Open main menu


LILLINGSTON, LUKE (1653–1713), brigadier-general, born in 1653, was son of Colonel Henry Lillingston or Lillingstein (1620–1677), who served with General Monck, and was afterwards colonel of a regiment in the Dutch service, which became the British 6th foot, and is now the Royal Warwickshire regiment). Luke the younger appears to have served in Ireland under William III, as in 1712 he made a claim for money expended by him in fortifying Roscrea, co. Tipperary, against an expected attack of Rapparees twenty-two years before (Treasury Papers, clv. 20). He was lieutenant-colonel of Colonel ffoulkes's regiment of foot in the Martinique expedition in February to October 1693 (Burchett, Naval Trans. pp. 168 et seq.) His brother, Jarvis Lillingston, an officer of Gustavus Hamilton's (20th) foot, was made major in ffoulkes's, and died on the expedition. Colonel ffoulkes also died on the expedition, and Luke Lillingston obtained the colonelcy (Treasury Papers, xxviii. 32). The expedition miscarried, and Lillingston's regiment was put on board the homeward-bound men-of-war at Newfoundland and Boston to supply the place of seamen. The regiment, 670 strong, was broken at Plymouth by order of Lord Cutts, and reformed with six hundred men of the regiment and six hundred of Colt, Norcott, and Farrington (29th foot), in December 1694, and embarked as a reinforcement for Jamaica in January 1695. That island, still suffering from the effects of the Port Royal earthquake of 1692, had been harried by buccaneering attacks from the French settlement in Hispaniola (St. Domingo). A naval squadron, under Captain Robert Wilmot, with Lillingston's troops on board, acting in concert with the Spaniards, took and destroyed the French port of Porto Paix, Hispaniola (see Burchett, Naval Trans. pp. 368 et seq.) Thereupon the English troops withdrew to Jamaica, and Governor William Beeston [q. v.] reported that Lillingston's regiment was so weak and sickly that he had to send them into the country for change of air (Treasury Papers, vol. xxxiv.) Lillingston went home to recruit, and made various claims on the government (ib. under date). His regiment disappeared from the rolls on the peace of Ryswick, and he published (London, 1702) a reply to Burchett's account of the Porto Paix business, to which Burchett issued a rejoinder.

In 1702 he raised a new regiment at Lichfield, which became the 38th foot, and is now called the 1st Battalion South Staffordshire regiment, and in 1704 he was made brigadier-general. His regiment served in Ireland, and in 1706 was ordered on the expedition to the French coast, soon afterwards going to Antigua, where it remained, with a few intervals of service in other places, for over half a century. Lillingston and most of his officers stayed behind in London; but owing to the complaint in 1707 of Colonel Daniel Parke, governor of Antigua (ib. ciii. 68), he was ordered out, and, being unready, was deprived of his regiment, which was given to Colonel James Jones on 2 June 1708. On 27 May he had inserted an advertisement in the ‘London Gazette,’ stating that owing to his receipt of peremptory orders to go to the West Indies, the estate that he purchased at North Ferriby, near Hull, in the last reign, with the mansion ‘of six rooms on a floor’ that he had erected thereon, would be ‘sold for a pennyworth,’ on application to him at his lodgings, Green Rails, Berry Street, St. James's, or at his seat near Hull. Marlborough notices the advertisement in one of his letters (Marlborough Despatches, iv. 67).

Lillingston died on 6 April 1713. A monument was placed in the church of North Ferriby. Some fields at North Ferriby are now known as ‘Lillingston Closes.’ Lillingston married, first, Elizabeth, only daughter of Robert Sanderson of Bonnel, in the province of Guelderland, Holland. She died on 18 Oct. 1699. His second wife was Catherine, daughter and heiress of Colonel Hassell of Kirby Grindalyth, Yorkshire, and widow of Colonel Towey. In default of male issue Lillingston's estates of North Ferriby and Kirby Grindalyth passed to his sister's son, Luke Bowden, who took the name of Lillingston, and whose granddaughter married in 1797 Abraham Spooner of Elmdon, Warwickshire, who also took the name of Lillingston.

[Burke's Commoners, I. 186, and Families of Royal Descent, ii. 98, both under ‘Spooner;’ Home Office Military Entry Books; Beatson's Political Index, ii. 207, 234; Treasury Papers; Burchett's Naval Trans., with Lillingston's Reply and Burchett's Rejoinder; Notes and Queries, 6th ser. vol. x. p. 472.]

H. M. C.