Arundell, Henry (DNB00)

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Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 02
Arundell, Henry, third Baron Arundell of Wardour

by Sidney Lee
1904 Errata appended.

ARUNDELL, HENRY (1606?–1694), third Lord Arundell of Wardour, was the only son of Thomas, second Lord Arundell of Wardour, by his wife. Lady Blanche [q. v.]. On the death of his father (19 May 1643) he succeeded to his estates and to his titles, which included that of Count of the Holy Roman Empire. Throughout his life a devoted catholic, he fought on the side of Charles I in the civil wars. In May 1643 the parliamentarians wrested the family castle of Wardour, in Wiltshire, from his mother, who bravely defended it. In the following September Arundell laid siege to the castle and its new occupiers. By springing a mine and ruining the building, he finally dislodged the enemy under General Ludlow in March 1643-4 (Edmund Ludlow's Memoirs (1751), pp. 23, 38). Early in life he had married Cecily, daughter of Sir Henry Compton, knight, of Brambletye, Sussex, and widow of Sir John Fermor, and in 1652 he acted as one of the seconds of his wife's brother, Henry Compton, in a duel with Lord Chandos. Compton was slain, and a warrant was issued by the council of state to arrest Arundell, with others who had taken part in the engagement. In 1653 Arundell appears to have petitioned Cromwell for pardon, and in 1656 to have received permission to take refuge in France. At the restoration of Charles II, Arundell, on paying 35,000l., was confirmed in all his family estates, many of which had been sold by the Commonwealth to one Humphrey Weld. On 7 March 1662-3 he was nominated master of the horse to the queen-mother, Henrietta Maria. In January 1668-9 he was summoned by Charles II, with other Roman catholic peers, to a secret council, and was commissioned to proceed to France to inform Louis XIV of the English king's desire to be reconciled to Roman Catholicism, and of his want of ready money. In June 1669 Arundell returned with Louis's assent to a secret treaty with Charles, which was signed in the following year, and is known as the treaty of Dover. In 1678 Titus Oates and his associates announced that Arundell was a chief mover in the popish plot against Charles II, which they professed to have discovered. According to the evidence of these informers, attempts had been made by the catholics of England, in league with Louis XIV, to raise an army of 50,000, which was to be placed under the command of Lords Arundell, Powis, and Belasyse. Some of the witnesses asserted that the pope had issued a commission to Arundell to be lord chancellor as soon as the present ministers had been removed, and that Arundell had for many years been actively employed in arranging the details of the plot. On 25 Oct. 1678 Arundell was arrested at the instance of the House of Commons and com-mitted to the Tower, with Lords Stafford, Powis, Petre, and Belasyse. On 1 Nov. the House of Commons resolved to proceed by impeachment against 'the five popish lords.' On 23 Nov. all Arundell's papers were seized and examined by the lords' committee; on 3 Dec. the Middlesex grand jury found the five peers guilty of high treason; and on 5 Dec. the lower house announced that they were ready to impeach Arundell. A month later parliament was dissolved, and the proceedings were interrupted. After some discussion, in March 1678-9, it was resolved by both houses that the dissolution had not invalidated the motions for the impeachment. On 10 April 1679 Arundell and three of his companions (Belasyse was too ill to attend) were brought to the House of Lords to put in pleas against the articles of impeachment. Arundell complained of the uncertainty of the charges brought against him, and implored the peers to have them ' reduced to competent certainty.' But this plea was on 24 April voted irregular, and on 26 April the prisoners were again brought to the House of Lords and ordered to amend their pleas. Arundell replied by briefly declaring himself not guilty. The trial of the five lords was soon afterwards fixed for 13 May; but a quarrel between the two houses as to points of procedure, and as to the legality of admitting the bishops to a capital trial, followed by a dissolution, delayed its commencement till 30 Nov. 1680. On that day it was decided to proceed first against Lord Stafford, who was condemned to death on 7 Dec. and beheaded on 23 Dec. On 30 Dec. the evidence against Arundell and his three fellow-prisoners was ordered to be in readiness, but there public proceedings stopped. Petre died in the Tower in 1683. His companions remained there till 12 Feb. 1683-4 (i.e. for five years and nearly four months), when an appeal to the court of Queen's Bench to release them on bail was successful. On 21 May 1685 Arundell, Powis, and Belasyse came to the House of Lords to present petitions for the annulling of the charges against them, and on the following day the petitions were granted. On 1 June 1685 their liberty was formally assured them on the ground that the witnesses against them had perjured themselves, and on 4 June the bill of attainder against Stafford was reversed.

After the death of Charles II, his successor, James II, admitted Arundell, although a catholic, to the privy council 17 Aug. 1686, and appointed him keeper of the privy seal in place of Lord Clarendon in March 1687. By royal dispensation he was relieved of the necessity of taking the customary oaths on accepting office (Sir John Bramston's Autobiog. (Camden Soc), p. 283). In the following June Arundell presented an address to the king on behalf of the Roman catholics, thanking him for the declaration of indulgence, but, although evincing as a rule little tact, he strongly opposed the admission of the unpopular Jesuit, Father Petre, to the privy council (Burnet, History, iii. 218 n.). He received, on 24 June 1687, a 'bounty' of 250l. from the king for secret service (Secret Services of Charles II and James II (Camden Soc), p. 156). On the abdication of James, Arundell retired to his house at Breamore, Hampshire, and took no further part in public life. He received a legacy of 1,000 crowns from Cardinal Howard in July 1694, and died at Breamore 28 Dec. 1694, at the age of eighty-eight. He was buried with his ancestors at Tisbury. His wife had died in 1675, but three children survived him. The elder son, Thomas, became the fourth Lord Arundell of Wardour, was in the retinue of Lord Castlemaine on his visit to Pope Innocent XI as James II's ambassador, and died 10 Feb. 1711-12, Lord Arundell's only daughter, Cecily, entered 'the order of Poor Clares of Rouen' in 1662, and died at Rouen 13 June 1717, at the age of eighty-two.

During his imprisonment in 1679 Arundell wrote five short religious poems, published in a single folio sheet in 1679, and reissued in 'A Collection of Eighty-six Loyal Poems ' in 1685. His piety and generosity to poor catholics are commended in 'The Liturgicall Discourse ' of Richard Mason (Angelus à Sancto Francisco), and in the 'Divine Peda- gogue,' by F. Welldon (cf. extracts from these books in G. Oliver's Catholic Beligion in Cornwall, Devon, &c., pp. 82-3). He was a noted gambler and sportsman, and kept at Breamore a celebrated pack of hounds, which became the property of the Earl of Castlehaven, and subsequently of Hugo Meynell. From them the Quorn pack is descended. Portraits of Lord Arundell, of his wife, and of his daughter are preserved in the dining-room of the modern Wardour Castle.

[Hoare's Wiltshire, s. 'Dunworth Hundred,' pp. 178 et seq.; G. Oliver's Catholic Religion in Cornwall and Western Counties, pp. 81-6 ; State Trials, vii. 129-1 et seq.; Luttrell's Brief Relation, passim; Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors, iii. 325; Burnet's History, ed. 1826, ii. 94, 154, iii. 218; Macaulay's History, vol. i.; Ranke's History (Oxford translation), iii. 496, iv. 283, 343; Cal. Domest. State Papers for 1652, 1653, 1656, 1660, 1662-3; Burke's Peerage; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

S. L. L.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.9
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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145 i 3 Arundell, Henry: for 26 Dec. read 29 Dec.