Richard Ingoldsby, 1617-85

Parliamentarian soldier, prominent Cromwellian and regicide who was pardoned and rewarded for his role in arresting Major-General Lambert.

The second son of a Buckinghamshire knight, and a cousin of Oliver Cromwell, Richard Ingoldsby joined his kinsman John Hampden's regiment of foot as a captain in 1642, and rose to become its colonel upon the regiment's transfer to the New Model Army in 1645. Ingoldsby took part in the relief of Taunton with Colonel Welden, and fought with distinction at the storming of Bristol and Bridgwater. During the political struggle between the Army and Parliament in 1647, Ingoldsby's regiment acquired a reputation for radicalism. Ingoldsby himself was elected recruiter MP for Wendover in October 1647.

In January 1649, Ingoldsby was nominated to the High Court of Justice as one of the King's judges. Although he did not attend the trial, he was a signatory of the death warrant. His regiment mutinied in September 1649 in support of John Lilburne and the Levellers. Ingoldsby was briefly taken prisoner by his own troops, but succeeded in quelling the mutiny. He was trusted by Cromwell throughout the Protectorate and was elected to the First and Second Protectorate Parliaments as MP for Buckinghamshire. He took over command of Colonel Howard's regiment of horse in September 1655. In 1657, Ingoldsby was one of only two army officers to support the offer of the Crown to Cromwell. He was appointed to Cromwell's Upper House as Lord Ingoldsby in December 1657.

After Oliver's death, Ingoldsby remained loyal to Richard Cromwell. However, his loyalty to the Protectorate alienated him from republican army officers and he was deprived of his command when Richard was deposed in 1659. Following an approach by the Earl of Northampton, Ingoldsby became the most prominent of the former Cromwellian officers who supported the Royalist conspirators of the Great Trust. He attempted to win over soldiers of his former regiment and several of his officers were involved in Booth's Uprising during the summer of 1659. Orders were issued for his arrest but Ingoldsby avoided capture.

As the Restoration became increasingly likely, Ingoldsby looked for ways to demonstrate support for Charles II. In February 1660, General Monck re-appointed him to command of his regiment, and in April he was sent in pursuit of John Lambert, who was attempting to rally support against the Restoration. Ingoldsby captured Lambert at a skirmish near Daventry on 22 April, for which he received the thanks of the Convention Parliament. To explain his role as a regicide, he claimed that Cromwell had forced him to sign the death warrant by seizing his hand and tracing out his signature. Charles II accepted this explanation and Ingoldsby was pardoned.

Uniquely among the regicides, Ingoldsby was allowed to retain all the lands he had acquired during the Protectorate, was made a Knight of the Bath and appointed a gentleman of the King's privy chamber. He remained active in politics during the reigns of Charles II and James II, and died in September 1685.


C.H. Firth & G. Davies, The Regimental History of Cromwell's Army vol.i (Oxford 1940)

David Underdown, Royalist Conspiracy in England 1649-60 (New Haven 1960)

Timothy Venning, Sir Richard Ingoldsby, Oxford DNB, 2004