Thomas Erle (1650-1720)
Arms of Erle: Gules, three escallops
argent a bordure engrailed of the last
|Died||23 July 1720
|Buried at||Charborough, Dorset|
|Other work||Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset, Governor of Portsmouth, MP, Commander-in-Chief (Ireland), Lord Justice (Ireland), PC|
Lieutenant-General Thomas Erle PC (1650 – 23 July 1720) was an English army general and politician who sat in the House of Commons of England and of Great Britain from 1678 to 1718. He was Governor of Portsmouth and a Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance.
Erle was born in 1650, the second son of Thomas Erle and his wife Susanna (née Fiennes) of Charborough, Dorset. In 1678 he became Member of Parliament (MP) for Wareham, then on 27 May 1685 was made Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset.
In 1686 he hosted a group of conspirators who met at Charborough House to plan the overthrow of "the tyrant race of Stuarts". This meeting lead to the Invitation to William, signed by the Immortal seven, and resulting in the Glorious Revolution.
In 1690 he took part in the Battle of the Boyne, the Siege of Limerick, and, the following year, the Battle of Aughrim. In 1692 he took part in an expedition to Flanders and on 3 August 1692 was Colonel of the former Luttrell's Regiment at the Battle of Steenkerque. Henceforth the regiment he raised in 1689 became the 2nd Battalion of the former Luttrell's Regiment, later the Green Howards. In 1693 Thomas Erle was promoted to Brigadier-General, fighting in the Battle of Landen on 22 March 1693.
In 1702 Erle was made a Lord Justice of Ireland and was MP for Wareham for a second time, then promoted to Lieutenant-General. In 1703, he became MP for Cork City in the Irish Parliament and held this seat until 1713. In 1705 Erle was made Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance, a post which he held until 1712.
In January 1707 Erle took part in an expedition to Spain, fighting in the Battle of Almanza on 23 April 1707 — some reports state that he lost his right hand. In 1708 he was sent on an expedition to France. He then returned home, serving as MP for Wareham once again. In 1714, following the death of Queen Anne, Erle was appointed Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance for a second time. The same year he was also made Governor of Portsmouth, replacing Lord North and Grey, whose loyalty to the new king was in doubt. From 1715 until 1718 he was Father of the House.
Erle married Elizabeth Wyndham, with a single child:
- Frances, who married Edward Ernle and died 14 May 1728
Erle died on 23 July 1720 and was buried at Charborough.
- Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.481; Sir William Pole (d.1635) of Shute, Devon, author of this work, was the uncle of Col. Sir Walter Erle (1586-1665) of Charborough, the son of his sister Dorothy Pole