The children of Colonel Beverley, a Cavalier officer killed at the Battle of Naseby are believed to have died in the flames when their house, Arnwood, is burned by Roundhead soldiers. However, they escape and are raised by Joseph Armitage, a gamekeeper in his cottage in the New Forest. The story describes how the children adapt from an aristocratic lifestyle to that of simple cottagers. The children are concealed as the grandchildren of Armitage.
Eventually after Armitage's death, Edward Beverley leaves and works as a secretary for the sympathetic Puritan placed in charge of the Royal land in the New Forest. He then joins the army of the future King Charles II and after the Royalist defeat at the Battle of Worcester, he escapes to France and lives in exile until the Restoration.
His brother and siblings continue to live in the New Forest and they are reunited on the King's return.