A Holy Communion Service was held at the Priory tonight acccording to the rite of 1662 and the propers for Charles, King & Martyr subscribed for use by his son after the restoration of the Monarchy.
Sir Trefor Morris writes:
Charles 1, ‘the Martyr King’, has inspired more intense feelings than any of our other sovereigns. The Stuart charm and charisma, lacking in his father James 1, were present in him in full measure.
Charles born in Scotland, was the second son of James and had a very difficult childhood he was delicate and unable to either walk or talk until he was three. His elder brother died at the age of 18, when Charles was 12 and consequently he became Prince of Wales at the age of 16 and next in line for the throne. He succeeded his father in March 1625 and was crowned on Candlemas Day 1626.
These were turbulent times, the Reformation had destroyed the power of the Roman Catholic Church in England and the Tudors had allowed a growth in the power of Parliament. James had his quarrels and when insisting on the ‘Divine Right of Kings’ Charles encountered the same troubles as his father. After summoning and dissolving Parliament three times, he governed without them for eleven years and eventually came the inevitable clash in 1640 when the Civil War began in earnest. After a bitter conflict of changing fortunes, family against family the Royalist Army suffered a crushing defeat in 1645 at Naseby. In the aftermath King Charles and the remnants came to Wales to raise support from his supporters in Wales and particularly here in Monmouthshire with the Herberts. He visited Abergavenny and held his Court in the Priory House spending some 6 months in the area. Charles eventually surrendered to the Scots in 1646 who promptly handed him over to the English. He was brought to trial in Westminster Hall before 135 Judges but he refused to recognise the legality of the Court. He did not plead and was found guilty by 68 votes to 67. Sentence of death was passed and on 30th January 1649 he was beheaded on a scaffold outside the Banqueting Hall in Whitehall. His last word was “Remember”. The people present groaned and as his blood was spilled they pressed forward to soak their handkerchiefs in his blood. He had become the “Martyr King”.