Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tichborne, Henry
TICHBORNE, Sir HENRY (1581?–1667), governor of Drogheda, born in or about 1581, was fourth son of Sir Benjamin Tichborne of Tichborne, Hampshire, a gentleman of the privy chamber to James I, who was created a baronet on 8 March 1620, died and buried at Tichborne in 1629 (Epitaph in Gent. Mag. 1810, i. 305). His mother was Amphillis, daughter of Richard Weston of Skrynes in Roxwell, Essex (Berry, County Genealogies, ‘Hampshire,’ pp. 31–2). ‘He was,’ says Borlase (Reduction of Ireland), ‘early educated in the wars,’ and, being in 1620 (Warrant in Egerton MS. 2126, f. 6) admitted captain in a regiment of foot stationed in Ireland (Cal. State Papers, Ireland, James I, v. 343), he was shortly afterwards created governor of Lifford. On 29 Aug. 1623 he was knighted by James at Tichborne, and in December of the same year appointed a commissioner of plantations in the county of Londonderry. He himself received a large grant of lands in co. Tyrone, to which were subsequently added others in counties Leitrim and Donegal.
When the rebellion broke out on 23 Oct. 1641, Tichborne was residing near Finglas on the outskirts of Dublin, and, on removing the following day with his wife and family for greater safety to Dublin, his services were at once enlisted by the lords justices for the defence of Drogheda. He entered the town as governor on 4 Nov. with a thousand foot and a hundred horse, and, disdaining to notice his cold reception by the majority of the inhabitants, whose sympathies were on the side of the insurgents, he set to work energetically to strengthen the fortifications. The task he had undertaken was one of no small difficulty and danger. The besiegers, whose numbers increased daily, made no doubt of capturing the place by assault, by treachery, or by starving out the garrison. Provisions were scarce. On 3 Dec. a foraging party was rescued by Tichborne at the peril of his own life. An attempt to storm the town on the 20th was followed by a plot to surprise it on the night of 12 Jan. 1642. The plot would have succeeded had not Tichborne, hearing an alarm, ‘instantly ran down unarmed, only with his pistols in his hands,’ and himself aroused the garrison. After this narrow escape he and Lord Moore [see Moore, Sir Charles, second Viscount Moore] walked the rounds nightly. By the middle of February the garrison was reduced to feeding on horseflesh ‘and other unclean sustenance.’ The situation was wellnigh desperate. As for Tichborne, he meant to hold out ‘till the last bit of horseflesh was spent; and then, to prevent the advantage which the enemy might receive from the arms and ammunition within the place, he resolved not to leave the broken barrel of a musket nor a grain of powder behind him, and to fight his way through the rebels, giving notice to the Earl of Ormonde of the time, that his lordship might march out of Dublin to favour his retreat thither.’ On 26 Feb. a quantity of provisions was thrown into the town, and Tichborne seized the opportunity to make a sortie on the south side. As he was returning with hay and corn the enemy tried to intercept him at Julianstown Bridge, but were defeated with heavy loss. From this time the situation began to improve. Next day Lord Moore dislodged the besiegers on the north side, so that when Ormonde arrived with reinforcements early in March all imminent danger had passed away. The enemy were, however, still numerous in co. Louth. A plan for a joint expedition against them was forbidden by the government; but Tichborne and Moore, fearing lest the rebels might assemble in force again, determined to act by themselves. Accordingly, quitting Drogheda on 21 March with a thousand foot and two hundred horse, they marched in the direction of Dundalk, laying the country waste with fire and sword. At Atherdee they dispersed a number of the rebels, and on the 26th attacked Dundalk. After a short but sharp resistance the place was carried by storm. Its capture, being unexpected, afforded great satisfaction to government, and the defence of it was entrusted to Tichborne, Lord Moore succeeding him as governor of Drogheda.
On 3 April the king appointed him lord justice in the place of Sir William Parsons (1570?–1650) [q. v.], whose intrigues with the leaders of the parliamentary party had rendered him objectionable. His heroic four months' defence of Drogheda disarmed all opposition, and on 1 May he and Sir John Borlase were sworn lords justices. The arrangement was, however, intended only as a temporary one pending the appointment of the Earl of Ormonde as lord-lieutenant in the place of the Earl of Leicester. On 21 Jan. 1644 Tichborne and Borlase surrendered the sword of state to Ormonde in Christ Church, Dublin; and, shortly afterwards repairing to England, he, Sir James Ware, and Lord Brabazon were in December made the bearers of fresh instructions and powers from the king to Ormonde for the purpose of enabling him to conclude a definite peace with the confederate catholics. The ship in which they sailed was, however, captured by the parliament, and Tichborne and his companions carried to Portsmouth, and thence early in February 1645 to London. He was committed to the Tower on the 12th, and continued a close prisoner till September, when parliament consented to his exchange. Returning to Ireland and to his old post as governor of Drogheda, he was for some time regarded with suspicion by the parliament; but, having proved his devotion by his gallant conduct at the battle of Dungan Hill on 8 April 1647, a warrant was issued by the council of state on 5 April 1649 to pay him 200l. as a reward for his services on that occasion, and also another 300l. on account of 1,500l. laid out by him for the service of the state. His conduct appears not to have been approved by his wife, who separated from him, and, with Ormonde's assistance, sought a refuge in the Isle of Man.
During the Commonwealth Tichborne led a quiet and retired existence, but at the Restoration he was appointed marshal of the army. Early in 1666 he obtained a grant of the estate of Bewley or Beaulieu in co. Louth, forfeited by the attainder of William Plunket, which he henceforth made his residence. Here, on the site of the old manor, the headquarters of Sir Phelim O'Neill [q. v.] during the siege of Drogheda, he erected a fine seat, the hall of which, containing a number of family portraits, is particularly worthy of notice. His health failing him, he obtained permission on 12 Dec. to go with his family to Spa; but he was evidently unable to bear the journey, dying early the following year (1667) at Beaulieu. He was buried in St. Mary's Church, Drogheda, ‘which,’ observes Borlase, ‘owed a rite to his ashes, who, with so much vigilance and excellent conduct, had preserved it and the town.’
Tichborne married Jane, daughter of Sir Robert Newcomen, and by her, who predeceased him in 1664, he had five sons and three daughters: Benjamin, the eldest, captain of horse, killed at Balruddery, co. Dublin, aged 21; William, his heir, who married Judith Bysse; Richard, Henry, and Samuel; Dorcas, married to William Toxteth of Drogheda; Amphillis, wife of Richard Broughton; and Elizabeth, wife of Roger West of co. Wicklow.
Tichborne's grandson, Sir Henry Tichborne, Baron Ferrand (1663–1731), son of Sir William Tichborne, was born in 1663. At the time of the Revolution he ardently supported William III, and in reward was knighted in 1694, and created a baronet on 12 July 1697. He was advanced to the peerage of Ireland by George I on 9 Oct. 1715 with the title of Baron Ferrard of Beaulieu. He died without issue on 3 Nov. 1731, when his honours became extinct. In 1683 he married Arabella, daughter of Sir Robert Cotton, bart., of Combermere (G. E. C[okayne], Peerage). [Burke's Extinct Peerage; Cal. State Papers, Ireland, James I, v. 343, 439, 461, 517; Dean Bernard's The Whole Proceedings of the Siege of Drogheda, 1642; Borlase's Reduction of Ireland, pp. 240-3; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1641-1667 passim; Cal. Clarendon State Papers, i. 227, 334 ; Carte's Life of Ormonde, i. 275, 287, 290, 421, 475-6, 524, 540, ii. 4, iii. 65, 66, 162; Carte MSS. (Oxford), vol. ii. ff. 32, 39, 43, 45, 49, 64, 84, 90, 102, 108, 480, iii. 176, 386, 421; Gilbert's Contemporary Hist, of Affairs, i. 333, 348, 660, 718, ii. 451; Clarendon's Rebellion, bk. vi. p. 314; Borlase's Hist, of the Irish Rebellion (ed. 1680), pp. 121, 186; Diary of the Proceedings of the Leinster Army under Gov. Jones, in Ulster Journal of Archaeology, new ser. 1897, p. 157; Gardiner's Hist. of Engl. x. 96, 174, and Hist. of the Civil War, i. 125, iv. 105-6; D'Alton's Hist, of Drogheda, i. 44, 226, 228, 394, 397; D'Alton and Flanagan's Hist, of Dundalk, pp. 151-4; Lewis's Topographical Dictionary, art. 'Beaulieu;' Burke's Visitation of Seats and Arms, 2nd ser. ii. 95; Herald and Genealogist, iii. 424; Ware's Writers, ed. Harris,ii. 348.]