Sir Michael Livesey, b.1614

A Kentish baronet, republican and regicide active in the south during the civil wars.

Portrait of Sir Michael LiveseyA Kentish baronet of Eastchurch on the Isle of Sheppey, Sir Michael Livesey was a zealous Puritan who sided with Parliament during the civil wars. He raised a regiment of horse in Kent and marched to join Sir William Waller at the siege of Chichester in December 1642. As well as serving in Waller's army, Livesey was active on the Kent county committee and was appointed sheriff of Kent in 1643. However, he quarrelled with Waller, who accused him of running away from the battle of Cropredy Bridge in 1644. Livesey was also accused of cowardice and indiscipline by his former major, Anthony Weldon, and detached his cavalry from Waller's command.

A partial reconciliation with Waller was reached when their disagreement was brought before the Committee for Both Kingdoms in September 1644, and Livesey's troops rejoined Waller's army until the spring of 1645. Livesey refused to serve in the New Model Army and his regiment was taken over by Henry Ireton.

In September 1645, Livesey was elected recruiter MP for Queenborough, Kent, and emerged as a radical Independent and republican. When pro-Royalist riots broke out in Kent in December 1647, Livesey was sent to quell them. He remained in the south-east during 1648, harshly suppressing any suspected Royalist activity. During July, he pursued the Earl of Holland's insurgents after they attempted to capture Reigate Castle, and then defeated them at Kingston in Surrey, thus ending the threat of a Royalist uprising on the outskirts of London.

Appointed a commissioner on the High Court of Justice, Livesey was a signatory of the King's death warrant. He was an active member of the Rump Parliament, where he emerged as deeply hostile to Royalists and Papists. Like other republicans, he opposed the establishment of the Protectorate in 1653, but occupied himself with local duties. He served as sheriff of Kent in 1655 and 1656.

Denounced as a regicide at the Restoration, Livesey fled to the Netherlands. It was rumoured that he was attacked and killed by Royalists in 1660, but there were also reports that he was at Hanau in 1662 and at Rotterdam in 1665. When the administration of his wife's estate was granted to one of their daughters in February 1666, Elizabeth Livesey (d. 1665) was described as a widow.


J.T. Peacey, Sir Michael Livesay , Oxford DNB, 2004

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