Robert Temple - Author of The Sphinx Mystery


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ALURED, John (1607-1651), MP, parliamentary officer, and regicide, was baptized at Preston 4 April 1607, the eldest in a family of four sons and three daughters of Henry Alured MP (1581-1628) of the Charterhouse, Hull, and his wife Frances (d. 1626), daughter of Francis Vaughan of Sutton-upon-Derwent, Yorkshire. Alured's father, uncle, grandfather, and great-grandfather had all been MPs. The poet Andrew Marvell [q.v.] lived next door, fourteen years Alured's junior, and received his early introductions to the Fairfaxes and others through Alured. Alured was heir in 1628 to much land and £400 to £500 a year income. He was admitted to Gray's Inn I I August 1628.

He married 17 November 163 I his cousin Mary Darley, daughter of Sir Richard Darley JP, of Buttercrambe, Yorkshire (died c.1654), having three sons and a daughter. The eldest son, Col- onel John Alured, has often been confused with his deceased father in the 1650s. Alured married secondly Mary Arnold of London c.1640 (pos- sibly mother of the two youngest children).

On 4 July 1638 Alured got into serious trouble with the court for saying of the Scots that 'they did well' in opposing the king and he hoped 'they would reform this land by a parliament as well as they have done theirs already'. He was confined to London on a £2,000 bond. He signed the petition of the gentry of Yorkshire to the king (28 July 1640), although the printed list by John Rushworth [q.v.] omits his signature. He was elected MP to his late uncle Thomas Alured's seat at Hedon for both the Short and Long Parliaments in 1640. Alured was commissioned captain of horse 10 August 1642 and became colonel in May 1643. In June 1642 he became collector of customs at Hull.

Alured's civil war activities were concentrated in two committees: he seems to have been chair- man of the committee of the East Riding, and he was an equally active member of the committee of the Northern Association (sometimes called 'the committee at York', though wholly distinct from the committee of Yorkshire, also at York). He was a close friend of Sir Thomas Fairfax (later third Baron Fairfax of Cameron, q.v.) and travelled in his entourage to London on 18 February 1645 when Fairfax went to take up his command of the New Model Army.

Alured was named to the high court of justice to try the king, attended the first meeting on 8 January, attended the first sitting on 20 January, was present when sentence was pronounced, and signed the king's death warrant. On the day of the king's execution, 30 January, he was named to the Commons committee for repealing past legislation in the order to lay the foundations for a republican form of. government. Alured was ruined by the civil war, his house having been destroyed in the fighting. He had advanced thousands of pounds of his own money to keep the parliamentary forces of Yorkshire going. On 28 August 1651, while Alured was evidently on his deathbed, James Chaloner [q.v.], the Yorkshire MP, reported to the House that Alured was owed £8,769 and asked for it to be paid. But Alured soon died, and by 20 November 1651 his widow Mary petitioned, equally unsuccessfully, for the money which never came. Alured's son John became a colonel in Ireland but did not survive him by many years. A younger son, Thomas, became a barrister and recorder of Beverley. A portrait of Alured survives, showing a strikingly handsome and sensitive countenance, dark hair, and an elegant beard.

[M. F. Keeler, The Long Parliament, 1640-1641, 1954; R. L. Greaves and R. Zaller (eds.), A Biographical Dictionary of English Radicals of the Seventeenth Century, 3 vols., 1982-4; private research.]



John Moore

MOORE, John (c.I599-1650), MP and regicide, was the eldest son of Edward Moore of Bank Hall, Walton, Lancashire, and his wife Katherine, daughter of John and Margaret Hockenhull (or Hocknell) ofPrenton, Cheshire. He had three brothers and four sisters. His ancestors had been MPs for Liverpool on and off since 1307, and his father served in the Parliament of 1625, besides being sheriff of Lancashire in 1620. Moore himself became justice of the peace by 1624, bailiff of Liverpool in 1630, and mayor in 1633. In 1638 he was admitted to Lincoln's Inn, a late admission suggesting a serious interest in the law. In 1633 he had married Mary, daughter of the future Royalist, Alexander Rigby of Burgh and Leighton, Lancashire (to be distinguished from his cousin, the parliamentary colonel and MP of that name, q.v.).

Moore was elected to the Long Parliament in 1640 as MP for Liverpool, sitting alongside his uncle, Major-General Ralph Assheton. He made an immediate impression and by 4 December 1640 was on the first committee. As an important Liverpool trader, he was on most of the parlia- mentary committees concerning trade, mon- opolies, and navigation. He also kept extensive parliamentary diaries, of which six volumes survive, though his hand is nearly indecipherable. With the approach of civil war, Moore pledged his support to Parliament, being named a deputy lieutenant of Lancashire on 24 March 1642 and taking part in July in the first military action of the war in Manchester, which was secured after a skirmish with Lord Strange.

Moore continued to serve the parliamentary cause in a variety of capacities. In August 1642 he was Parliament's police officer, as colonel of guards in the capital. In 1643 he was colonel of foot and captain of horse for Lancashire, as well as vice-admiral for Lancashire and Westmorland, and then in 1644 governor of Liverpool, which he was compelled to surrender to a superior Royalist force under Prince Rupert [q.v.], though he himself escaped. He was reappointed in November when Parliament regained control. In 1645, after a brief interval back on parliamentary committees, he was sent to Ireland with his regiment and named governor of county Louth and of Dundalk and a commissioner for Ireland.

He returned to England in January 1648, having had considerable military and political success, although his personal and regimental finances were in a desperate state. He was now one of the most powerful men in England, and Pride's Purge increased his authority. He was added to the committees of the army, for advance of money, and for settling courts of justice. He seems to have resumed his job as colonel of the Guards, for he was given power to search anywhere. On his own initiative, he began seizing enemies of the Rump Parliament as he saw fit. He was named a commissioner to the high court of justice to try the king, attended its first meeting and most ofits sittings, was present when the sen- tence was read out, and signed the king's death warrant. Thereafter he continued to be an influential committee-man until he returned to Ireland as a parliamentary commissioner in June 1649.

On 2 August he had a spectacular military victory at Baggotrath, calling it 'the absolutest vic- tory that ever was got in this kingdom and the least loss of our side', and, after a short interval back in England, he was in command at the siege of Tecroghan Castle near Trim in May 1650. The castle surrendered on 16 June, but by that date Moore had sickened and died, of either a pleurisy or a fever. He died deeply in debt, with most of his arrears unpaid. He left three sons and a daughter. The eldest son, Edward, married Dorothy, daughter of the Royalist, Sir William Fenwick, and was created baronet in 1662. Edward married secondly Mary Ben.

[M. J. Keeler, The Long Parliament, 1640-1641, 1954; R. Greaves and R. Zaller (eds.), A Biographical Dictionary of English Radicals of the Seventeenth Century, 3 vols., 1982-4; T. Heywood (ed.), The Moore Rental, Chetham Society, 1847; J. Brownbill and K, Walker (eds.), A Calendar of. . . Papers of the Moore Family, 1913; British Library, Harleian MSS 541, 476-80 (Moore's Journals); private research.]




NORTON, SIR Gregory (c.1603-1652), MP and regicide, was the son of Henry Norton of CharIton, Wantage, Berkshire, and his wife Elizabeth, fourth daughter of William Nelson of Chaldeworth, Berkshire. He was created a baronet of Ireland 27 April 1624, aged about twenty-one, probably through the influence of his uncle, Sir Dudley Norton, secretary for Ireland, and admit- ted to Gray's Inn in 1629, being a contemporary there ofJohn Bradshaw [q.v.], who was to preside over the king's trial, John Cook [q.v.], who was to prosecute the king, and John Alured the regicide [q.v.]. From then until the end of 1640 at least he resided at Hampdens Manor, Penn, Buck- inghamshire, moving in 1640 to West Thomey near Chichester in Sussex.

He was JP for West Sussex from 1640 until his death, and was elected MP for Midhurst in a by- election to the Long Parliament in 1645, his fellow-MP being William Cawley the regicide [q.v.]. There is evidence of their closely co-ordinating their activities. As a prominent parishioner of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Norton was also a member of the committee for the City of Westminster, along with his close friend and relation, Humphrey Edwardes, the regicide [q.v.].

Though not a commanding presence in the House, Norton was a devoted committee man. He served in the committee concerning accounts within weeks of election as an MP, later joining the committee for martial law and the committee for Irish affairs, at which he attended assiduously, becoming a major figure. After Pride's Purge, Norton's importance in the Commons increased dramatically: He was immediately added to the committee for the revenue and the committee for compounding. On 23 December 1648 he joined the committee for proceedings against the king, the first of the Commons committees which laid the groundwork for the king's trial and execution. On 6 January he attended the first of the sessions of the high court of justice preparatory to the trial, and then attended most sittings of the court. He was present when" sentence was pronounced against the king, and signed the death-warrant. He then served on committees to set up a republican government and abolish kingship and the House of Lords. He continued to serve on increasing numbers of parliamentary committees until his death 26 March 1652.

Norton married Martha, daughter of Bradshaw Drew of Densworth near Chichester, Sussex. Their eldest son, Gregory, died in 1652, shortly before his father; the younger, Henry, was disinherited because of his opposition to the king's trial and execution. There was also a daughter, Elizabeth. Restoration gossip that Norton lived at Richmond Palace, acquired at a cheap rate after the king's execution, is puzzling; his home at the time was actually Oatlands Park, near Weybridge, Surrey, and at his death his widow claimed to be penniless. She was hounded under the Protectorate by the commissioners for compounding, who persecuted many republican MPs. She married, secondly, Robert Gordon, fourth Viscount Kenmure, in 1655, and died in 1671.

[R. L. Greaves and R. Zaller (eds.), A Biographical Dictionary of English Radicals of the Seventeenth Century, 3 vols., 1982-4; private research.]



Peregrine Pelham

PELHAM, Peregrine (1602-1650), MP and regicide, was baptized 27 September in Bosham, Sussex, the oldest child of Peregrine and Anne Pelham (her maiden name is unknown) ofWick- ham, Lincolnshire, and later of Hull. Pelham's grandfather was Field-Marshal and Lord Justice Sir William Pelham [q.v.]. Pelham was apprenticed to the Hull merchant Thomas Aslaby and afterwards admitted a burgess of Hull 3 August 1626; He then traded with the Continent, importing French wines and exporting lead, becoming extremely prosperous. He married first a sister of John Bowes, having a son John, and secondly, after 1630, Dame Jacoba van Lore, widow of Sir Peter van Lore, a wealthy merchant and moneylender., Pelham was elected chamberlain of Hull 30 September 1630 and sheriff of Hull in 1636, becoming alderman in 1641. In January 1641 he was elected to the Hull parliamentary seat made vacant by the death of Sir John Lister.

Pelham's experience in trade was recognized speedily in the Commons, for on 7 June 1641 he was named to the committee to regulate trade with Scotland. As the clouds of imminent civil war gathered, Pelham hastened back to Hull where he later wrote: 'I kept the King out of Hull when he came in person (although I had not such instructions from the House)-where was a very great magazine in which I suppose I saved the State above £100,000 . . . I had command of the townsmen both within the town and without.' To Pelham can go the credit for preventing the Royalists from achieving a major conquest at the very commencement of the civil war, which might have won the war for the king.

Pelham was a deeply conscientious constituency MP, and he has left probably the finest record of such duties of any seventeenth-century politician. In 1884 a large cache of his letters dating from 1643 to 1648 was discovered, and some , have been printed. This extensive and informative correspondence between an MP and the mayor and burgesses of his constituency seems to be unique amongst sun'iving documentation of the period. The letters show Pelham to have been indefatigable and devoted to the parliamentary cause.

The Commons chose Pelham as a compromise candidate for one of the three commanders of the navy 28 April 1645, confirmed 2 May. Fierce factional fighting had taken place over these offices, and Pelham was accepted, rejected, and then accepted again. But the Lords finally rejected him. He antagonized the faction of Sir Philip Stapleton [q.v.], who instigated a parliamentary investigation of 'words spoken' by Pelham, for which witnesses were summoned, but with no apparent result.

Pelham was named to the high court of justice to try the king, attended the first meeting on 6 January 1649, commenced sitting on the court on its first day, 20 January, was one of the most zealous and faithful attenders of sittings (absent only once), was present when the sentence was read out, and signed the king's death-warrant. Pelham was ruined by the civil war. He died penniless, with over b 7,000 owing to him, on 27 December 1650, unable to pay his doctor's bill. He died intestate and administration of his estate was granted to his son John, 23 December 1651 in London. The Commons ordered £500 to be paid out for his funeral and to feed his family.

[M. F. Keeler, The Long Parliament, 1640-1641, 1954: T. T. Wildridge, The Hull Letters, 1886; R. K. G. Temple, Archaeologia Cantiana, vol. xcvii, 1981, pp. 209-20; personal research.]



Vincent Potter

POTTER, Vincent (1614-1661), regicide, officer, and parliamentary commissioner to the army, was born in 1614, apparently in Warwickshire of unknown parents. On 6 May 1635 Potter sailed to New England, and on 13 October 1636 was hired as a soldier at the Castle Island fort in Boston for £10 a year. In 1639 Potter returned to England and traded with New England until the civil war began. He was commissioned a captain of horse 30 January 1643 by Robert Greville, second Baron Brooke [q.v.]. His account book of his time in the Warwickshire militia survives. Potter gave up his troop 25 July 1645, becoming parliamentary commissioner to the army in succession to his brother Captain John Potter, who was killed at the battle of Naseby. He was later promoted to colonel.

The commissioners, answerable to the com- mittee for the army chaired by Robert Scawen MP, were intermediaries between Parliament and the New Model Army, ultimately responsible for all financial accounts, and with authority to stop any soldier's pay. Potter and his closest colleague, Thomas Herbert (later first baronet, q.v.), were extraordinarily conscientious and energetic, as their sun'iving letters show. They were fanatically intent on maintaining military discipline, trying to prevent free quarter on the 'poor oppressed people'. It was their job to buy horses for the New Model Army and scour the country for food and provisions. They can be credited with a major share of its successful sweep of the west of England, as they located the supplies in south Wales which made it possible. Potter was later the leading official for settling military arrears, and drew up 'Potter's lists' of former soldiers.

Potter remained army commissioner throughout the second civil war, becoming also in 1648, after the battle of St Fagan's, a county commissioner for Pembrokeshire. Having been parliamentary commissioner for the army in Scotland in 1646, he was reappointed to that post 3 May 1651, and by early 1652 held the equivalent post in Ireland.

Potter was named to the high court of justice to try the king, commenced sitting 10 January 1649, was present when sentence was pronounced, and signed the king's death-warrant. He served also on the next major court to try James Hamilton (third Marquis and first Duke of Hamilton), Arthur Capel (first Baron Capel of Hadham), and Sir Henry Rich (first Earl of Holland) [qq.v.] for treason, signing their death-warrant on 6 March 1649.

At the Restoration Potter was seized by a Roger Howcott and handed over to the authorities. He was tried with the other regicides, but his trial was marred by inhumane treatment towards him; he was in paroxyms of pain due to an attack of kidney stones but the court refused his requests to be allowed to urinate. He blurted out that he was unable to speak for pain, so his defence was never heard. He was found guilty and was imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he died very quickly, probably from medical neglect and ill treatment, aged only forty-hen. Potter's wife is unknown, but he had a brother-in-law named Thomas Fowle in Boston prior to the civil war. From a devotional text which he carried in his pocket throughout the war, Potter seems to have been a devout Puritan.

[R. L. Greaves and R. Zaller (eds.), A Biographical Dictionary of English Radicals of the Seventeenth Century, 3 vols., 1982-4; Calendar of the Committee for Compounding, vol. iii, pp. 1883-4; private research.]




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