Mytton, Thomas (DNB00)

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MYTTON, THOMAS (1597?–1656), parliamentarian, born about 1597, son of Richard Mytton of Halston, Shropshire, by Margaret, daughter of Thomas Owen of Condover, matriculated at Balliol College, Oxford, on 11 May 1615, aged 18 (Clark, Reg. Univ. Oxf. ii. 338). He became a student of Lincoln's Inn in 1616. In 1629 Mytton married Magdalen, daughter of Sir Robert Napier of Luton, Bedfordshire, and sister of the second wife of Sir Thomas Myddelton (1586-1666) [q. v.] of Chirk. This connection was probably one of the reasons which led Mytton to take the parliamentary side during the civil war. The gentlemen of Shropshire were mostly royalists, and Mytton was throughout the guiding spirit of the parliamentarian party in the county. On 10 April 1643 the parliament associated Shropshire with the counties of Warwick and Stafford under the command of Basil, earl of Denbigh, Mytton being named as one of the committee for Shropshire (Husbands, Ordinances, folio, 1646, p. 30). On 11 Sept. 1643 Myddelton and Mytton seized Wem, and established there the first parliamentary garrison in Shropshire. Mytton was made governor, and in October distinguished himself by defeating Lord Capel's attempt to recapture Wem (Vicars, God's Ark, p. 63; Phillips, Civil War in Wales, i. 172, ii. 86). On 12 Jan. 1644 he surprised the cavaliers at Ellesmere, capturing Sir Nicholas Byron, Sir Richard Willis, and a convoy of ammunition (ib. ii. 122). On 23 June 1644 Mytton, in conjunction with Lord Denbigh, captured Oswestry, and succeeded in holding it against a royalist attempt at recapture (ib. ii. 171-88; Vicars, God's Ark, p. 260). He was appointed governor of Oswestry, and the newspapers are full of praises of his vigilance and activity. His most important service was the capture of Shrewsbury (22 Feb. 1645), though the honour of the exploit was violently contested between Mytton and Lieutenant-colonel Reinking, one of his coadjutors in the command of the forces brought together for the assault. Both published narratives of the surprise (Phillips, i. 287, ii. 235; Fairfax, Correspondence, iii. 170; Vicars, Burning Bush, p. 113; Owen and Blakeway, Hist. of Shrewsbury, i. 448, ii. 498).

On the passing of the self-denying ordinance Sir Thomas Myddelton was obliged to lay down his commission, and Mytton succeeded to his post as commander-in-chief of the forces of the six counties of North Wales, 12 May 1645 (Lords' Journals, vii. 367). He was also appointed high sheriff of Shropshire, 30 Sept. 1645 (ib. vii. 613). Henceforth he is frequently described as Major-general Mytton. He took part in the defeat of Sir William Vaughan near Denbigh on 1 Nov. 1645, thus frustrating the royalist attempts to relieve Chester, and after the fall of that city was charged to besiege the rest of the royalist garrisons in North Wales (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1645-7, p. 349; Phillips, ii. 282). Ruthin (12 April 1646), Carnarvon (5 June 1646), Beaumaris (14 June 1646), Conway town and castle (9 Aug., 18 Nov. 1646), Denbigh (26 Oct. 1646), Holt Castle (13 Jan. 1647), and Harlech Castle (15 March 1647) surrendered in succession to Mytton's forces (ib. ii. 301, 306, 312, 325, 328", 332; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1645-7, p. 515). In return for these services parliament maintained Mytton as commander-in-chief in North Wales when the army was disbanded (8 April 1647), and appointed him vice-admiral of North Wales in place of Glyn (30 Dec. 1647). He was also granted 5,000l. out of the estates of royalist delinquents (Lords' Journals, ix. 622, 676, viii. 403, x. 556; Commons' Journals, v. 137; Collections for the History of Montgomeryshire, viii. 156).

In the second civil war Mytton was equally active on the parliamentary side, and recovered Anglesea from the royalists (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1648-9, pp. 128-31; Phillips, ii. 382, 401; Clarendon State Papers, ii. 418). The king's execution did not shake his adherence to the parliament, and in September 1651 he consented to act as a member of the court-martial which sentenced the Earl of Derby to death (Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. p. 95). He is said to have been a strong presbyterian, but his public action does not support this theory. It is also stated that he disapproved of Cromwell's government, but there is no evidence of this, and he represented Shropshire in the first parliament called by Cromwell (Old Parliamentary Hist. xx. 302).

Mytton died in London in 1656, and was interred on 29 Nov. in St. Chad's Church, Shrewsbury (Owen and Blakeway, ii. 223). His portrait is given in 'England's Worthies,' by John Vicars, 1647, p. 105.

Mytton left a son, Richard, who was sheriff of Shropshire in 1686, and a daughter, Mary, married to the royalist Sir Thomas Harris of Boreatton (Collections for the History of Montgomeryshire, viii. 299, 309). Another daughter is said to have married Colonel Roger Pope, a parliamentarian (Barwick, Life of John Barwick, p. 50).

[Phillips's Civil War in Wales, 1874; Pennant's Tour in Wales, ed. Rhys, i. 303, ii. 121, 158, 184, 277, iii. 29, 126, 246; Owen and Blakeway's Hist. of Shrewsbury, 1825; Blakeway's Sheriffs of Shropshire, 1831. A collection of Mytton's correspondence is in the hands of Mr. Stanley Leighton, and has been printed by him in the Collections for the History and Archæology of Montgomeryshire, vii. 353, viii. 151, 293; cf. Hist. MSS. Comm. 10th Rep. iv. 374. Other letters of Mytton's are to be found in 5th Rep. pp. 104, 421, and 4th Rep. pp. 267–9, in the Old Parliamentary Hist. xiv. 355, xv. 2, 171, and in the Calendar of Domestic State Papers. The Tanner MSS. in the Bodleian Library contain twenty-two letters.]

C. H. F.