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Hardress Waller
Mont Orgueil, where Waller died in 1666
Member of the Protectorate Parliament
for County Clare, County Limerick and County Kerry
In office
Governor of Limerick
In office
Member of the Irish Parliament
for County Limerick
In office
March 1639 – January 1649 (did not sit after 1640, formally dissolved by the death of Charles I)
Member of the Irish Parliament
for Askeaton
In office
July 1634 – April 1635
Personal details
Bornc. 1604
Chartham, Kent, England
Died30 July 1666(1666-07-30) (aged 61)
Mont Orgueil, Jersey
SpouseElizabeth Dowdall (1629–1658)
RelationsWilliam Waller
ChildrenWalter (1632?-1658/1659?); James (1636–1702); Bridget (1639-1721); Anne (1641–1709); Mary; Elizabeth (1637–1708)
Parent(s)George and Mary Waller
OccupationRadical politician and soldier
Military service
Years of service1625–1652
RankMajor General

Sir Hardress Waller (c. 1604 – 1666) was born in Kent and settled in Ireland during the 1630s. A first cousin of Parliamentarian general William Waller, he fought for Parliament in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, becoming a leading member of the radical element within the New Model Army. In 1649, he signed the death warrant for the Execution of Charles I, and after the Stuart Restoration in 1660 was condemned to death as a regicide.

A prominent member of Protestant society in Munster during the 1630s, Waller fought against the Catholic Confederacy following the 1641 Irish Rebellion. When the First English Civil War began in August 1642, Charles I wanted to use his Irish troops to help win the war in England, and in September 1643 agreed a truce or "Cessation" with the Confederacy. Waller opposed this and defected to the Parliamentarians; in April 1645, he was appointed a colonel in the New Model Army and fought throughout the final campaigns of 1645 and 1646.

An admirer of Oliver Cromwell, Waller became a political and religious radical; he took part in the 1647 Putney Debates, supported Pride's Purge in December 1648 and was a judge at the Trial of Charles I in January 1649. During the Protectorate, he held considerable political power in Ireland and was arrested in February 1660 after staging a coup in an attempt to prevent the Restoration of Charles II. At his trial for regicide in October 1660, Waller pleaded guilty and was sentenced to death, later commuted to life imprisonment. He died in 1666 at Mont Orgueil on the island of Jersey.

Personal details

Hardress Waller is thought to have been born around 1604, the only son of George Waller and Mary Hardress, both of whom died by 1622.[1] His father sold the family estates at Groombridge to his younger brother Thomas in 1601 and thereafter lived on his wife's property in Chartham, which is probably where Hardress was brought up. His first cousin was the Parliamentarian general Sir William Waller, Thomas's eldest son.[2]

In 1629, he married Elizabeth Dowdall, née Southwell,[3] daughter of Sir Thomas Southwell, an English settler with extensive lands in County Limerick, through whom he acquired a large estate in Castletown.[4] They had two sons, Walter (died late 1650s) and James (1636-1702),[3] along with four daughters, all of whom made important marriages; Elizabeth (1637-1708) to Sir Maurice Fenton, Bridget (1639-1721) to Henry Cadogan, Anne (1641-1709) to Sir Henry Ingoldsby, 1st Baronet, a close relative of Oliver Cromwell, and Mary to Sir John Brookes.[5] These connections ensured that despite his conviction for regicide in 1660, the Waller family held onto their Castletown estates and remained significant figures in Munster society into the 20th century.[1]

1625 to 1646

Details of Waller's early career are limited; his uncle Thomas fought in Ireland under Elizabeth I, and in 1625 Waller joined a regiment raised for the Anglo-Spanish War (1625–1630) by William St Leger, Lord President of Munster. Recruited for the disastrous assault on Cádiz in 1625, the ships carrying his unit were forced ashore in Ireland and never reached Spain.[4] Knighted in 1629, he settled in Ireland after his marriage and was elected to the Parliament of Ireland in 1634 for Askeaton, then County Limerick in 1639. Waller was a leading opponent of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, who served as Lord Deputy of Ireland from 1632 to 1640. In December 1640, he was selected by the Irish Parliament to deliver a petition or "Remonstrance" attacking Strafford to the Long Parliament in Westminster; some of their complaints were included in the charges that ended with his execution in May 1641.[1]

From 1642 to 1644, Waller served under Earl of Inchiquin, Protestant leader in Munster

Following the outbreak of the Irish Rebellion of 1641, Waller was besieged in his castle at Castletown by Patrick Purcell in March 1642.[6] Shortage of water forced him to surrender six weeks later and he subsequently claimed to have lost property worth over £11,000.[7] He was appointed lieutenant colonel in the army raised to suppress the revolt and a member of the Protestant war council in Munster but the outbreak of the First English Civil War in August 1642 ended supplies of men and money from England. In September, the Earl of Inchiquin, Protestant leader in Munster, sent Waller to the Royalist capital in Oxford to plead for additional resources.[1]

However, Charles I wanted to use his Irish army to help win the war in England, and in September 1643 agreed a truce or "Cessation" with the Catholic Confederacy. Factions on both sides objected to the terms, which included negotiations on freedom of worship for Catholics and constitutional reforms. Protestants saw this as a threat, while many Confederates felt they were on the verge of victory and gained nothing from the truce; they were also well aware any concessions Charles made to Catholics in Ireland undermined his position in England and Scotland.[8]

After failing to persuade Charles not to transfer troops from Ireland to England, Inchiquin declared for Parliament in July 1644 and Waller moved to London.[1] By early 1645, he was serving in his cousin William's Western Army and when the New Model Army was formed in April 1645, he was given command of an infantry regiment. He fought at Naseby in June, followed by Langport, Bristol and Basing House, where he was wounded. When Charles surrendered in April 1646, he was part of the force besieging Exeter.[9]

1647 to 1666

Although his cousin Sir William was a moderate Presbyterian, during his service with the New Model Waller became a religious Independent and admirer of Oliver Cromwell. He transferred back to Ireland in February 1647 but fell out with Inchiquin and returned to England, where he became increasingly involved in radical politics and took part in the Putney Debates.[1] During the 1648 Second English Civil War, he served as Parliamentarian commander in the strongly Royalist West Country and successfully suppressed a number of local revolts.[10] Troops from his regiment took part in Pride's Purge in December which excluded moderate MPs from Parliament, while he was one of the 59 judges who signed the death warrant for the Execution of Charles I in January 1649. He was the only Irish Protestant to do so; many others, including Inchiquin, strongly opposed it and fought for the Royalists during the 1650 to 1652 Cromwellian conquest of Ireland.[1]

By 1646, Waller had become an admirer of Oliver Cromwell, whom he supported throughout The Protectorate

In December 1649 Waller was finally released from his command in South West England to join Cromwell in Ireland, who returned to England in May 1650.[11] Promoted Major General in June, Waller captured Carlow Castle in July and was appointed Governor of Limerick after it surrendered in October 1651; this ended major military operations, although guerrilla warfare continued until 1653.[12] Under the Protectorate, Waller held considerable political influence; his son-in-law Sir Henry Ingoldsby replaced him as Governor of Limerick in 1653 and the two men were MPs for County Clare, County Limerick and County Kerry in the Protectorate Parliaments of 1654, 1656 and 1659.[13]

However, Waller's personal loyalty to Cromwell and status as a regicide isolated him from other Irish Protestants, the majority of whom were either hostile to the Commonwealth or suspicious of Cromwell's ambitions. In the political chaos that followed the resignation of Richard Cromwell in 1659, Waller opposed the Stuart Restoration and in February 1660 staged an attempted coup in Limerick. This was quickly suppressed by Sir Charles Coote and Lord Broghill, in what was the last military action of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in Ireland.[14]

Sent to England as a prisoner he managed to escape to France, then returned to London hoping to benefit from the Indemnity and Oblivion Act. One of only two regicides to plead guilty, he claimed to have been appointed to the trial without his knowledge, a suggestion dismissed by the republican Edmund Ludlow as indicating "one who would say anything to save his life".[15] Condemned to death, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment while he was also allowed to retain his lands.[16] He was imprisoned in Mont Orgueil, Jersey, where he died in 1666.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Little 2004.
  2. ^ Lefevre 2010.
  3. ^ a b Little 2009.
  4. ^ a b McGrath 1997, p. 292.
  5. ^ Burke & Burke 1844, p. 605.
  6. ^ Wiggins 2001, p. xvii.
  7. ^ Murphy 2012, pp. 141–142.
  8. ^ Clarke 2004.
  9. ^ BCW.
  10. ^ Stoyle 2000, p. 38, 49.
  11. ^ Firth 1899, p. 128.
  12. ^ Royle 2004, pp. 614–617.
  13. ^ Venning 2004.
  14. ^ Royle 2004, p. 787.
  15. ^ Ludlow 1978, p. 209.
  16. ^ Raithby 1819, pp. 288–290.
  17. ^ McGrath 1997, p. 295.


1893 text

Sir Hardress Waller, Knt., one of Charles I. judges. His sentence was commuted to imprisonment for life.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

3 Annotations

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Sir Hardress Waller, Knight, one of Charles the First's judges. His sentence was commuted to imprisonment for life.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Fortunately I had copied the BCWar entry for Sir Hardress:…

A New Model Army officer with interests in Ireland, Sir Hardress Waller was imprisoned for life at the Restoration for his role in the regicide.

Hardress was the son of George Waller of Groombridge, Kent, and Mary, daughter of Richard Hardress.

Hardress Waller was knighted by King Charles in 1629 and married Elizabeth Dowdall, the daughter of an "Old English" landowner in Ireland.
Through his marriage, Sir Hardress Waller acquired a large estate at Castletown, Co. Limerick.

During the 1630s, Waller supported Old English interests in Ireland against the administration of Sir Thomas Wentworth and opposed further English colonization in the west of Ireland.

After the Irish Uprising of 1641, Sir Hardress Waller turned against the Old English and campaigned against the Confederates in Munster as an ally of Lord Inchiquin.

In September 1642, Waller went to England to support Lord Inchiquin's claim to the presidency of Munster.

Sir Hardress remained at King Charles' court in Oxford for a year, but left in disgrace after criticizing plans for the Cessation of 1643.

Waller deputized as governor of Munster in January 1644 while Inchiquin went to lobby King Charles.

On Inchiquin's return to Ireland, he sent Waller back to Court again, but King Charles appointed the Earl of Portland as the governor of Munster.

This prompted Inchiquin and the Munster Protestants to declare for Parliament in July 1644, while Waller went to London and joined the New Model Army.

Sir Hardress Waller was commissioned colonel of a regiment of foot and fought at Naseby in June 1645.

In October 1645, Col. Waller was wounded leading his regiment in the storming of Basing House.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


While serving in the New Model, Col. Waller becamean admirer of Oliver Cromwell with zeal for the Independent cause, which led to a split with Inchiquin in February 1647.

Col. Waller was involved in the political struggle between the Army and Parliament during 1647.

Col. Waller took part in the Putney Debates and argued the Army should not hesitate to use force to coerce the Presbyterians in Parliament.

On the outbreak of the Second Civil War early in 1648, Col. Waller was sent into Devon and Cornwall to subdue Royalist insurgents.

In December 1648, Col. Sir Hardress Waller was with Col. Pride at the purging of Parliament.

Col. Sir Hardress Waller was appointed one of King Charles' judges in January 1649; was a signatory of the King's death warrant and helped arrange his execution.

In 1650, Col. Waller returned to Ireland as a major-general in Cromwell's invasion force.

When Cromwell returned to England in May 1650, Major Gen. Waller stayed in Ireland and helped Ireton and Ludlow complete the subjugation.

Major Gen. Waller captured Carlow Castle in July 1650 and played a major role in the siege of Limerick in 1651, after which he was appointed governor of Limerick.

Gov. Waller was involved in the settlement of Ireland and remained loyal to Cromwell throughout the 1650s.

Major Gen. Sir Hardress Waller supported the establishment of the Protectorate against opposition from fellow officers, and came over to the republicans after Richard Cromwell's resignation in 1659.

Major Gen. Waller opposed Gen. John Lambert's coup against Parliament in October 1659

Major Gen. Waller led the officers who seized Dublin Castle in Parliament's name in December, 1659.

Early in 1660, Major Gen. Waller became alarmed at moves to reinstate the MPs he had helped to expel during Pride's Purge.

Major Gen. Waller seized Dublin Castle again on 15 February, 1660 but, finding little support, he was obliged to surrender to Sir Charles Coote 3 days later.

Major Gen. Sir Hardress Waller was imprisoned at Athlone, then returned to England on the intervention of his cousin, Sir William Waller.

Major Gen. Sir Hardress Waller fled to France at the Restoration, but surrendered, hoping for the lenient treatment offered to repentant regicides.

Although Major Gen. Sir Hardress Waller was condemned to death, his cousin Sir William Waller interceded for him, and the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on Jersey, where he died in 1666.

Patrick Little, Sir Hardress Waller , Oxford DNB, 2004

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