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John Arundell (VII)

(1576 - 1654)


John Arundell (VII) of Trerice, later given the nickname "Jack for the King", was a member of an ancient Cornish gentry family of Arundell. He was a Royalist during the Civil War and served King Charles I as Governor of Pendennis Castle, Falmouth.


He was born in 1576 the eldest son and heir, of Sir John Arundell (VI) of Trerice, a Member of Parliament for Mitchell, Cornwall, in 1555 and 1558, and Sheriff of Cornwall in 1573-1574, who built the present mansion house at Trerice in about 1572, and mother (the second wife of Sir John Arundell (VI)) Gertrude Denys, a daughter of Sir Robert Denysof Holcombe Burnell in Devon and Mary Mountjoy (a first cousin to Lady Jane Grey).


In 1597 he was elected Member of Parliament for Mitchell, Cornwall, a pocket borough. He subsequently served as MP for the prestigious county seat of Cornwall in 1601 and 1621 and was Sheriff of Cornwall in 1607. He was elected MP for St Mawes in 1624 and for Tregony in 1628, and sat until 1629 when King Charles I decided to rule without parliament for eleven years. In April 1640 he was re-elected as MP for Tregony in the Short Parliament.


Following the outbreak of the Civil War he was a Royalist, remaining loyal to the King, and was present in 1643 at the Royalist victory at the Battle of Braddock Down in Cornwall. In about 1643 he was appointed governor of the royal Pendennis Castle in Cornwall, built by King Henry VIII to guard the entry to Falmouth Harbour. After the Royalist defeat at the Battle of Naseby in June 1645, the Parliamentary army swept through the West Country, and Arundell defiantly refused the demand of General Fairfax to submit, and replied to him:


"I wonder you demand the castle without authority from His Majesty, which if I should render, I brand myself and my posterity with the indelible character of treason. And having taken less than two minutes resolution, I resolve that I will here bury myself before I deliver up this castle to such as fight against His Majesty, and that nothing you can threaten is formidable to me in respect of the loss of loyalty and conscience".


He retained Pendennis Castle in a heroic manner during a five month long siege by Fairfax, during which his forces were reduced by hunger to eating their horses, and finally received an honourable surrender in August 1646 making Pendennis Castle the last but one to have held out for the King.


In 1651, following the establishment of the Commonwealth, he was fined 10,000 by the new government, this large sum of money was later reduced to 2,000. His estates were sequestered and let by the Commonwealth, but, he was able to retrieve them on payment of a further sum at a later date.

Arundell died in December 1654, six years before the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, when the family's fortunes were restored and when his second son, Richard Arundell, who had been active in the Sealed Knot conspiracy, was raised to the peerage by King Charles II as Baron Arundell of Trerice, partly in recognition of his father's service to the Crown.


Other Family Members


Grandfather - Sir John Arundell (IV) (14951561) also known as Jack of Tilbury
Father - Sir John Arundell (VI)  
Brother (younger) - Thomas Arundell Duloe Cornwall, MP for West Looe, a soldier who served in the Netherlands.
Richard Arundell (son) MP for Lostwithiel
John Arundell (son) MP for Bodmin

John Arundell (VII) "of Trerice" should not be confused with the contemporary ancient and even more prominent Cornish family of Arundell "of Lanherne", six miles north of Trerice, "The Great Arundells", with which no certain shared origin has been found, but which shared the same armorials, the Arundell swallows.





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