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Richard Browne
Member of Parliament
for Ludgershall
In office
December 1661 – September 1669
Lord Mayor of London
In office
October 1660 – September 1661
Member of Parliament
for City of London
In office
September 1654 – December 1660
Member of Parliament
for Wycombe
In office
September 1645 – December 1648 (excluded by Pride's Purge)
Parliamentarian Governor of Abingdon
In office
June 1644 – 1646
Personal details
Bornc. 1602
Died24 September 1669
Debden Hall, Uttlesford
Resting placeChurch of St Mary the Virgin and All Saints, Debden, Epping Forest
SpouseBridget Bryan 1631 to his death
Children3 sons, 2 daughters Richard (1618–1684)
Military service
RankMajor General

Sir Richard Browne (c. 1602 – 24 September 1669) was a merchant and MP from London who became a Major general in the Parliamentarian army during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. A moderate Presbyterian, after victory in the First English Civil War Browne supported a negotiated settlement in which Charles I retained his throne. As a result, he fell out with radicals such as Oliver Cromwell, and was excluded from Parliament by Pride's Purge in December 1648.

He opposed The Protectorate, spending nearly five years in prison, and was suspected of involvement in the Royalist Booth's Uprising. After the Stuart Restoration in 1660, he became Lord Mayor of London and MP for Ludgershall.

Early life

Browne was born in London around 1602, to John Browne (alias Moses) of Wokingham in Berkshire and his wife, Anne Beard. He was a member of the Worshipful Company of Woodmongers by 1634, and became sufficiently wealthy by trading in coal and timber to invest £600 in the scheme for reconquest of Ireland under the Adventurers' Act. Royalist propagandists sneered at Browne's lowly origins by referring to him as 'the woodmonger'; he transferred to the more socially respectable Merchant Taylors' Company in 1656.[1]

Military career

Sir Richard Browne, 1st Baronet, of London is located in Southern England
Key locations mentioned in article

Browne was admitted as a member of the Honourable Artillery Company in 1622 and was an officer in the part-time London Trained Bands (LTBs). When the LTBs were expanded in April 1642, Browne was 1st Captain of the Orange Regiment. By mid-September, after the Civil War had broken out, he was organising a regiment of dragoons recruited in London, of which he became Colonel. He helped to disarm Royalists in Kent and then served under Sir William Waller at the seizure of Winchester in December. Browne's Dragoons were in action at Brill in January 1643.[1][2][3][4][5]

In July 1643, Browne was given an independent command, leading Mainwaring's Redcoats and the Green Auxiliaries of the LTBs with detachments of horse and dragoons to break up an assembly of Royalists at Sevenoaks in Kent. The Royalists retreated to Tonbridge where there was a three-hour skirmish on 24 July, when they were driven out of town and 200 were captured.[1][6] It had become the practice for regiments drawn from the LTBs to serve for short periods with the Parliamentarian field armies. In December 1643 Parliament appointed Browne Sergeant-Major-General to command a City brigade consisting of the White and Yellow Regiments to reinforce Waller's army besieging Arundel Castle. The two regiments marched out on 4 and 5 January 1644 with a number of cannon, but heavy snow delayed their march for several days at Guildford, and they did not reach Petworth until 29 January, after Arundel had fallen. Here Browne fortified Petworth House in case Lord Hopton's Royalist army threatened. The brigade remained there for two months before moving to Midhurst on 20 March and then joining Waller's army on 27 March. Waller and Hopton manoeuvred and skirmished for two days, with Waller's army camped in the fields at Cheriton. Then on 29 March Waller sent skirmishers including some of Browne's men into Cheriton Wood on Hopton's left. Hopton drove them out, but his horse attacked without orders, precipitating a general engagement (the Battle of Cheriton). A cavalry battle took place in the space between the wings of foot, the London brigade having to drive back several Royalist probes in their direction. The Royalist cavalry lost heavily, and in the afternoon Browne led the foot back into Cheriton Wood as Hopton's army began to retreat. On 6 April Browne's City Brigade was engaged at Bishop's Waltham, where they forced the surrender of the fortified Bishop's Palace. The Londoners were now anxious to return home, and the two regiments left without orders, returning to the city as heroes on 14 April. Without the City Brigade Waller had to shut down operations.[1][7][8][9][10][11][12]

In June 1644 Parliament gave Browne a commission as Major-General for the counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire with the task of reducing the Royalist garrisons, and assigned him a brigade consisting of the Red, White and Blue Auxiliaries of the LTBs, all understrength. It was learnt that the King's army from Oxford was moving eastwards and threatening the Parliamentarian Eastern Association, so Browne was directed into Hertfordshire to protect these counties. He was joined by the Essex and Hertfordshire Trained Bands. By the time his force assembled at Barnet, he was too late to help Waller, who was defeated by the Royalists at the Battle of Cropredy Bridge on 29 June. When he joined Waller at Towcester on 2 July, Waller's dispirited London brigade assumed that Browne's had been sent to relieve them, and they set up a chant of 'Home, Home!' The Essex and Hertfordshire men were also deserting, and on 6 July they wounded Browne in the face when he confronted them.[1][13][14][15][16][17]

The Royalist army having disengaged and moved west, Browne was sent to capture Greenland House near Henley-on-Thames, under his original orders, and then moved to Reading. Ordered to join Waller at Abingdon-on-Thames, he objected that he had only 'three broken regiments of London auxiliaries, not above 800 in all' to hold Reading. In fact, he had fallen out with Waller and threatened to resign if forced to accept the latter's orders. In the end Waller left for London and Browne was put in command of the whole force at Abingdon, marching in with his brigade on 15 August. He and his troops were not involved in the Second Battle of Newbury in October, but as Governor of Abingdon, Browne kept up active skirmishing against the Royalist stronghold of Oxford during the winter. In the summer of 1645 he participated in the Second Siege of Oxford, and in September had to put down a serious clash between the garrison of Aylesbury and other Parliamentarian troops. He was again active in the final Third Siege of Oxford in 1646 and continued as Governor of Abingdon until the end of the First Civil War later that year.[1][18][19]

Political career

Browne had been elected 'Recruiter' (replacement) Member of Parliament for the Buckinghamshire seat of Chipping Wycombe in October 1645,[20][21] but had received a leave of absence so that he could continue his command (otherwise banned under the Self-denying Ordinance).[1] In January 1647 he was one of the parliamentary commissioners to receive King Charles upon his handover by the Scots. He was with Charles at Holdenby House when the king was seized for the Army by Cornet George Joyce in July that year, an act that Browne vociferously opposed. He became an alderman of the City of London for Langbourn Ward on 29 June 1648 and was Sheriff of the City of London to 11 December 1649. As an opponent of the Army's policies, he was excluded from Parliament under Pride's Purge in December 1648, and was imprisoned for five years after being accused of conspiracy with the Scots.[1][22][23]

Browne was elected MP for City of London in 1656 for the Second Protectorate Parliament, but remained excluded.[1][21] He was admitted to the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors on 10 December 1656.[23] He was re-elected MP for the City of London in 1659 for the Third Protectorate Parliament and did take his seat until he was implicated in Booth's Uprising and forced into hiding in the city.[21] He had become disillusioned with The Protectorate and was one of those who called for the return of the monarchy. In April 1660 he was elected MP for the City of London for the Convention Parliament.[1][21] He met Charles II at the head of his triumphal procession into London. Browne gave evidence against Adrian Scrope that led to the latter's execution as a regicide.[1][24]

Browne was knighted in March 1660 and created a baronet on 22 July 1660. He became alderman for Langbourn Ward again in 1660 and was elected Lord Mayor of London in 1660. He was instrumental in putting down Venner's Rising of 1–4 January 1661, personally leading the Yellow Regiment of the LTBs against the insurgents. In 1661 he was elected MP for Ludgershall in the Cavalier Parliament and sat until his death in 1669.[1][21][23]

Browne lived at Debden Manor, near Saffron Walden, in Essex which he had purchased before May 1662. He died intestate at Debden on 24 September 1669. He had children: Sir Richard Browne and Sir John Browne.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Browne, Richard.
  2. ^ Nagel, pp. 55–8, 66.
  3. ^ Roberts, Appendix II.
  4. ^ Browne biography at BCW Project.
  5. ^ Browne's Regiment at BCW Project.
  6. ^ Nagel, p. 89.
  7. ^ Adair, pp. 113, 116–47, 187–9.
  8. ^ Burne & Young, pp. 123–30.
  9. ^ Nagel, pp. 167–78.
  10. ^ Roberts, pp. 25–6.
  11. ^ Rogers, pp. 118–24.
  12. ^ Cheriton at UK Battlefields.
  13. ^ Beckett, p. 141.
  14. ^ Burne & Young, p. 152.
  15. ^ Nagel, pp. 192–9.
  16. ^ Rogers, pp. 132–4.
  17. ^ Toynbee & Young, pp. 68, 105–8.
  18. ^ Beckett, pp. 125–6.
  19. ^ Nagel, pp. 200–3, 226–9.
  20. ^ Beckett, pp. 94, 147.
  21. ^ a b c d e History of Parliament Online - Browne, Richard
  22. ^ Beckett, p. 147.
  23. ^ a b c 'Chronological list of aldermen: 1601–1650', The Aldermen of the City of London: Temp. Henry III – 1912 (1908), pp. 47–75. Date accessed: 16 July 2011
  24. ^ Beckett, p. 156–7.


  • John Adair, Cheriton 1644: The Campaign and the Battle, Kineton: Roundwood, 1973, ISBN 0-900093-19-6.
  • Ian F.W. Beckett, Wanton Troopers: Buckinghamshire in the Civil Wars 1640–1660, Barnsley:Pen & Sword, 2015, ISBN 978-1-47385-603-5.
  • Lt-Col Alfred H. Burne & Lt-Col Peter Young, The Great Civil War: A Military History of the First Civil War 1642–1646, London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1959/Moreton-in-Marsh, Windrush Press, 1998, ISBN 1-900624-22-2.
  • The Complete Baronetage, ca 1900, reprinted 1983.
  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1886.
  • Lawson Chase Nagel, The Militia of London, 1641–1649, PhD thesis, King's College London, 1982.
  • Lindley, Keith (2004). "Browne, Sir Richard, first baronet (c. 1602–1669)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/3692. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  • Keith Roberts, London And Liberty: Ensigns of the London Trained Bands, Eastwood, Nottinghamshire: Partizan Press, 1987, ISBN 0-946525-16-1.
  • Margaret Toynbee & Brig Peter Young, Cropredy Bridge, 1644: The Campaign and the Battle, Kineton: Roundwood, 1970, ISBN 0-900093-17-X.

External links

5 Annotations

First Reading

vincent  •  Link

Browne, Maj.-Gen. Ald. Sir Richard
lord mayor 1660 suceeding Thomas Alleyn 1659: in 1658 it was Sir John Ireton:…
mention in diary by John Evelyn
1660 june[5] Sir R: Browne, who came not

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Richard Brown, a major-general of the Parliament forces, citizen of London and a woodmonger; Sheriff of London, 1647. He was imprisoned for five years, but in Richard Cromwell's Parliament he was one of the members for London. He was one of the deputation from the City of London to Charles II. at Breda, and he and his eldest son were knighted. Lord Mayor, 1660; he was created a baronet for his prompt action during Venner's insurrection, and the City rewarded him with a pension of £500. He died September 24th, 1669.
---Wheatley (1894).

"and the members of the City that are in prison to be set at liberty" says Pepys on Feb 21, 1559/1660. Wheatley says that Browne was among this group.

Bill  •  Link

BROWNE, Sir RICHARD (d. 1669), parliamentary general and a leader of the presbyterian party; officer of the London trained bands; sent to disarm the Kentish royalists, 1642; present at the siege of Winchester; suppressed Kentish rising, 1643; fought at Alresford, 1644; major-general with task of reducing the Oxford district, 1644; present at the surrender of Oxford, 1646; a commissioner to receive Charles from the Scots, 1647; present at the seizure of Charles at Holmby, and afterwards favourable to the king; M.P. for Wycombe, but expelled by the influence of the army, 1648, and imprisoned for five years; excluded from parliament for refusing tbe 'engagement,' 1656; M.P. for Loudon in Richard Cromwell's parliament; privy to Sir George Booth's rising, 1659; intrigued for the recall of Charles II; knighted; lord mayor of London, 1660, and made a baronet for suppressing Venner's rising.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Don't confuse this Richard Browne with Evelyn's father-in-law.

Highlights from his Parliamentary Bio:

As a Presbyterian, Richard Browne MP was secluded at Pride’s Purge and imprisoned for 5 years. On release, he was elected to the 2nd and 3rd Protectorate Parliaments for the City. But he was a royalist conspirator and had to go underground after Booth’s Rising failed in Aug. 1659.

Browne was re-elected for London in 1660. The London apprentices thought highly of him, so he could not be a deputy to Charles II at The Hague. Financially, he did not contribute to the City funds for the interim Government.

After heading Charles II’s triumphal City procession in May 1660, Browne was knighted and given a baronetcy.

In the debates on the indemnity bill, Sir Richard gave a damning account of a private conversation with Col. Adrian Scrope, sealing Scrope’s fate as a regicide.

Browne was Lord Mayor of London from Oct. 1660-1661;

‘Equally feared and hated by the seditious party’, Lord Mayor Sir Richard Browne ‘carried himself very honorably’ during the Fifth Monarchist revolt in Jan., 1661, ‘and caused one of their meeting houses to be pulled down’. The common council voted him a pension for this and other services as maj.-gen. of militia.

In the Cavalier Parliament Browne was named to 63 committees, most connected with trade, with London, considered bills for the better employment of the poor in London and Westminster, and for regulating excise.

Although Sir Richard was now ‘a very dutiful son of the Church of England’, opposing Presbyterians at the Hampton Court Conference, he urged toleration for their ministers when the Act of Uniformity came into force; but in 1663 he was added to the committee to prevent meetings of sectaries.

During the second Dutch war Browne boasted that if there were any bad news from sea, he ‘clapped up several persons that he was afraid of’ to prevent disturbances; but Pepys told him he had no defense to an action of false imprisonment.

During the Great Fire, Sir Richard was ‘but a weak man’, rewarding with £4 the rescue of a chest of his said to contain £10,000.

Browne was on the committees for the relief and reconstruction of London, the indemnification of sheriffs, and the suspension of building work along the riverbank (he had an interest as a tenant of Whitefriars Wharf).

He was on the committees for the suppression of Popery and to consider a petition against Mordaunt.

In 1668 Brown was appointed to the committees to bring down the price of timber required for the rebuilding of London, and to receive information on nonconformists.

Sir Richard Browne MP died intestate on 24 Sept. 1669, and was buried at Debden Hall, Essex.


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