Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Cleveland

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Thomas Wentworth

Birthdate: (76)
Birthplace: Toddington, Central Bedfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Death: March 25, 1667 (76)
Toddington, Bedfordshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Henry Wentworth, 3rd Baron Wentworth and Anne Pope
Husband of Anne Wentworth and Lucy Wentworth, Countess Cleveland
Father of Thomas Wentworth, 5th Baron Wentworth; Anne Lovelace, 7th Baroness Wentworth and Catherine Spencer
Brother of Jane Wentworth
Half brother of Sir William Pope, Kt.; Anne Pope and Thomas Pope, 3rd Earl of Downe

Managed by: Oliver Marcus Stedall
Last Updated:

About Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Cleveland

Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Cleveland

Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Cleveland (1591 – 25 March 1667) was a Cavalier general who fought for Charles I during the English Civil War.

He was the eldest son of Henry Wentworth, 3rd Baron Wentworth and Anne Hopton. His paternal grandfather was Thomas Wentworth, 2nd Baron Wentworth, the last Englishman to hold Calais. The younger Thomas succeeded his father in 1593.

In 1614, Wentworth inherited from an aunt the estate of Toddington, Bedfordshire, until then the property of the Cheyney family, and here he made his principal residence. In 1626, he was created Earl of Cleveland, and in the following year he served under George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham in the expedition to La Rochelle. Adhering to the cause of King Charles I in the King's dispute with the Parliament of England, he attended his kinsman Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford at his execution, and afterwards was a general on the royalist side in the Civil War until he was taken prisoner at the Second Battle of Newbury in 1644. Cleveland commanded a cavalry regiment at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, when he was again taken prisoner, and he remained in the Tower of London until 1656.

His early extravagance and the fortunes of war had greatly reduced his estates, and Nettlestead was sold in 1643. Cleveland was described by Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, as "a man of signal courage and an excellent officer"; his cavalry charge at the Battle of Cropredy Bridge, where he routed John Middleton's Parliamentary horse and then with Lord Wilmot's horse led another charge that captured the Parliamentary artillery, was one of the most brilliant incidents in the Civil War, and it was by his bravery and presence of mind that King Charles II was enabled to escape from Worcester.

At his death on 25 March 1667 the Earldom of Cleveland became extinct. He outlived his son Thomas (c. 1613–1665), who was called up to the House of Lords in his father's lifetime as Baron Wentworth, and whose daughter Henrietta Maria became Baroness Wentworth in her own right.



  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 60
  • Wentworth, Thomas (1591-1667) by Herbert Edward Douglas Blakiston
  • WENTWORTH, Sir THOMAS, fourth Baron Wentworth of Nettlestead and first Earl of Cleveland (1591–1667), born in 1591, was the elder son of Henry, third baron Wentworth (d. 16 Aug. 1593), by Anne (d. May 1625), daughter of Sir Owen Hopton, lieutenant of the Tower. Thomas Wentworth, second baron [q. v.], was his grandfather. In 1595 his mother married Sir William Pope (1573–1631) of Wroxton (afterwards first Earl of Downe), and Thomas, with his brother Henry (d. 1644), afterwards a major-general in the king's army, and his sister Jane, who married Sir John Finet [q. v.], were brought up there. The boys matriculated on 12 Nov. 1602 at Trinity College, Oxford, their stepfather being the nephew of the founder, Sir Thomas Pope [q. v.]; a room had been built for them over the college library in 1601 at a cost of 50l. (Comp. Burs. Coll. Trin.) On 27 Aug. 1605 they appeared before James I at Christ Church (Wake, Rex Platonicus, p. 35), and Thomas was created a knight of the Bath on 4 June 1610. In 1611 he married, and seems to have settled at Toddington, Bedfordshire, with his great-aunt Jane (Wentworth), lady Cheyney, on whose death on 16 April 1614 he added the estates there of the Cheyney family to the Wentworth property in Suffolk and Middlesex. In 1619 he became custos rotulorum for the county of Bedford. Lloyd (Memoires p. 570) says that he served under Prince Maurice in 1620 and Count Mansfeldt in 1624, but has probably confused him with his second wife's father, Sir John Wentworth of Gosfield (d. 1631), who took part in Vere's expedition of 1620. He took his seat in the House of Lords on 30 Jan. 1621, was made joint lord lieutenant of Bedfordshire on 5 May 1625, and was created Earl of Cleveland on 7 Feb. 1626. This promotion he seems to have owed to the favour of Buckingham, under whom he served in the expedition to La Rochelle in 1627; he was present when Buckingham was assassinated by Felton, and heard ‘the thump’ and the assassin's exclamation of ‘God have mercy on thy soul’ (Lloyd, l.c. and Forster, Eliot, ii. 355). His connection with the court had led him into great extravagance, and about 1630 he and his son began to raise loans chiefly from persons of rank; before 1638 they had heavily encumbered the lands in Bedfordshire and Middlesex, especially the manors of Stepney and Hackney, while they still owed 19,200l.
  • On 12 Feb. 1639 Cleveland wrote to say that he would join the king with ten men; and on 9 Oct. 1640 the garrison of Berwick was ‘very merry since the Earl of Cleveland came hither.’ He had long been on friendly terms with his namesake and distant kinsman, the Earl of Strafford (letters in the Strafford Letters, 24 Oct. 1632 and 31 Jan. 1633); and on 10 May 1641 was ordered by the lords to convey to Strafford the news of the royal assent to the bill of attainder; he also attended him to the scaffold. In 1642 he became colonel of a regiment of horse, was probably with Charles at Edgehill, and sat in the Oxford parliament from January 1644. During this year he was one of the most prominent royalist generals, being of a ‘plain and practical temper,’ and famous for ‘obliging the souldiery’ (Lloyd). With 150 horse he successfully surprised Abingdon by night on 29 May 1644, but was forced to retreat and lost his prisoners (Clarendon, viii. 45; Walker, Hist. Disc. p. 32). On 29 June he led a charge of cavalry ‘with great fury’ against Waller on the west bank of the Cherwell at Cropredy Bridge; and, after ‘making a stand under a great ash,’ charged a second time and drove Waller back over the bridge (Clarendon, viii. 44–6). His brigade was sent to Cornwall, and on 30 Aug. he attempted unsuccessfully to stop the flight of Essex's horse near Fowey; but on the next day pursued Sir William Balfour with five hundred men (Walker, pp. 71–4; Gardiner, Great Civil War, i. 466–7). He helped to relieve Portland Castle on 14 Oct. (Walker, p. 104), and on 27 Oct. he commanded the cavalry on the left wing at the second battle of Newbury; he ‘charged through and through’ the enemy (Lloyd), and saved the king's guard; but his horse fell (Walker, p. 113), and he was captured ‘by a lieutenant of Colonel Berkley's’ (Whitelocke, i. 323). An order for his exchange, 31 March 1645, did not take effect, and he remained a prisoner either in the Tower or on bail till 1648. He was permitted to stay at Bath with his son-in-law, Lord Lovelace, or elsewhere for long intervals; but it is difficult to understand how he came to be in Colchester during the siege in 1648; a proposal to exchange him ‘for one of the committee in Colchester’ on 19 Aug. (Whitelocke, ii. 384) seems to indicate that he was still on bail. He was allowed bail for three months in September 1648, and it is not known how his imprisonment terminated.
  • He next appears in April 1650 in attendance on Charles at Beauvais, where he threatened to cane any one who called him a presbyterian (Cal. Clarendon State Papers, ii. 54). He went with Charles to Scotland on 12 June 1650, and he and his son were required on 17 Oct. ‘to depart Scotland for refusing to take the covenant’ (Whitelocke, iii. 250). He commanded a regiment of cavalry at the battle of Worcester on 3 Sept. 1651, and by a charge in the street gave the prince time to escape; he himself was captured on 13 Sept. at Woodcote, Shropshire, and committed to the Tower, with Hamilton, Derby, and Lauderdale. An order was made on 17 Sept. that he should be tried with them on 29 Oct., but he escaped the death sentence by some accident. Lloyd says that one of the judges having left the room for a few minutes, Lord Mordaunt, influenced by the prayers of Lady Lovelace, gave a casting vote in his favour. The parliament (6 Nov.) refused to try him again; he was, however, kept a close prisoner in the Tower till about the middle of 1656. When released he may have retired to Lord Lovelace's house at Water Eaton, near Oxford. Nettlestead had been sold in 1643; his encumbered estates had been sequestrated at the commencement of the war, and his fine assessed at 2000l. He and his son were said to owe 100,000l., and the adjustment of the claims of the encumbrancers by the county committees of Bedfordshire and Middlesex was not completed till 1655, when practically the whole of his landed property was leased or sold to his creditors (see Cal. State Papers, Committee for Advance of Money i. 153, Committee for Compounding iii. 2156–68).
  • At the Restoration he reappeared, and on 29 May 1660 led a band of three hundred noblemen ‘in his plain gray suit’ (Lloyd, l.c.). He was made captain of the gentlemen pensioners on 20 June, and received the command of a troop of horse on 1 Sept. 1662. Evelyn writes that at a review of four thousand guards in Hyde Park on 4 July 1663 ‘the old Earl of Cleveland trail'd a pike, and led the right-hand file in a foote company commanded by the Lord Wentworth his son, a worthy spectacle and example, being both of them old and valiant souldiers.’ An act to enable him to sell settled land for the benefit of his creditors was passed in 1660, and another granting extension of time on 18 Jan. 1667; these were revised in 1690, though his daughter-in-law had paid off large sums by careful management at Toddington. Cleveland died on 25 March 1667, and was buried at Toddington. Lloyd says that he attributed his strength of constitution to his habit of smoking a hundred pipes a day, ‘which he learnt in Leagures’ (i.e. camps). Clarendon describes him as ‘a man of signal courage and an excellent officer upon any bold enterprise;’ and Sir Philip Warwick (Memoirs, p. 270), with reference to his success at Abingdon and Cropredy in 1644, calls him ‘a nobleman of daring courage, full of industry and activity, as well as firm loyalty, and usually successful in what he attempted.’ He is also praised by Bulstrode, who had a poor opinion of his son; and Sir E. Nicholas (1 May 1653) calls him ‘a very intelligent person.’
  • There is a fine full-length portrait of Cleveland, by Van Dyck, in the possession of the Earl of Verulam (exhibited at South Kensington in 1866), and a head in Lord North's collection at Wroxton, where there is also a larger picture of Cleveland as a boy with his mother and sister, painted by Van Somer in 1596. The head is engraved in Doyle's ‘Baronage.’
  • By his first wife, Anne (d. 1638), daughter of Sir John Crofts of Saxham Parva, Suffolk, Cleveland had six children—Sir Thomas (1623–1665) [q. v.], Anne, Maria, William, and Charles, who died as children, and Anne (1623–1697), who married John Lovelace, second baron Lovelace of Hurley, and inherited the barony of Wentworth in 1686 from her niece [see under Lovelace, John, third Baron; Wentworth, Henrietta Maria, Baroness Wentworth]. The barony passed from her, first to her granddaughter, Martha Lovelace, lady Johnson, then to the Noel family, and after some abeyance to the second Earl of Lovelace (1839–1906) in right of his mother, the first countess, Augusta Ada, only child of Lord Byron by Anne Isabella Milbanke, Lady Byron, who never assumed the title of Baroness Wentworth, although she became entitled to it in 1856. By his second wife, Lucy (d. 1651), daughter of Sir John Wentworth, bart., of Gosfield, Essex, Cleveland had an only daughter, Catherine, who married William Spencer of Cople, Bedfordshire, and died without issue in 1670 (Rutton, Wentworth Barony Papers, House of Lords).
  • [There are excellent sketches of Cleveland and his son in Rutton's Three Branches of the Family of Wentworth of Nettlestead (1891), pp. 61–102. A few facts are gleaned from Evelyn, the Lords' Journals, Symonds's Diary, Collins's Peerage (vi. 206–8), Doyle's Official Baronage, Warburton's Cavaliers, and G. E. C[okayne's] Complete Peerage, viii. 97–9; and see the authorities cited.]
  • From:,_Thomas_(1591-1667)_(DNB00)
  • to


  • The Wentworth genealogy, comprising the origin of the name, the family in England, and a particular account of Elder William Wentworth, the emigrant, and of his descendants (1870)
  • (19) Sir Thomas Wentworth, Kt., 2d Baron Wentworth, who is said in the Peerages to have been summoned to Parliament "from 23 January, 1552 to 4 February, 1489." This is, however, an error; as the letters of Administration granted on his estate to his son Henry, on the 18 January, 1583-4, have been found. He died at Stepney, Co. Middlesex. He was one of Queen Mary's Privy Council, and Deputy of Calais when that place was surrendered, in 1558. He was subsequently tried by his peers and honorably acquitted. He was one of the noblemen who sat in judgment on the Duke of Norfolk, and also upon Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • He was twice married. His first wife was Mary, daughter of Sir John Wentworth, Kt., of Gosfield, Co. of Essex, to whom he was married at Gosfield, 9 February, 1545-6 (For her descent, see back to No. 2, of XIV., of this note).
  • She died without issue, and he remarried Anne, daughter of Henry Wentworth, Esq., of Co. Suffolk. She was buried at Stepney, Co. Middlesex, in 1571. By her he had issue as follows:
    • 1. Thomas, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Wm. Cecil, Lord Burghley, but died without issue in his father's lifetime.
    • 2. Henry, 3d Baron, of whom hereafter.
    • 3. Elizabeth, who married William Hynde, Esq., son and heir of Sir Francis Hynde, Kt., of Madingley, Co. Cambridge.
  • The line was continues by the 2d son
  • (20) Henry Wentworth, 3d Baron Wentworth, who is said in the Peerages to have been summoned to Parliament 19 February, 1593, probably 1592-3, as administration was granted on his estate the 30 August, 1593. His wife, who suvived him, was Anne, daughter of Sir Owen Hopton, Kt., Lieutenant of the Tower of London and relict of Sir Wm. Pope, Kt.
  • They had issue as follows:
    • 1. Thomas, 4th Baron, etc., of whom hereafter.
    • 2. Henry, a Major General in the service of King Charles I., who died in 1644.
    • 3. Jane, who married Sir John Finet, Kt., of West Keele, Co. Lincoln.
  • The line was continued by
  • (21) Thomas Wentworth, 4th Baron Wentworth, who was created, 7 February, 1625-6, Baron Wentworth of Nettlestead, and Earl of Cleveland.
  • He suffered greatly for his loyalty to King Charles I. He died 26 March 1667, in his 76th year, and was buried at Toddington, Co. Bedford. He was twice married. His first wife was Anne, daughter of Sir John Crofts, Kt., of Saxmundham, Co. Suffolk, who was buried at Toddington aforesaid, in January 1637-8. His second wife was Lucy (wrongly called Catherine in the Peerages), second daughter and co-heir of Sir John Wentworth, Kt., and Bart. of Gosfield Hall, Co. Essex.
  • Her descent is briefly as follows:
  • Sir Roger Wentworth, of Codham Hall, by his wife Anne Tyrrell (see back to number 2 of XIV. of this note) had a second son, Henry Wentworth, Esq., Mountnessing, Co. Essex, and died in his father's lifetime, leaving by his wife Anne, daughter of Reginald Hammond, Esq. (with other issue), a son, John Wentworth, Esq., born 1540, buried at Gosfield, 3 April, 1588. He inherited Gosfield Hall from his uncle Sir John Wentworth, Kt. (see back to number 2 of XIV. of this note), and by his first wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Christopher Heydon, Kt., had with other issue a son, John Wentworth, Esq., born 1564, buried in Gosfield church, 11 February, 1613-4, who married Cecelia, daughter of Sir Edward Unton, by Anne, Countess of Warwick, and had with other issue Sir John Wentworth, Kt., of Gosfield, created a Baronet, 29 June, 1611, and died in October 1631, when, having no surviving male issue, the Baronetcy expired.
  • He married Catherine, daughter of Sir Moyle Finch, Kt., who died in September 1639. They had, with several other daughters, a daughter Lucy, who married Thomas, 4th Baron Wentworth, and 1st Earl of Cleveland, as above stated.
  • The Earl of Cleveland, by his first wife had issue as follows:
    • 1. Thomas, of whom hereafter.
    • 2. William, who died in 1623, aged six years, and was buried at Toddington, Co. Bedford.
    • 3. Charles, who died in 1622, in his second year, and was buried at Toddington aforesaid.
    • 4. Anne, who died in infancy.
    • 5. Mary, who died unmarried in January 1632-3, aged 18, and was buried at Toddington.
    • 6. Anne, of whom hereafter.
  • The Earl by his second wife, Lucy, had an only daugher
    • 7. Catherine, who married William Spencer, Esq., of Cople, Co. Bedford, and died without issue.
  • The second wife, Lucy, died 23 November 1651, and was buried at Toddington.
  • The line was continued through


  • Thomas Wentworth, 1st and last Earl of Cleveland1
  • M, #216500, b. 1591, d. 25 March 1667
  • Last Edited=19 Jun 2011
  • Thomas Wentworth, 1st and last Earl of Cleveland was born in 1591.3 He was the son of Henry Wentworth, 3rd Lord Wentworth and Anne Hopton.3 He married, firstly, Anne Croftes, daughter of Sir John Croftes and Mary Shirley, in 1611.4 He married, secondly, Lucy Wentworth, daughter of Sir John Wentworth, 1st Bt., before 25 October 1638.5 He died on 25 March 1667, without surviving male issue.6
  • He succeeded to the title of 9th Lord Despenser [E., 1387] on 16 August 1593, de jure.5 He was created 4th Lord Wentworth [E., 1529] on 16 August 1593.5 He was invested as a Knight, Order of the Bath (K.B.) in 1610.5 He was educated at Trinity College, Oxford University, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England.5 He was admitted to Gray's Inn.5 He held the office of Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire between 1625 and 1639, joint.5 He was created 1st Earl of Cleveland, co.York [England] on 5 February 1625/26.6 He held the office of Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire between 1639 and 1642.5 He held the office of Captain of the Gentlemen Pensioners from 1642 to 1644.5 Between 1644 and 1648 he has held in the Tower of London, when he fled abroad.5 He fought in the Battle of Cropredy Bridge on 29 June 1644.5 He fought in the 2nd Battle of Newbury on 27 October 1644, where he was captured.5 He fought in the Battle of Worcester in 1651, when he was again taken prisoner.5 Between 1651 and 1658 he has held in the Tower of London.5 He held the office of Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire between 1660 and 1667, joint.5
  • On his death, the earldom of Cleveland became extinct.6
  • Child of Thomas Wentworth, 1st and last Earl of Cleveland and Lucy Wentworth
    • Lady Catherine Wentworth5
  • Children of Thomas Wentworth, 1st and last Earl of Cleveland and Anne Croftes
    • Thomas Wentworth, 5th Lord Wentworth+5 b. 2 Feb 1612/13, d. 1 Mar 1664/65
    • Anne Wentworth, Baroness Wentworth+5 b. 29 Jul 1623, d. 7 May 1697
  • Citations
  • [S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume III, page 193. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
  • [S3409] Caroline Maubois, "re: Penancoet Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as "re: Penancoet Family."
  • [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume XII/2, page 502.
  • [S47] BIFR1976 page 292. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S47]
  • [S37] BP2003 volume 2, page 2442. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37]
  • [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume III, page 280.
  • From:


  • Thomas WENTWORTH (1° E. Cleveland)
  • Born: 1591
  • Died: 25 Mar 1667, Toddington, Bedfordshire, England
  • Buried: 4 Apr 1667, Toddington, Bedfordshire, England
  • Father: Henry WENTWORTH (3° B. Wentworth of Nettlestead)
  • Mother: Anne HOPTON
  • Married 1: Anne CROFTS BEF 1612
  • Children:
    • 1. Thomas WENTWORTH
    • 2. Anne WENTWORTH (B. Wentworth & Dow)
  • Married 2: Lucy WENTWORTH (C. Cleveland) BEF 25 Oct 1638
  • Children:
    • 3. Catherine WENTWORTH
  • From: WENTWORTH (1° E. Cleveland)


  • Thomas Wentworth
  • Birth: 1591, England
  • Death: Mar. 25, 1667 Toddington, Central Bedfordshire Unitary Authority, Bedfordshire, England
  • Thomas Wentworth succeeded to the titles of fourth Baron Wentworth of Nettlestead and ninth Lord Despenser upon the death of his father Henry Wentworth on 16 Aug 1593/4. His mother was Anne Hopton, daughter of Sir Owen Hopton, who married William Pope, 1st Earl of Downe after the death of her first husband.
  • Thomas graduated from Trinity College, Oxford. An officer in the King's army, he was invested as a K.B. in 1610 and the following year married Anne Crofts. Among their issue was a son, Thomas, who would become the 5th Baron Wentworth.
  • His great-aunt was Jane Wentworth, widow of Henry, Lord Cheney who held the estate of Toddington. Upon his aunt's death, Thomas succeeded to those estates, Toddington becoming his primary residence.
  • He was lord lieutenant for Bedfordshire from 1625 to 1642, and regularly attended the Lords throughout the 1620's. In 1626 he was created the first earl of Cleveland.
  • In 1627, Cleveland served under Buckingham at la Rochelle and was present at the Duke's assassination in 1628.
  • Anne died in January of 1638, and by October he married again, taking as his wife Lucy, the daughter of Sir John Wentworth, Bt. of Gosfield, Essex. By this time, however, he was also heavily in debt.
  • In the months following his remarriage, he brought troops to fight alongside the king in the first bishop's war, and also fought in the next. He was wounded at the first battle of Newbury in 1643 and rode against Abingdon in command of a cavalry unit. He was at Cropredy Bridge, then Cornwall, and assisted in relieving Portland Castle. At the second battle of Newbury, he was captured and sent to the Tower. While on leave of bail, he escaped to the continent and joined Charles II at the Hague.
  • He commanded a cavalry regiment at Worcester in 1651 and led the charge which gave Charles time to escape. Cleveland was captured again that fall and sent back to the Tower. Put on trial, he escaped hanging by a single vote, but remained a prisoner for seven years.
  • When the King returned to London in 1660, Cleveland headed a cavalry regiment of 300 men, but debt continued to plague him and at the time of his death, little remained of his estates.
  • Upon his death, the title Earl of Cleveland was extinguished as his only son Thomas, (who had become the 5th Lord Wentworth in 1640), preceded him in death and left no male heirs.
  • Burial: St. George's Church & Churchyard, Toddington, Central Bedfordshire Unitary Authority, Bedfordshire, England
  • Plot: tomb, inside the church
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 139432673
  • From:




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Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Cleveland's Timeline

Toddington, Central Bedfordshire, England, United Kingdom
February 2, 1612
Age 21
July 1623
Age 32
Age 48
Essex, UK
March 25, 1667
Age 76
Toddington, Bedfordshire, England