Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Paulden, Thomas

1084517Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 44 — Paulden, Thomas1895Bertha Porter

PAULDEN, THOMAS (1626–1710?), royalist, son of William Paulden of Wakefield, by his wife Susannah, daughter of Edward Binns of Horbury, Yorkshire, was born in Wakefield in January 1625–6 (baptised on 25 Jan., parish register). He entered the army, and served the king during the civil war with unflinching devotion. He was probably the Captain Paulden who was taken prisoner at Naseby on 14 June 1645 (Rushworth, pt. iv. vol. i. p. 48). In 1647 he was attending meetings of loyal gentlemen at South Kirkby and the neighbourhood, and privately enlisted disbanded troops, both horse and foot. He and his brothers William (1618–1648) and Timothy (1622–1648) seem to have been the sole confidants of the royalist colonel John Morris [q. v.], to whom Overton, the parliamentary governor of Pontefract Castle, had promised to betray the castle. The removal of Overton to Hull in November 1647 rendered the plan impracticable. The royalists—the Pauldens among them—made an unsuccessful attempt at a surprise on 18 May 1648. In the successful capture of the castle by Morris on 3 June Thomas Paulden took no part, but he and his brothers were active during the siege that followed, commanding sallies, acting on councils of war, and settling points of dissension among the garrison. In October 1648 Colonel Thomas Rainsborough [q. v.] arrived from London to reinforce the besieging party, and was quartered at Doncaster, twelve miles from Pontefract. William Paulden then devised a scheme for seizing the person of Rainsborough. On 27 Oct., at midnight, he and twenty-two picked men left for Doncaster, which they reached at 7.30 on the morning of the 28th. After disarming the guard, four men, under pretence of bearing despatches from Cromwell, entered Rainsborough's room and claimed him as their prisoner. Rainsborough, being unarmed, offered no resistance. But, when downstairs, he ‘saw himself, his lieutenant, and his sentinel at his door prisoners to three men and one that held their horses, without any party to second them;’ he cried for arms, and a scuffle ensued, in which Rainsborough was killed. Paulden's party returned to Pontefract Castle unhurt the same evening, 29 Oct. The occurrence was reported in London as a deliberate murder (A Full and Exact Relation, 30 Oct.; Bloody Newes from the Army, 31 Oct. E. 470 [4 and 5]).

On the arrival of Cromwell early in November the garrison at Pontefract was closely shut up in the castle. Part of the building was blown up, and sickness prevailed among the men. But they held out till the end of February 1649, when a message from Prince Charles (whom they had at once proclaimed on his father's execution) excused them from further resistance. On 3 March overtures were made to the besiegers under Lambert. Six commissioners, of whom Thomas Paulden was one, unsuccessfully endeavoured to treat in behalf of the besieged garrison. On 10 March negotiations were renewed, when Paulden raised objections to the demand that six of the garrison (unnamed) should be ‘delivered to mercy.’ But on 17 March a surrender was concluded without his aid. Of the three brothers, Thomas was the only one living when the castle surrendered on 24 March 1649. William died of fever during the siege in October 1648, and Timothy, who had left the castle in July 1648 and ‘marched presently for the north,’ was killed at Wigan in August 1648 while a major of horse under the Earl of Derby. Their father, William Paulden of Wakefield, compounded for delinquency in adhering to the forces against parliament in July 1649.

Thomas Paulden went abroad and joined Charles II in his exile. He paid several secret visits to England, and was once betrayed and brought before Cromwell. He denied his name, but was sent to the Gatehouse, from which he escaped by throwing salt and pepper into the keeper's eyes. In 1652 and 1654 he received payments on the king's account, and in May 1657 was supplying Hyde with intelligence as to the strength of the forces under Sir William Lockhart [q. v.] (Cal. Clarendon State Papers, ii. 168, 385, iii. 300, 307). At the Restoration he returned to England, and was assisted in his poverty by the Duke of Buckingham. In January 1665–6 he wrote a quaint letter to Christopher Hatton, thanking him for kindness done to him. In April 1668 the king requested the treasury commissioners to recommend him to the office of commissioner of excise ‘on the first vacancy.’ In February 1692 he was in great money difficulties, and wrote to Lord Hatton, begging to be taken into his household as a servant, in order to be saved from a debtor's prison. He probably died before 1710. Thoresby, in his ‘Diary’ under date 18 July 1710 (ii. 62), mentions a visit he paid at York to ‘the two aged virgins, Mrs. Pauldens, about 80 years old,’ who spoke to him of four memorable brothers of theirs. The registers at Wakefield record the baptisms of Sarah on 18 Feb. 1627–8, and of Maria on 5 Sept. 1632, daughters of William Paulden; and of a son George, on 19 Dec. 1629.

Paulden published ‘Pontefract Castle: an Account how it was taken, and how General Rainsborough was surprised in his quarters at Doncaster,’ The Savoy, 1702; London, 1719 (for the benefit of his widow); Oxford, 1747; and in Somers's ‘Tracts,’ 1812, vii. 3–9.

[Thoresby's Ducatus Leodiensis, p. 36; Surtees Soc. Miscellany, xxxvii. 85–115; Fox's Hist. of Pontefract, pp. 231–56; Paulden's Pontefract Castle, passim; Archæologia, xlvi. 45–8, 54–63; Holmes's Hist. of Pontefract (Sieges of Pontefract Castle), ii. 154–63, 216–27, 239, 292–324; Addit. MSS. 21417 ff. 36, 40, 59, 61, 65–70 (Baynes Corresp.), 29551 f. 155, 29565 ff. 136–7 (Hatton Corresp.); Cal. of State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1667–8, p. 327; Proceedings of the Committee for Compounding, p. 2111; Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. App. v. p. 12; Cal. of Clarendon State Papers, i. 461.]

B. P.