Percy Kirke

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Percy Kirke
The treachery of Colonel Kirke 1685' (Percy Kirke) by Robert Smirke.jpg
The Treachery of Colonel Kirke 1685 by Robert Smirke, late 18th century
Born c. 1646
Died October 1691 aged 45 yrs
Brussels, Belgium
Allegiance England

Lieutenant General Percy Kirke (c. 1646 – 1691), English soldier, was the son of George Kirke, a court official to Charles I and Charles II.

In 1666 Kirke obtained his first commission in the Lord Admiral's regiment, and subsequently served in the Blues. In 1673 he was with Monmouth at Maastricht and was present during two campaigns with Turenne on the Rhine.

In 1680 he was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel, and soon afterwards Colonel of the 2nd Tangier Regiment (afterwards the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment). In 1682 he became Governor of Tangier and colonel of the Tangier Regiment (afterwards the Queens Royal West Surrey). He distinguished himself greatly as governor, although he gave offence by the roughness of his manners and the wildness of his life.

On the evacuation of Tangier, Kirke's Lambs (so called from their badge) returned to England, and a year later their colonel served as a brigadier in Feversham's army. After Sedgemoor the rebels were treated with great severity; but the charges so often brought against the Lambs are now known to be exaggerated, though the regiment shared to the full in the ruthless hunting down of the fugitives. It is often stated that it formed Jeffreys' escort in the Bloody Assizes, but this is erroneous.

Kirke was considered by King Charles II as a candidate for governor of the Dominion of New England when it was in the planning stages in the early 1680s. King James II formalized the appointment, but withdrew the appointment over the controversies surrounding Kirke's role in the suppression of Monmouth's Rebellion.

Brigadier Kirke took a notable part in the Glorious Revolution three years later, and William III promoted him. He commanded at the relief of Derry and made his last campaign in Flanders in 1691. He also briefly served as MP for West Looe as a Tory in 1689-90.[1]

He died, with the rank of Lieutenant General, at Brussels in October of that year. His eldest son, Lieutenant General Percy Kirke (1684–1741), was also colonel of the Lambs.


  1. ^ [1] History of Parliament Online article by Paula Watson.


Further reading[edit]

  • ODNB article by Piers Wauchope, ‘Kirke, Percy (d. 1691)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 9 June 2008
Military offices
Preceded by
Sir Edward Sackville
Governor of Tangier
Succeeded by
George Legge, Admiral Lord Dartmouth