Valentine Walton, c.1594-1661

Republican and regicide, he escaped to Germany at the Restoration.

Valentine Walton (also spelt "Wauton") was born into a gentry family of Huntingdonshire. He inherited the manor at Great Staughton at the age of twelve after the death of his father. In 1617, he married Margaret Cromwell, a sister of Oliver Cromwell. Walton was elected MP for Huntingdon in the Long Parliament and worked with Cromwell on committees concerned with reform of the church.

In August 1642, during the opening stages of the First Civil War, Walton assisted Cromwell in preventing Cromwell's Royalist cousin Henry from removing the silver plate from Cambridge University to contribute to the King's war fund. Walton raised a troop of horse and joined the army of the Earl of Essex, but was taken prisoner at the battle of Edgehill in October 1642 and imprisoned at Oxford until July 1643 when he was exchanged for Sir Thomas Lunsford. Walton was made colonel of a regiment of foot in the army of the Eastern Association, and was appointed governor of King's Lynn in Norfolk after its capture by the Parliamentarians in September 1643. In July 1644, Walton's eldest son, also killed Valentine, was killed at the battle of Marston Moor.

In January 1649, Walton sat as a commissioner on the High Court of Justice. He attended most sessions of the King's trial and signed the death warrant. He was a member of the Council of State throughout the Commonwealth and was appointed a commissioner of the admiralty, but he did not serve under the Protectorate and only returned to Parliament and the Council of State after Richard Cromwell was deposed in April 1659.

When Parliament annulled Charles Fleetwood's commission as commander-in-chief of the army, Walton was one of seven commissioners appointed to replace him. As a member of the Council of State expelled by the Army in October 1659, Walton supported Sir Arthur Hesilrige in his opposition to Major-General Lambert, and went with Hesilrige to occupy Portsmouth while General Monck marched on London. When Monck restored the Long Parliament in February 1660, Walton was given command of Major-General Disbrowe's former regiment and continued as an army commissioner, but he was deprived of his offices as soon as Monck was appointed commander-in-chief of the army.

At the Restoration of Charles II, Walton was denounced as a regicide but escaped to Germany and was given the freedom of the city of Hanau. He died in 1661.


C. H. Firth, revised by Sean Kelsey, Valentine Walton, Oxford DNB, 2004


Cromwell's letter informing Walton of the death of his son