Jane LANE & Charles II


Sources: "Adjusting Branches of the Lane, Slack, Bush, Chaney, Dodson, Williams, Grace, and Blummer Family Trees," Annapolis, Maryland, 1988, pp. 3-9, by Doris Christine Grace Blummer Jackson, and "Country Roads and Lanes: The Ancestry and Descendants of General Jackson Lane and Allied Families," pp. 8-12, by Fannie Lane Steele.

King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1649 to 1685 may never have worn the Crown but for the loyal, self sacrificing and clever services of Lady Jane Lane, daughter of Col. John Lane, who had the future monarch pose as her servant in 1651 when Lt. General Oliver Cromwell put a high ransom on the head of the former Prince of Wales. One of the greatest manhunts ever conducted in England was foiled because Jane Lane, with the guidance of her father and others loyal to King Charles I, changed the young King's appearance to that of a poverty stricken farm lad and servant. As a result Charles II was gotten safely out of England.

Painting of King Charles II

After Charles I was beheaded, his son Charles II proclaimed himself King, was forced to leave England, then returned with a force of 10,000 men in an attempt to win back the Crown. Cromwell hastened to meet and surround Charles' army and after two encounters routed it at Worcester, September 3, 1651. Following defeat of his army Charles II miraculously escaped capture by fleeing into the deep woods and rural farm country. While in flight he experienced the great good fortune to encounter Colonel John Lane and other Loyal supporters who quickly got the King out of the public gaze. His royal finery was discarded and buried and Charles II soon was dressed in the dirty near rags of a farm laborer. Cromwell's soldiers passed Charles II on several occasions never suspecting that the dirty young man was their quarry. Colonel Lane and other faithful Loyalists hid Charles II when he needed rest, and fed him and bedded him down in servant quarters of houses and inns.

Charles was told that soon he and Colonel Lane would take off on the first leg of his dangerous journey to the sea. They rode throughout the night, and the following day Lane introduced the King to his daughter Jane Lane, who had been informed of Charles' identity, and knew he was to pretend to be her servant. Mrs. Lane hadn't been told that her daughter was to be entrusted with the King's life, in fact was unaware that he was King Charles II. Charles was given the name of William Jackson, the son of a tenant of Colonel Lane. The plan nearly collapsed in the house where Charles, the fugitive, was receiving succor. There a servant brought word that soldiers were en route to the house to search the premises and seek the arrest of owner Whitegreaves who was suspected of having fought with Charles II at Worcester. Hurriedly Charles was stuffed into a priest-hole, and just in time. Soldiers arrived, checked out the premises, and departed satisfied. En route to the sea Jane's mare shed a shoe. Upon being questioned the blacksmith that repaired the shoe advised that he had heard no news since Cromwell's victory at Worcester, and that the rogue, Charles Stuart, had not yet been apprehended. Charles agreed with all the blacksmith said, and added: "If that rascal is taken he deserves to be hanged for bringing in the Scots." This remark caused the smithy to look up at Charles and say, "You speak like an honest man." At the home of John Tomes, a cousin of the Lanes, Charles ate with the servants, and drew laughter from them when he didn't know how to wind the jack, a simple task, but Charles worked out of it by saying, "We seldom have meat, and when we do we rarely use a jack." At another stop, Charles ate breakfast while one servant expounded about the battle of Worcester. Charles upon asking questions learned that the man had actually been a trooper in his own guard. To avoid suspicion Charles asked the trooper to describe the King's appearance and clothing at the battle. The man looked at Charles and said, "The King was at least three inches taller than you." Still, Charles beat a hasty retreat fearing he might be recognized.

At Trent the King was kept in hiding while Jane Lane, and others, sought to hire a ship. A Loyalist merchant succeeded in finding a boat whose captain would, for a substantial sum convey two Royalist gentlemen to France. A rendezvous was set for Monday September 22, at the little coastal village of Charmouth where Charles and a loyal Royalist friend, Wilmot, would be awaiting them. There ended Jane's stardom. Charles obtained passage to France, and lived there for years in comparative poverty while waiting for a chance to recover the throne.

From France, Lady Jane Lane received this letter from Charles:
1652 the last of June
Mrs. Lane, I did not thinke I should ever have begun a letter to you in [chiding?] but you give me so just cause by telling me you feare you are wearing out of [my?] memory that I cannot chuse but tell you I take it very unkindly that after [all?] the obligations I have to you 'tis possible for you to suspect I can ever [be so?] wanting to myselfe as not to remember them on all occasions to your advan[tage?], which I assure you, I shall and hope before long I shall have it in my power to give you testimonyes of my kindnesse to you which I desire. I am very [sorry?] to hear that your father and brother are in prison, but I hope it is of no [other?] score than the general claping of all persons who wish me well and I am the more sorry for it. Now it hath hindered you from coming along with my [sister?] that I might have assured you myself how truly I am
Your Most affectionate friend,
For Mrs. Lane Charles R.

Lady Jane eventually fled from England due to suspicions that she took part in Charles' escape. Charles arranged for Jane to become a lady-in-waiting for his sister Mary in Holland. Throughout his exile Charles carried on affectionate correspondence with Jane Lane and decried his inability to better serve her. Only when the Restoration finally came in England did Charles' penury problem come to an end. Lady Jane was given a pension of L1000 per year and showered with endless valuable gifts, including jewelry and a snuff box. Jane's brother received a large land grant. Mistress Lane's courageous loyalty earned for her family one of the most notable augmentations known to heraldry, none other than the three Lions of England. They were added as a canton to the Lane arms.

The above was compiled by Keith D. Gmeinder and submitted by Susan T. Meier Susanm1215@aol.com


There is some question whether Jane's father was John or Thomas. For in another account it states that Jane and her brother John helped saved King Charles II life, and that their father was Thomas. "Lane's", by Sharon Lapp Irby.

CORRECTION- Mystery has been solved on who Jane's father was, here is some information from Richard John Lane Senior.
In a piece on the web about Jane Lane and Charles II, your "editor's note" said that there was some confusion about the relationship between Jane Lane and John Lane. There is no confusion. Jane was Col. John Lane's brother. Their father was Sir Thomas Lane (1585-1660) and their mother was Anne Bagot (a Cecil). Jane was their third daughter. (See the extensive piece on Jane in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The latest edition is just out.).

In 1651, at the time of Charles II's escape, Jane was Miss Jane Lane, although it may have been the custom to abbreviate "Mistress" to "Mrs" in those days. In one of Charles's letters to her, he appears to refer to her as such. Jane was betrayed to the Council of State and left for France in 1651, a couple of months behind Charles, not to return until after the restoration in 1660. She married Sir Clement Fisher Bt and died as Lady Jane Fisher at Packington Hall, just East of Birmingham, in 1689.

Jane is buried at Packington Hall, the current seat of the Earl of Aylesford. John's tomb is in the Collegiate Church of St. Peter's in Wolverhampton. Jane had no children. My mother was Jane Lane Chadwick and her grandmother was Jane Lane Boxall, following the family tradition, begun in the late 1600's I believe, of naming daughters Jane Lane. We are descended from Sir Thomas through John. My middle names are John Lane.

Richard John Lane Senior

In a book called "The Romance of Heraldry", pg. 186 we find:
"The most remarkable heraldic is that granted to the family of LANE for the assistance given to Charles by Mistress Jane Lane, for many years after a Royalist toast. Mistress Jane aided the Prince's escape from his foes by agreeing that he should pose as her servant, in which guise he rode before her on a strawberry roan horse to Bristol, where he hoped to take ship for France.

"Mistress Lane's courages layality earned for her family one of the most notable augmentations known to heraldry, none other than the three lions of England. They were added as a canton to the Lane arms-a sheild divided horizontally gold and blue, with a red chevron, and three stars counter-coloured. The accompanying crest is the faithful strawberry roan, holding a crown in token that he once carried its owner, and the motto is "Garde le Roy".

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