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Bolles of Haugh, co. Lincolnshire in the Military

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Background to the Anglo-Spanish War (1585-1604)

England was made a Protestant nation in 1534 when the Church of England was established by Henry VIII in defiance of the Pope. Henry's death brought on a struggle for political power between Catholic and Anglican elements in the Royal Court.  After a short reign by Henry’s minor son, Edward VI, and an even shorter 9 day rule by Lady Jane Grey the Catholic elements managed to have Henry’s daughter Mary crowned in 1553.  Mary tried to return the country to the Catholic Church and formed a strong alliance with Spain.  When she died and her half-sister Queen Elizabeth I was crowned in 1558 the new Queen resolved to put an end to the question with the Act of Supremacy which firmly re-established the Church of England’s independence from Rome with Parliament conferring the title of Supreme Governor of the Church of England on her.  Elizabeth and the Pope argued back and forth for a while and in 1570 Pope Pius V issued a Papal bull declaring “Elizabeth, the pretended Queen of England and the servant of crime” to be a heretic.  Europe was now divided into two factions vying for authority, one Catholic and the other a Protestant/Anglican coalition. 
This period known as the Eighty Years War (1566 to 1648) pitted The Holy Roman Empire and Spain against England (Anglican), France (Catholic but under England’s control), the Dutch Republic (Protestant) and Protestant factions in Germany and France (the Huguenots). At that time the British Army was not a standing army but rather a collection of individual companies and regiments under the command of various Lords of the realm who raised and financed them under an obligation they had to the Crown in exchange for their right to hold their lands. 

Members of the Bolles of Haugh Family Involved in the Anglo-Spanish War

See The Bolles of Haugh Family Tree to see where the following family members fit in and click on the accompanying link to see the details of their service.
For England the main event of this on-again off-again battle was the Anglo-Spanish War (1585-1604).  It began with England’s military expedition to the Dutch Republic in 1585 under the command of the Earl of Leicester in support of Dutch resistance to Habsburg Rule (part of the Holy Roman Empire). 

The Attack on Cadiz in 1596

In 1596 the English scored a major victory with a surprise attack on the port of Cadiz which caught some of the Spanish fleet at anchor.  The Spanish burned their ships to avoid their capture by the English and the English horse and footmen sacked the town and took many hostages for ransom.  John Bolle of Haugh ( in the Bolles of Haugh tree) was knighted on the battlefield by Lord Essex.  See Sir John Bolle at Cadiz   John Bolles had the custody of a young lady of high position who fell in love with him.  Her tragedy at learning of his loyalty to his wife has been told in Percy’s ‘Reliques’ as ‘The Spanish Lady’s Love For An Englishman’ which is known colloquially as the Story of the Green Lady.   She is said to haunt his manor house to this day.  See The Ghost of Sir John Bolle's Hostage, The Green Lady of Thorpe Hall

The Nine Years War in Ireland (Tyrone's Rebellion) 1593-1603

Spain had one more potential Catholic ally, the Celtic Earl’s of Ireland.  England had occupied southern Ireland but the north and the interior remained in the hands of Irish Earls.  Some had adapted to the English occupation and benefitted from it, enjoying the protection of English troops for land claims which they may not have otherwise been able to defend, but others resented having been forced to swear fealty to the Queen to maintain ownership of their own land. 
In 1593 the Earl of Tyrone openly rebelled against the Crown in what would become the largest conflict of Elizabeth I’s reign.  While the English were expecting an attack on the south coast of England, Spain decided to land in Ireland in support of the Earl’s rebellion. A victory in Ireland would have given them a much better base to attack England from.  After a Spanish Amada was caught in a storm and wrecked while trying to land in Ireland that summer, Queen Elizabeth realized the need to increase the size of her army there if she was to suppress the rebellion.  A levy was put on the leaders of several English counties to provide these troops.  On Sept. 10, 1596 the Queen’s Privy Council ordered the Lord Treasurer of Lincolnshire to levy 94 able men in Lincolnshire for service in Ireland. 
Sir John Bolle was appointed as their Captain and there would have been a Lieutenant, an Ensign, likely two corporals and a drummer for a company with a full complement of 100 men.  Sir John's company was at the port of Chester by the end of September to sail to Ireland. 
Initially Sir John served in the south of Ireland under Lord Essex now the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.  From 1596 to 1600 his company is on record as fighting Feagh O'Byrne in Wicklow, defending Carrickfergus, co. Antrim and serving in Munster.  In the latter assignment Sir John also served as the Governor of Kinsale.   See Sir John Bolle in Ireland   When Essex fell out of favor and was replaced by Lord Mountjoy he initiated a new phase of the combat, the razing of Ulster to create famine in the north to weaken the O'Neill's supply lines.  In 1600 Lord Docwra was assigned the task with Sir John as his second in command.  See Lord Docwra and Sir John Bolle in Ulster  Once they had built several forts to protect their base in Derry they began their campaign.  See Sir John Bolle at Dunnalong Fortress for the next part of this history.

The Continuing Campaign in the Low Countries and the Anglo-Spanish War of 1625-1630

The English defence of the Dutch Republic which began in 1585 was still ongoing in 1625 when Richard Bolle of Hague was serving as 'Ensign to Sir Peregrine Bertie in the Low Countries', and was called from there on June 1, 1625 by Sir William St Leger, to serve in the expedition to Cadiz. ref
Richard had possibly accompanied Bertie who was a prominent landowner in Lincolnshire, so he would have known Richard's cousin Sir John Bolle, who had been sent to command in the Netherlands in 1624.

The Attack on Cadiz in 1625

In 1625 England launched another attack on Cadiz led by the Duke of Buckingham, Sir Edward Cecil and the 3rd Earl of Essex and involving three members of the Bolles of Haugh line, Sir John Bolle’s Uncle John Bolle ( in the Bolle of Haugh tree), his cousin John Bolle Jr. ( in the tree) and John Jr's brother Richard Bolle (later the Hero of Alton Church) ( in the tree).  However, this expedition was not as successful as the attack in 1596. Storms blew them out to sea, siking some of their ships and delaying their arrival.  They had been poorly stocked with provisions so where already in a weakened state when they finally arrived at Cadiz where the wind put the Spanish fleet in a better position to defend it.  With the English at a disadvantage and after a disastrous initial landing, the fleet was ordered home in December.  They did not have the provisions for a longer than planned voyage and much of what they had spoiled; many men had been lost and others were barely able to make their way back.  England had been defeated by the weather, poorly provisioned ships and inexperienced command. 
Just as one ship of the fleet, the Swiftsure, arrived in Portsmouth a Captain Bolles of St Leger's regiment died from 'the scarcity and corruption of the provisions' and was buried there in December 1625.  That would have been John Bolle Sr. ( as we know that his wife Margaret's Will in 1626 states that her husband had predeceased her.   See The Attack on Cadiz in 1625  

Serving in Ireland in 1626

Some of the ships couldn't even make it to Portsmouth and had to put in at Kinsale, Ireland that December where several of the devastated companies were immediately reformed to increase their strength.   Captain Bolles company is among the list of reformed companies.  and reassigned to fight the rebellion there which had officially ended in 1606 but simmered on with a feared imminent Spanish landing to aid them.  Captain Bolle Jr (Richard)'s company was one of the companies reformed and within two months later we find the last 8 men of Captain Bolle Jr's company re-assigned to duty in Galway. 

Colonel Philip Hakluyt's Regiment in France in 1627 (during the Anglo-French War of 1627-29) and in the Low Countries 1627-31 (still the 80 Years War mentioned above)

Richard Bolle (again in the tree) then served in Colonel Philip Hakluyt’s regiment during the failed Ile de Rhe expedition in 1627.  The expedition was commanded by Sir Peregrine Bertie who had earlier released Richard to serve at Cadiz.  Upon its return from France, Hakluyt’s regiment joined the English regiments in the Low Countries where Richard Bolle served as a Major until 1630 when he was wounded and was recalled to England.

Captain Richard Bolle, late sergeant-major to Col. Hakluyt to the Council and Council of War, was arrested as a debtor in 1630 for being the guarantor of an outstanding account for the lodging and diet of his sister Anne.  That helps to confirm  which Richard this was.  John Bolles’ wife’s Will of 1626 refers to their son Richard having one sister, Anne, who was a minor in her grandmother’s Will of 1608.  While in prison in St Martins le Grand he petitioned for release until he received his pay from the army. 
Richard soon secured his release from prison and petitioned for relief from his duties on April 15, 1631.

Royalists During The Civil War (1642-51)

Several members of the Bolles of Haugh line served during the Civil War.  At least three of them fought in the Battle of Edge Hill.
Richard Bolle of Louth, in the tree as mentioned several times above, was a career soldier who had served in Europe, Spain and Ireland and came to the King's aide in 1642 with the outbreak of the Civil War.  There are several accounts of his service online at Edge Hill and elsewhere but he rose above the level of the many unrecorded heros who have been involved in military actions over the years by becoming one of the few recorded heros after his defiant stand for the King at Alton Church.  See Richard Bolle, The Hero of Alton Church 
Francis Bowles of Bromley, co. Kent, a branch of the Bolles of Haugh, was injured and left for dead at Edge Hill but survived to fight at Bristol and Naseby.  Prior to the war three generations of his family his family had served as Master of the Tents, in charge of all care and acquisitions of tents and pavilions for the army since the days of Elizabeth I.  After Parliament seized control of the country, Francis managed to continue in that role but lost it upon the restoration of the monarchy.  In 1663 he petitioned Charles II to return him to the position due to the wounds he had taken in the King's service.  He also made an appeal to the Duke of York to second his appeal to the King.  His appeal was successful as his family would continue on in that role for several more generations.
Francis is 1.1.4 in The Family Tree of the Bowles of Bromley
This part is still under construction

This site was last updated 01/21/20