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The Earl of Middleton
|Governor of Tangier|
1670 to 1672 – 1672 to 1674
|Governor of Rochester Castle|
|Lord High Commissioner to the Parliament of Scotland|
|Commander in chief Scotland|
1646 to 1647 – 1660 to 1663
|Died||3 July 1674(1674-07-03) (aged 66)|
|Relatives||John Middleton (great-nephew)|
|Battles/wars||Thirty Years War |
Wars of the Three Kingdoms
Philiphaugh; Preston; Worcester
Battle of Dalnaspidal
John Middleton, 1st Earl of Middleton (c. 1608 – 3 July 1674) was a professional soldier and mercenary from Kincardineshire in Scotland. Beginning his career in the Thirty Years War, during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms he fought for the Covenanters and Parliamentarians until 1648, when he switched sides to the Royalists.
One of his colleagues in the 1639 to 1640 Bishops' Wars was Montrose, who later became a Royalist. Despite their similar backgrounds and views, Middleton pursued him with considerable vigour, reportedly because his father died when Montrose's men set fire to his house.
Middleton supported the Royalists in the Second and Third English Civil Wars and took part in the unsuccessful 1654 Glencairn's rising. Rewarded by being appointed Lord High Commissioner to the Parliament of Scotland after the 1660 Stuart Restoration, he fell out with his political colleagues and was removed from office in 1663.
Born around 1608, John was the eldest son of Robert Middleton of Caldhame and his wife Catherine Strachan; his younger brother Alexander and nephew George both served as Principal of King's College, Aberdeen great uncle of George's son John Middleton; and great-great uncle of Charles Middleton, 1st Baron Barham.
In early life Middleton served as a soldier in France; later he fought against Charles I both in England and in Scotland, being especially prominent at the Battle of Philiphaugh and in other operations against James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose.
Middleton held a high command in the Engager army which took part in the Second English Civil War and was taken prisoner at the Battle of Preston in August 1648. He joined Charles II when he arrived in Scotland in 1650 to be crowned, but fell out with the ruling Kirk Party and was compelled to do public penance at Dundee. He commanded the Royalist cavalry at the Battle of Worcester in August 1651 and was captured before escaping to Paris.
In 1653, Middleton was chosen to lead a projected Scottish rising; he reached Scotland in February 1654, but the participants were deeply divided and the revolt ended in defeat at the Battle of Dalnaspidal in July. He remained in Scotland until 1655 when he rejoined the exiled court and was created Earl of Middleton in 1656, with the subsidiary title of Lord Clermont and Fettercairn. He was made colonel of a Scottish infantry regiment in the Royalist Army in Exile, although actual command was exercised by Lord Newburgh.
Following the Stuart Restoration in May 1660, Middleton was appointed commander-in-chief of the troops in Scotland and Lord High Commissioner to the Parliament of Scotland, which he opened in January 1661. His extreme Royalism led to a political struggle with the Earl of Lauderdale and in 1663 he was deprived of his offices. He then served as Lieutenant-General of the Kent militia and Governor of Rochester Castle from 1663 until 1668, before being appointed governor of English Tangier in 1670, acquired when Charles married Catherine of Braganza. He died there on 3 July 1674 of injuries sustained by falling down the stairs after a drinking bout.
John Middleton married (contract July 1639), Grizel Durham, who died in September 1666. They had five children together:
- Charles Middleton, 2nd Earl of Middleton (1649/1650–1719), married Lady Catherine Brudenell, daughter of Robert Brudenell, 2nd Earl of Cardigan, and Ann Savage, had children.
- Lady Grizel Middleton, married William Douglas, 9th Earl of Morton. One child who died in infancy.
- Lady Helen Middleton, married Patrick Lyon, 3rd Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. They had eight children.
- Two daughters, names not known, who both died in 1669 unmarried and without issue.
Middleton's second wife was Lady Martha Carey (1635/6–1706), married 16 December 1667 at St. Andrew's, Holborn, daughter of Henry Carey, 2nd Earl of Monmouth and his wife Martha Cranfield. They had two children:
- John Middleton (1668–1696). Died unmarried without issue.
- Lady Elizabeth Middleton (1672–1748), married William Spelman. They had one child who died young.
- One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Middleton, Earls of". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 18 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 414–415.
- Furgol 2004.
- M. R. R. M'Gilchrist Gilchrist, Sir James Balfour Paul ed., The Scots Peerage, volume VI (Edinburgh, 1909) pages 177–180.
- Bennett, Magnus (28 April 2011). "Royal wedding: Prince William 'has Middleton ancestry'". BBC Scotland news website. BBC. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
- Royle 2004, pp. 600–601.
- Barratt, John. Better Begging Than Fighting': The Royalist Army in Exile in the War Against Cromwell 1656-1660. Helion, 2016. p.30-32
- Thomson 2018, p. 181.
- Furgol, Edward M. (2004). "Middleton, John, first earl of Middleton (c.1608–1674)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/18674. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- Royle, Trevor (2004). Civil War: The War of the Three Kingdoms 1638-1660. Brown, Little. ISBN 978-0316861250.
- Thomson, Oliver (2018). Zealots: How a Group of Scottish Conspirators Unleashed Half a Century of War in Britain. Amberley Publishing. ISBN 978-1445677958.
Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900..