There are a number of mysteries surrounding the Troon Golf Clubs

1 Who Made them

2 Who owned them

3 How did they get to Hull

4 Why were they hidden

5 Who hid them

6 What do the markings mean

 

In this chapter we look at questions 3,4 &5

It is around twenty years since I first gave a half hour radio broadcast on BBC Radio Humberside about these ancient clubs. I hate to think how many hours I have spent reading old historic books in Hull Library and the new History centre

Hull History Centre

I wish I had a penny for every page I have read. I have studied the Maister family and there is no mention in any generation of golf. No golf club existed in Hull until a few years before the discovery, and that was in Beverley.

If the markings on the clubs do mean what they appear to mean - ownership of a Royal Stuart then it is reasonable to research Hulls history to discover if any of the Stuarts visited Hull and whether or not they played golf.

The only member of the Stuarts who visited Hull was King Charles I, in the year 1639.

In the year 1639 King Charles had fell out with Parliament and was based in York from where he tried to rule the country. In the spring of that year he had travelled to London to negotiate with Parliament, and was returning to York, when he changed his plans en route and decided to visit Kingston upon Hull, which was a walled city with a massive arsenal of weapons and munitions. It was also in a key position should civil war break out.

Although he sent messengers ahead it gave the city elders little time to prepare for a Royal visit. They had not had a Royal visit during their tenure and it must have been something of a panic to prepare for the Kings arrival.

Not all were sympathetic to the King, but with time at a premium and much to do everyone despite their beliefs went to work to ensure the success of the visit.

The Mayor of Hull, William Popple, only a few days to make arrangements. A foot platform was constructed at Beverley Gates, the entrance to Hull, for people to view the arrival of the monarch. A rich carpet was laid down and the leading citizens of the town were 'desired to be ready to receive and wait on His Majesty, in their best robes, habits and attires'.

Charles Arrives at Beverly Gate


On 4 April 1639, Charles I accompanied by Lords, Knights and Gentry, was received at Beverley Gate by the Mayor, Recorder, Alderman and other leading citizens.

The Mayor, in scarlet robes, greeted Charles I with expressions of loyalty and with gifts. The keys of the town were presented, with a purse holding one hundred pieces of gold and several yards of quality ribbon. It is reputed that the ribbon was later tied in a knot upon the King's hat, which he called his 'Hull favour'.

The Recorder, Francis Thorpe, then delivered a long speech to the royal procession, with assurances of 'our most sincere loyalty', and with promises to protect the King 'against all your enemies, with the utmost of our lives and fortunes'. (Francis Thorpe later turned against the Royalists, and was a Commissioner at Charles' trial in 1649, which ordered the King's execution).

Charles I responded to this warm reception in 1639 with a shorter speech and declared it was his duty to live 'for the good of his people'. The procession then moved on, through the town, as the noise of bells, cannons and chants of 'God save the King' filled the air.

The King lodged that night at the home of Sir John Lister, former Mayor of Hull, on High Street, on the site of what is now Wilberforce House Museum. 'A noble and magnificent entertainment' was provided in the Banqueting Room in honour of the special guest. On the following day the royal party inspected the garrison of the town, and after dining, was escorted back to the gates, to continue their journey north, via Beverley.

One can imagine, the chaos of housing and feeding all the entourage, the mixture of nobles and soldiers. The City was completely walled and by no means large.  Whilst King Charles was accommodated by Sir John Lister, all the others would have to have been hosted by the city elders and probably the wealthier merchants.

William Maister (1597-1664) was a prominent citizen, who was Chamberlin in 1637, Sherriff in 1645, nd Mayor in 1655. He would almost certainly have attended the Royal reception, and accommodated some of the royal party. Maister House is no more than 300 yards from the site of the reception.

Could it be that the clubs could have been left in haste by an aid staying at Maister House. Not beyond the realms of possibility and this is the only occasion when a Royal Stuart is as close to Maister house in recorded history.

If this did occur then we will shortly see a motive appears for the concealing of these items.

King Charles the Golfer

Did Charles play golf is the question. The answer is that like his father James I, Charles was a very keen golfer and never missed a chance to play.

It is recorded that in this troubled time, he was playing golf at Leith Links, when he received news of the Irish Rebellion. The scene is captured in this later art work. 

 
Better picture to follow

 


Rebellion

As Charles' relations with Parliament grew steadily worse, Hull as a port and a fortress grew in importance to both sides. Parliament was able to appoint a governor, Sir John Hotham, with strict orders not to surrender the town to the King.

In April 1642, Charles I arrived at Beverley Gate, where he was refused entry. An ultimatum was issued, and ignored, to open up the gates to the King. The governor was declared guilty of high treason, but the royal party was forced to return to Beverley. The reception the King received in 1642 was so very different to the one staged just three years previously.

 

 

Charles Refused Entry into the City of Hull 

If the clubs had been left in Maister House they now become an item of severe danger. To hold items belonging to the king bearing his mark, could spell danger for the Maister Family. Now there is a good reason to conceal the clubs from chance discovery, and without destroying them as the outcome of events is far from certain.

 

Yes this is an extraordinary theory, and this theory also relies upon the clubs being the same age as the irons, yet after years of research, I can find no other explanation which brings all the required factors together. Of course there is a possibility of being wrong, but it is heartening to find such a positive link between the Maisters and the Stuart Kings 

To follow - Charles lays siege to the City