Robert Tichborne, c.1610-82

London Independent, Trained Bands officer and regicide, he became Lord Mayor of London and was knighted by Cromwell.

Portrait of Robert TichborneA London merchant, Robert Tichborne was a volunteer in the Honourable Artillery Company in 1636 and a captain in the Yellow regiment of the London Trained Bands by 1643. As a militant supporter of Parliament, he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel in one of the Trained Band auxiliary regiments. Tichborne went on the Earl of Essex's campaign to relieve the siege of Gloucester in August 1643 and fought in the first battle of Newbury.

Tichborne was elected to the Common Council of London and served on the Militia Committee, where he emerged as a leader of the Independent faction against the Presbyterians. When the New Model Army occupied London in August 1647, General Fairfax chose Tichborne as lieutenant of the Tower of London upon his own appointment as constable of the Tower. Tichborne was also commissioned colonel of a new regiment raised in London to guard the Tower. He attended the debates at Putney and Whitehall (1647-8) as a member of the Council of Officers and was a member of the committee of London Independents that collaborated with the Levellers in drawing up the second version of the Agreement of the People. However, Tichborne did not march with the Tower Guards when the regiment was called out to support Fairfax in Kent and Essex during the Second Civil War.

In January 1649, Tichborne was appointed to the committee responsible for organising the King's trial, and was a signatory of the death warrant.

With the establishment of the Commonwealth, Tichborne became prominent in London politics and was a noted member of the Independent congregation led by George Cockayne at the church of St Pancras. During 1651–2, Tichborne was one of eight commissioners sent to Scotland to prepare for its union with England. In 1653, he was appointed to the Nominated Assembly and elected to the Council of State. He opposed the radicals on the Assembly and was associated with the moderates who finally surrendered its powers to Cromwell. In 1656, Tichborne was elected lord mayor of London and knighted by Cromwell. The following year, he was appointed to Cromwell's Upper House as Lord Tichborne.

At the Restoration in 1660, Tichborne surrendered to the authorities and was brought to trial as a regicide. He was sentenced to death, but was reprieved because of reports that he had intervened to save the lives of condemned Royalists during the Protectorate. He spent the rest of his life in prison, and died in the Tower in July 1682.


Keith Lindley, Robert Tichborne, Oxford DNB, 2004

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


History of Tichborne's Regiment of Foot on the website of the Blew Regiment of the London Trayned Bands re-enactment group