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father (see Addit. MS. 5702, p. 119, and State Papers, Dom. 24 July 1632, and 3 July 1635). The son early showed a wild and impetuous temperament. He was charged in the Star-chamber with killing deer in the grounds of his relative, Sir Thomas Pelham, on 27 June 1632, and ordered to pay a fine of 1,000l. to the king and 750l. to Pelham. In August 1633 he committed a murderous assault upon Pelham, and was sent, by warrant from the council (16 Aug. 1633), to Newgate, whence he contrived to escape in October 1634, although ‘so lame that he can only go in a coach’ (Ellis, Original Letters, 3rd ser. iv. 204). He passed over to the continent, entered the French service, and in April 1636 was raising a regiment in Picardy (State Papers, Dom. 4 April 1636). In his absence the cause of the Attorney-General v. Thomas Lunsford the elder and others for conspiracy to take the life of Sir Thomas Pelham was tried in the Star-chamber in June 1637. The son Thomas was fined 5,000l. to the king and 3,000l. to Pelham, and for failing to appear to receive judgment he was outlawed. Two years later he returned to England, received the king's pardon and the remission of his fine (24 April 1639, ‘at our Court at York’), and joined the king's army against the Scots. For Charles's Scottish expedition of the following year he commanded a regiment of train-bands raised in Somerset, conducted it from Warwick to Newcastle (June–3 Aug. 1640), and was at the rout at Newburn.

In December 1640 he was again in London, petitioning the commons for leave to stay in town, as his presence was required both by the two houses and by business of his own. A year later all England was alarmed by the news of his appointment to the lieutenancy of the Tower. The warrant for his installation was issued by Charles at Whitehall, 22 Dec. 1641, and the commission for administering the oaths on the following day. On the same day, 23 Dec., the common council of London presented a petition to the commons against his appointment. The lower house at once sought a conference with the lords. In this conference they described Lunsford as an outlaw, a non-attender at church during the three-quarters of a year he was in the king's army, and a ruined and desperate character. Among other libels circulated at the time was the rumour that he was a cannibal and in the habit of eating children (cf. Butler, Hudibras, pt. iii. c. ii. l. 4; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. xi. 171). The lords declined to join in an address for his removal, and accordingly the commons proceeded singly (24 Dec.) to vote him unfit to be lieutenant. Their petition to Charles was supported in so menacing a manner by the lord mayor that Charles gave way. On 26 Dec. the keys were given to Sir John Byron, and Lunsford had to content himself with the honour of knighthood (conferred 28 Dec. 1641), and, according to some accounts, a pension of 500l. a year (Commons' Journals, ii. 355–8; Lords' Journals, iv. 487). He was subsequently called before the commons for examination, 27 Dec., and on leaving the house engaged in a free fight in Westminster Hall.

According to Clarendon, Digby, after designing the attack on the five members, had recommended Lunsford for the post at the Tower because he stood in immediate need of a man ‘who might be trusted.’ When Charles finally left Whitehall (10 Jan. 1642), he was escorted by Lunsford, who two days later was reported to be at Kingston with a large force, and with the intention of marching against Portsmouth. The commons in alarm ordered his arrest, and on the 13th he was captured at Billingbear, Berkshire, the mansion of the Nevilles, his wife's family. On 2 Feb. he was admitted to bail, and before June was at liberty. On 1 July he was with Charles at York, and on the 29th took part in an armed demonstration against Hull. On 19 Aug. 1642 he received a commission to raise a thousand foot in Yorkshire, and on the following day was appointed governor of Sherborne Castle, Dorset, by the Marquis of Hertford, with whom he retired a month later, 23 Sept., into Glamorganshire. He was present at Edgehill, 23 Oct. 1642, and made prisoner (a contemporary tract, ‘The Examination of Colonel Lunsford,’ dated 19 Nov. 1642, says ‘at Kineton;’ cf. Rous, Diary, Camd. Soc., p. 126). He was imprisoned in Warwick Castle, and charges of treason were brought against him (The Examination). Lunsford remained prisoner in Warwick Castle until early in May 1644. On 6 May he arrived at Oxford (Dugdale, Diary, p. 66). He was immediately put in command of a regiment, and is stated to have been selected by Charles to assist, with four others, Sir Arthur Aston in the government of Oxford. He then took service under Prince Rupert and became governor of Monmouth; Sir Nicholas Throckmorton afterwards accused him of losing Monmouth basely. He seems, however, to have resigned the governorship to his brother Herbert (see below) previous to 7 July 1645. He suffered on 9 June 1645 a total defeat from the Shrewsbury forces at Stoke Castle. About the time of the royalist defeat at Naseby he received, according to Lloyd, a commission from the king to consolidate the Welsh forces, but in