Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sindercombe, Miles

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SINDERCOMBE or SINDERCOME, MILES (d. 1657), conspirator, was a quarter-master in the parliamentary army in the regiment of horse commanded by Colonel John Reynolds [q. v.] He shared the political views of the levellers, took part in the mutiny of his regiment in May 1649, and was made prisoner, but contrived to escape (Cromwelliana, p. 162). Under the Protectorate, Sindercombe enlisted as a private soldier in Colonel Thomlinson's regiment of horse, in order to propagate the principles of his party among the English army of occupation in Scotland. In January 1655, on the discovery of what was termed Overton's plot for seizing General Monck and inducing the army in Scotland to declare against Cromwell [see Overton, Robert], Monck discharged Sindercombe as being ‘a busy and suspicious person, and one who was forward to promote such ill designs.’ After he had let him go he discovered that he was one of the chief agents in the plot (Monck to Cromwell, 25 Jan. 1655, Clarke MSS.) In 1656 Colonel Edward Sexby [q. v.] engaged Sindercombe to assassinate Cromwell, and sent him money and other requisites from Flanders for the purpose. Sindercombe hired a house at Hammersmith, intending to shoot Cromwell on his way to Hampton Court, and lurked about Hyde Park and Whitehall to find other opportunities for assassination. Not finding a favourable occasion, he attempted to set fire to the chapel at Whitehall, hoping to get a better chance in the confusion that would ensue. The attempt was made on the night of 8 Jan. 1657, but was almost immediately discovered, and the next day Sindercombe and his assistant Cecil were arrested. He fought hard, and was not taken till he had been severely wounded (Cromwelliana, p. 160; Burton, Parliamentary Diary, i. 332; Clarendon State Papers, iii. 325, 327, 331). The confession of Cecil and the evidence of Toope (a soldier of Cromwell's lifeguards), with whom Sindercombe had tampered, furnished ample proof of the plot, and on 9 Feb. Sindercombe was tried before the upper bench and sentenced to death for high treason (State Trials, v. 841). He contrived to obtain some poison from his sister, and committed suicide in the Tower on the night of 13 Feb. 1657 (Thurloe, v. 774, vi. 53, 531; Cromwelliana, p. 162). Sexby, in ‘Killing no Murder,’ which was published a few weeks later, asserted that Sindercombe had been put out of the way by Colonel Barkstead, the governor of the Tower, and celebrated him as a Roman spirit. ‘Had he lived there, his name had been registered with Brutus and Cato, and he had had his statutes as well as they’ (Harleian Miscellany, ed. Park, iv. 304.

[Authorities given in the article.]

C. H. F.