Sir John Arundell

Sir John Arundell Born at Trerice (now a national Trust property) and 2 miles from Newquay. He led a comparatively quiet life, until he was appointed commander of Pendennis Castle at Falmouth at the age of seventy.

He was present in 1643 at the battle of Braddock Down, near Lostwithiel, when the king's army defeated the parliamentary army. He was MP for various towns. in 1597 for Michell, a rotten borough which the Arundells had held since the reign of Edward I; in 1601 and 1621 for Cornwall; in 1624 for St. Mawes; and in 1628 and the Short parliament of 1640 for Tregoney.

About 1643 he was appointed governor of Pendennis Castle. He succeeded in office Sir Nicholas Slanning. At Pendennis in 1644 he harboured for a night or two Queen Henrietta Maria on her flight from Exeter into France, and also Charles II in February 1646.

Although the parliamentary army evicted from Cornwall by Sir Bevil Grenville in 1643, by 1646 they were strong enough to try again. General Fairfax captured St Mawes Castle with hardly a shot being fired. He then arrived at Pendennis and called upon the castle to surrender. Arundell replied:-

'Sir, The Castle was committed to my government by His Majesty, who by our laws hath the command of the Castles and Forts of this Kingdom, and my age of seventy summons me hence shortly. Yet I shall desire no other testimony to follow my departure than my conscience to God and loyalty to His Majesty, whereto I am bound by all the obligations of nature, duty and oath. 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 a fight against His Majesty, and that nothing you can threaten is formidable to me in respect of this of loyalty and conscience. Your servant, John Arundell of Trerice, 18th. March, 1645'.

The siege lasted from March until 17th August. Eventually the garrison ran out of ammunition and food. Sir John surrendered to Colonel Richard Townsend. Of all the sieges during the Civil War, only Raglan Castle held out longer, and that only by two days more. The defenders were allowed to leave with their weapons and flags flying. This was the end of the Civil War in Cornwall.

In the spring of 1648 during the second Civil War Arundell was suspected of starting a revolt on the Lizard and subsequently he was heavily fined.

Sir John Arundell did not live to see the Restoration. The fall of Pendennis and the defeat of the king ruined his estates, and probably hastened his death. He even tried petitioning Cromwell for assistance. He was buried at Duloe in Cornwall; and Richard, his second son, was ennobled in 1664, partly in recognition of the loyalty of his father

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