Family Lessons 93: Too Close to Thurland Castle

Edward Brears of Preston was my first cousin, fourteen times removed. He was captain in a parliamentary regiment in the civil wars commanded by Colonel Alexander Rigby, who was tasked with besieging Thurland Castle in north Lancashire in 1643. The attackers pounded the walls from 'the house of Mr Cansfield' and the defenders, led by the Catholic proprietor Sir John Girlington, gave back as good as they got, shooting whenever they 'spyed occation'. Unfortunately, Captain Brears approached too close to the walls, wherefrom he was shot with a musket, and died of his injuries. He is likely buried in Tunstall Church, below, unless his family dared risk a cart to take his cadaver south.

If Edward is truly my relative (older family trees are often based on probabilities rather than certainties) then he was not necessarily a younger man when he died, perhaps being 40 years old, his captaincy reflecting his social rank rather than his youth. Nevertheless, it will still have been a blow to the family, as well as to him. Had he applied greater caution and kept his distance to greater than the range of a musket shot, he might have lived to see those wretched wars concluded. A few weeks previously, Colonel Asheton had successfully attacked the nearby Hornby Castle; this victory might have rendered the parliamentary troops too confident as they set about subduing the smaller Thurland.

I sometimes marvel at my own and my fellow believers’ dalliance with temptation. I do not say that drinking booze, for example, is wrong, but there are those who approach its walls too nearly, and them it leads astray. Flicking through the channels at night, when all else are abed, risks one beholding pictures and sights which would harm the soul. Fire hurts flesh before the two even touch; so keep fingers well away, ensuring a safe distance.

And so, too, our souls.

Shun evil companions,
Bad language disdain;
God’s name hold in rev’rence,
Nor take it in vain;
Be thoughtful and earnest,
Kindhearted and true;
Look ever to Jesus,
He will carry you through. 

Ask the Saviour to help you,
Comfort, strengthen and keep you;
He is willing to aid you,
He will carry you through.

To him that o’ercometh,
God giveth a crown;
Through faith we will conquer,
Though often cast down;
He who is our Saviour,
Our strength will renew;
Look ever to Jesus,
He will carry you through. 

-H.R. Palmer, 1868

Image: Karl and Ali / Thurland Castle / CC BY-SA 2.0Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0