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John Birch grave monument, Weobley Church (St Peter & St Paul's)

Colonel John Birch (7 September 1615 – 10 May 1691) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1646 and 1691. He fought for the Parliamentary cause in the English civil war.


Birch played a significant role in the battle of Cropredy Bridge, Oxfordshire on 29 June 1644.

On 18 December 1645, Parliamentarians under the command of Birch and Colonel Morgan captured the City of Hereford. Birch was appointed Governor of Hereford.[1]

In 1646 Birch besieged and captured Goodrich Castle from the Royalist Sir Henry Lingen. He was also elected Member of Parliament for Leominster as a recruiter to the Long Parliament. He was re-elected MP for Leominster in 1654, 1656, 1659 and 1660.[2]

Following the Restoration, Birch was elected MP for Penryn in the Cavalier Parliament. He was elected MP for Weobley in the two elections of 1679, in 1681, 1689 and 1690.[2]

Birch is buried in a monumental tomb in Weobley Church (St Peter & St Paul's).[3][4] He left his property of Garnstone to his youngest daughter Sarah provided she married his nephew, her cousin, John Birch, which she did a short time later.[5]

One of the regiments of the Sealed Knot historical reenactment association is Col. John Birch's Regiment.

He is the great, great uncle of Samuel Birch (military officer).


  1. ^ Willis-Bund 1905, p. 175.
  2. ^ a b Ferris, John P. (1983). "Birch, John (1615-91)". In Henning, B. D. (ed.). The House of Commons 1660-1690. The History of Parliament cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  3. ^ p. 97
  4. ^
  5. ^ "BIRCH, John II (c.1666-1735), of Garnstone Manor, Weobley, Herefs". History of Parliament Online (1690-1715). Retrieved 28 October 2018.


External links

Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sampson Eure
Walter Kyrle
Member of Parliament for Leominster
With: Walter Kyrle
Succeeded by
Leominster not represented
Preceded by
Leominster not represented
Member of Parliament for Leominster
With: Edward Freeman 1659–60
Edward Pytts 1660–61
Succeeded by
Ranald Grahme
Humphrey Cornewall
Preceded by
Samuel Enys
James Robyns
Member of Parliament for Penryn
1661 – 1679
With: William Pendarves 1661–73
Sir Robert Southwell from 1673
Succeeded by
Francis Trefusis
Sir Robert Southwell
Preceded by
John Barneby
William Gregory
With: William Gregory 1679
John Booth 1679–1685
Succeeded by
Robert Price
Henry Cornewall
Preceded by
Robert Price
Henry Cornewall
With: James Morgan 1689–1690
Robert Price 1690–1691
Succeeded by
Thomas Foley
Robert Price

4 Annotations

S. Spoelstra  •  Link

According to "Military memoirs of Colonel John Birch, sometime governor of Herefore in the civil war" in de "The Cornell Library Historical Monographs" Birch was a Bristol merchant who started a regiment of volunteers. Fought on the side of the cavaliers.

Made a nice profit when, on orders of Parliament, the lead covering of Worcester Cathedral, at an estimated value of 1200 lb., was sold to him for 617 lb. 4s. 2d. ("for the repair of certain almhouses and churches in that city").

Signed the Remonstrance in 1656 and present, as Member for Leominster, at the inauguration of the Protector.

Apparently the Restoration did not do him any harm; he seems to be in a position of authority as SP meets him.

Colonel Birch is also recorded as having submitted a plan for the rebuilding of the City after the Great Fire (as did several others of SP's acquintance).…

S. Spoelstra  •  Link

This excellent site on the Civil War explains Colonel Birch's role in the "Copredy Bridge" encounter. Obviously I was wrong in my entry above: Birch was a "roundhead" from the start.…

Michael Robinson  •  Link

Per L&M Companion:

(1619-91). Politician. A self-made Mancunian, originally a carrier. His interests in naval affairs brought him into frequent contact and occasional conflict with Pepys. He had fought for Parliament in the Civil War, and sat for Leominster 1646-60, for Penryn 1661-Jan.79, and for Weobley March 1679-91, serving as a commissioner for paying off the forces 1660-1, as chairman of the Commons' Navy Committee in 1661, and as a member of the Committee on Miscarriages in 1667-8 as well as on numerous committees on financial and commercial maters. He supported the Navy Board against its critics in 1668. In the '60's he accepted office as an Admiralty Commissioner March-July 1660, as Auditor of the Excise 1661-91, and as a member of the Committee for Trade 1688-72.

But in the '70's he was more distrustful of the court, becoming a Whig and exclusionist, and led the outcry in the Commons 1677-8 against the cost of Pepys ship-building programme. A moderate Presbyterian, he supported attempts at union with the Church of England in 1668-9, and himself became an Anglican in 1673. He lived to welcome the Revolution of 1688. Most of his contemporaries, though they might suffer like Pepys from his rough tongue and abrasive manner, could not, any more than Pepys, withhold their admiration of his ability.

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