – its as if he was stalking him for a literary attack in his own home!)

Sir Samuel Luke was also the squire at the Manor of Haynes, the residence of my folks in the early 1600s. Being a smallish place the gentry would have known and employed the village people. By 1643 the Luke family had been in Haynes for two generations and my family would also have been there for two generations. Or would they?

The records are a jumble- the oldest son was always named after the father….and theories can fail.

Portrait by Gerard Soest, now at the Moot Hall Museum, Elstow, Bedford
Sir Samuel Luke Lived in Haynes and Cople in Bedfordshire during and after the English Civil War.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.