This text was copied from Wikipedia on 15 June 2024 at 3:10AM.

Sir Henry Mildmay (ca. 1593–1668) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1621 and 1659. He supported the Parliamentarian cause in the English Civil War and was one of the Regicides of Charles I of England.[1]

Mildmay was knighted in 1617, and made Master of the Jewel Office in 1618. In 1621, Mildmay was elected Member of Parliament for Maldon. He was elected MP for Westbury in 1624 and Maldon again in 1625 and 1628. He sat until 1629 when King Charles decided to rule without parliament for eleven years [2] He attended Charles I on a visit to Scotland in 1639.[3]

In April 1640, Mildmay was elected MP for Maldon in the Short Parliament. He was re-elected MP for Maldon in the Long Parliament in November 1640[2] He supported Parliament during the Civil War and was a revenue commissioner between 1645 and 1652. In 1646, he was left as a hostage in Scotland. He remained in the Rump Parliament after Pride's Purge and was present at the trial of King Charles I.[3]

Mildmay was a member of the Councils of State from 1649 until 1652. He was called on to account for the King's jewels in 1660 and attempted to escape. He was disgraced and sentenced to imprisonment for life. In 1664, a warrant was issued for his transportation to Tangier, where he died four years later.[4]


Mildmay was second son of Humphrey Mildmay (d. 1613) of Danbury Place, Essex, by Mary (1560–1633), daughter of Henry Capel of Little Hadham, Hertfordshire,[5] He was brought up at court, and excelled in all manly exercises. In 1610 he matriculated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (founded by his grandfather, Sir Walter Mildmay), graduating in 1612.[6]

Clarendon terms him a "great flatterer of all persons in authority, and a spy in all places for them",[7] On 9 August 1617 Mildmay, being then one of the king's sewers, was knighted at Kendal.[8] In 1619 he made a wealthy match, through the king's good offices,[9] and bought Wanstead House, Essex, from George Villiers, Marquis of Buckingham, where he entertained James I in June of that year.[10]

In April 1620, he was appointed Master of the King's Jewel House,[11] on 8 August following entered Gray's Inn,[12] and was elected M.P. for Maldon, Essex, of which he became chief steward on 20 December. He was chosen one of the tilters before the king on the anniversary of his accession, 24 March 1622.[13] On 3 February 1624 he was returned to the Happy Parliament for Westbury, Wiltshire.[14]

In the first parliament of King Charles I's reign (convened on 12 April 1625), Sir Henry sat again for Maldon (known as the Useless Parliament). He also represented Maldon in the parliament of 1627–8, and in the Short and Long parliaments of 1640.[15] In parliament he took part in the great debate on the foreign policy of the crown, 6 August 1625, when, as a friend of Buckingham, he proposed a vote of money for completing the equipment of the fleet against Spain.[16]

On 5 May 1627, King Charles I, suspended a statute of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, for the removal of fellows at the time of commencing doctors, or within one year thereafter. Sir Henry being anxious, as grandson of the founder, to maintain the statute, offered to annexe five or six new benefices to the college within six years, and thus obtained its revocation.[17] On 4 August 1630 he was appointed a commissioner for compounding with persons selected for knighthood, and likewise a collector.[18] In 1639 he accompanied Charles I on his expedition to Scotland, and maintained an interesting correspondence with Secretary Francis Windebank.[19] As deputy-lieutenant of Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, he endeavoured in May 1640 to collect the "conduct-money" in that county, but found the task little to his liking.[20] On 21 April 1641, he voted against the bill for the attainder of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford.[21]

Sir Henry eventually deserted the king, and was appointed one of the committee of the commons on 9 September 1641.[22] The parliament, regarding him as an important acquisition, refused, despite its ordinance, to expel him for his notorious peculation (Declaration of the King concerning the Proceedings of this Present Parliament, 12 August 1642;[23] and allowed him to retain his salary as master of the jewel-house.[24] He made himself useful by acting as master of the ceremonies to foreign ambassadors, and was an active committeeman for Essex.[25]

In November 1643, he got into trouble with parliament by saying of Philip, Lord Wharton, who had raised a regiment for the parliamentary service,[26] and subsequently became a member of the council of state,[27] "that he had made his peace at Oxon, and therefore was not fit to be entrusted with any public trust".[28] After endeavouring to shift the blame on Lord Murray he thought it prudent to absent himself from the house. (It was not he but a cousin Sir Henry Mildmay of Woodham Walters and Moulsham who on 17 June 1645 vainly claimed, by petition, the barony of Fitzwalter;[29] From 1645 to 1652, he was a commissioner for the revenue.[30]

By reason of his wealth, Sir Henry was one of the hostages left with the Scots in December 1646.[31] In January 1648, on the debate upon the letters of the Scottish commissioners, he made a long speech in praise of Archibald Campbell, Marquess of Argyll, and moved that the latter be paid his £10,000, and the rest of the Scottish debts be continued at interest at 8 per cent. For his "good service" in Hampshire at the trial of Captain John Burley he received the thanks of parliament on 2 February 1648.[32]

Sir Henry was nominated one of the King's judges, and attended the trial on 23 January 1649, but abstained from signing the warrant.[33] He was a member of the councils of state elected in 1649, 1650, 1651, and 1652, and sat on the committee appointed to consider the formation of a West India Company, and the regulation of the fishing upon the British coasts.[34] In July 1649, parliament ordered the sum of £2,000. which he had lent to King Charles I to be repaid him with interest from the fund accumulated by sales of cathedral lands.[35]

When, in the summer of 1650, news reached London that King Charles II had landed in Scotland, Sir Henry, who had often been sent on a commission to inquire into the state of the late king's three younger children, suggested, as a matter of public safety, that they should be immured in Carisbrooke Castle, of which his brother Anthony was governor.[36] Thenceforward he ceased to take a prominent part in affairs, though he signed the remonstrance promoted on 22 September 1656 by Sir Arthur Hesilrige on behalf of the excluded members.[37]

On 15 May 1660, Sir Henry was ordered, to attend the committee appointed to consider Charles II's reception, and give an account of the whereabouts of the crowns, robes, sceptres, and jewels belonging to the King. He attempted to escape abroad, but was seized by Lord Winchelsea at Rye, Sussex, and was excepted out of the General Pardon Bill. On his petition he was ordered to be committed to the custody of the serjeant-at-arms instead of to the Tower of London. On 1 July 1661 he was brought to the bar of the House of Commons, and after evidence had been produced against him, and he had been made to confess his guilt, he was degraded from his honours and titles. He was likewise sentenced to be drawn every year on the anniversary of the King's sentence (27 January) upon a sledge through the streets to and under the gallows at Tyburn, with a rope about his neck, and so back to the Tower, there to remain a prisoner during his life.[38] In a petition to the House of Lords, dated 25 July, he prayed for commiseration, alleging that he was present at the trial only to seek some opportunity of saving the king's life.[39] On 31 March 1664, a warrant was issued for Mildmay's transportation to Tangier, but on account of his feeble health he was allowed a servant.[40] He is often recorded to have died, shortly after setting out on the journey, between April 1664 and May 1665 at Antwerp.[41] However, this is apparently based on a mistranscription from a contemporary source, and he in fact died at English Tangier circa 1668.[4] Most of his vast accumulations were forfeited to the crown, his estate at Wanstead being granted to James, Duke of York.[42]

Surviving papers

In the British Library are Mildmay's letters to Sir Thomas Barrington in 1643 (Egerton MSS. 2643, 2647), letter to the parliamentary committee at Southampton in 1645,[43] and a guarantee on a loan for pay of troops in Essex in 1643 (Egerton MS. 2651, f. 146); there are also letters of his in the Tanner MSS. in the Bodleian Library (Lords' Journals, vols. vi. x).


Sir Henry married, in April 1619, Anne, daughter and coheiress of William Holliday, alderman of London. They had two sons: William (b 1623), and Henry, who was admitted of Gray's Inn on 26 April 1656,[44] and three daughters: Susan, Anne, and Mary.[42]


  1. ^ Plant 2005.
  2. ^ a b Willis 1750, pp. 229–239.
  3. ^ a b Lee 1903, p. 875.
  4. ^ a b Thrush 2010.
  5. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cites: Visitations of Essex, Harl. Soc., vol. xiii. pt. i. pp. 252, 452.
  6. ^ "Mildmay, Henry (MLDY610H)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  7. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cites: Rebellion, ed. Macray, iv. 487–8.
  8. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Metcalfe, Book of Knights, p. 171.
  9. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Court and Times of James I, ii. 152.
  10. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cites: Nichols, Progresses of James I, iii. 454, 483, 553.
  11. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1619–23, p. 140
  12. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cites: Foster, Register, p. 161,
  13. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cites: Nicols, iv. 754.
  14. ^ In this article years start on 1 January (see Old Style and New Style dates).
  15. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cites: Members of Parliament, Official Return, pt. i.
  16. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cites: Gardiner, History, v. 413.
  17. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1627–8, p. 165.
  18. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1629–31, p. 321.
  19. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1639.
  20. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. p. 163.
  21. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Verney Papers, Camden Soc., p. 59.
  22. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 372 Cites: Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1641–3, p. 201; Clarendon, i. 386.
  23. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Clarendon, i. 228–229.
  24. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Whitelocke Memorials, ed. 1732, p. 106.
  25. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Whitelocke Memorials, ed. 1732, 80, 518, 681.
  26. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Cal. State Papers, 1642–44, p. 366
  27. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Cal. State Papers, 1644, p. 561.
  28. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Commons' Journals, iii. 300.
  29. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Lords' Journals, vii. 438.
  30. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 cf. the warrants signed by him in Addit. MSS. 21482, 21506, and Egerton MS. 2159.
  31. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Whitelocke, p. 230.
  32. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Whitelocke, p. 290; Walker, Hist. of Independency, edit. 1661, pt. i. p. 79.
  33. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Nalson, Trial of Charles I, edit. 1684, pp. 2, 50, 52.
  34. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Commons' Journals, vi. 141, 362, 532, vii. 221.
  35. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Commons' Journals, vi. 264.
  36. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Clarendon, v. 335–6; Green, Princesses of England, vi. 381; Thurloe, State Papers, i. 158.
  37. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Whitelocke, p. 653.
  38. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Commons' Journals, viii. 26, 37, 38, 60, 66, 285, 286; Pepys, Diary, ed. Bright, i. 407, 528–9.
  39. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cites: Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. pp. ix. 150.
  40. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cite: Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1663–1664, pp. 536, 561.
  41. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 373 Cite: Pepys, iii. 156.
  42. ^ a b Goodwin 1894, p. 373.
  43. ^ Goodwin 1894, p. 374 Cites: Addit. MS. 24860, f. 114.
  44. ^ (Goodwin 1894, p. 373) Cites: Foster, p. 277



Further reading

  • Peacey, J. T. (2004). "Mildmay, Henry (c.1594–1664/5?)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/18695. (subscription required)

6 Annotations

First Reading

vicenzo  •  Link

Sir Henry Mildmay, Regicide, 1593-1664
MP for Maldon, Essex, in the Short and Long Parliaments. Formerly Master of the Jewel House to King Charles I and a supporter of Strafford, he moved into opposition from religious principles. A commissioner on the High Court of Justice, but declined to sign the death warrant. After the Restoration, he was sentenced to be transported to Tangier…

Australian Susan  •  Link

In the 17th century, Tangier was used to dump criminals in, then in the 18th century, it was the future USA, then Australia!(until the 1860s).

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Sir Henry Mildmay, third son of Sir Humphrey Mildmay, had enjoyed the confidence of Charles I., who made him Master of the Jewels; but he sat a few days as one of the King's judges. He died at Antwerp. His estate of Wansted was confiscated, and was given to Sir Robert Brookes; and by him, or his heirs, or creditors, alienated in 1667 to Sir Josiah Childe, ancestor of the Earl Tylney. See May 14, 1665. It is now Lord Mornington's, in right of his first wife. Sir Henry Mildmay's other estates were saved by being settled on his marriage.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.

Bill  •  Link

MILDMAY, Sir HENRY (d. 1664?), master of the king's jewel-house; knighted, 1617; master of the king's jewel-house, 1620; M.P., Maldon, 1620, Westbury, 1624, Maldon again, 1625-60; attended Charles I to Scotland, 1639; deserted the king, 1641; revenue commissioner, 1645-52; left as hostage in Scotland, 1646; present at Charles I's trial; member of state councils, 1649-52; attempted escape when called on to account for the king's jewels, 1660; degraded and sentenced to imprisonment for life; warrant issued for his transportation to Tangier, 1664; died at Antwerp on the way.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

For what it's worth, Sir Henry Mildmay MP's Parliamentary biography gives Pepys Diary a shout out -- for the wrong reasons:


They say Sir Henry Mildmay MP did not die at Old Wanstead House, which was settled on his son-in-law (Sir) Robert Brooke†,143. The rumor that he did is based on a mis-transcription in an early edition of Samuel Pepys’† diary.144
• 143. VCH Essex, vi. 324.
• 144. Cf. Pepys Diary ed. H.B. Wheatley, iv. 386 and Pepys Diary ed. R.C. Latham and W. Matthews, vi. 102.

They are firm that Mildmay was ordered in 1664 to be transferred from the Tower to Tangiers, where he apparently died four years later [1668].

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The excerpt which refers to Mildmay taken from
“The lies of the Regicides? Charles I’s judges at the Restoration” -- by Dr Jason Peacey, Senior Lecturer in History at University College, London.…

Those involved in the trial of King Charles, and who were still living in 1660, found themselves marked men. Vilified in public and in print, they faced choices about how to behave, and how to respond to the probability that they would be punished by the king or parliament.

Some fled, and some of these lived out their days in relative safety, although others lived troubled lives, either because of the threat of violence or of capture, and some clearly lived in obscurity and sought to cover their tracks and assume new identities.

Others surrendered under the terms of a June 1660 proclamation, either in the hope of securing pardon or of mitigating their guilt, although it was always clear their fates depended upon the attitude of MPs, who were given the power to determine who should be punished and who should be pardoned.
As it turned out, MPs proved more vindictive than Charles II, resulting in the trial of 29 men in October 1660, 27 of whom pleaded guilty.

This process must begin with statements made before the trials of October 1660, and in the febrile political atmosphere surrounding the Restoration the process of identifying and vilifying the regicides involved rumors and allegations, fueled by pamphlets, newspapers and broadsides, such that truth was hard to discern.
This ensured many former parliamentarians feared their role in the events of January 1649 would be misrepresented, and so there began a process of setting the record straight, of giving explanations, and of making excuses, through petitions and printed pamphlets.

Sir Henry Mildmay MP claimed ‘the only end’ why he attended proceedings was ‘to improve his utmost care and industry … to preserve his said Majesty’s life’.
Mildmay is hard to contradict; he attended [planning meetings] with some regularity – including one day of the trial – and although we cannot prove he did so with a view to preserving King Charles’ life, he certainly withdrew from the proceedings in Westminster Hall after 23 January, and stopped attending planning meetings after 26 January.11
11 HMC Seventh Report, pp. 121, 123, 150.

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