Miles Sindercombe, d.1657

Renegade Leveller and associate of Edward Sexby who made three attempts to assassinate Oliver Cromwell.

Miles Sindercombe was born in Kent and served in the New Model Army as a quartermaster in Colonel Reynolds' regiment. He was active in the Leveller mutiny of May 1649 and is thought to have fled to London after its suppression. He later enlisted in Colonel Tomlinson's regiment of horse, serving in Scotland under General Monck. In December 1654, Sindercombe was involved in the Leveller conspiracy against Monck allegedly instigated by Major-General Overton. He was dismissed from the army and fled to Flanders, where he plotted Cromwell's assassination with the renegade Leveller Edward Sexby.

With money provided by Sexby, Sindercombe returned to England in 1656. He recruited a small group of accomplices including John Toope, a member of Cromwell's lifeguard, who gave information on the Protector's day-to-day movements. The conspirators planned several attempts to shoot Cromwell as he rode in his coach between London and Hampton Court but failed to carry them through. An attempt to shoot him in Hyde Park failed when the Protector called one of the conspirators over to enquire about the horse he was riding, which Cromwell admired, and a plot to assassinate him on his way from Westminster Abbey to Parliament was also abandoned. Finally the conspirators attempted to set fire to Whitehall Palace when Cromwell was in residence by igniting an incendiary device hidden in the chapel. Although they succeeded in breaking into the chapel and laying the device, Toope's nerve broke and he betrayed the plot. Sindercombe was captured after a fierce struggle during which part of his nose was cut off.

Brought to trial for treason in February 1657, Sindercombe was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. On the night before his execution was due to take place, Sindercombe committed suicide at his cell in the Tower of London by taking poison apparently smuggled in during a visit by members of his family. Sexby proclaimed him a martyr to the Good Old Cause.


C.H. Firth, The Last Years of the Protectorate, 1656-58, vol. i (London 1909)

Alan Marshall, Miles Sindercombe, Oxford DNB, 2004