1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Capel, Arthur Capel, Baron

CAPEL (of Hadham), ARTHUR CAPEL, Baron (fl. 1640–1649), English royalist, son of Sir Henry Capel of Rayne Hall, Essex, and of Theodosia, daughter of Sir Edward Montagu of Broughton, Northamptonshire, was elected a member of the Short and Long Parliaments in 1640 for Hertfordshire. He at first supported the opposition to Charles’s arbitrary government, but soon allied himself with the king’s cause, on which side his sympathies were engaged, and was raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Capel of Hadham on the 6th of August 1641. On the outbreak of the war he was appointed lieutenant-general of Shropshire, Cheshire and North Wales, where he rendered useful military services, and later was made one of the prince of Wales’s councillors, and a commissioner at the negotiations at Uxbridge in 1645. He attended the queen in her flight to France in 1646, but disapproved of the prince’s journey thither, and retired to Jersey, subsequently aiding in the king’s escape to the Isle of Wight. He was one of the chief leaders in the second Civil War, but met with no success, and on the 27th of August, together with Lord Norwich, he surrendered to Fairfax at Colchester on promise of quarter for life.[1] This assurance, however, was afterwards interpreted as not binding the civil authorities, and his fate for some time hung in the balance. He succeeded in escaping from the Tower, but was again captured, was condemned to death by the new “high court of justice” on the 8th of March 1649, and was beheaded together with the duke of Hamilton and Lord Holland the next day. He married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir Charles Morrison of Cassiobury, Hertfordshire, through whom that estate passed into his family, and by whom besides four daughters he had five sons, the eldest Arthur being created earl of Essex at the Restoration. Lord Capel, who was much beloved, and who was a man of deep religious feeling and exemplary life, wrote Daily Observations or Meditations: Divine, Morall, published with some of his letters in 1654, and reprinted, with a short life of the author, under the title Excellent Contemplations, in 1683.

  1. Gardiner’s Hist. of the Civil War, iv. 206; cf. article on Fairfax by C. H. Frith in the Dict. of Nat. Biog.