Laugharne, Rowland (DNB00)

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LAUGHARNE, ROWLAND (fl. 1648), soldier, son of John Laugharne of St. Bride's, Pembrokeshire, by Jane, daughter of Sir Hugh Owen of Orielton (Lewis Dwnn, Heraldic Visitations of Wales, p. 73), was born before 1613. He was in early life page to Robert Devereux, third earl of Essex. At the outset of the civil war he took up arms for the parliament, and became governor of Pembroke and commander-in-chief of the parliamentary forces in that county. In February and March 1644 he captured Carew Castle, Haverfordwest, Roach Castle, Tenby, and several minor royalist garrisons; but Roach Castle and Haverfordwest were recaptured by Colonel Charles Gerard in the course of the summer, and Pembroke and Tenby were besieged (Phillips, Civil War in Wales, I. 140, 207, ii. 141–8). In December 1644 Laugharne captured Cardigan town and castle, and defeated Gerard's attempt to retake it on 22 Jan. 1645; but on 23 April following Gerard completely routed him at Newcastle Emlyn (ib. ii. 228–34, 249). After the battle of Naseby Gerard was called off to reinforce the king, and at Colby Moor, on 1 Aug. 1645, Laugharne defeated his subordinates, Stradling and Egerton, with great loss. Haverfordwest, Picton Castle (20 Sept.), and Carmarthen (12 Oct.) fell into the conqueror's hands, and he was able to lay siege to Aberystwith, though without success (ib. i. 309, ii. 273, 299). In February 1646 he relieved Cardiff Castle, and on 14 April took Aberystwith (ib. ii. 300, 305; Portland Papers, pp. 345–51). In June 1647 he suppressed a revolt of the Glamorganshire royalists (Phillips, ii. 335).

Parliament rewarded his signal services by voting him on 28 Feb. 1646 a commission as commander-in-chief of the counties of Glamorgan, Cardigan, Carmarthen, and Pembroke, a gift of 1,000l., and a grant of the forfeited estate of John Barlow of Slebech in Pembrokeshire (Commons' Journals, iv. 457; Lords' Journals, viii. 199, 211). Nevertheless Laugharne was dissatisfied, and in January 1648 he was reported to be negotiating with royalist agents (Cal. Clarendon Papers, i 410). His soldiers had in some cases received no pay for two and a half years, and he had himself disbursed much for the parliament, for which he had vainly sought repayment (Portland Papers, p. 442; Rushworth, vii. 1008). Accordingly, when Colonel Poyer set up the king's standard in Pembroke Castle in March 1648, Laugharne's soldiers deserted to him, and on 4 May he was joined by Laugharne himself (Phillips, ii. 345, 361). In his letters Laugharne complained that Colonel Horton had been sent into the counties in which he himself by ordinance of parliament was commander-in-chief, and asserted that his soldiers had been injured, affronted, and robbed of their pay (ib. p. 364). Laugharne was defeated by Horton at St. Fagan's, Glamorganshire, on 8 May 1648, and received several wounds in the battle. In the hope of being succoured by the king's fleet, as Lord Jermyn had promised, he held out for a time in Pembroke Castle, but was forced to surrender on 11 July to Cromwell (ib. pp. 369, 397; Clarendon, Rebellion, xi. 40). By the articles Laugharne and four other officers yielded themselves to the mercy of the parliament, without any promise of quarter. On 14 Nov. 1648 parliament passed a vote that Laugharne should be banished (Lords' Journals, x. 590); but the army, deeming this too light a punishment, obtained the revocation of this vote from the House of Commons on 13 Dec. 1648, as destructive to the peace and quiet, and derogatory to the justice of the kingdom (Commons' Journals, vi. 96). Laugharne, with Colonels Poyer and Powell, was tried by court-martial, and all three were sentenced to death on 11 April, but they were then allowed to cast lots for their lives, and Poyer alone was executed (The Moderate, 10–17, 17–24 April 1649). On 6 Nov. 1649 Laugharne was allowed to compound for his estate at a fine of 712l., but the fine was remitted by Cromwell on 25 Dec. 1655, on account of the debts he had contracted in the parliament's service (Cal. of Compounders, p. 2106). At the Restoration Charles II granted Laugharne a gift of 500l., a pension of the same amount for life, but the pension seems to have been rarely paid (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1661–2 p. 313, 1664–5 p. 321).

A portrait appears in Vicars's 'England's Worthies,' 1647, p. 85; other portraits are mentioned in the 'Catalogue of the Sutherland Collection,' i. 580.

[The authorities for an account of Laugharne's militart services are collected in the second volume of the Civil War in Wales and the Marches, by J. R. Phillips, 1874. See also Law's Little England beyond Wales; Clarendon, Rebellion, xi. 40; and Vicars's England's Worthies.]

C. H. F.