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Urry, John (d.1650) (DNB00)

URY or HURRY, Sir JOHN (d. 1650), soldier, was the son of John Urry of Pitfichie in the parish of Monymusk, Aberdeenshire, by his wife, Mariora Cameraria (Marian Chamberlain), of Coullie in the same parish. His early life was spent in foreign service, probably in Germany, but he returned to Scotland about 1641 and received the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Scottish army. In October 1641 he was solicited to join in the mysterious plot against Hamilton and Argyll, usually known as the ‘Incident’ [see Linday, Ludovic, sixteenth Earl of Crawford], and revealed all he knew of it to Alexander Leslie, first earl of Leven [q. v.] (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1641–3, p. 137; Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. pp. 163–70). On the outbreak of the civil war he espoused the cause of parliament, and in June 1642 was nominated lieutenant-colonel of the fourth troop of horse appointed for Ireland under Philip, lord Wharton. He took part in the battle of Edgehill, and at the combat at Brentford on 12 Nov. 1642 ‘for his stoutness and wisdom was much cryed up by the Londoners’ (Baillie, Letters and Journals, Bannatyne Club, 1841, ii. 56). At the beginning of 1643 he was nominated a major of cavalry under the Earl of Bedford; but in June, on some personal pique, he deserted to the royalists, to whom his information was of great service. He had a large share in the royalist success at Chalgrove on 18 June, and was knighted at Oxford for his services on the same day (Clarendon, Hist. of Rebellion, 1888, iii. 53–9). On 25 June he sacked West Wycombe, and on 1 Jan. 1643–4 he was reported dead at Oxford, of an old wound; but on 18 Feb. he had gone northward with Rupert (Baillie, ii. 127, 141). He fought at Marston Moor in the cavalry of the royalist right wing. But in August 1644, judging that the royalist cause was lost, he fled to the parliamentary army at Shaftesbury, under Sir William Waller, desiring leave to return to Scotland (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1644, p. 545; Clarendon, iii. 432). Waller sent him to London, and the committee of both kingdoms ordered him into custody. On Waller vouching for his good faith, and on the representations of the army committee that his knowledge would be useful, he was suffered to rejoin the army on 30 Oct. on parole (ib. 1644–5 passim). He held out hopes of bringing after him ‘a greater sojour’ than himself, probably the Earl of Brentford, whom he unsuccessfully attempted to seduce in November after the second battle of Newbury (Baillie, ii. 238; Clarendon, iii. 437). A little later he joined the Earl of Leven in the north of England, and on 8 March 1644–5 was despatched to the highlands to oppose Montrose, with the rank of major-general and the command of the cavalry under Lieutenant-general William Baillie (fl. 1648) [q. v.] In April they divided forces, Urry going north with twelve hundred foot and a hundred and sixty horse to act with Marischal, Seaforth, Sutherland, and other covenanters beyond the Grampians. On 9 May, after beguiling Montrose into a hostile country, he attempted to surprise him, but was completely defeated at Auldearn, near Nairn (Memoirs of Montrose, ed. 1893, pp. 88–103). He rejoined Baillie at Strathbogie with a hundred horse, the remnant of his army, but shortly afterwards withdrew from his command on the plea of ill-health, and returned to his allegiance to Charles. Baillie had a poor opinion of his ability (Baillie, ii. 417–19). In August 1646 Middleton offered to permit him to leave Scotland, but, distrusting his faith, he escaped to Moray with Montrose. In 1648 he, against the express desire of the Scottish committee of estates, joined in the train of the Prince of Wales, and, accompanying Hamilton's army to England, was wounded and taken prisoner on 18 Aug., after the battle of Preston. He escaped to the continent, acted as major-general to Montrose in his last descent in 1650, commanded the van on 27 April at the fatal combat of Carbisdale, and was taken prisoner. He was beheaded at Edinburgh on 29 May 1650, redeeming to some extent the vacillations of his life by the intrepid constancy of his death. His frequent desertions were rather due to the indifference to political principle of a professional soldier than to deliberate treachery. He left five children, who, on 31 Oct. 1658, received a certificate from Charles II testifying to the gentility of their birth (Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 15856, f. 89 b).

[Ruthven Corresp. (Roxburghe Club), 1868; Gardiner's Great Civil War, i. 150, 155, ii. 34, 204, 216, 221–6, 277–8, iii. 143, iv. 189; Gardiner's Hist. of the Commonwealth, i. 234, 242, 260; Gardiner's Charles II in Scotland (Scottish Hist. Soc.), 1894, p. 68; Ludlow's Memoirs, ed. Firth, i. 240; Firth's Account of Marston Moor in Trans. Royal Hist. Soc. 18 Nov. 1898; Hamilton Papers (Camden Soc.), p. 233; Miscellanea Aulica, 1702, p. 138; Sir James Turner's Memoirs (Bannatyne Club), pp. 56, 65; Napier's Memoirs of Montrose, 1856, vol. ii. passim; Gordon's Short Abrigement of Britane's Distemper (Spalding Club), pp. 111, 112, 114, 120, 122, 127; Warburton's Memoirs of Prince Rupert, 1849, ii. 203; Spalding's Memorials of Trubles in Scotland and England (Spalding Club), vol. ii. passim; Several Passages concerning the declared King of Scots both by Sea and Land, London, 1650, p. 2; A True Relation of Sir William Waller's Advance into the King's Quarters, and of his taking of Colonell Renegado Hurrey, 1644.]

E. I. C.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.269
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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