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Colonel Sir Richard Ingoldsby (10 August 1617 – 9 September 1685) was an English officer in the New Model Army during the English Civil War and a politician who sat in the House of Commons variously between 1647 and 1685. As a Commissioner (Judge) at the trial of King Charles I, he signed the king's death warrant but was one of the few regicides to be pardoned.

Early life

Richard Ingoldsby was the second son of Sir Richard Ingoldsby K.B. of Lethenborough in Buckinghamshire and Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir Oliver Cromwell of Hinchingbrooke, Huntingdon (the uncle and godfather of Oliver Cromwell the Lord Protector). This meant that Ingoldsby was a cousin of the Lord Protector. He was educated at Lord Williams's School in Thame, Oxfordshire. He had four sisters and seven brothers, including the oldest, Francis Ingoldsby, and Sir Henry Ingoldsby, 1st Baronet.

Military career

During the English Civil War he joined John Hampden's regiment as a captain and followed Oliver Cromwell into the New Model Army where he served as Colonel. He was detached by Sir Thomas Fairfax in May 1645 to relieve Taunton. He took part in the western campaign and was involved in the capture of Bristol and Bridgewater. His regiment garrisoned Oxford when it surrendered in 1646. In the quarrel between the parliament and the army in 1647 Ingoldsby's regiment took the army's part with the army. The regiment was ordered to be disbanded on 14 June, and money was sent to pay it off. The money was recalled by subsequent vote, but it had already reached Oxford, and the soldiers forcibly took it and routed the escorting troops. Ingoldsby's regiment also petitioned against the Treaty of Newport and in favour of punishing the King. On 4 October 1647 Ingoldsby was elected Member of Parliament (M.P.) for Wendover in the Long Parliament. Ingoldsby himself was appointed one of the King's judges, which ended in his signing the death warrant, although there is no evidence that he was present at any of the previous court sessions. In 1649 his regiment was one of the regiments which supported the Bishopsgate mutiny and for a time he was held prisoner by his own men. Some Levellers, notably Col. William Eyres, were imprisoned in Oxford after the Banbury mutiny, and contrived to inspire a second mutiny in the garrison, although it was quickly suppressed by Ingoldsby and others, and two of the ring-leaders were shot in Broken Hayes.[1] In May 1651 Ingoldsby's regiment left Oxford and joined the army which fought at the Battle of Worcester the last battle of the English Civil War.

Parliamentary career

Ingoldsby was chosen as one of the Council of State in November 1652. He was elected MP for Buckinghamshire in 1654 for the First Protectorate Parliament and 1656 for the Second Protectorate Parliament. He sat in the second house of Parliament commonly known as Cromwell's Other House in 1657–1659. When Oliver Cromwell died in 1659, Ingoldsby supported Richard Cromwell as Lord Protector when the officers of the army began to agitate against Richard Cromwell. Ingoldsby vigorously supported the new Protector, who was his own kinsman, but after the Rump Parliament removed Richard he threw in his lot with General George Monck and the move towards the restoration of the English monarchy. Seeing the Restoration at hand, he entered into negotiation with the agents of Charles II. As he was a regicide, the King refused to promise him indemnity, and left him to earn a pardon by his good services. In the struggle between Parliament and the army he energetically backed Parliament, and on 28 December 1659, he received its thanks for seizing Windsor Castle. Monck appointed him to command Colonel Rich's regiment (February 1660), and sent him to suppress John Lambert's intended rising (18 April 1660). Lambert had escaped from the Tower where General George Monck had imprisoned him, and had tried to raise the supporters of the Good Old Cause in a last-ditch attempt to stop the English Restoration in 1660. On 22 April Ingoldsby met Lambert's forces near Daventry, arrested him as he tried to flee, and brought him in triumph to London. Ingoldsby was thanked by the House of Commons on 26 April 1660. He was elected Member of Parliament for the constituency of Aylesbury in early 1660 in the Convention Parliament.[2]

After the Restoration Ingoldsby was pardoned for his regicide, firstly for his activities in support of General Monck, and secondly because he pleaded that he had been forced to sign the death warrant by his cousin Oliver Cromwell, in that "he refused but Cromwell and the others held him by violence; and Cromwell, with a loud laugh, taking his hand in his, and putting the pen between his fingers, with his own hand wrote Richard Ingoldsby".[3][4] He was not only spared the punishment which befell the rest of the regicides, but was created a Knight of the Bath at the coronation of Charles II on 20 April 1661. He was re-elected MP for Aylesbury in the Cavalier Parliament and held the seat until 1685.

Ingoldsby died in 1685 and was buried in Hartwell Church, Buckinghamshire, on 16 September 1685. He had married Elizabeth Lee, second daughter of Sir George Croke of Waterstock, Oxfordshire, and widow of Thomas Lee of Hartwell. Richard Ingoldsby, commander of the Army in Ireland, was his nephew.


  1. ^ Broken Hayes was the name of the present George Street (since 1850); see British History website, retrieved 2 September 2010
  2. ^ History of Parliament Online - Ingoldsby, Richard
  3. ^ Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England from David L.Smith; Oliver Cromwell 1640–1658. See online The Cromwell Association Quotes about Oliver Cromwell
  4. ^ Dictionary of National Biography article for Richard Ingoldsby notes that the signature is plain and clear, with no evidence of being forced: "But the name is remarkably clearly written, shows no sign of any constraint, and is attested by Ingoldsby's family seal".


4 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Wheatley footnote: Colonel Richard Ingoldsby had been Governor of Oxford under his kinsman Cromwell. He signed the warrant for the execution of Charles I, but was pardoned for the service here mentioned [Capture of Lambert]… and made K.B. at the coronation of Charles II. He afterwards retired to his seat at Lethenborough, Bucks, and died 1685. He was buried in the church of Hartwell, near Aylesbury.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The House of Commons blog has published an account of Col. Richard Ingoldsby MP's career, doubting that he attended the trial of King Charles, but confirming that he was one of the signers of the death warrent. They conclude that his allegance was to the Cromwell family: as soon as Richard stepped down, Ingoldsby was in touch with royalists aiding the restoration of Charles II.

Charles II must have believed Ingoldsby's story of being coerced into signing by his cousin, as not only was he reprieved from punishment, but he was appointed as one of Charles II’s gentlemen of the privy chamber. I.E. Charles trusted Ingoldsby enough to have him in the working and social parts of the Palace, interacting with him daily in vulnerable settings.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Excerpted from Richard Ingoldsby's Parliamentary bio:

Col. Richard Ingoldsby (1617 - 1685). His ancestors had held the manor of Lenborough since the 15th century, but he was the first to sit in Parliament. His father and at least 6 of his brothers were active on the parliamentarian side during the Civil Wars and Interregnum.
His mother was Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Oliver Cromwell MP of Hinchingbroke, Hunts., and this kinship with the Cromwells earned him a regiment in the New Model Army, and he was able to purchase Waldridge, 5 miles from Aylesbury, in 1650.
He sat in Cromwell’s ‘Other House’, but became an active Royalist when the Rump deprived him of his regiment in I659.
He claimed his signature on King Charles’ death-warrant had been procured by force, but was told that, as a regicide, he would have to earn his pardon. As ‘the most popular man in the army’ when restored to his command by George Monck, he soon was able to earn earn his reprieve.

Ingoldsby was returned to the 1660 Convention Parliament for Aylesbury on the interest of his step-son, Thomas Lee, defeating the unrepentant regicide, Thomas Scott.
He was entitled to the sole credit for the recapture of Col. Lambert, and received a vote of thanks from the House on 26 Apr. 1660.
Two weeks later he appeared, bathed in tears, to express his penitence for the King’s execution.
He did not speak again, and was appointed to only 2 unimportant committees. Nevertheless Lord Wharton marked him as a friend reserved for his own management.
Sir George Booth obtained leave for Ingoldsby to petition the Lords for a debt owed to him by his fellow-regicide, Sir Hardress Waller (whose daughter had married his brother) and on 7 Dec. Francis, Lord Aungier presented a proviso to the indemnity bill on his behalf.

Ingoldsby was re-elected in 1661, given a place at Court, and made a knight of the Bath for Charles II's coronation.

An active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, Ingoldsby was appointed to 27 committees. He was still listed among Wharton’s friends, but also remained in favor at Court.

Sir Henry Bennet wrote to Ormonde to support his case before the commissioners of settlement in Ireland, while on his behalf the claims of a devoted Royalist to a lease of the Lincolnshire manor of Ingleby, bought ‘during the late times’, were overridden.
He was named to the committees for the private bills on behalf of the younger children of Bulstrode Whitelocke, and to enable Ingleby to be sold.

He was reckoned a court dependant in 1664 and a friend of Ormonde, and in 1669 Sir Thomas Osborne included him among those to be engaged for the Court by the Duke of York.
‘Honest Dick Ingoldsby’ (in Oliver’s unfortunate phrase) could ‘neither pray nor preach’, and for some time he maintained an Independent chaplain in his household for these purposes.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Later Samuel Pepys included him among the Presbyterians commissioned to raise troops of horse after the Dutch raid on the Medway;
but he must have conformed to the Church of England, at least until the Conventicles Act, when he lost his place on the commission of the peace.

When Osborne took office as Lord Treasurer Danby, Ingoldsby, doubtless under Lee’s important committee was for the liberty of the subject (13 Nov. 1675). [SIC]
He was included on the working lists among Members to be influenced by the King in person; but Sir Richard Wiseman saw ‘little cause to hope well’ of him.

Anthony Ashley-Cooper, Earl of Shafterbury marked Ingoldsby as ‘worthy’ in 1677, and he was appointed to the committee for the recall of British subjects from the French service.
During the Popish Plot alarm, he was among those Members appointed to investigate the sounds of knocking heard in Old Palace Yard, and on the proposal to call out the militia he made his only recorded speech:
"I think the horse of the militia are most convenient to be employed. That charge lies upon the gentlemen only. The foot are useless, and mostly lying upon the poorer sort. The horse can be everywhere in the county."

Ingoldsby was re-elected to the Exclusion Parliaments, and again marked ‘worthy’ on the Shaftesbury’s list.
He was given leave to go into the country for 2 weeks on 1 May 1679, but returned in time to vote for the Exclusion bill.
But he was named to no committees and made no speeches.

He was defeated in 1685, but did not join in Lee’s petition, although it was reported that they had a majority of 6-to-1 over the Tories.

On the news of Monmouth’s landing, James II sent Ingoldsby to the Tower, but he was released later in the month.

Col. Richard Ingoldsby MP and a gentleman of the privy chamber 1661-85, died on 9 Sept. 1685 and was buried with his wife, Elizabeth Croke Lee Ingoldsby (d.1675 -- she was the widow of Thomas Lee Snr. of Hartwell, Bucks.), at Hartwell.

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