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Reverend John Mastin, Vicar of Naseby

(Born 1747 at Epperstone. Died 1829 at Naseby.)


"LORD STAFFORD'S WARNING"
By the Rev. John Mastin
"The army of Charles, says the historian, consisting of less that 5000 foot, and about as many horse, was ordered to Daintree, wither the King went with a thorough resolution of fighting. The next day, however, to the surprise of Prince Rupert and all the rest of the army, this design was given up, and the former one of going to the north resumed. The reason of this alteration in his plans was alleged to be some presages of ill-fortune which the King had received, and which were related to me, says Mr. Mastin's authority, by a person of Newark, at that time in His Majesty's horse.
"About two hours after the King had retired to rest, said the narrator, some of his attendants hearing an uncommon noise in his chamber, went into it, where they found His Majesty sitting up in bed and much agitated, but nothing which could have produced the noise they fancied they had heard. The King, in a tremulous voice, inquired after the cause of their alarm, and told them how much he had been disturbed, apparently by a dream, by thinking he had seen an apparition of Lord Stafford, who, after upbraiding him for his cruelty, told him he was come to return him good for evil, and that he advised him by no means to fight the Parliament army that was at that time quartered at Northampton, for it was one which the King could never conquer by arms.
"Prince Rupert, in whom courage was the predominant quality, rated the King out of his apprehensions the next day, and a resolution was again taken to meet the enemy. The next night, however, the apparition appeared to him a second time, but with looks of anger assuring him that would be the last advice he should be permitted to give him, but that if he kept his resolution of fighting he was undone. If His Majesty had taken the advice of the friendly ghost, and marched northward the next day, where the Parliament had few English forces, and the Scots were becoming very discontented, his affairs might, perhaps, still have had a prosperous issue, or if he had marched immediately into the west he might afterwards have fought on more equal terms. But the King, fluctuating between the apprehensions of his imagination and the reproaches of his courage, remained another whole day at Daintree in a state of inactivity.
"The Battle of Naseby, fought 14th June 1645, put a finishing stroke to the King's affairs. After this he could never get together an army fit to look the enemy in the face. He was often heard to say that he wished he had taken "the warning", and not fought at Naseby; the meaning of which nobody knew but those to whom he had told of the apparition which he had seen at Daintree, and all of whom were subsequently charged to keep the affair secret."

(Extract from "The Haunters and the Haunters", Ed. by Ernest Rhys)

This John did live at about the dates given, but if he is related to us remains to be seen. More research is needed on this. He was probably born at Epperstone in Nottinghamshire in 1747, and was christened on 1st November 1747. His father was called William Mastin, and his mother was called Ann Mastin.

He wrote an autobiography, and a book called "The History of Naseby". The only written record of this I can find is included in "The Haunters and the Haunted" published in 1921 and edited by Ernest Rhys (1859 - 1946). The item is called "Lord Stafford's Warning", and is prefaced as follows:

"In the Rev. John Mastin's History of Naseby is cited the story of an apparition that was supposed to have appeared to Charles the First at Daintree, near Naseby, previous to the famous battle of that name."
In the box on the right is a copy of the article as published in the above book. The search goes on.

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