Propaganda leaflets set to go under the hammer in Honiton

PUBLISHED: 15:00 06 September 2016 | UPDATED: 09:14 09 September 2016

The propaganda leaflets up for sale at Chilcotts.

The propaganda leaflets up for sale at Chilcotts.


The fascinating 17th Century documents were discovered by Chilcotts Auctioneers in amongst books and papers during a routine house clearance in Exeter.

A collection of propaganda pamphlets written during the years following the English Civil War are to be sold in Honiton.

The fascinating 17th Century documents were discovered by Chilcotts Auctioneers in amongst books and papers during a routine house clearance in Exeter.

Auctioneer Duncan Chilcott said: “Our research uncovered that one of these pamphlets, The Kings Cabinet opened: or certain packets of secret letters and papers was based on letters written by King Charles I, taken from his campaign chest after the battle of Naseby in June 1645.

“The chest and its incriminating contents were seized by the Parliamentarians including Sir Thomas Fairfax at Naseby Field, which was the scene of the decisive battle of the war.”

Much of the content was reproduced and circulated as propaganda by the Parliamentarians in the form of pamphlets. These, as well as letters and newspaper articles, served to fuel the flames of political machinations across the country.

In one pamphlet is a reprint of the final sermon given by the Archbishop of Canterbury as he awaited execution on the scaffold. The last sentence, ‘Lord raise my soul.’ was the agreed signal for the executioner to cut off the Archbishop’s head.

Although some of the documents clearly condemn Charles I, others take a different viewpoint such as a pamphlet entitled A Defence of the Vindication of King Charles the Martyr and an essay from 1799 purporting to be an aid to ‘attaining a true idea of the character and reign of King Charles the First’.

Duncan added: “Devon didn’t escape the turmoil of the Civil War, and although there was an early cessation of hostilities in 1643, the war continued in various areas, including three sieges of Exeter between 1642 and 1646. Tiverton was captured by Sir Thomas Fairfax in 1646, and Charles Fort at Salcombe was the very last place in the country held for the King.

“It’s interesting that the cities in the region were behind the Parliamentarian cause, whilst the rural community were more in favour of the Royalists – echoes of modern times?”

The collection has been given an estimate of between £150 to £200 and will be sold at the next Chilcotts fine art, antiques and collectors’ items’ sale, at the Silver Street saleroom on Saturday, September 10.

Viewing is on Thursday, September 8 from 9am to 5pm, and Friday, September 9, from 9am to 7pm. There will also be a chance to view on the sale day from 8.30am.

The sale starts at 10.30am.

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