Vaughan, William (d.1649) (DNB00)

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VAUGHAN, Sir WILLIAM (d. 1649), royalist governor of Shrawardine Castle, probably belonged to one of the Shropshire or Herefordshire families of that name. He appears to have been serving in the Irish campaign of 1643, for towards the end of the following January the Marquis of Ormonde despatched him (already described as Sir William) from Dublin at the head of some 160 horse, with which he landed early in February 1643–4 at Neston in Cheshire (Phillips, Civil War in Wales and the Marches, ii. 125, 137–8; Carte, Life of Ormonde, iii. 44; Symonds, Diary, p. 255; cf. Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. App. p. 557). Having joined the royalist forces at Chester under Lord Byron, he probably took part in most of the engagements which occurred in that district during the ensuing summer. In September he accompanied Byron to the relief of Montgomery, and 'was the occasion of fighting the enemy in that place, but,' according to Byron himself, 'contributed not much to the action,' the royalists being in fact completely routed on the 18th (Phillips, ii. 209).

About this time he was appointed governor of Shrawardine Castle in Shropshire, which he garrisoned on 28 Sept.; but early next month he was surprised and taken prisoner by Mytton, while on his knees receiving the sacrament in Shrawardine church. He was allowed to re-enter the castle on the pretext of persuading a surrender, but, breaking his parole, he caused the drawbridge to be raised and refused to come forth ('True Informer,' No. 51, quoted in Phillips, i. 267; Webb, Civil War in Herefordshire, ii. 133). During the following winter, being now general of Shropshire, he quartered his own regiment in the various garrisons of the county, and seems to have placed his brother James, 'a parson,' in command of Shrawardine (Symonds, p. 256). He continued to harass the parliamentarians in the district, and is said not to have been over-scrupulous as to the confiscation of their property (Phillips, loc. cit.; Webb, ii. 265), on which account, perhaps, he was given the name of 'the Devil of Shrawardine' (Mercurius Aulicus, 1 Feb. 1644). When the king in May 1645 marched from Oxford towards Chester, he was met on the 17th at Newport, Shropshire (Webb, ii. 186, says Evesham), by Vaughan, who had left Shrawardine 'with his coach and six horses, his wife and other weomen, all with their portmanteals furnished for a longe march' (loc. cit.), having on his way thither worsted some Shrewsbury horse near Wenlock (Phillips, i. 294–5), though he was himself defeated by Cromwell on 27 April at Bampton in Oxfordshire (Gardiner, Civil War, ii. 201). During the next four weeks he accompanied the king (Symonds, p. 181), and at Naseby (14 June) he took part in the grand charge that pierced through the enemy's force (Warburton, Prince Rupert, iii. 127, cf. p. 104, and plan, p. 88). After the day's defeat he fell back on Shropshire, where on 4 and 5 July he won two victories of some importance, resulting in the relief of High Ercall (Webb, pp. 186, 266). Vaughan was shortly after directed by Maurice to join Rupert at Bristol (ib. p. 133), but this was probably countermanded, for during the next few months he again attended the king in his marches along the Welsh borders, accompanying him to Newark, where towards the end of October he was appointed general of the horse in all Wales, and in Shropshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, and Herefordshire (Symonds, p. 256). He at once marched back to Denbighshire so as to organise the royalist troops there with the view of relieving Chester (then besieged by Brereton), but on 1 Nov. was attacked and defeated by Mytton and Colonel Michael Jones [q. v.], just outside the town of Denbigh (Phillips, ii. 282; cf. Symonds, op. cit.; Gardiner, ii. 357, 377; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1645–7, pp. 161, 174, 220, 223; Williams, Ancient and Modern Denbigh, pp. 215–9). Vaughan's routed horse made their way to Knighton, Radnorshire, where on 13 Nov. the party broke up; but many, with their commander, found temporary quarters at Leominster, but soon had to escape to Worcester (Webb, ii. 243–4). Early in December he received orders to renew the attempt to relieve Chester, whereupon he began the difficult task of reinforcing his troops, chiefly around Leominster and Ludlow (Symonds, p. 276). In January 1645–6 he joined his forces with those of Lord Astley, and they 'lay hovering about Bridgnorth,' waiting for Lord St. Paul with Welsh troops; but their junction with him being frustrated, Vaughan and Astley had to fall back once more on Worcester (Phillips, i. 351–4, ii. 289, 292; Webb, pp. 244, 257). On 22 March their joint forces were completely broken up at Stow-in-the-Wolds, Gloucestershire, by Brereton, who had hurried in pursuit of them immediately after he had taken Chester (Phillips, i. 360).

The war being practically at an end, Vaughan appears to have gone over to The Hague. There in November 1648 Rupert gave him the command of a ship (Hist. MSS. Comm. 4th Rep. App. p.275), with which he probably crossed over to Ireland (ib. 8th Rep. App. p. 610 b; Carte, Life of Ormonde, iii. 441), where he became major-general of horse under Ormonde. When General Michael Jones, however, surprised the royalists at Rathmines, on 2 Aug. 1649, Vaughan led the charge in repulsing him, but was killed, dying 'bravely at the head of his men,' who were thereupon seized with panic, and could not be brought to rally (Carte, iii. 464-8, 471; cf. Verney, Memoirs, ii. 343; cf. Peacock, Army List, pp. 11-12).

On 8 Oct. 1651 Charles Vaughan, his administrator, applied for leave to compound for his estate, permission to which effect was granted (Cal. of Proceedings of Committee for Compounding, p. 2880).

[Authorities cited.]

D. Ll. T.