1893 text

Sir William Compton (1625-1663) was knighted at Oxford, December 12th, 1643. He was called by Cromwell “the sober young man and the godly cavalier.” After the Restoration he was M.P. for Cambridge (1661), and appointed Master of the Ordnance. He died in Drury Lane, suddenly, as stated in the text, and was buried at Compton Wynyates, Warwickshire.

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

5 Annotations

First Reading

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Wheatley Footnote
Third son of Spencer, Earl of Northampton, a Privy Councillor and Mater of the Ordnance, ob. 1663, aged 39. When only eighteen years of age, he had charged with his gallant father at the battle of Edgehill. His mother was first cousin to George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, and to John Ashburnham; and his great uncle, Sir Thomas Compton, had been the third husband of the Duke's mother, Mary, Countess of Buckingham.

david ross mcirvine  •  Link

Towards the end of the Revolution, Sir William got a commission as a Colonel of Horse. House of Lords report from June 5 1648 here:


"Ordered, That Sir Wm. Compton Knight take the Command of a Regiment of Horse, consisting of Five Hundred, as Colonel of the said Regiment.

"Given under our Hands, the Day and Year abovesaid.

"R. of Trews.
"Fra. Clerke.
"Jo'n Darell.
Phill. Maude Mayor.
"Edw. Hales.
James Darell.
Geo. Newman."

"31 May, 1648.

And here is an account of what that troop of 500 horse did--mainly skirmish as the Parliamentary forces secured the defense of London:


A general rising was planned by the queen and Jermyn, which was to follow the appearance of the Scots in England. The earl of HoMand, who through the influence of the lord of Carlisle had made his peace with the Royalists, was appointed commander-in-chief. (Footnote 363) The general scheme was rendered hopeless, however, by the premature rising in Kent (21 May, 1648). After his defeat at Maidstone, Norwich, to whom Holland had given the command in Kent, heard that thousands had risen for the king in Essex, and that there were 2,000 men in arms at Bow. (Footnote 364) The City refused to let him pass through, so he decided to cross the Thames below London. (Footnote 365) He intended to go only to Bow and Stratford, but finding that his news had been false and that there was no force gathered to receive him, he went on to Chelmsford. About 500 men had followed him, crossing the river in boats, with their horses swimming. (Footnote 366) They meant to land in Essex, but on the morning of the 4 June they found themselves in Middlesex under the Hamlets of the Tower. Here they were confronted by the regiment of the Hamletteers. Their leader, Sir William Compton, prevailed upon the regiment to let them pass on a promise to disband, but when they reached Bow Bridge they forced the turn-pike to let them through into Essex, and met Norwich, on his return from Chelmsford, at Stratford. (Footnote 367) Fairfax had meanwhile sent Colonel Whalley in pursuit of the Royalists. (Footnote 368) He pressed after them, but was beaten back and pursued to Mile End, where the pursuers themselves fell into an ambuscade, and were forced to retreat. The Hamletteers then returned to the attack, but were surrounded in Bow church, where they had taken refuge, and were finally released on condition that they returned to their homes. The Royalists retired behind the Lea, setting guards at the fords over the river; and when a Parliamentary force of dragoons was collected on Mile End Green, they withdrew to Stratford.

Pauline  •  Link

from L&M Companion
(c.1625-63). Master-General of the Ordnance 1660-3; M.P. for Camgridge borough 1661-3; Tangier commissioner 1662-3. The ablest of six remarkable sons of the 2nd Earl of Northampton, he had given distinguished service to the royalists both in the Civil War and in the underground resistance movement of the '50s, being briefly imprisoned in Sept. 1659. His sobriety and godliness won him the respect and admiration of Cromwell.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

COMPTON, SIR WILLIAM (1625-1663), royalist; third son of Spencer Compton, second earl of Northampton; fought bravely at taking of Banbury, 1642; knighted, 1643; royalist governor of Banbury, 1642; besieged, 1644; surrendered, 1646; took part in the Kentish rising, 1648; imprisoned, 1648, 1655, and 1658; master of the ordnance, 1660; M.P., 1661.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

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


  • May