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General Sir Thomas Pride (died 23 October 1658) was a parliamentarian commander in the Civil War, best known as one of the Regicides of King Charles I and as the instigator of "Pride's Purge".

Origins

Pride is stated to have been brought up by the parish of St Bride's, London but is thought to have been born in Somerset.

Early career

He commenced his adult life as a drayman and a brewer. At the beginning of the Civil War he served as a captain under the Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex and was eventually promoted to the rank of colonel. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Preston in 1648 and with his regiment took part in the military occupation of London in December 1648, which was the first step towards bringing to trial of King Charles I (1625-1649).

Trial of King Charles I

The next step was the expulsion of the Presbyterian and Royalist elements in the House of Commons, who were thought to be prepared to reach a settlement with Charles. This, resolved by the army council and ordered by the lord general, Fairfax, was carried out by Colonel Pride's regiment. Taking his stand at the entrance of the House of Commons with a written list in his hand, he caused the arrest or exclusion of the members, who were pointed out to him. After about a hundred members had been thus dealt with, the reduced House of Commons, now reduced to about eighty in number, proceeded to bring the king to trial. This marked the end of the Long Parliament and the beginning of the Rump Parliament.

Regicide

Pride was one of the judges of the king and one of the Regicides of King Charles I, having signed and sealed the king's death-warrant. His coat of arms appears on his seal.

Subsequent career

He commanded an infantry brigade under Cromwell at the Battle of Dunbar (1650) and at the Battle of Worcester (1651). He purchased the estate of Nonsuch Palace in Surrey, and in 1655 was appointed Sheriff of Surrey.

Retirement and knighthood

When the Commonwealth was established he abandoned his involvement in politics, except in opposing the proposal to confer the kingly dignity on Cromwell. In 1656 he was knighted by Cromwell, then Lord Protector, and was appointed to the second house added to Parliament as a result of the Humble Petition and Advice.

Marriage

He married Elizabeth Monk (born 1628), a daughter of Thomas Monk of Potheridge in Devon by his wife Mary Gould, a daughter of William Gould of Hayes.[1] Elizabeth's uncle was the royalist general George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle (1608-1670), KG, the key figure in effecting the Restoration of the Monarchy to King Charles II in 1660.

Death

Pride died in 1658 at his home of Nonsuch Palace, Surrey. After the Restoration of 1660 his body was ordered dug up and suspended on the gallows at Tyburn along with those of Cromwell, Henry Ireton and John Bradshaw, though it is said that the sentence was not carried out, probably because his corpse was too far decayed. The Royalists thereupon attempted to hang his son, Joseph Pride, also an active member of the new model army, who barely escaped.

Bibliography

  • Mark Noble, Lives of the Regicides
  • George Bate, Lives of the Prime Actors and Principal Contrivers of the Murder of Charles I
  • Thomas Carlyle, Cromwell's Letters and Speeches

Sources

References

  1. ^ Risdon, Tristram (d.1640), Survey of Devon, 1811 edition, London, 1811, with 1810 Additions, p.419

1 Annotation

Rob Hodkinson  •  Link

Thomas Pride (c.1608-1658) was the son of a yeoman from Pedwell, Somerset. He moved to London in 1622 to be apprenticed to a haberdasher and later set up a successful business as a brewer in the captal during the 1630s. He was a religious non-conformist, belonging to a London sect that preached adult baptism. The Henry Jacob church to which he belonged was based in Southwark. It was repressed by Archbishop Laud in 1633 and many of the congregation were imprisoned.
Thomas Pride fought throughout the English Civil War, serving at first as an ensign in the Red regiment of the London Trained Bands. In 1643 he enlisted as a Captain in Colonel Barclay's regiment of foot in the army of the Earl of Essex and was a Major by 1644. He saw action at both battles of Newbury (1643 and 1644) and at Lostwithiel in Cornwall (1644). On the formation of the New Model Army in 1645, General Fairfax promoted Pride to Lieutenant-Colonel in Colonel Harley's regiment despite the opposition of the House of Lords to Pride’s political and religious views. In Colonel Harley’s absence Pride commanded the regiment with distinction at the battle of Naseby, holding firm against the Royalist advance while other regiments gave ground. Pride continued to command the regiment at the storming of Bristol, Dartmouth and the battle of Great Torrington (1646).
During the political upheavals of 1647, following the war, Pride was one of the the officers most active in supporting the soldiers' right to petition Parliament for redress of their grievances. Colonel Harley discovered that Pride was collecting the siganatures of soldiers by force and Pride was summoned to appear before Parliament to explain his conduct. He remained defiant and was active in organising the Army Petition signed by 150 officers who continued to support soldiers' rights. Loosing the confidence of his men, Colonel Harley resigned his commission. Pride was promoted to Colonel and took over command of the regiment. Thereafter, he and his regiment remained in London, quartered in St. James’ Palace. Pride was now able to impose his own moral views on the capital, closing down the brothels in Southwark and repressing gambling.
During the Second Civil War, Pride fought under Cromwell at the siege of Pembroke and the battle of Preston. Returning to London, he proved to be one of the most radical army officers, demanding that Charles I answer for his part in starting and continuing the wars. Pride commanded the troops that marched on Parliament in December 1648 to eject the Prebyterian MPs who continued to favour a negotiated settlement with the King. This event became known as Pride's Purge. Those MPs who remained in the House voted to bring Charles I to trial. Appointed to the High Court of Justice, Pride sat as a judge at Charles' Trial and was one of the 59 signatories of his death warrant.
In 1650, Pride commanded a brigade at the battle of Dunbar and his regiment fought at Worcester in 1651. Following the war he resumed his business interests, heading a group of brewers who supplied the navy with beer. He became involved in local politics in London and became governor of several hospitals in the city. He retained command of his regiment, however, and Pride’s men fought in the Dutch War of 1653-54 and were later stationed in Scotland during the Royalist uprising of Glencairn.
In lieu of payment for their war service, Parliament granted Pride and his regiment the confiscated Royal property of Nonsuch Great Park (otherwise known as Worcester Park) in Surrey where Pride took up residence. Pride was appointed High Sheriff of Surrey in 1655 and was knighted by Cromwell in 1656. In 1658 he was appointed to the Upper House in 1658, prompting accusations of hypocrisy from Royalists. After Cromwell’s death, Pride supported Richard Cromwell’s succession as Lord Protector.
Thomas Pride died at the end of October 1658.
At the Restoration, Pride was posthumously attainted a traitor. Like Cromwell, Ireton and Bradshaw, his body was voted to be exhumed and hung in chains at Tyburn (see Pepys’ Diary, 28 January 1660 ). However, Pride’s body apparently escaped this indignity. The bodies of Cromwell, Ireton and Bradshaw were all exhumed from Westminster Abbey. Pride’s was presumably harder to locate and remained undisturbed. The likelihood is that Pride was buried on his Worcester Park estate; the religious non-conformist was buried in unconsecrated ground in a grave that has now disappeared without trace.
Thomas Pride’s daughter, Elizabeth, married Robert Walton, a London tailor. He is the “young Mr. Walton” refered to in Pepys’ diary on 2 January 1659/60.

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References

Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.

1660

  • Dec

1661