Lt-Gen Edward Whalley, MP and Regicide

Is your surname Whalley?

Research the Whalley family

Lt-Gen Edward Whalley, MP and Regicide's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Lt-Gen Edward Whalley, MP and Regicide

Birthplace: Kirton, Nottinghamshire, England
Death: circa 1675 (59-76)
Hadley, Hampshire, Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Richard Whalley and Francis Whalley
Husband of Judith Whalley and Mary Whalley
Father of Frances Goffe; John Whalley; Henry Whalley; Edward Whalley and Oliver Whalley
Brother of Thomas Whalley; Elizabeth Tiffin; Margaret Hacker; Robert Theophilus Whaley; Henry Whalley and 2 others
Half brother of Theophilus Robert Whaley

Occupation: Woollen-draper, army general, Military General
Managed by: Martin Severin Eriksen
Last Updated:

About Lt-Gen Edward Whalley, MP and Regicide

Edward Whalley (c. 1607 – c. 1675) was an English military leader during the English Civil War, and was one of the regicides who signed the death warrant of King Charles I of England.

Early career

The exact dates of his birth and death are unknown. He was the second son of Richard Whalley, who had been High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire in 1595, by his second wife Frances Cromwell, an aunt of Oliver Cromwell. His great-grandfather was Richard Whalley (1499–1583), a prominent adherent of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset, and a Member of Parliament. Edward Whalley is said to have started out as a woollen-draper. During the 1620s and 1630s, he was a farmer in Chadwell St Mary, Essex but this farming venture turned out not to be a success. In 1639, Whalley was forced to flee to Scotland to escape from his creditors leaving his wife behind him. On the outbreak of the English Civil War, he took up arms for Parliament and James Temple obtained a position for him as a cornet in the cavalry troop commanded by Temple’s cousin John Fiennes (the son of his uncle, Viscount Saye and Sele). He fought at the Battle of Edgehill and later became major of Cromwell's regiment of horse. He distinguished himself in the field and his conduct at Gainsborough in 1643 was especially praised by Cromwell. He fought at the Battle of Marston Moor, commanded one of Cromwell's two regiments of cavalry at the Battle of Naseby and at the capture of Bristol, was then sent into Oxfordshire, took Banbury, and was besieging Worcester when he was superseded, according to Richard Baxter, the chaplain of his regiment, because of his religious orthodoxy.

Regimental officer

He supported his regiment in their grievances against Parliament in 1647. When the king was seized by the army, he was entrusted to the keeping of Whalley and his regiment at Hampton Court Palace. Whalley refused to remove Charles's chaplains, and treated his captive with courtesy, so much so that Charles later wrote him a letter of thanks. In the Second English Civil War, Whalley again distinguished himself as a soldier. He was chosen to be a Commissioner (judge) at the trial of Charles I and was the fourth to sign the king's death-warrant, immediately after Cromwell. The King was executed in London on 30 January 1649.

In April 1649 soldiers in his regiment took part in the Bishopsgate mutiny. They refused to go to on the Irish expedition until the Levellers' political demands were met and they received back pay. They were ordered out of London and when they refused to go, fifteen soldiers were arrested and court martialled, of whom six were sentenced to death. Of this six, five were subsequently pardoned while Robert Lockyer, a former Levellers agitator, was shot.

Whalley took part in Cromwell's Scottish expedition, was wounded at the Battle of Dunbar, and in the autumn of 1650 was active in dealing with the situation in the north. The following year, he took part in Cromwell's pursuit of Charles II and took part in the Battle of Worcester. He followed and supported Cromwell in his political career, presented the army petition to parliament (August 1652), approved of the protectorate, and represented Nottinghamshire in the parliaments of 1654 and 1656, taking an active part in the prosecution of the Quaker James Naylor. He was one of the administrative major-generals, responsible for Lincoln, Nottingham, Derby, Warwick and Leicester. He supported the "Petition and Advice," except as regards the proposed assumption of the royal title by Oliver Cromwell, and became a member of the newly constituted House of Lords in December 1657.

On Oliver Cromwell's death, at which he was present, he in vain gave his support to Richard Cromwell; his regiment refused to obey his orders, and the Long Parliament dismissed him from his command as a representative of the army. In November 1659 he undertook an unsuccessful mission to Scotland to arrange terms with George Monck.

Withdrawal to the colonies

At the Restoration, Whalley, with his son-in-law, General William Goffe, escaped to North America, and landed at Boston on 27 July 1660, where they were well-received by Governor John Endecott and visited by the principal persons of the town. They went about quite openly, and chose to live in Cambridge, just across the river. It is not clear why the two men decided to settle in Cambridge. An Edward Goffe was a resident, but there is no evidence that William Goffe was related. It seems more likely that they came to Cambridge because of their close ties with Captain Daniel Gookin. Gookin was one of the town's most active citizens; among many other roles, he was a selectman and a long-time Governor's Assistant. He was much involved in military matters and had been elected Captain of the Cambridge military company. He was trusted by Oliver Cromwell and selected by him to assist in transplanting a colony from New England to Jamaica. He visited England twice; on his second voyage back to the colonies, Whalley and Goffe were fellow passengers and may have stayed with him during their time in Cambridge. Later, Gookin appears to have managed the local holdings of the two regicides.

By February 1661, the Governor seems to have had second thoughts about welcoming the regicides so warmly and on the 22nd summoned a court of assistants to discuss their arrest, but the court would not agree to such action. Whalley and Goffe decided they were no longer safe in Cambridge and left on the 26th. Within a few days, orders arrived from England for their arrest.

The two fled for New Haven, Connecticut when their safety was compromised, where John Dixwell, also condemned as a regicide, was living under an assumed name. They were housed by Rev. John Davenport. After a reward was offered for their arrest, they pretended to flee to New York, but instead returned by a roundabout way to New Haven. In May, the Royal order for their arrest reached Boston, and was sent by the Governor to William Leete, Governor of the New Haven Colony, residing at Guilford. Leete delayed the King's messengers, allowing Goffe and Whalley to disappear. They spent much of the summer in Judges' Cave at West Rock. Whalley left New Haven for Hadley, Massachusetts. In Hadley he (some sources say both men journeyed to Hadley) found shelter in the home of Reverend John Russell, who had grown up in Cambridge and graduated from Harvard College in 1645. Every attempt by the English government to procure his arrest failed. He was alive, but in poor health, in 1674, and probably did not live long afterwards.

His legacy

Whalley was married twice.

He married firstly, on 7 February 1626 at St Dunstan's Church, Stepney, Judith Duffell (or Duffield) of Rochester, Kent, by whom, besides other children, he had a son John and a daughter Frances (who married William Goffe, another regicide).

He married secondly, Mary Middleton, sister of Sir George Middleton, by whom he had two sons, Henry and Edward.

Whalley was one of three New Haven regicides, each commemorated with a street named for him, specifically, Whalley Avenue, Dixwell Avenue, and Goffe Street. These streets diverge from a complex of intersections lying at the northwest end of Broadway (and Dixwell extends into Hamden and North Haven).

Not the same as Edward Whaley, of Somerset, Maryland which may be his wife's brother in law.


  • A history of three of the judges of King Charles I. Major-General Whalley, Major-General Goffe, and Colonel Dixwell: who, at the restoration, 1660, fled to America; and were secreted and concealed, in Massachusetts and Connecticut, for near thirty years Author Stiles, Ezra, 1727-1795. cn,Friends' Free Library, Germanton, provenance. page 12 - 13. Archive.Org
  • “English Record of the Whaley Family and Its Branches in America.” By Samuel Whaley, Epher Whitaker. Page 19. “English Pedigree.” GoogleBooks
  • "England Marriages, 1538–1973 ," database, FamilySearch ( : 10 February 2018), Edward Whalie and Judith Duffield, 07 Feb 1626; citing Stepney, Middlesex, England, reference yr 1626-1628, index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City; FHL microfilm 597,245.
  • The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants - Page 464
  • Robins, Robert Patterson, et al. “Edward Whalley, the Regicide.” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 1, no. 1, 1877, pp. 55–66. JSTOR, Accessed 24 Jan. 2020.
view all

Lt-Gen Edward Whalley, MP and Regicide's Timeline

Kirton, Nottinghamshire, England
London, Middlesex , England
Pleasington, Blackburn with Darwen, UK
Age 68
Hadley, Hampshire, Massachusetts