Kinaston Evidence

Kynaston update

The information of Capt: Charles Kinaston as to what hee knows against Coll Robert Lundy in the Affaire of Londonderry [1]

Very little is known about the life and career of Captain Charles Kinaston.  Indeed the account of his role in carrying communiqués between Lundy’s Council of War and the Jacobite camp at St. Johnston in Co. Donegal lay undiscovered in the Dopping manuscripts, housed in the Armagh Public Library until Cecil Davis Milligan came across it while researching his History of the siege of Londonderry 1689, which was published in 1951.  Little is known about the provenance of Kinaston’s account.  The version in the Dopping manuscript is a copy of the original and no further clues are provided about the primary document, who Kinaston provided his remembrances to, or when he did so.

Captain Kinaston’s account begins by noting that Lundy had convened his Council of War on 17th of April 1689 to consult upon some propositions for the surrender of Londonderry sent to the Governor by Lieutenant General Richard Hamilton, carried into the city by Mr Whitloe, a local minister from Raphoe.  In response, Lundy and his Council sent a party consisting of Kinaston, Archdeacon James Hamilton of Raphoe and Captain Francis Neville to carry the results of their deliberations to Richard Hamilton and Marshall Conrad de Rosen at St. Johnston.  However Kinaston noted that neither Archdeacon Hamilton nor Neville returned with him from the Jacobite camp and he alone carried further proposals for the surrender of the garrison back to Lundy in Londonderry.  The Jacobites demanded that an answer should be returned to them by 12pm the following day (18th of April) and, as a show of their good faith and intentions, Hamilton and de Rosen ‘obleiged themselues not to come in a hostile manner within two miles and a halfe of the Towne’ until that time.

The accounts of Captain Francis Neville and Reverend John MacKenzie differ from Kinaston’s on the roles played by Neville and Archdeacon James Hamilton.  Neville later complained to the Committee investigating the ‘Occasion of the Delays in sending Relief over into Ireland, and particularly to Londonderry’that when he returned from his parley with Lieutenant General Hamilton, Captain Whitney, who commanded the night guard, pretended that he did not know him and denied him entrance to the city.  He was forced to stay all night in a small hut outside the city walls where he was captured by the Jacobites, suffering imprisonment in Dublin for a time before he made a daring escape.  MacKenzie noted in his Narrative of the siege of Londonderry, that Kinaston, Hamilton and Neville returned to the city after their mission to St. Johnston but were refused entry by ‘the multitude’.  Hamilton and Kinaston were eventually permitted entrance though Neville, who had ‘before been very active’ in the defence of the city, wrote a letter which gave his account of the negotiations before departing the city.  Neville later returned and in 1691 he was appointed as the architect charged with rebuilding parts of the city devastated by the siege, including the old Town hall.

Despite Hamilton and de Rosen’s promise that the Jacobites would not come within two and a half miles of the city until the following day, James II defied this agreement when he ‘appeared with his whole Army before the Towne at Tenn a Clocke that morneing’, with his colours flying and drums beating, fully expectant that the city would surrender so he could make a triumphant entrance.  While the Council dithered and ordered a messenger to ride out to the deposed king to hear his demands, some of the defenders on the city ramparts fired on the Jacobite force, killing Captain Troy and causing many of James’ followers to disperse in disarray.  Fearful that the hostile actions of the city’s defenders would be seen as a blatant act of open rebellion against James which would occasion a swift response from the Jacobites, Kinaston stated that Governors Walker and Baker, who had replaced Lundy, ordered him to go to the King at St. Johnston to ‘make an Excuse for the Garrison fireing upon him, caused by the Breach of the aforesaid Agreement’.  Confined to his quarters fearing the wrath of the multitude inside the city walls, Lundy heard about Kinaston’s mission to the Jacobite camp and sent Captain Vernon Parker to him, ‘desireing earnestly to speake with him before hee went’.  Kinaston initially refused ‘till hee had considered of it’ and promised to return an answer to Lundy within half an hour.  He immediately met with Governor Baker to inform him of Lundy’s shady missive.  Baker encouraged Kinaston to meet with the disgraced former Governor so as ‘hee might thereby finde out some Rogery’.

Kinaston duly met with Lundy who,

tooke him up staires into a private Roome where hee told him the said Kinaston, that upon the character of him which hee had received from Capt: Parker hee durst venture to Impart a great secret to him; this the said Kinaston wondred at, and seemed to refuse, upon account of the small Acquaintance hee had with Lundy.  But notwithstanding that Coll Lundy went on, and deired the said Kinaston to present his humble duty to King James (whome hee called the King) and Acquaint him, hee the said Lundy had beene a very faithfull and just servant to him, and hee Instanced to the Contrivances of the businesse at Claudy which hee had managed as much as could bee for King James his Advantage (or words to this purpose).

These were not the only treasonable words that Kinaston alleged Lundy conferred upon him, for the former Governor also admitted providing Colonels Cunningham and Richards with a ‘false account of the state of the Garrison’ to prevent the admittance of reinforcements. Kinaston continued that,

Above all Lundy desired the said Kinaston to acquaint the late King James of the service hee had done him in forgeing a letter to himself (the said Lundy) from Coll Coningham which letter hee read to the said Kinaston and told him it was one of the two letter g hee produced at the Councell of Warr held the 17th of Aprill.

Naturally Kinaston did not have a copy of this treasonous letter to hand, but provided an account to his best remembrance:

That Coll Coningham haueing considered the state of the Garrison, did desire and Advise the said Lundy to make the best tearmes hee could for the Towne and himself, for that it was in such a condicōn as not to bee able to hold out till supplyes could come from England.  And that hee did not question but to satisfie the King of the same when hee came to England. 

Kinaston asked Lundy for a copy of this letter to show to James II but he refused to part with it.  When Kinaston travelled to James’ camp at St. Johnston and acquainted him with Lundy’s message, the Stuart king replied ‘Alas poore man’ and noted his satisfaction that ‘hee had done him all the service that lay in his power’.

The final piece of information which Kinaston provided comes at the end of the document, almost in a throwaway comment.  He alleged that he also carried a letter to the Jacobite camp from Lundy’s wife Martha, daughter Rowland Davies, the future Dean of Cork.  Kinaston stated that the letter was intended for Lieutenant General Richard Hamilton, but as he was not present when he met with the King, Kinaston returned the letter unopened to Martha Lundy on his arrival back from St. Johnston.  If true, it is a tantalising glimpse of further covert correspondence between the Jacobites and the Lundys ensconced inside the walls and ramparts of Londonderry.  Unfortunately Captain Kinaston provided no further information on the substance of the letter, making it impossible to speculate on its contents onhis evidence alone.

It should be noted that Reverend John MacKenzie’s account in his Narrative of the siege of Londonderry departs from Kinaston’s version of events.  He claimed that the city’s Council sent Archdeacon Hamilton to St. Johnston to ‘excuse themselves for what had pass’d, and lay all the blame of it on the ungovernableness of the people, whose violent humour, they said they could not restrain’.  Some members of the Council patiently did not believe James to be at the Jacobite camp and sent one Captain White with Hamilton to ‘put them out of all doubt about it’.  MacKenzie noted that Hamilton did not return from his mission after taking protection from Lieutenant General Richard Hamilton, though he took sick that summer and died from his illness.  No doubt MacKenzie believed this to be divine judgement upon him for switching his allegiance to a popish monarch.  He added that evidence of James being in the Jacobite camp did little to assuage the passions of the city’s defenders who proved absolutely resolved in their opposition of James.  The scene was thus set for the rise in popular support for Colonel Adam Murray.

[1]Armagh Public Library, Dopping MSS, no. 252; Commons Journal, X, pp. 262; John MacKenzie, Narrative of the siege of Londonderry, or the late memorable transactions of that city faithfully represented to rectify the mistakes and supply the omissions of Mr Walker’s account (London, 1690), pp. 26-27.

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