PUREFOY, WILLIAM (1580?–1659), regicide, born at Caldecote, Warwickshire, about 1580, was eldest son of Francis Purefoy (d. 1617), by his wife Eleanor, daughter of John Baskerville of Cudworth, Somerset. He entered Grays Inn on 14 Aug. 1599, and subsequently travelled on the continent. While residing in 1611 at Geneva he meditated (so he asserted thirty-eight years later) the ruin of the monarchy in England.
In 1627–8 he was elected member of parliament for Coventry. Purefoy was strongly puritan, and, as sheriff of Warwickshire in 1631, dealt severely with disorderly characters and alehouses. On 27 Oct. 1640 he was elected to the Long parliament for Warwick. From the first he took a decided stand against the king, and when (17 June 1642) Charles directed his commission of array for Warwickshire, ‘such as Mr. Coombes, Mr. Purefoy, and others of that strain’ were expressly excepted. Purefoy straightway took up arms for the parliament. In August he was in command of a body of parliamentary troops in Warwick Castle. On 6 March 1642–3 he received a commission from Essex to be colonel of a regiment of horse and dragoons raised in Warwick.
In the same month he was engaged in the defence of Coventry, for which he advanced money. In answer to a letter from Purefoy complaining of the weakness of the forces there due to disbandings, and the lack of a ‘commander of experience,’ Essex nominated a committee to govern the forces of Coventry and Lichfield, consisting of Purefoy, Sir John Gill, Sir Arthur Haselrigge, and Sir W. Brereton, knt. During 1644 Purefoy, at the head of his regiment of horse, took part in many small operations in Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Oxfordshire, and Gloucestershire, and frequent disputes arose between him and the chief commander of the district, Basil Feilding, second earl of Denbigh [q. v.] Towards the end of 1644 and early in 1645 he was often in London in attendance on the committee of both kingdoms at Derby House. In June 1644 Purefoy captured Compton House, which was held during the rest of the war by his kinsman, Major George Purefoy (Beesley, Hist. of Banbury, pp. 356, 391). On 18 July 1645 Purefoy was nominated by ordinance of both houses to be one of the commissioners to reside with the army of ‘our brethren of Scotland now in this kingdom;’ the command of his regiment had previously (14 May) been bestowed on Captain William Culmore.
Purefoy was a member of the high court which tried the king and signed his death-warrant. He was one of the council of state from its establishment on 13 Feb. 1648–9 until its dissolution in 1653, and had lodgings at Whitehall. On 7 Sept. 1650 he had leave to repair to his own county for settling the militia of Warwickshire, and to examine into the circumstances of Charles II's declaration as king at Coventry. On Charles's defeat at Worcester he was appointed a commissioner to examine the prisoners. He was returned to Cromwell's two parliaments in 1654 for Warwickshire and Coventry; in the second parliament of 1654 and in that of 1656 he sat for Coventry. In January 1655–6 he was added to the committee for collections for distressed protestants in England (English Hist. Review, October 1894). On the excitement due to the rising of Sir George Booth in August 1659, ‘old Colonel Purefoy, who had one foot in the grave, was obliged to undertake’ the command of the forces in the county of Warwick in place of Colonel Fotherby, who declined to act. Therein ‘he used such diligence and succeeded so well that he kept the city of Coventry and the adjacent country in the obedience of the parliament’ (Ludlow, Memoirs, ed. Firth, ii. 109). Purefoy died in 1659. He was exempted from the act of indemnity at the Restoration, and his estates were consequently forfeited to the crown.
A reply to Prynne's ‘Brief Memento to the present unparliamentary junto,’ entitled ‘Prynne against Prynne,’ 1649, 4to, was attributed to Purefoy by Prynne.
Purefoy married Joane, daughter and heiress of Aleyn Penkeston of the city of York, and left issue. A daughter married George Abbot (1603–1648) [q. v.]
[Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1631–61, passim; Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. p. 297, 5th Rep. p. 74, 6th Rep. pp. 59 b, 141, 9th Rep. ii. 391, iv. 271, 275, 10th Rep. vi. 110; Harl. MS. 1047, f. 49; Lords' Journals, v. 616, vii. 372; Commons' Journals, 1628, &c.; Official Returns of Members of Parliament; Mercurius Rusticus, 1658; Dugdale's Warwickshire, ii. 1097, and View of Troubles; Warburton's Prince Rupert, i. 324, 391–2; Nugent's Hampden, ii. 255; Foster's Gray's Inn Registers.]
PURFOY, ROBERT (d. 1558), bishop of Hereford. [See Warton.]
PURNELL, ROBERT (d. 1666), baptist elder and author, was probably a native of Bristol, where he was residing in 1653. He was in that year one of the chief founders of the first baptist church at Bristol, which subsequently became the Broadmead church. The pastor, Thomas Ewins, and Purnell were baptised in London by Henry Jessey, and Purnell became a ruling elder of the congre-