Scrope, Adrian (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 51
Scrope, Adrian

by Charles Harding Firth
1904 Errata appended.
Contains subarticle Sir Adrian Scrope (d. 1667)

SCROPE or SCROOPE, ADRIAN (1601–1660), regicide, son of Robert Scroope of Wormsley, Oxfordshire, by Margaret, daughter of Richard Cornwall of London. His family were a younger branch of the Scropes of Bolton (Blore, Rutland, pp. 7, 9; Turner, Visitations of Oxfordshire, p. 327). Scroope matriculated at Hart Hall, Oxford, on 7 Nov. 1617, and became a student of the Middle Temple in 1619 (Foster, Alumni Oxon.) In November 1624 he married Mary, daughter of Robert Waller of Beaconsfield, a cousin of the poet Waller (Chester, London Marriage Licenses, 1198). At the opening of the civil war he raised a troop of horse for the parliament (Peacock, Army Lists, pp. 54, 108, 2nd ed.), and in 1646 was major in the regiment of horse commanded by Colonel Richard Graves. When the army and parliament quarrelled Scroope took part with the soldiers, and possibly helped Joyce to carry off Charles I from Holdenby to Newmarket (Clarke Papers, i. 59, 119). He succeeded to the command of the regiment about July 1647 (ib. p. 151).

In June 1648, at the outbreak of the second civil war, Scroope was ordered to join Colonel Whalley in the pursuit of the Earl of Norwich and the Kentish royalists, and he took part in the siege of Colchester (ib. ii. 27; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1648–9, pp. 111, 116). At the beginning of July he was detached from Colchester to pursue the Earl of Holland, whom he defeated and took prisoner at St. Neots on 10 July (ib. pp. 176–186; Report on the Duke of Portland's MSS. i. 478; Rushworth, vii. 1187). He was then sent to suppress some disturbances at Yarmouth (ib. vii. 1216; Old Parliamentary History, xvii. 338), caused by the threatened landing of the Prince of Wales.

Scroope took part in the deliberations of the council of the army which resulted in the rupture of the treaty of Newport; was appointed one of the king's judges, and attended the meetings of the court with exemplary regularity. His name appears twenty-seventh among the signatures to the death warrant (Clarke Papers, ii. 54, 278; Nalson, Trial of the Regicides, 1682).

Scroope's regiment was one of those selected by lot for the expedition for the reconquest of Ireland (20 April 1649); but early in May 1649 they mutinied, refused to go to Ireland, and demanded the re-establishment of the representative council of agitators which had existed in 1647 (The Resolutions of the Private Soldiery of Col. Scroope's Regiment of Horse, now quartering at Salisbury, concerning their present Expedition for the Service of Ireland, 1649, folio; A Declaration from his Excellency, etc., concerning the present Distempers of part of Commissary-Gen. Ireton's and of Col. Scroope's Regiments, 1649, 4to). On 15 May Cromwell and Fairfax surprised the mutineers at Burford, and the ringleaders were tried by court-martial and shot (Gardiner, Commonwealth and Protectorate, i. 54–60). Scroope's regiment henceforth disappears from the army lists, and the soldiers composing it were probably drafted into other regiments. Scroope himself was made governor of Bristol (October 1649), a post which he held till 1655 (Whitelocke, Memorials, ed. 1853, iii. 113). In 1655 Bristol Castle and other forts there were ordered to be demolished, in pursuance of a general scheme for diminishing the number of garrisons in England, though Ludlow asserts that Bristol was selected because Cromwell did not dare to ‘trust a person of so much honour and worth with a place of that importance’ (Ludlow, Memoirs, ed. 1894, i. 394).

In May 1655 Scroope was appointed a member of the council established by the Protector for the government of Scotland, at a salary of 600l. a year (Thurloe, iii. 423, iv. 127, 526). He did not distinguish himself as an administrator, and appears to have spent as much time as he could out of Scotland (ib. vi. 92, 156; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1658–9, p. 101). During the political revolutions of 1659–60 he apparently remained neutral, and for that reason had some prospect of escape when the Restoration took place. He surrendered himself in obedience to the king's proclamation (4 June 1660), and on 9 June the House of Commons voted that he should have the benefit of the act of indemnity on payment of a fine of one year's rent of his estates (Commons' Journals, viii. 60). On 20 June he was accordingly discharged upon parole (ib. viii. 70). The House of Lords, however, ordered all the king's judges to be arrested, and excepted Scroope absolutely from pardon (Lords' Journals, xi. 102, 114, 133). The commons on 13 Aug. reiterated their vote in Scroope's favour, but, as the lords remained firm, they finally (28 Aug.) yielded the point (Commons' Journals, viii. 118, 139; Masson, Life of Milton, vi. 49, 85). This was an inexcusable breach of faith, as Scroope had surrendered in reliance upon the king's proclamation. On Scroope's trial (12 Oct. 1660) Richard Browne, late major-general for the parliament, and now lord mayor elect of London, deposed that in a private conversation held since the Restoration Scroope had used words apparently justifying the king's execution, and had refused to pronounce it murder. Scroope, who defended himself with dignity and moderation, pleaded that he acted by the authority of parliament, and that he ‘never went to the work with a malicious heart.’ Sir Orlando Bridgeman, the presiding judge, treated Scroope with great civility. ‘Mr. Scroope,’ he said, ‘to give him his due, is not such a person as some of the rest;’ but Browne's evidence, which had led to Scroope's abandonment by the commons, sealed his fate, and he was condemned to death (Trial of the Regicides, pp. 57–72, ed. 1660). He was executed at Charing Cross on 17 Oct. An account of his behaviour in prison and at the gallows describes him as ‘a comely ancient gentleman,’ and dwells on his cheerfulness and courage (The Speeches and Prayers of some of the late King's Judges, 4to, 1660, pp, 73, 80).

Scroope's eldest son, Edmund, was made fellow of All Souls' on 4 July 1649 by the parliamentary visitors, was subsequently keeper of the privy seal in Scotland, and died in 1658 (Foster, Alumni Oxon. 1500–1714; Wood, Fasti, ii. 146; Burrows, Register of the Visitors of the University of Oxford, p. 476). His brother Robert was about the same time made fellow of Lincoln College, and created by the visitors B.A. on 19 May 1649 (Wood, Fasti, ii. 128). Scroope also left two daughters, Margaret and Anne.

The regicide is sometimes confused with his distant kinsman, Sir Adrian Scrope or Scroope (d. 1667), son of Sir Gervase Scroope of Cockerington, Lincolnshire. Sir Gervase Scroope raised a regiment for the king's service, and was left for dead at Edgehill, where he received sixteen wounds, but survived to 1655. The son served in the king's army during the war, and was made knight of the Bath at the coronation of Charles II (Clarendon, Rebellion, vi. 97; Rushworth, v. 707; Bulstrode, Memoirs, pp. 78, 85, 103). The fine imposed on father and son for their delinquency amounted to over 6,000l. (Calendar of Compounders, p. 1327). Sir Adrian Scroope, who died in 1667, married Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Carr of Sleaford, and was the father of Sir Carr Scrope [q. v.] (Blore, pp. 6, 9).

[A ‘life’ of Adrian Scroope is given in Noble's Lives of the Regicides, ii. 200. Other authorities mentioned in the article.]

C. H. F.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.244
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
132 i 47-48 Scrope, Adrian: for thirty-seventh read twenty-seventh