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Rawdons - A History

Histories of Sir Marmaduke Rawdon and the officers who served under him.

Sir Marmaduke Rawdon (1582-1646)

Sir Marmaduke Rawdon

Sir Marmaduke Rawdon (his surname is also spelt Royden and Rawden), was a successful London merchant in the 1620s and 30s. He was a conscientious civic official and militia officer, and briefly a Member of Parliament.

During the Civil War he was an active Royalist, serving in turn as Governor of Basing House in Hampshire, and Faringdon House in Berkshire.

Knighted in December 1643, he died in 1646, worn out by war. He is buried in All Saints Church, Faringdon.

In March 1643 Rawdon left Hoddesdon for Oxford, where the King had established his wartime headquarters, accompanied by a party of like-minded Londoners.

Arriving on the 9th, the sixty-year old Rawdon was by contemporary standards an old man and he might reasonably have excused himself from an active role in the war. His property, other than that which he carried with him to Oxford, was left to the mercy of Parliamentarian sequestrators, although he had attempted to minimise the loss by transferring some of his assets, principally his shares in the ownership of shipping, to sympathetic associates who remained in London.

The mansion at Hoddesdon legally constituted the dower of his wife Elizabeth, who vigorously defended her own rights of ownership. On 13th April Rawdon was commissioned Colonel with authority to raise a regiment of foot at his own expense.

The new unit was referred to as "The London Regiment" in a Royalist newssheet, and although this reflected the origins of the officers the rank and file were conscripts impressed by orders issued to the Sheriff of Oxfordshire. The complexion of the regiment subsequently changed as reinforcements and new recruits made up the losses.

At Basing House the garrison included turncoat Parliamentarian rankers, and at Faringdon many officers and men were refugees from Royalists defeats in the West Country. A troop of horse raised by Rawdon at Basing in the spring of 1645 and later expanded into a regiment at Faringdon, was recruited locally and officered by reformado officers (whose previous commands had been lost or broken up). Some of these had London connections. The number of men under Rawdon's command was never large.

In July 1643 the foot regiment mustered 250 men, but by November 1644 this had fallen to 200 including recently arrived reinforcements. In May 1645 one source states that Rawdon departed from Basing House with fifty horse and 450 foot, but the latter figure seemed to be a considerable overstatement.

In April 1646 Rawdon's garrison at Faringdon consisted of ninety horse and 250 foot, but by the time Faringdon surrendered in June 1646 only a total of 200 including officers remained, many newly arrived 'Die-Hards' like the memoirist John Gwynne.

Reproduced by kind permission of Richard Dace.
For the full text please visit the Author's website:

Rawdon's OfficersBack to Top

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Johnson another Yorkshire man, born at Selby, was an apothecary in London. His shop was at Snow Hill and by diligent study and application to his art he became known far and wide for his skill as a herbalist. He became famous for his literary works on his chosen subject, his first works being published between 1620 and 1622, the best known being the amended edition of Gerard's Herbal in 1633. Also in 1633 he displayed the first 'hand' of bananas imported from the West Indies, in his shop window.

Johnson was commissioned Captain under Rawdon but was soon promoted to Major and upon Peake's rejection of Rawdon's authority became Lieutenant Colonel. The King granted him an honorary degree in medicine from Oxford (Bachelor of Physic in 1642 and MD in May 1643) [1].

He died on 14th September 1644 after being injured in a skirmish rescuing Captain Fletcher and 100 musketeers. "Lieutenant Colonel Johnson, Doctor of Physique, was here shot in the shoulder, whereby contracting a Feaver, he dyed a fortnight after, his worth challenging Funeral teares, being no lesse eminent in the Garrison for his valour and conduct, as a Souldier, than famous through the Kingdom for his excellency as a Herbalist and Physician." [2].

2nd Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Langley formerly a mercer from Ave Maria Lane near St Paul's Cathedral. His wife was alleged to be related to Colonel Dalbier, which led to suspicion of him corresponding with the enemy. This resulted in him being left at Basing when the rest of the regiment left for Faringdon.

Major William Rosewell was also a London apothecary but spent some years in the household of the Archbishop of York. He was commissioned as a Captain in June 1643 and promoted to Major in September 1644. In the 1650's he became an officer in The London Trained Bands and was possibly there as a Royalist spy. This may well be true as at the restoration he was made Master of Apothecaries, despite the fact he had not practiced for years, he was also given other lucrative medical and civic posts. He lead the Trained Band that broke up a Quaker meeting in August 1662 "at the Bull and Mouth, by Aldersgate" [3], resulting in the arrest of 30 people. He was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the Yellow Regiment LTB. He died in the 1680's.

Captain Isaac Rowlett was a Holborn scrivener (scribe) who commanded a company of foot at Basing and later a troop of horse at Faringdon. He died at Faringdon and having lost everything in the King's cause left five sisters in poverty.

Captain Robert Amery was a vintner. He was a Royalist activist who had participated in the King's famed abortive attempt to arrest the Five Members of the House of Commons on 4th January 1642.[4] He commanded a company of foot at Basing.

Captain Samuel Mason commanded a company of foot at Basing and Faringdon, where he was killed in April 1646.

Captain James Freeman served under Rawdon at Basing and Faringdon.

Captain Thomas Fletcher commanded reinforcements sent to Basing in October 1644 and served under Rawdon. After the war he met Rawdon's nephew also called Marmaduke in Africa and gave him the piece of banner he had been given upon Sir Marmaduke's death.

Captain Henry Hen commanded Rawdon's horse from 1645 and was later promoted to Major.

Notes & References:

  1. Edited by Sydney Lee, Dictionary of National Biography, Vol 30 (Johnes to Kenneth) pg 47, (New York McMillan and Co.- London by Smith, Elder, & Co. 1892)
  2. Kept by the Lord Maqviss of Winchester, A Description of the Seige of Basing Castle, pg16 (Oxford, Printed by Leonard Lichfield Printer to the University 1644)
  3. Ellwood, Thomas, The History of the Life of Thomas Ellwood. (London : Printed and sold by the assigns of J. Sowle, 1714)
  4. David Plant, The Five Members, British Civil Wars and Commonwealth website.

Dace, Richard, "Who lieth here?" - Sir Marmaduke Rawdon (1582-1646)

Magna Est Veritas Et Prevalet