Page 53. " women are to be met with wool, as the cannon-balls were at the seige of Tiverton Castle "
Tiverton Castle
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeTiverton Castle - Credit: Humphrey Bolton

Tiverton Castle stood on a cliffside above the banks of the River Exe, in Devon. During the English Civil War in 1645 the castle, held by the Royalists, was subjected to a relatively brief siege by Thomas Fairfax’s Parliamentarian forces. The Parliamentarian forces entered Tiverton under Major General Massey on 15th October.  The bulk of the town's defenders fled towards Exeter, but left behind a defending force in the castle and church. Fairfax arrived on 17th October, set up his artillery and bombarded the castle for two days.  A lucky shot broke one of the drawbridge chains, a squad of Roundheads gained entry, and the castle was taken.  Fairfax set up his winter quarters in Tiverton, and requisitioned Blundell’s School as his headquarters. He was joined there in December 1645 by Oliver Cromwell. They left to lay siege to Plymouth in January 1646.

Flora Menzies writes: I have read in several sources that wool bales were used during the English Civil War to protect buildings from artillery fire, being stacked against a wall or, for taller structures, tied to the walls with rope.  I assume (without specialist knowledge) that tightly packed wool, dense but yielding, would act as a shock absorber. I cannot say specifically whether this was done at Tiverton Castle or, if it was, how effective it might have been, but I have heard of the practice during this period in parts of the country where wool bales were plentiful.