Thomas Myddelton (younger)

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Sir Thomas Myddelton (1586–1666) of Chirk Castle, in the County of Denbigh, Wales, was a politician and Parliamentary general.

Sir Thomas Middleton
Chirk Castle

Origins[edit]

He was the son of Sir Thomas Myddelton, Lord Mayor of London, by his first wife, Hester Saltonstall, daughter of Sir Richard Saltonstall, Lord Mayor of London.[1]

Career[edit]

He matriculated at Queen's College, Oxford, on 22 February 1605, and became a student at Gray's Inn in 1607. He was knighted on 10 February 1617, and was Member of Parliament for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis, 1624-5, and for the County of Denbigh in 1625 and 1640-8.

First Civil War[edit]

During the Civil War he became prominent as Sergeant Major General of the Parliamentary forces in North Wales. In the summer of 1642 he was sent to his constituency to exercise his influence on behalf of the Parliament, and accordingly, in December 1642, he addressed to his countrymen a letter with strong advice to submit to and assist Parliament. By the king's order, Colonel Ellis of Gwesnewydd, near Wrexham, seized Myddelton's residence, Chirk Castle, in his absence in January 1643. A garrison was placed there under Sir John Watts.

By a parliamentary ordinance, dated 11 June 1643, Myddelton, who had by that time returned to London, was appointed Sergeant-Major-General for North Wales. On 10 August he reached Nantwich in Cheshire, where he was joined by Sir William Brereton, 1st Baronet. They proceeded on 4 September to Market Drayton, and on 11 September to Wem, which they seized, garrisoned, and made their Shropshire headquarters. While they were still engaged in fortifying Wem, Arthur Capell, 1st Baron Capell of Hadham, with reinforcements from Staffordshire, marched on Nantwich, but was defeated outside Wem in two separate conflicts, on 17 and 18 October. After this victory Brereton and Myddelton left Nantwich on 7 November, were joined at Stretton by Sir George Booth with troops from Lancashire, and crossing the River Dee at Holt, entered North Wales, where Wrexham, Hawarden, Flint, Mostyn, Mold, and Holywell were taken. But all these place were given up quickly after the landing at Mostyn on 18 November of about 2,500 royalist soldiers from Ireland, and the leaders were criticised. Myddelton's troops were militiamen, while his opponents were trained soldiers.

In February 1644 Myddelton's command in North Wales was confirmed by a fresh commission. He left London about the end of May 1644, and marched to Nantwich, and thence to Knutsford, where a muster of all the Cheshire forces was intended, against Prince Rupert and Lancashire. But about 4,000 royalists laid siege to Oswestry. Myddelton hurried there before the arrival of his colleagues, and raised the siege on 2 July. Returning to Nantwich, Myddelton for some time watched Prince Rupert's movements, making occasional raids into Montgomeryshire. On 4 September he captured the garrison at Newtown, and the same day advanced to Montgomery, and without any resistance Montgomery Castle was surrendered to him by its owner, Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury. Sir Michael Ernely, who was in command of the royalist forces at Shrewsbury, marched upon Montgomery to recover it. Myddelton sallied out to collect provisions but Ernely intercepted his return, and defeated him outside the town. Myddelton's foot-soldiers, under Colonel Thomas Mytton, succeeded in re-entering the castle, which Ernely at once besieged; but Myddelton retired to Oswestry, and after obtaining reinforcements from Lancashire returned, accompanied by Brereton and Sir William Fairfax. They arrived on 17 September in sight of Montgomery, where the whole strength of both parties in North Wales and the borders was now assembled. After a desperate conflict, in which Fairfax was mortally wounded, the parliamentarians completely routed their opponents.

Myddelton was left for a time in command at Montgomery, but after the capture of Powis Castle on 3 October the county generally declared for Parliament, and Myddelton was therefore able to turn to Shrewsbury, where he captured most of the outposts, and blocked the passages to the town. Myddelton appeared on 21 December 1644 before his own residence of Chirk Castle, still held by Sir John Watts, who after a three days' siege was able to write on Christmas Day to Prince Rupert that he had beaten Myddelton off.

Interregnum period[edit]

By the self-denying ordinance Myddelton was superseded and the command was transferred to his second wife's brother-in-law, Colonel Thomas Mytton. When, however, there was a general reaction in the county in favour of the king in 1648, Myddelton was one of the persons to whom the principal inhabitants of Flintshire and Denbighshire, in their fidelity to parliament, entrusted the management of their county affairs. However, he disapproved of the king's trial, and was excluded from Parliament in 1649. On 14 May 1651 Myddelton was ordered by the council of state to enter into a bond of £10,000 for his general good behaviour, and having received the security it was further ordered on 16 May that the garrison should be withdrawn from his house.

In 1659 he joined the Cheshire Rising led by George Booth, and proclaimed Charles II as king in Wrexham market place. As a result, General John Lambert besieged Chirk Castle, after defeating Booth. He compelled Myddelton to surrender on 24 August 1659. Myddelton and his brothers were given notice to quit the country.

After the Restoration[edit]

At the Restoration of the Monarchy Sir Thomas is said to have received £60,000 in compensation and his son was made a baronet as Sir Thomas Myddelton, 1st Baronet of Chirk Castle.

Marriages & progeny[edit]

He married twice:

Sources[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Evan Lloyd
Custos Rotulorum of Denbighshire
bef. 1626–1636
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Salusbury, 2nd Baronet
Preceded by
Interregnum
Custos Rotulorum of Denbighshire
1660–1666
Succeeded by
The Lord Herbert of Chirbury