Ireton, Henry (DNB00)
IRETON, HENRY (1611–1651), regicide, baptised 3 Nov. 1611, was the eldest son of German Ireton of Attenborough, near Nottingham. His father, who settled at Attenborough about 1605, was the younger brother of William Ireton of Little Ireton in Derbyshire (Cornelius Brown, Worthies of Nottinghamshire, p. 182). Henry became in 1626 a gentleman-commoner of Trinity College, Oxford, and took the degree of B.A. in 1629. According to Wood, ‘he had the character in that house of a stubborn and saucy fellow towards the seniors, and therefore his company was not at all wanting’ (Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii. 298). In 1629 he entered the Middle Temple (24 Nov.), but was never called to the bar (The Trial of Charles I, with Biographies of Bradshaw, Ireton, &c., in Murray's Family Library, 1832, xxxi. 130).
At the outbreak of the civil war Ireton was living on his estate in Nottinghamshire, ‘and having had an education in the strictest way of godliness, and being a man of good learning, great understanding, and other abilities, he was the chief promoter of the parliament's interest in the county’ (Hutchinson, Memoirs of Col. Hutchinson, ed. 1885, i. 168). On 30 June 1642 the House of Commons nominated Ireton captain of the troop of horse to be raised by the town of Nottingham (Commons' Journals, ii. 664). With this troop he joined the army of the Earl of Essex and fought at Edgehill, but returned to his native county with it at the end of 1642, and became major in Colonel Thornhagh's regiment of horse (Hutchinson, i. 169, 199). In July 1643 the Nottinghamshire horse took part in the victory at Gainsborough (28 July), and shortly afterwards Ireton ‘quite left Colonel Thornhagh's regiment, and began an inseparable league with Colonel Cromwell’ (ib. pp. 232, 234). He was appointed by Cromwell deputy governor of the Isle of Ely, began to fortify the isle, and was allowed such freedom to the sectaries that presbyterians complained it was become ‘a mere Amsterdam’ (Manchester's Quarrel with Cromwell, Camden Soc., 1875, pp. 39, 73). He served in Manchester's army during 1644, with the rank of quartermaster-general, and took part in the Yorkshire campaign and the second battle of Newbury. Although Ireton, in writing to Manchester, represented the distressed condition of the horse for want of money (Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. pt. ii. p. 61), he was anxious that Manchester should march west to join Waller, and after the miscarriages at Newbury supported Cromwell's accusation of Manchester by a most damaging deposition (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1644–5, p. 158).
Ireton does not appear in the earliest list of the officers of the new model, but directly the campaign began he obtained the command of the regiment of horse to which Sir Michael Livesey had been at first appointed (Lords' Journals, viii. 278; Sprigge, Anglia Rediviva, ed. 1854, p. 331). The night before the battle of Naseby he surprised the royalists' quarters, ‘which they had newly taken up in Naseby town,’ took many prisoners, and alarmed their whole army. Next day Fairfax, at Cromwell's request, appointed Ireton commissary-general of the horse and gave him the command of the cavalry of the left wing. The wing under his command was worsted by Rupert's cavaliers and partially broken. Ireton, seeing some of the parliamentary infantry hard pressed by a brigade of the king's foot, ‘commanded the division that was with him to charge that body of foot, and for their better encouragement he himself with great resolution fell in amongst the musketeers, where his horse being shot under him, and himself run through the thigh with a pike and into the face with an halbert, was taken prisoner by the enemy.’ When the fortune of the day turned Ireton promised his keeper liberty if he would carry him back to his own party, and thus succeeded in escaping (ib. pp. 36, 39, 42). He recovered from his wounds sufficiently quickly to be with the army at the siege of Bristol in September 1645 (ib. pp. 99, 106–18). The letter of summons in which Fairfax endeavoured to persuade Rupert to surrender that city was probably Ireton's work.
Ireton was one of the negotiators of the treaty of Truro (14 March 1646), and was afterwards despatched with several regiments of horse to block up Oxford, and prevent it from being provisioned (ib. pp. 229, 243). The king tried to open negotiations with him, and sent a message offering to come to Fairfax, and live wherever parliament should direct, ‘if only he might be assured to live and continue king.’ Ireton refused to discuss the king's offers, but wrote to Cromwell begging him to communicate the king's message to parliament. Cromwell blamed him for doing even that, on the ground that soldiers ought not to touch political questions at all (Cary, Memorials of the Civil War, i. 1; Gardiner, Great Civil War, ii. 470). Ireton took part in the negotiations which led to the capitulation of Oxford, and married Bridget, Cromwell's daughter, on 15 June 1646, a few days before its actual surrender. The ceremony took place in Lady Whorwood's house at Holton, near Oxford, and was performed by William Dell [q. v.], one of the chaplains attached to the army (Carlyle, Cromwell, i. 218, ed. 1871).
Though the marriage was the result of the friendship between Cromwell and Ireton, rather than its cause, it brought the two men closer together. The union and the confidence which existed between them was during the next four years a factor of great importance in English politics. Each exercised much influence over the other. ‘No man,’ says Whitelocke, ‘could prevail so much, nor order Cromwell so far, as Ireton could’ (Memorials, f. 516). Ireton had a large knowledge of political theory and more definite political views than Cromwell, and could present his views logically and forcibly either in speech or writing. On the other hand, Cromwell's wider sympathies and willingness to accept compromises often controlled and moderated Ireton's conduct.
On 30 Oct. 1645 Ireton was returned to parliament as member for Appleby; but there is no record of his public action in parliament until the dispute between the army and the parliament began (Names of Members returned to serve in Parliament, i. 495). His justification of the petition of the army, which the House of Commons on 29 March 1647 declared seditious, involved him in a personal quarrel with Holles, who openly derided his arguments. A challenge was exchanged between them, and the two went out of the house intending to fight, but were stopped by other members, and ordered by the house to proceed no further. On this basis Clarendon builds an absurd story that Ireton provoked Holles, refused to fight, and submitted to have his nose pulled by his choleric opponent (Clarendon MSS. 2478, 2495; Rebellion, x. 104; Ludlow, ed. 1751, p. 94; Commons' Journals, 2 April 1647). Thomas Shepherd of Ireton's regiment was one of the three troopers who presented the appeal of the soldiers to their generals, which Skippon on 30 April brought to the notice of the House of Commons. In consequence Ireton, Cromwell, Skippon, and Fleetwood, being all four members of parliament, as well as officers of the army, were despatched by the house to Saffron Walden ‘to employ their endeavours to quiet all distempers in the army.’ The commissioners drew up a report on the grievances of the soldiers, which Fleetwood and Cromwell were charged to present, while Skippon and Ireton remained at headquarters to maintain order. Ireton foresaw a storm unless parliament was more moderate, and had little hope of success. In private and in public he had at first discouraged the soldiers from petitioning or taking action to secure redress, but when an open breach occurred he took part with the army (Clarke Papers, i. 94, 102; Cary, Memorials of the Civil War, i. 205, 207, 214). When Fairfax demanded by whose orders Joyce had removed the king from Holdenby, Ireton owned that he had given orders for securing the king there, though not for taking him thence (Huntingdon's reasons for laying down his commission, Maseres, Tracts, i. 398). From that period his prominence in setting forth the desires of the army and defending its conduct was very marked. ‘Colonel Ireton,’ says Whitelocke, ‘was chiefly employed or took upon him the business of the pen, … and was therein encouraged and assisted by Lieutenant-general Cromwell, his father-in-law, and by Colonel Lambert’ (Memorials, f. 254).
The form, if not the idea, of the ‘engagement’ of the army (5 June) was probably due to Ireton, and the remonstrance of 14 June was also his work (Rushworth, vi. 512, 564). He took part in the treaty between the commissioners of the army and the parliament, and when the former decided to draw up a general summary of their demands for the settlement of the kingdom, the task was entrusted to Ireton and another (Clarke Papers, i. 148, 211). The result was the manifesto known as ‘The Heads of the Army Proposals.’ By it Ireton hoped to show the nation what the army would do with power if they had it, and he was anxious that no fresh quarrel with parliament should take place until the manifesto had been published to the world. He hoped also to lay the foundation of an agreement between king and parliament, and to establish the liberties of the people on a permanent basis (ib. pp. 179, 197). But, excellent though this scheme of settlement was, it was too far in advance of the political ideas of the moment to be accepted either by king or parliament. Ireton was represented as saying that what was offered in the proposals was so just and reasonable that if there were but six men in the kingdom to fight to make them good, he would make the seventh (‘Huntingdon's Reasons,’ Maseres, i. 401). In his anxiety to obtain the king's assent he modified the proposals in several important points, and consequently imperilled his popularity with the soldiers. When the king rejected the terms offered him by parliament, Ireton vehemently urged a new treaty, and told the house that if they ceased their addresses to the king he could not promise them the support of the army (22 Sept. 1647). Pamphlets accused him of juggling and underhand dealing, of betraying the army and deluding honest Cromwell to serve his own ambition, and of bargaining for the government of Ireland as the price of the king's restoration (Clarke Papers, i. Preface, xl–xlvi; A Declaration of some Proceedings of Lieutenant-colonel John Lilburn, 1648, p. 15). In the debates of the council of the army during October and November 1649, Sexby and Wildman attacked him with the greatest bitterness. Ireton passionately disavowed all private engagements, and asserted that if he had used the name of the army to support a further application to the king, it was because he sincerely believed himself to be acting in accordance with the army's views. He had no desire, he said, to set up the king or parliament, but wished to make the best use possible of both for the interest of the kingdom (Clarke Papers, i. 233). In resisting a rupture with the king he urged the army, for the sake of its own reputation, to fulfil the promises publicly made in its earlier declarations (ib. p. 294). With equal vigour he opposed the new constitution which the levellers brought forward, under the title of ‘The Agreement of the People,’ and denounced the demand for universal suffrage as destructive to property and fatal to liberty, although for a limitation of the duration and powers of parliament and a redistribution of seats he was willing to fight if necessary (ib. p. 299). He wished to limit the veto of the king and the House of Lords, but objected to the proposal to deprive them altogether of any share in legislation.
Burnet represents Ireton as sticking at nothing in order to turn England into a commonwealth; but in the council of the army he was in reality the spokesman of the conservative party among the officers, anxious to maintain as much of the existing constitution as possible. The constitution was always in his mouth, and he detested and dreaded nothing so much as the abstract theories of natural right on which the levellers based their demands (ib. Preface, pp. lxvii–lxxi; Burnet, Own Time, ed. 1833, i. 85).
On 5 Nov. the council of the army sent a letter to the speaker, disavowing any desire that parliament should make a fresh application to the king, and Ireton at once withdrew from their meetings, protesting that unless they recalled their vote he would come there no more (Clarke Papers, p. 441). But the flight of the king to the Isle of Wight (11 Nov.) led to an entire change in his attitude. The story of the letter from Charles to the queen, which Cromwell and Ireton intercepted, is scarcely needed to account for this change. Without it Ireton perceived the impossibility of the treaty with Charles, on which he had hoped to rest the settlement of the kingdom (Birch, Letters between Colonel Robert Hammond, General Fairfax, &c., 1764, p. 19). He held that the army's engagements to the king were ended, and when Berkeley brought the king's proposals for a personal treaty to the army, received him with coldness and disdain, instead of his former cordiality (29 Nov. 1647; Berkeley, Memoirs; Maseres, i. 384). Huntingdon describes him as saying, when the probability of an agreement between king and parliament was spoken of, ‘that he hoped it would be such a peace as we might with a good conscience fight against them both’ (ib. i. 404). When Charles refused the ‘Four Bills,’ Ireton urged parliament to settle the kingdom without him (Walker, History of Independency, i. 71, ed. 1661). As yet he was not prepared to abandon the monarchy, and for a time supported the plan of deposing the king and setting the Prince of Wales or Duke of York on the throne (ib. p. 107; Gardiner, Great Civil War, iii. 294, 342).
In the second civil war Ireton served under Fairfax in the campaigns in Kent and Essex. After the defeat of the royalists at Maidstone he was sent against those in Canterbury, who capitulated on his approach (8 June 1648) (Rushworth, vii. 1149; Lords' Journals, x. 320). He then joined Fairfax before Colchester, and was one of the commissioners who settled the terms of its surrender (Rushworth, vii. 1244). To Ireton's influence and to his ‘bloody and unmerciful nature’ Clarendon and royalist writers in general attribute the execution of Lucas and Lisle (Rebellion, xi. 109; Mercurius Pragmaticus, 3–10 Oct. 1648; Gardiner, Great Civil War, iii. 463). Ireton approved the decision of the council of war which sentenced them to death, and defended its justice both in an argument with Lucas himself at the time and subsequently as a witness before the high court of justice. There is no foundation for the charge that the sentence was a breach of the capitulation [see Fairfax, Thomas, third Lord Fairfax].
The fall of Colchester (28 Aug.) was followed by a renewal of agitation in the army, and Ireton's regiment was one of the first to petition for the king's trial (Rushworth, vii. 1298). Already a party in the parliament was anxious that the army should interpose to stop the treaty of Newport, but Ludlow found Ireton strongly opposed to premature action. He thought it best ‘to permit the king and the parliament to make an agreement and to wait till they had made a full discovery of their intentions, whereby the people, becoming sensible of their danger, would willingly join to oppose them’ (Ludlow, Memoirs, p. 102). About the end of September Ireton offered to lay down his commission, and desired a discharge from the army, ‘which was not agreed unto’ (Gardiner, Great Civil War, iii. 473–5). For a time he left the headquarters and retired to Windsor, where he is said to have busied himself in drawing up the army remonstrance of 16 Nov. 1648 (reprinted in Old Parl. Hist. xviii. 161). All obstacles to agreement among the officers of the army were removed by the king's rejection of their last overtures. ‘It hath pleased God,’ wrote Ireton to Colonel Hammond, ‘to dispose the hearts of your friends in the army as one man … to interpose in this treaty, yet in such wise both for matter and manner as we believe will not only refresh the bowels of the saints, but be of satisfaction to every honest member of parliament.’ He conjured Hammond, in the national interest, to prevent the king from escaping, and endeavoured to convince him that he ought to obey the army rather than the parliament (Birch, Letters to Hammond, pp. 87, 97). In conjunction with Ludlow he arranged the exclusion of obnoxious members known as ‘Pride's Purge’ (Memoirs, p. 104). In conjunction with Cromwell he gave directions for bringing the king from Hurst Castle; he sat regularly in the high court of justice, and signed the warrant for the king's execution (Nalson, Trial of Charles I, 1684).
During December 1648 the council of the army was again busy considering a scheme for the settlement of the kingdom, which resulted in the ‘Agreement of the People’ presented to the House of Commons on 20 Jan. 1649 (Old Parl. Hist. xviii. 516). The first sketch of the ‘Agreement’ was not Ireton's, but by the time it left the council of war it had been revised and amended till it substantially represented his views. While a section in the council held that the magistrate had no right to interfere with any man's religion, Ireton claimed for him a certain power of restraint and punishment. Lilburne complains that Ireton ‘showed himself an absolute king, against whose will no man must dispute’ (Legal Fundamental Liberties, 1649, 2nd ed. p. 35). Outside the council of war his influence was limited. The levellers hated him as much as they did Cromwell, and denounced both in the ‘Hunting of the Foxes by five small Beagles’ (24 March 1649) and in Lilburne's ‘Impeachment of High Treason against Oliver Cromwell and his son-in-law, Henry Ireton’ (10 Aug. 1649). With the parliament he was, as the chief author of the ‘Agreement,’ far from popular, and though he was added by them to the Derby House Committee (6 Jan. 1649) they refused to elect him to the council of state (10 Feb. 1649).
On 15 June 1649 Ireton was selected to accompany Cromwell to Ireland as second in command, and set sail from Milford Haven on 15 Aug. His division was originally intended to effect a landing in Munster, but the design was abandoned, and he disembarked at Dublin about the end of the month (Commons' Journals, vi. 234; Murphy, Cromwell in Ireland, p. 74). During Cromwell's illness in November 1649, Ireton and Michael Jones commanded an expedition which captured Inistioge and Carrick, and in February 1650 he took Ardfinnan Castle on the Suir (Carlyle, Cromwell's Letters, cxvi. cxix.). On 4 Jan. 1650 the parliament appointed him president of Munster (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1649–50, pp. 476, 502; Commons' Journals, vi. 343). When Cromwell was recalled to England he appointed Ireton to act as his deputy (29 May 1650). Parliament approved the choice (2 July), and appointed Ludlow and three other commissioners to assist Cromwell in the settlement of Ireland (ib. vi. 343, 479). All Connaught, the greater part of Munster, and part of Ulster still remained to be conquered. Ireton began by summoning Carlow (2 July 1650), which surrendered on 24 July. Waterford capitulated on 6 Aug. and Duncannon on 17 Aug. Half Athlone was taken (September) and Limerick was summoned (6 Oct.), but as the season was too late for a siege it was merely blockaded. Ireton's army went into winter quarters at Kilkenny in the beginning of November (Gilbert, Aphorismical Discovery, iii. 218–25; Borlase, Hist. of the Irish Rebellion, ed. 1743, App. pp. 22–46). The campaign of 1651 opened late. On 2 June Ireton forced the passage of the Shannon at Killaloe, and the next day came before Limerick, which did not capitulate till Oct. 27. In announcing the fall of Limerick he congratulated the parliament that the city had not accepted the conditions tendered it at the beginning of the siege. This obstinacy, he said, had served to the greater advantage of the parliament ‘in point of freedom for prosecution of justice—one of the great ends and best grounds of the war;’ and also ‘in point of safety to the English planters, and the settling and securing of the Commonwealth's interest in this nation’ (Gilbert, iii. 265). Twenty-four persons were excepted from mercy, some on account of their influence in prolonging the resistance, others as ‘original incendiaries of the rebellion, or prime engagers therein’ (ib. p. 267). Seven of the excepted were immediately hanged, and others reserved for future trial by civil or military courts. Ireton's severity, however, was not indiscriminate. His ‘noble care’ of Hugh O'Neill, the governor of Limerick, is praised by the author of the ‘Aphorismical Discovery’ (iii. 21). He cashiered Colonel Tothill for breaking a promise of quarter made to certain Irish prisoners, and executed two other officers for ‘the killing one Murphy, an Irishman’ (Borlase, App. p. 34; Several Proceedings in Parliament, 31 July–7 Aug. 1651). The distinction he drew between the different classes among his opponents is clearly set forth in his letter of summons to Galway (7 Nov. 1651; Mercurius Politicus, p. 1401). Ireton's policy as to the settlement of Ireland was a continuation of Cromwell's. He regarded the replantation of the country with English colonists as the only means of permanently securing its dependence on England. He ordered the inhabitants of Limerick and Waterford to leave those towns with their families and goods within a period of from three to six months, on the ground that their obstinate adherence to the rebellion and the principles of their religion rendered it impossible to trust them to remain in places of such strength and importance. He promised, however, to show favour to any who had taken no share in the massacres with which the rebellion began, and to make special provision for the support of the helpless and aged (Borlase, p. 345). Toleration of any kind he refused, believing that the catholics were a danger to the state, and that they claimed not merely existence but supremacy. He forbade all officers and soldiers under his command to marry catholic Irishwomen who could not satisfactorily prove the sincerity of their conversion to protestantism (1 May 1651; Several Proceedings in Parliament, p. 1458; Ludlow, Memoirs, p. 145).
In the civil government of Ireland and in the execution of his military duties Ireton's industry was indefatigable. Chief-justice Cooke describes him ‘as seldom thinking it time to eat till he had done the work of the day at nine or ten at night,’ and then willing to sit up ‘as long as any man had business with him.’ ‘He was so diligent in the public service,’ says Ludlow, ‘and so careless of everything that belonged to himself, that he never regarded what clothes or food he used, what hour he went to rest, or what horse he mounted’ (ib. p. 143). Immoderate labours and neglect of his own health produced their natural result, and after the capture of Limerick Ireton caught the prevailing fever, and died on 26 Nov. 1651. On 9 Dec. parliament ordered him a funeral at the public expense (Commons' Journals, vii. 115). His body was brought to Bristol, and conveyed to London, where it lay in state at Somerset House, and was interred on 6 Feb. 1652 in Henry VII's Chapel in Westminster Abbey (Chester, Westminster Abbey Registers, p. 522; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1651–2, pp. 66, 276). His funeral sermon was preached by John Owen, and published under the title of ‘The Labouring Saint's Dismission to his Rest’ (Orme, Life of Owen, p. 139). An elegy on his death is appended to Thomas Manley's ‘Veni, Vidi, Vici’ (12mo, 1652). A magnificent monument was erected with a fervid epitaph, which is printed in Crull's ‘Antiquities of Westminster’ (ed. 1722, ii. App. p. 21). ‘If Ireton could have foreseen what would have been done by them,’ writes Ludlow, ‘he would certainly have made it his desire that his body might have found a grave where his soul left it, so much did he despise those pompous and expensive vanities, having erected for himself a more glorious monument in the hearts of good men by his affection to his country, his abilities of mind, his impartial justice, his diligence in the public service, and his other virtues, which were a far greater honour to his memory than a dormitory amongst the ashes of kings' (Memoirs, p. 148). On 4 Dec. 1660 The House of Commons ordered the 'carcasses' of Cromwell, Ireton, Bradshaw, and Pride to be taken up, drawn on a hurdle to Tyburn there to be hanged up in their coffins for some time, and after that buried under the gallows (Commons' Journals, viii. 197). This sentence was carried into effect on 26-30 Jan. 1661 [see Cromwell, Oliver].
The royalist conception of Ireton's character is given by Sir Philip Warwick (Memoirs, p. 354) and by Clarendon (Rebellion, xiii. 175). The latter describes him as a man 'of a melancholic, reserved, dark nature, who communicated his thoughts to very few, so that for the most part he resolved alone, but was never diverted from any resolution he had taken, and he was thought often by his obstinacy to prevail over Cromwell, and to extort his concurrence contrary to his own inclinations. But that proceeded only from his dissembling less, for he was never reserved in the communicating his worst and most barbarous purposes, which the other always concealed and disavowed.' According to Ludlow, Ireton was in the last years of his life 'entirely freed from his former manner of adhering to his own opinion,' which had been observed to be his greatest infirmity' (Memoirs, p. 144). Ludlow's panegyric on the lord deputy expresses the general opinion of his companions in arms. 'We that knew him,' wrote Hewson, 'can and must say truly we know no man like-minded, most seeking their own things, few so singly mind the things of Jesus Christ, of public concernment, of the interest of the precious sons of Zion' (Several Proceedings in Parliament, 4-11 Dec. 1651). John Cooke describes Ireton's character at length in the preface to 'Monarchy no Creature of God's making' (12mo, 1652), dwelling on his industry, self-denial, love of Justice, godliness, and extraordinary learning. Ireton's disinterestedness was undoubted. On the news that parliament had voted him a reward of 2,000l. a year he said 'that they had many just debts, which he desired they would pay before they made any such presents; that he had no need of their land, and therefore would not have it, and that he should be more contented to see them doing the service of the nation than so liberal in disposing of the public treasure.' 'And truly,' adds Ludlow, 'I believe he was in earnest' (Memoirs, p. 143; Commons' Journals, vii. 15). This disinterestedness, combined with the rigid republicanism attributed to Ireton, led to the belief that he would have opposed Cromwell's usurpation, and made him the favourite hero of the republican party (Clarendon, Rebellion, xiii. 175; Life of Col. Hutchinsoh, ii. 185). Portraits of Ireton and his wife by Robert Walker, in the possession of Mr. Charles Polhill, were numbers 785 and 789 in the National Portrait Exhibition of 1866. Engraving are given in Houbraken's 'Illustrious Heads,' and Vandergucht's illustrations to Clarendon's 'Rebellion.' A royalist newspaper, in a pretended hue and cry after Ireton, thus describes his person: ' A tall, black thief with bushy curled hair, a meagre envious face, sunk hollow eyes, a complection between choler and melancholy, a four-square Machiavellian head, and a nose of the fifteens' (The Man in the Moon, 1-15 Aug. 1649).
Ireton's widow, Bridget Cromwell, married in 1652 General Charles Fleetwood [q. v.], and died in 1662. By her Ireton left one son and three daughters: (l) Henry, married Katharine, daughter of Henry Powle, speaker of the House of Commons in 1689, became lienteuant-colonel of dragoons and gentleman of the horse to William III. He left no issue; (2) Elizabeth, born about 1647, married in 1674 Thomas Polhill Otford, Kent; (3) Jane, born about 1648, married in 1668 Richard Lloyd of London; (4) Bridget, born about 1650, married in 1669 Thomas Bendish (Noble, House of Cromwell, ed. 1787;. ii. 324-46; Waylen, House of Cromwell, 1880, pp. 58, 72; Notes and Queries, 5th ser. vi. 391, and art. supra Bendish, Bridget).
John Ireton (1615-1689), brother of the general, was lord mayor of London in 1658, and was knighted by Cromwell. After the Restoration he was excepted from the Act of Indemnity, and for a time imprisoned in the Tower. In 1662 he was transported to Scilly, was released later, and imprisoned again in 1685 (Noble, i, 445; Cat. State Papers, Dom. 1661-2, p. 460). Another brother, Thomas Ireton, captain in Colonel Rich's regiment in 1645, was seriously wounded at the storming of Bristol (Sprigge, pp. 121, 131).
[Lives of Ireton are contained in Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ad. Bliss, iii. 298; Noble's House of Cromwell, ed. 1787. ii. 319; and Cornelius Brown's Worthies of Notts, 1882, p. 181. The fullest biography is that appended to the Trial of Charles I and of some of the regicides, vol. xxxi. of Murray's Family Library, 1832. Letters by Ireton are printed in Cary's Memorials of the Civil War, 1842; Birch's Letters to Colonel Robert Hammond, 1764; and Nicholls's Original Letters and Papers addressed to Oliver Cromwell, 1743. Borlase's History of the Irish Rebellion, ed. 1743, has a valuable supplement, containing a number of Ireton's letters derived from the papers of his secretary, Mr. Cliffe. For other authorities on his services in Ireland see the bibliography of the article on Oliver Cromwell. The Clarke Papers, published by the Camden Society (vol. i. 1891), throw much light on Ireton's career, and contain reports of his speeches in the council of the army. The Memoirs of Ludlow and the Life of Colonel Hutchinson are of special value for Ireton's Life.]