Colonel pleaded for pay to be sent to garrison soldiers

Boys who became men when HMS Havant rescued thousands from Dunkirk

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On this day in 1661 Colonel Richard Norton wrote a letter to Secretary Nicholas pleading for some pay for the Portsmouth garrison.

‘It is 20 weeks since they received any. They are most undone by trusting and a little pay would give them new life,’ he wrote.

Colonel Norton, described by a Royalist newspaper as ‘the great incendiary of Hampshire’, had been a staunch Parliamentarian and a friend of Oliver Cromwell.

Internal wrangling and growing disillusionment led to him ‘dwindling ultimately into Royalism’ and in 1660 he represented Portsmouth in the parliament that invited Charles II to return to rule.

Upon restoration, Norton was appointed Captain of the Town, Isle and Castle of Portsmouth’ Colonel Norton had succeeded to the Southwick estates on the death of his father, which was then passed to his son, also Richard.

When Richard jnr died he left a will leaving his estates in trust for ‘the poor, hungry, thirsty and naked to the end of the world’.

This was ignored and the lands ultimately ended up in the possession of the Thistlethwayte family - from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.