Born on 17th of January 1612
Died in York, North Yorkshire
Died on 12th of November 1671
Sir Thomas Fairfax was a chivalrous soldier and commander during the English Civil War . His success in battle was not matched by his statesmanship and he was unable to prevent the execution of Charles I .
Thomas Fairfax was born on January 17, 1612 at Denton Hall near Otley in Yorkshire. He attended Cambridge University before serving in the English army fighting in Holland under Sir Horace Vere.
Having married Vere’s daughter Anne in 1637 Thomas Fairfax was knighted by King Charles I in 1640 but felt unable to support him against Parliament: “The king and kingdom’s safest council”. With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642 Fairfax sided with Parliament’s forces in Yorkshire, in 1644 distinguishing himself at the Battle of Marston Moor , a decisive defeat for the Royalists.
Such was his reputation that in 1645 Fairfax was given command of the New Model Army. This disciplined body soon proved its worth at the Battle of Naseby , and Fairfax was able to take the whole of the West of England from the King. He arrived in London on November 12 1645 to a hero’s welcome and generous remuneration from Parliament. With the collapse of the Royalist cause in 1647 Fairfax escorted King Charles to London but found himself at odds with the increasingly militant outlook of the army. This did not, however, prevent him fighting in the second Civil War, ensuring Cromwell ultimate victory. While opposed to the King’s execution on compassionate grounds he was ruthless in his suppression of the Levellers. Fairfax resigned his commission rather than invade Scotland in 1650 and retired to Yorkshire. Nevertheless his influence remained and he played a key part with Monk in arranging the Restoration of the monarchy, heading the commission which met with Charles II in The Hague in 1660 to smooth the latter’s return. Sir Thomas Fairfax died November 12, 1671 and is buried at Bilbrough near York.
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