Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Arundell, John (1576-1656?)

ARUNDELL, Sir JOHN, of Trerice, (1576–1656?), 'Jack for the King,' was grandson of Henry VIII's 'Jack of Tilbury,' and was born about 1576. He was the son of John Arundell of Trerice by Gertrude Dennys of Holcombe in Devon; Richard Carew, the historian of Cornwall, married his half-sister Julian. He was amongst the Cornish gentry present in 1623 at the battle of Braddock Down, near Lostwithiel, when the king's army obtained so decided a victory over the forces of the parliament. He was at different times M.P. for Cornwall, for Bodmin, for Tregony,and for Michell, a now disfranchised borough situated within their manor of Medeshole (Michell?), which the Arundells had held at least as early as the time of Edward I. About 1643 he was appointed governor of Pendennis Castle, which, with St. Mawes Castle, commands the entrance of Falmouth harbour, then a place of much greater national and strategic importance than it is at present. He succeeded in office Sir Nicholas Slanning; and at Pendennis in 1644 he harboured for a night or two Queen Henrietta Maria on her flight from Exeter into France, and also Charles II in February 1646. The story of Fairfax's five months' siege of Pendennis Castle and its gallant defence by old Sir John Arundell and his colleagues is told in Clarendon, and in greater detail by Captain Oliver, R.A., in his 'Pendennis and St. Mawes, an Historical Sketch of two Cornish Castles.' Sir John Arundell's reply (dated 18 May 1646) to Fairfax's summons to surrender within two hours (preserved among the Clarendon State Papers) closes thus: 'And, having taken less than two minutes' resolution, I resolve that I will here bury myself before I deliver up this castle to such as fight against his majesty, and that nothing you can threaten is formidable to me in respect of the loss of loyalty and conscience.' On the 16th of the following August, however, Pendennis was starved out, and became the last castle but one (Raglan) to surrender to the parliament. The surrender was conducted with the full honours of war (Original Articles of Surrender, Egerton MSS, Brit. Mus. 1048, fol. 86). Sir John Arundell did not live to see the Restoration and reap his well-earned honours. The fall of Pendennis and the defeat of the king's cause ruined his estates, and probably hastened his death; he was even reduced to the necessity of suing Cromwell himself for assistance, urging that the Trerice Arundells 'had once the honour to stand in some friendship, or even kinship, with your noble family' (Tanner MSS. Bod. Lib. 54, fol. 18). 'He was buried at Duloe in Cornwall; and Richard, his second son, who, like many other members of his family, was a staunch royalist, was ennobled in 1664, partly in recognition of the loyalty and sufferings of his father [see Arundell, Richard].

[Forster's Life of Eliot (1872), ii. 388, 396; Gary's Memorials of the Civil War (1842), ii. 258; Carlyle's Cromwell, iii. App. 20.]

W. H. T.