Thomas FITCH (flourished. 1642-1664)

Army Officer, was a Captain in Lord Brooke’s regiment of foot at the beginning of the Civil War. He was not an officer in the New Model Army but probably served with the northern forces. Fitch was Governor of Carlisle from 1649 to 1651, and his forces participated in Cromwell’s Scottish campaign. At the end of 1651 he was transferred to Inverness, where he garrisoned a regiment and erected a citadel. A Scottish minister in Aberdeen described his men in December 1651 as ‘a rude, raging rabble of a sectarian new regiment, running down men in the streets’. Fitch served both Protectors, though his sympathies were clearly republican. Elected to Richard Cromwell’s Parliament in 1659, he ranged himself with the Commonwealthmen. In June he became Governor of the Tower through Sir Arthur Haselrig’s influence. Fitch opposed Lambert’s coup and plotted to admit forces under Cols. Okey and Streater to the Tower on 12 December in hope of raising the City against army rule. The plan was betrayed and he was arrested and relieved of command. With the fall of Lambert’s regime on 24 December Fitch returned to the Tower, but was not reinstated, Herbert Morley succeeding him. In 1660 he was spotted in a private lane, most dejected.’ The government continued to keep him under surveillance after the Restoration. In September 1661 he was described as living in Pall Mall, ‘a dangerous man’. He was last noticed in 1664."

Extract from A Biographical Dictionary of British Radicals in the Seventeenth Century Vol I, p.286 edited by Richard L Greavey, Professor of History, Florida State University and Robert Zaller, Associate Professor of History, University of Miami, Harvester Press n.d. (copy in the British Library).

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