Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Horton, Thomas (d.1649)

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HORTON, THOMAS (d. 1649), regicide, was originally a servant and falconer to Sir Arthur Haslerig [q. v.] He joined the army of Sir Thomas Fairfax, and by May 1643 had become a colonel. On 24 June of that year the parliament resolved that he be recommended to Lord Inchiquin ‘to have the command which Sir William Ogle formerly had in Ireland’ (Commons' Journals, iii. 143). Horton afterwards ably seconded Cromwell's operations in South Wales. At the close of April 1648 he despatched a force to take Brecknock, while he engaged Colonel Powell near Carmarthen. Powell, however, slipped away without much loss. A defeat which he inflicted on Colonel John Poyer's forces was also indecisive. After many ‘tedious, hungry, and wet marches over the steep and craggy mountains,’ he again came up with the enemy, who were now almost eight thousand strong, on the morning of 8 May between St. Fagans and Peterstown, where after a ‘sharp dispute’ for nearly two hours, he totally routed them, pursued them for seven miles, and took three thousand prisoners, including Major-general Stradling. His own forces numbered barely three thousand (letter to the parliament). Tenby Castle, long held by Powell, surrendered to him on 31 May. Parliament ordered a thanksgiving to be observed for the victory, and passed an act settling the lands belonging to Major-general Rowland Langhorne and other loyalists upon Horton and his brigade (Commons' Journals, v. 556–7). Henry (afterwards Sir Henry) Lingen [q. v.], on his way to North Wales, was defeated and taken by Horton soon afterwards (Cal. Clarendon State Papers, i. 425, 440). On being appointed a commissioner of the high court of justice, Horton attended every day, and signed the warrant for the execution of the king. For a few months he acted as a commissioner for South Wales (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649–50), but in July 1649 was ordered to accompany Cromwell to Ireland. According to Whitelocke (Memorials, p. 418), part of his regiment refused to go, and disbanded themselves. Horton, who had been long in failing health, died in Ireland in the autumn of 1649 (Probate Act Book, P. C. C. 1651), leaving an only son, Thomas. His will, dated at Cardiff on 3 July 1649, was proved on 16 Jan. 1650–1 (P. C. C. 5, Grey). He gave to Cromwell ‘the majer Gen. my horse called Haselrigg.’ At the Restoration his name was excepted out of the bill of pardon and oblivion, and his estate was ordered to be confiscated (Commons' Journals, viii. 61, 286).

Thomas Horton must be distinguished from Jeremy Horton, who was lieutenant-colonel of Lord Wharton's regiment, and is described as adjutant-general to Major-general Browne. He attempted unsuccessfully to reduce Donnington Castle (Money, Battles of Newbury, 2nd edit. p. 147).

[S. W.'s Exceeding Good Newes from South-Wales; I. L.'s His Maiesties Demands to Collonel Hammond, &c.; A great Fight in Wales between Collonell Horton and Collonell Powel; A Fuller Relation of a great Victory obtained against the Welsh Forces by Col. T. Horton; Colonell Poyer's Forces in Wales totally routed by Collonel Horton; Commons' Journals, vols. iii. v. vi. vii. viii.; Lords' Journals, vol. x.; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649–50, 1654; Noble's Lives of the English Regicides, i. 362–3.]

G. G.