Article describing Valentine Walton and his part in the Civil War.
A Brief History of Valentine Walton & His Regiment
by David Evans
Walton married Margaret Cromwell, daughter of Robert Cromwell, sister to Oliver Cromwell, in 1619. In October 1640 Walton was returned as an M.P. for the borough of Huntingdonshire to what was to become the Long Parliament. The local electorate had rejected the nominee of Sir Henry Cromwell, a great local Landowner, in favour of Walton, as Walton was popular locally for his resistance to Ship-Money.
The War Commences
During August 1642 Walton was working in Huntingdonshire to secure loans upon the Propositions when the Cambridge Colleges started to gather their plate together to convey to the King in York. Warrants were issued by Walton in Huntingdonshire to raise men to stop the passage of the convoy. Initially Walton did not have a lot of success. However the University authorities dithered and when they finally started to move the plate part of the convoy was intercepted by a force under Oliver Cromwell and Valentine Walton.
The Raising of Troops
The Start of the Civil War saw Walton raising a Troop of Horse for the Earl of Essex's army. Edward Peacock's book, Army Lists of the Roundheads and Cavaliers lists Walton's Troop Officers as:- Lieutenant: Jervis Bonner. Cornet: Walton Quartermaster: Obadiah Crisp. It is possible that his cornet was his own son, also called Valentine. Laurence Spring's work on the Eastern Association Army gives the following list:- Captain Lieutenant: Thomas Ireton. Lieutenant: Parker. Cornet: Sturgis. Quartermaster: George Southwood. However, it is difficult to say when the Troop changed shape.
Walton was involved in the first campaign of Essex's army and fought at Edgehill, only to get himself captured.
The Son Continues
His son's Troop in Cromwell's regiment, if Walton jnr was Walton snr's Cornet, may date after this time. Alan Turton's work on Essex's Horse dates Cromwell's commission to Colonel in February 1643. Walton was eventually swapped for Col.Thomas Lunsford, being released in late July 1643, having been held in Oxford castle. Whilst in Oxford Walton petitioned Sir Robert Harley and others on behalf of Alexander Gregory, Minister of Cirencester, also held at Oxford.
His first port of call was briefly under the Earl of Denbigh in the Midlands. The seizure of King's Lynn by Royalist supporters within the town and its subsequent siege saw Walton back in East Anglia. King's Lynn fell in September 1643.
Deputy Govenor of Kings Lynn
The Earl of Manchester was made Governor of King's Lynn and, still only a Captain, Valentine Walton was made his Deputy Governor. In practise this made Walton de facto Governor of King's Lynn. From this point in the war must be dated the formation of Col.Valentine Walton's Regiment of Foote.
It appears from the sources available that the regiment was partly formed in Suffolk and could have included troops from Essex. During December 1643 The Committee of Suffolk ordered the Collectors for the various assessments in Ispwich to pay the sum of £900 monthly for Col.Walton's regiment in Lynne.
Spring's book gives the following list.:-
Colonel:- Valentine Walton.
Captain Lieutenant:- Thomas Lovekyn Made a Captain within the regiment by January 1644 Lt.Colonel Charles Nuthall In a Suffolk regiment during September 1643, still in Walton's in January 1644 Lt.Colonel James Hobart Formerly Major within the regiment Major Franklin First listed March 1644. Killed at Lincoln in 1644 Major John Mall Major by February 1645.
Captains:- William Mann January 1644 Candler January 1644 Francis French September 1643.
Lieutenants:-.John Awson September 1643 Simon West February 1645 Richard Staynes Larkin February 1645.
Provost Marshall:- George Salter Joseph Hager.
Quartermaster:- Timothy Langley Minister John Almond John Batchelor.
Surgeon:- Mathew Burchinall.
A Further 3 officers are listed but the earliest date for them is 1646 so they may not have served under Walton.
2 Surgeon's mates, 5 Cannoneers, 1 Gunner and 15 Matrosses are also listed. Part of the Regiment marched with the Earl of Manchester to York in 1644. Godfrey Davies article in English Historical Review Volume 46 on a group of pay documents for the Eastern Association forces gives a list of four companies of Col.Walton's regiment paid during the period 29th April 1644 to 1st March 1645. They are:- Major Franklin £71 19s 8d Capt. Cooper £48 10s 4d Capt. Candler £136 1s 4d Capt. Moyses £55 13s £312 4s 4d.
The Loss of Major Franklin
Major Franklin managed to get himself killed during an assault on Lincoln castle when Manchester retook Lincoln. His widow petitioned Parliament for arrears of pay and a pension. It is uncertain if the four companies marched any further north. During the absence of the four companies further work was being carried out on the defences of King's Lynn. John Weaver's account books for the time of the campaign include the sum of £300 "..Paid to Col.Walton towards finishing the Work at Lynne." During the move north of Manchester's forces King's Lynn acted as a depot for arms and supplies following Manchester. Most of the supplies were shipped up the East coast. A number of warrants bearing Valentine's signature have survived, being scattered through State Papers Volume 28.
At Marston Moor Captain Valentine Walton was killed. Oliver Cromwell wrote to Col.Walton after the battle to express his sorrow and offer comfort to Col.Walton "It brake his leg. We were necessitated to have it cut off, whereof he died. He was a gallant young man, exceeding gracious....Before his death he was so full of comfort it was so great above his pain. This he said to us. A little after he said one thing lay upon his spirit.that God had not suffered him to be no more the executioner of His enemies. At his fall, his horse being killed with the bullet..I am told he bid them open to the right and left, that he might see the rogues run. Truly he was exceedingly beloved in the Army, of all that knew him.."
The Settling of Monies
In April 1645 The House of Commons ordered the payment of the arrears of Col.Walton's regiment although it has not been uncovered yet as to how much was owed and where the money came from.
Walton - The Regicide
After the second Civil War in 1648 Walton was appointed a judge for the trail of Charles 1st, attending most of the sittings of the court. With the sentence a forgone conclusion Walton signed the death warrant. However, the signature on the death Warrant is markedly different to that seen on the warrants signed by Walton whilst Governor at King's Lynn. Under the Commonwealth Walton was appointed to all five of the Councils of State formed by Parliament. However Walton did not sit in any of the Parliaments or councils of the Protectorate.