What's the Story?

On a building called Brooke House in Dam St is a plaque.  The name and the plaque’s inscription relate to the man killed there during the civil war. According to the Public Monument & Sculpture Association records1, Richard Greene (he of Lichfield’s Museum of Curiosities) commissioned the plaque in the 1700s, and it reads as follows:

‘MARCH 2ND 1643 LORD BROOKE A GENERAL
OF THE PARLIAMENT FORCES, PREPARING TO
BESIEGE THE CLOSE OF LICHFIELD, THEN GARRISONED
FOR KING CHARLES THE FIRST, RECEIVED HIS DEATH WOUND
ON THE SPOT BENEATH THIS INSCRIPTION BY A SHOT IN THE
FOREHEAD, FROM MR DYOTT. A GENTLEMAN WHO HAD
PLACED HIMSELF ON THE BATTLEMENTS OF THE
GREAT STEEPLE TO ANNOY THE BESIEGERS’

A couple of weeks ago, I’d have said without hesitation that I knew this story. Lord Brooke was shot through the eye and it was John Dyott (or Dumb Dyott as he was known) with a musket from the central spire of the Cathedral.  It’s possible that this is the correct version, but as I know now, it’s certainly not the only version.

Lord Brooke (source: Wikipedia)

 According to a letter from Richard Greene2 the version he based the inscription on was from Sir William Dugdale’s 1681 book ‘The Late Troubles in England’. Greene believed this gave the most ‘circumstantial account of the affair’. Over in the comments section of the Shopping Daze post, Pat & Ian have been discussing the affair, following a comment left by ‘Born a Lichfeldian’. In arguing their case, Pat & Ian have both done some research – Ian has found these different accounts on the Learning with Archives in Staffordshire & Stoke on Trent website and Pat has found a programme that includes a section about John Dyott. 

 

 

 
The fact that Brooke was killed on 2nd March doesn’t seem to be in dispute but inevitably, with this date being St Chad’s day the significance attributed to this does differ. Some, like Archbishop Laud suggested that St Chad had a hand in events…..

So, let’s imagine there was a way to prove exactly what happened on 2nd March 1643 (yes, I’m still thinking about my reconstruction idea!). What would we gain and what would we lose by doing so?

I can’t add any new photos so I can’t provide one of Brooke House. How about walking a few of those mince pies off with a stroll up Dam St to have a look for yourself?

Big thanks to Pat & Ian for all their contributions to this post and those in the pipeline 😉

 Sources:
1.http://pmsa.cch.kcl.ac.uk/BM/STliLIlb010.htm
2. Vol 55 of The Gentleman’s Magazine,

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11 thoughts on “What's the Story?

  1. Although reports state the shot came from the steeple I think it more likely it was
    from the roof ,At the time there would be so much going on people climbing all over
    the Cathedral a little bit of fantasy may have crept in to the story.

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  2. Wow, that TV programme link is great – thank you! The bit we’re concerned with kicks in at 19.00 minutes or thereabouts.

    I agree with you Pat, that seems far more realistic.

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  3. Again thanks so much to both of you, I’ve found this so interesting. I’m assuming that the place in the programme with the gun is Freeford Manor. Apparently Lord Brooke’s armour & bloodied clothes were taken back to & kept at Warwick Castle.

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  4. I think Pat is right and if my memory serves me correct from my history lessons the position was somewhere on the south east side of the Cathedral. My term “Musket” in one of the other entries about this thread was obviously not specific about the type of weapon used. However, I still feel this was a very accurate shot considering the activities that MAY have been going on during this time.

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  5. The irony is that until the discussion on this started I didn’t even think about doing a post on this, as I thought everyone knew the story too well! I think it’s a great reminder that there are always two (or three, or four!) side to the story.
    By the way I don’t know about the technical matters like guns & positions so i can’t contribute to this bit of the discussion. I am interested in John Dyott though…..

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  6. Dyott was not meant to be a marksman his job was to annoy the besieging troops
    so just by banging shots off down Dam street he was doing a grand job when he
    did hit someone he more than likely just carried on until he ran out of powder
    but before he did stop he changed history by bagging Lord Brookes.

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  7. Ian, you are correct which account indeed? Whichever way we look at the issue the fact remains this changed history as mentioned by Pat. However, we cannot out cast the thoughts that Dyott had at this time or his true intentions. I do understand the logic behind the annoyance of the besieging troops. However, we have to understand that Dyott was a disabled chap who in a period of social discrimination towards disabled people had to prove his worth! What better way could this be done than to shoot dead a leading parliamentarian.

    Interesting point in time. An even bigger discussion would be regarding the tunnels? Any chance we could have a post regarding more about the tunnelsplease Kate?

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    • Thank you! It’s actually more of an upload issue but might be able to use photos with a URL so will have a go. And of course I will credit you, wouldn’t dream of not doing 😉
      The open plaques project looks really interesting, am going to read more about it…Cheers!

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