WOBO: Search for words and phrases in the texts here...

Enter either the ID of an entry, or one or more words to find. The first match in each paragraph is shown; click on the line of text to see the full paragraph.

Currently only Chalmers’ Biographical Dictionary is indexed, terms are not stemmed, and diacritical marks are retained.

a very active man in the parliaments service during the civil

, a very active man in the parliaments service during the civil wars, and at length general of their armies, was the eldest son of Ferdinando, lord Fairfax, by Mary his wife, daughter of Edmund Sheffield earl of Mulgrave. He was born at Demon within the parish of Otley, in Yorkshire, in January, 1611. After a proper school education, he studied sometime in St. John’s college, in Cambridge, to. which, in his latter days, he became a benefactor. He appears to have been a lover of learning, though he did not excel in any branch, except; it was in the history and antiquities of Britain, as will appear in the sequel. Being of a martial disposition even in his younger years, but finding no employment at home, he went and served in Holland as a volunteer under the command of Horatio lord Vere, in order to learn the art of war. After some stay there (but how long we cannot learn) he came back to England; and, retiring to his father’s house, married Anne, fourth daughter of lord Vere. Here he contracted a strong aversion for the court; either by the instigation of his wife, who was a zealous presbyterian, or eLe by the persuasions and example of his father, who, as Clarendon says, grew “actively and factiously disaffected to the king.” When the king first endeavoured to raise a guard at York for his own person, he was entrusted by his party to prefer a petition to the king, beseeching him to hearken to his parliament, and not to take that course of raising forces, and when his majesty seemed to shun receiving it, Fairfax followed him with it, on Heyworth-moor, in the presence of near 100,000 people, and presented it upon the pommel of his saddle. Shortly after, upon the actual breaking out of the civil wars, in 1642, his father having received a commission from the parliament to be general of the forces in the North, he had a commission under him to be general of the horse. His first exploit was at Bradford in Yorkshire, which he obliged a body of royalists to quit, and to retire to Leeds. A few days after, he and captain Hotham, with some horse and dragoons marching thither, the royalists* fled in haste to York. And the former having advanced to Tadcaster, resolved to keep the pass at Wetherby, for securing the West Riding of Yorkshire, whence their chief supplies came. Sir Thomas Glemham attempted to dislodge them thence; but, after a short and sharp encounter, retired. On this, Will, am Cavendish earl of Newcastle, and Henry Clifford earl of Cumberland, united their forces at York, amounting to 9000 men, and resolved to fall upon Tadcaster: which being judged untenable, the lord Fairfax, and his son sir Thomas, drew out to an advantageous piece of ground near the town: but, alter a six hours fight, were beaten, and withdrew in the night to Selby. Three days after, sir Thomas marched in the night by several towns Inch the royalists lay, and came to Bradford, where he entrenched himself. But having too many soldiers to lie idle, and too few to be upon constant duty, he resolved to attack his enemies in their garrisons. Accordingly, coming before Leeds, he carried that town (Jan. 23, 1642-3) after a hot dispute, and found a good store of ammunition, of which he stood in great want. He next defeated a party of 700 horse and foot at Gisborough, under the command of colonel Slingsby; and then Wakefield and Doncaster yielded themselves to the parliament. But, For these overt acts, William earl of Newcastle, the king’s general, proclaimed sir Thomas and his father traitors, and the parliament did the like for the earl. In the mean time, the lord Fairfax, being denied succour from Hull and the East Riding, was forced to forsake Selby, and retire to Leeds: of which the earl of Newcastle having intelligence, lay with his army on Clifford-moor, to intercept him in his way to Leeds. On this sir Thomas was ordered, by his father, to bring what men he could to join with him at Sherburne, on purpose to secure his retreat. To amuse the earl, sir Thomas made a diversion at Tadcaster, which 'the garrison immediately quitted, but lord Goring marching to its relief, with twenty troops of horse and dragoons, defeated sir Thomas upon Bramham-moor: who also received a second defeat upon Seacroft-moor, where some of his men were slain, and many taken prisoners, and himself made his retreat with much difficulty to Leeds, about an hour after his father was safely come thither. Leeds and Bradford being all the garrisons the parliament had in the North, sir Thomas thought it necessary to possess some other place: therefore with about 1100 horse and foot, he drove, on the 21st of May, the royalists out of Wakefield, which they had seized again; and took 1400 prisoners, 80 officers, and great store of ammunition. But, shortly after, the earl of Newcastle coming to besiege Bradford, and sir Thomas and his father having the boldness, with about 3000 men, to go and attack his whole army, which consisted of 10,000, on Adderton-moor; they were entirely routed by the earl r on the 30th of June, with a considerable loss. Upon that, Halifax and Beverly being abandoned by the parliamentarians, and the lord Fairfax having neither a place of strength to defend himself in, nor a garrison in Yorkshire to retire to, withdrew the same night to Leeds, to secure that town. By his order, sir Thomas stayed in Bradford with 800 foot, and 60 horse, but being surrounded, he was obliged to force his way through: in which desperate attempt, hjs lady, and many Bothers, were taken prisoners. At his coming to Leeds, he found things in great distraction; the council of war having resolved to quit the town, and retreat to Hull, which was sixty miles off; with many of the "king’s garrison in the way, but he got safely to Selby, where there was a ferry, and hard by one of the parliament’s garrisons at Cawood. Immediately after his coming to Selby, being attacked by a party of horse which pursued him, he received a shot in the wrist of his left arm, which made the bridle fall out of liis hand, and occasioned such an effusion of blood, that he was ready to fall from his horse. But, taking the reins in the other hand in which he had his sword, he withdrew himself out of the crowd; and after a very troublesome and dangerous passage, he came to Hull. Upon these repeated disasters, the Scots were hastily solicited to send 20,000 men to the assistance of the parliamentarians, who were thus likely to be overpowered. Lord Fairfax, after his coming to Hull, made it his first business to raise new forces, and, in a short time, had about 1500 foot, and 700 horse. The town being little, sir Thomas was sent to Beverly, with the horse and 600 foot: for, the marquis of Newcastle looking upon them as inconsiderable, and leaving only a few garrisons, was marched with his whole army into Lincolnshire; having orders to go into Essex, and t>lock up London on that side. But he was hastily recalled northward, upon lord Fairfax’s sending out a large party to make an attempt upon Stanford-bridge near York. The marquis, at his return into Yorkshire, first dislodged, from Beverly, sir Thomas, who retreated into Hull, to which the marquis laid siege, but could not carry the place. During the siege, the horse being useless, and many dying every day, sir Thomas was sent with them over into Lincolnshire, to join the earl of Manchester’s forces, then commanded by major-general Cromwell. At Horncastle, or Winsby, they routed a party of 5000 men, commanded by sir John Henderson: and, at the same time, the besieged in Hull making a sally upon the besiegers, obliged them to retire. These two defeats together, the one falling heavy upon the horse, the other upon the foot, kept the royalists all that winter from attempting any thing; and the parliamentarians, after the taking of Lincoln, settled themselves in winter quarters. But sir Thomas had not long the benefit of them; for, in the coldest season of the year, he was commanded by the parliament to go and raise the siege of Nantwich in Cheshire, which lord Byron, with an army from Ireland, had reduced to great extremity. He set forward from Lincolnshire, December 29, and, being joined by sir William Brereton, entirely routed, 911 the 21st of January, lord Byron, who was drawn out to meet them. After that, they took in several garrisons in Cheshire, particularly Crew-house, &c. Sir Thomas, having stayed in those parts till the middle of March, was ordered back by his father into Yorkshire, that by the conjunction of their forces he might be abler to take the field. They met about Ferry-bridge; and colonel Bellasis, governor of York, having advanced to Selby to hinder their junction, they found means, notwithstanding, to join, and entirely defeated him, on the llth of April, 1644. This good success rendered sir Thomas master of the field in Yorkshire, and nothing then hindered him from marching into Northumberland, as he had been ordered by the parliament, to join the Scots, which were kept from advancing southward by the superior forces of the marquis of Newcastle, quartered at Durham. But that stroke having thrown York into the utmost distraction, the inhabitants speedily sent to the marquis to haste back thither; by which means a way was left open for the Scots, who, with cold, and frequent alarms, were reduced to great extremity. They joined the lord Fairfax at Wetherby, on the 20th of April, and, marching on to York, laid siege to that city *, wherein the marquis of Newcastle had shut himself up, being closely pursued, on the way thither, by sir Thomas, and major-general Desley. And, when prince Rupert was advancing out of Lancashire to the relief of that place, they marched with 6000 horse and dragoons, and 5000 foot, to stop his progress: but he, eluding their vigilance, and bringing round his army, which consisted of above 20,000 men, got into York. Whereupon the parliamentarians raised the siege, and retired to Hessey-moor. The English were for fighting, and the Scots for retreating; which last opinion prevailing, they both marched away to Tadcaster, there being great differences and jealousies between the two nations. But the rash and haughty prince, instead of harassing and wearing them out by prudent delays, resolved, without consulting the marquis of New­* fa our account cf Dodsworth (vol. XII. p. 181), will be found some circumstances favourable to sir Thomas Fairfax’s character in the conduct of this. castle, or any of his officers, to engage them, on Marstonmoor, eight miles from York, on the 2d of July: where that bloody battle was fought which entirely ruined the king’s affairs in the north. In this battle, sir Thomas Fairfax commanded the right wing of the horse. The prince, after his defeat, retiring towards Lancashire, and the marquis, in discontent, sailing away to Hamburgh, the three parliament-generals came and sat down again before York, which surrendered the 15th of July: and the North was now wholly reduced by the parliament’s forces, except some garrisons. In September following, sir Thomas was sent to take Helmesley-castle, where he received a dangerous shot in one of his shoulders, and was brought back to York, all being doubtful of his recovery for some time. Some time after, he was more nearly killed by a cannonshot before Pomfret-castle.