Tyldesley, Thomas (DNB00)


TYLDESLEY, Sir THOMAS (1596–1651), royalist general, born in 1596, was the elder son of Edward Tyldesley of Morleys Hall, Astley, in the parish of Leigh, Lancashire, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Christopher Preston of Holker. In early life he adopted the military profession and served in the wars in Germany. At the time of the outbreak of the civil war Tyldesley was living at Myerscough Lodge, one of the estates inherited from his father, and, when war seemed unavoidable, was one of the first to whom James Stanley, lord Strange (afterwards seventh Earl of Derby) [q. v.], looked for help. His father was at one time steward of the household of Ferdinando Stanley, fifth earl of Derby, uncle of Lord Strange. At his own charge Tyldesley raised regiments of horse, foot, and dragoons, in command of which he served with distinction at the battle of Edgehill. His next notable exploit was the storming of the town of Burton-upon-Trent. For his conduct he received from the king the honour of knighthood and was made a brigadier. In May 1644 he commanded under the Earl of Derby at the siege of Bolton, when, after a hot engagement, they captured the town. He was appointed governor of Lichfield in 1645, and surrendered the place in obedience to the royal warrant on 10 July 1646. He was afterwards in command of a division of the of a quick surrender of the place when the royal forces were totally defeated at Preston on 17 Aug. 1648. Obliged to retreat to the north, Tyldesley joined others of the royalists at Appleby. Colonel-general Ashton, having relieved Cockermouth Castle, marched against them. Sir Philip Musgrave [q. v.], the governor, and Tyldesley, finding defence impossible, surrendered at once on 9 Oct. 1648, on terms which required the officers to go beyond the seas within six months, and to observe meanwhile all orders and ordinances of parliament.

After the king's death in the following January, Tyldesley, unwilling to make any composition, passed over to Ireland, joining the Marquis of Ormonde; but the jealousy of the Irish officers soon obliged him to retire. He had a hearty welcome from his old commander and friend, Derby, in the Isle of Man late in 1649, and, after an expedition to Scotland, returned to the island to assist in taking over the troops to join Charles II in his advance into England. The king sent word for them to hasten to him in the summer of 1651, when he was actually quartered at Myerscough Lodge, Tyldesley's home. Although delayed by contrary winds, Derby, with Tyldesley as his major-general, landed at Wyre Water in Lancashire on 15 Aug., and called upon their friends, including both papists and presbyterians, to meet them at Preston. Before they could gather and equip an efficient force, Colonel Robert Lilburne, one of the parliament's officers, advanced against them with some well-trained troops and brought them to an engagement at Wigan Lane in Lancashire on 25 Aug. 1651. In that desperate struggle the royal army, which lost nearly half its officers and men, was totally defeated and Tyldesley was killed.

Tyldesley was buried in his own chapel of St. Nicholas in the church of Leigh, where a monument covers his remains. The Earl of Derby, who grieved much at the loss of his old companion-in-arms when himself on his way to his execution at Bolton two months later, requested in vain to be allowed to go into the church as he passed by Leigh to look upon his friend's grave. No forfeiture is known to have followed Tyldesley's decease as far as related to his Astley and Tyldesley estates. A monument, of which there is an engraving in Baines's ‘History of Lancashire,’ was erected in the hedge by the roadside half a mile from Wigan, where Tyldesley fell, by Alexander Rigby, high sheriff of the county, who had served under him as cornet. There is a fine portrait of Tyldesley at Hulton Park, near Bolton, which is engraved by J. Cochrane in Baines's ‘Lancashire’ (iii. 610). Another portrait, engraved by William Nelson Gardiner, was published in 1816.

About 1634 he married Frances, elder daughter of Ralph Standish of Standish, by whom he had three sons and seven daughters. His eldest son, Edward, joined the Jacobite rebels under Lord Derwentwater in 1715, and was captured at Preston, but was acquitted on his trial.

[Ormerod's Lancashire Civil War Tracts (Chetham Soc.); Raines's Stanley Papers (Chetham Soc.), II. i. and ii. The notice of Tyldesley in Baines's Lancashire is inaccurate.]

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