Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tidcomb, John

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740980Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 56 — Tidcomb, John1898Gerald le Grys Norgate

TIDCOMB or TIDCOMBE, JOHN (1642–1713), lieutenant-general, born in 1642, was a son of Peter Tidcombe of Calne, Wiltshire. He matriculated as a servitor at Oriel College, Oxford, on 22 March 1660–1. On 20 June 1685 he was gazetted captain in the Earl of Huntingdon's regiment of foot (now the Somerset light infantry). In the same year he was present at the coronation of James II in the capacity of a gentleman pensioner. He was appointed colonel of the 14th foot on 14 Nov. 1692. In March 1695 he accompanied King William on his visit to Oxford, and was created D.C.L. He received command of a regiment on the Irish establishment in 1700. In August 1701 a whole company of it deserted from Limerick and fled to the mountains (Luttrell). He afterwards served in Portugal. In March 1705 he and Lieutenant-general Stewart conveyed letters from Ormonde to Marlborough when the latter was in London. In the following month Tidcombe was appointed major-general, and in 1708 was further promoted lieutenant-general. He would appear to have been a protéegé of Ormonde. Swift says that while a subaltern officer he was ‘every day complaining of the pride, oppression, and hard treatment of colonels toward (sic) their officers,’ but that immediately after he had received his regiment he ‘confessed that the spirit of colonelship was coming fast upon him,’ and that it daily increased to the hour of his death.

Tidcombe was a wit as well as a soldier, and was a member of the Kit-Cat Club. When Mrs. Manley was dismissed by the Duchess of Cleveland, he ‘offered her an asylum at his country house,’ but she declined his overtures (Noble, Contin. of Granger, ii. 199). Tidcombe is the Sir Charles Lovemore who in Mrs. Manley's memoirs (‘The History of Rivella’) is supposed to relate her story to his friend the Chevalier d'Aumont in the gardens of Somerset House. In the introduction he is characterised as ‘a person of admirable good sense and knowledge.’

Tidcomb died at Bath in June 1713. His portrait was painted by Kneller and engraved in 1735 by J. Faber.

[Memoirs of the Kit-Cat Club (1821), with portrait, pp. 176–7; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Luttrell's Brief Relation, v. 51, 83, 325, 538; Dalton's Army Lists, ii. 34 n., 143, iii. 6, 254; Marlborough's Letters, ed. Murray, i. 611, v. 645; Swift's Works, ed. Scott, 2nd edit. viii. 320; History of Rivella, 3rd edit. 1717; Bromley's Cat. Engr. Portraits; Political State of Great Britain, v. 458; there are letters by Tidcombe to Ormonde and references to him among the Ormonde Papers (Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep.).]

G. Le G. N.