Thomas Prince ( fl. 1630–1657) was a prominent Leveller.
Prince was born in West Garforth, Yorkshire. He went to London where he apprenticed in, and in due time joined, the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers. Although a member of the Clothworkers he was a cheesemonger by trade. He settled in the parish of St Martin Orgar where, although an Independent, he stayed within the Anglican church.
The Worshipful Company of Clothworkers was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1528, formed by the amalgamation of its two predecessor companies, the Fullers and the Shearmen. It succeeded to the position of the Shearmen's Company and thus ranks twelfth in the order of precedence of Livery Companies of the City of London.
Prince supported the Parliamentary cause in the English Civil War and served in the Blue regiment of London's trained bands until invalided out after being badly wounded in 1643 at the First Battle of Newbury. During the war he supplied he Parliamentary armies with cheese and butter and became moderately wealthy.
The First Battle of Newbury was a battle of the First English Civil War that was fought on 20 September 1643 between a Royalist army, under the personal command of King Charles, and a Parliamentarian force led by the Earl of Essex. Following a year of Royalist successes in which they took Banbury, Oxford and Reading without conflict before storming Bristol, the Parliamentarians were left without an effective army in the field. When Charles laid siege to Gloucester, Parliament was forced to muster a force under Essex with which to beat Charles' forces off. After a long march, Essex surprised the Royalists and forced them away from Gloucester before beginning a retreat to London. Charles rallied his forces and pursued Essex, overtaking the Parliamentarian army at Newbury and forcing them to march past the Royalist force to continue their retreat.
In November 1647 he was one of the men who presented the Agreement of the People to Parliament and was one of those imprisoned for this act. By December he was free and campaigning for the Levellers cause. In 1648 he continued to agitate and became recognised by both supported and detractors as a prominent Leveller. He was appointed as one of the Levellers' treasurers and in December was a signature to the petition presented to Sir Thomas Fairfax, the Army commander, objecting to the Army's dismissal of the second Agreement of the People.
In March 1649 he was arrested with the other Leveller leaders: John Lilburne, Richard Overton, and William Walwyn, and incarcerated in the Tower of London when the Levellers published a tract against the military government (the second part of) Englands New Chaines Discovered. While in the Tower the prisoners continued to publish pamphlets. Two of these can be directly linked to Prince: The Picture of the Councel of State, contains Prince's account of his arrest and examination by members of the Council of State, and The Silken Independents Snare Broken, a reply by Prince to an attack upon the Levellers by some leading London Independents.
John Lilburne, also known as Freeborn John, was an English political Leveller before, during and after the English Civil Wars 1642–1650. He coined the term "freeborn rights", defining them as rights with which every human being is born, as opposed to rights bestowed by government or human law. In his early life he was a Puritan, though towards the end of his life he became a Quaker. His works have been cited in opinions by the United States Supreme Court.
William Walwyn was an English pamphleteer, a Leveller and a medical practitioner.
The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard I, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.
Prince was released along with the other leading Leveller prisonors after Lilburne was found not guilty of high treason at his trial in October 1649. Prince continued to live in London until at least 1657 and was mentioned by Lilburne as one who would provide security for him if he were allowed to return from exile. Prince also spoke up for Lilburne at his 1653 trial.
Prince married Elizabeth; they had two children who were baptised in the parish of St Martin Orgar. One died as an infant.
The Levellers was a political movement during the English Civil War (1642–1651). It was committed to popular sovereignty, extended suffrage, equality before the law and religious tolerance. The hallmark of Leveller thought was its populism, as shown by its emphasis on equal natural rights, and their practice of reaching the public through pamphlets, petitions and vocal appeals to the crowd. Its ideas were presented in its manifesto "Agreement of the People". In contrast to the Diggers, the Levellers opposed common ownership, except in cases of mutual agreement of the property owners. The Levellers came to prominence at the end of the First English Civil War (1642–1646) and were most influential before the start of the Second Civil War (1648–1649). Leveller views and support were found in the populace of the City of London and in some regiments in the New Model Army.
Colonel Edward Sexby or Saxby was an English Puritan soldier and Leveller in the army of Oliver Cromwell. Later he turned against Cromwell and plotted his assassination.
Gerrard Winstanley was an English Protestant religious reformer, political philosopher, and activist during The Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. Winstanley was the leader and one of the founders of the English group known as the True Levellers or Diggers for their beliefs, and for their actions. The group occupied public lands that had been privatised by enclosures and dug them over, pulling down hedges and filling in ditches, to plant crops. True Levellers was the name they used to describe themselves, whereas the term Diggers was coined by contemporaries.
The Corkbush Field Mutiny occurred on 15 November 1647, during the early stages of the Second English Civil War at the Corkbush Field rendezvous, when soldiers were ordered to sign a declaration of loyalty to Thomas Fairfax, the commander-in-chief of the New Model Army (NMA), and the Army Council. When some refused to do this they were arrested, and one of the ringleaders, Private Richard Arnold, was executed.
Henry Marten was an English lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons in two periods between 1640 and 1653. He was an ardent republican and a regicide of King Charles I of England.
Colonel Robert Lilburne (1613–1665) was the older brother of John Lilburne, the well known Leveller. Unlike his brother, who severed his relationship with Oliver Cromwell, Robert Lilburne remained in the army. He is also classed as a regicide for having been a signatory to the death warrant of King Charles I in 1649. He was forty-seventh of the fifty nine Commissioners.
The Interregnum was the period between the execution of Charles I on 30 January 1649 and the arrival of his son Charles II in London on 29 May 1660 which marked the start of the Restoration. During the Interregnum, England was under various forms of republican government.
Richard Overton was an English pamphleteer and Leveller during the Civil War and Interregnum (England).
An Agreement of the People was a series of manifestos, published between 1647 and 1649, for constitutional changes to the English state. Several versions of the Agreement were published, each adapted to address not only broad concerns but also specific issues during the fast changing revolutionary political environment of those years. The Agreements of the People have been most associated as the manifestos of the Levellers but were also published by the Agitators and the General Council of the New Model Army.
Thomas Rawton was one of the highest-ranking officers to support the Levellers, and served with Parliament on both land and sea. He was the eldest son of Captain John Rawton, a naval officer who made his fortune in the Baltic trade, and inherited his father's property in the London Borough of Southwark.
Major William Rainsborowe, or Rainborowe, was an officer in the English Navy and New Model Army in England during the English Civil War and the Interregnum. He was a political and religious radical who prospered during the years of the Parliamentary ascendancy and was an early settler of New England in North America.
Elizabeth Lilburne, born Elizabeth Dewell, was a Leveller and the wife of John Lilburne.
Early in the First English Civil War the Long Parliament threatened to retaliate in kind if the Royalists tried and executed John Lilburne and two other Parliamentary offices for treason. Lilburne later described this as the declaration of Lex Talionis, and it brought about a practical—rather than moral—mutual restraint by the parties to the war on how they treated prisoners of war.
Sir Thomas Andrewes was a London financier who supported the parliamentary cause during the English Civil Wars, and sat as a commissioner at the High Court of Justice for the trial of Charles I. During the Third English Civil War, as Lord Mayor of London, he made sure that there was no trouble in London. During the Interregnum he supported Oliver Cromwell, and was knighted by him in 1657. Many sources confuse him with another Thomas Andrewes, who had a more prominent role in the British East India Company and was a contemporary of the London politician; this other Andrewes was still alive in 1660.
The ex-officio oath developed in the first half of the seventeenth century, and used as a form of coercion, persecution, and forcible self-incrimination in the religious trials of that era. It took the form of a religious oath made by the accused prior to questioning by the Star Chamber, to answer truthfully all questions that might be asked. It gave rise to what became known as the cruel trilemma where the accused would find themselves trapped between a breach of religious oath, contempt of court for silence, or self-incrimination. The name derives from the questioner putting the accused on oath ex officio, meaning by virtue of his office or position.
William Eyre, was an English Parliamentary army officer in the English Civil War and a Leveller.
Thomas Prince (1687–1758) was an American clergyman, scholar and historian.
Samuel Chidley was an English Puritan activist and controversialist. A radical separatist in London before and during the English Civil War, he became a leading Leveller, a treasurer of the movement. A public servant and land speculator under the Commonwealth and Protectorate, he became rich and campaigned for social, moral and financial reform. He was ruined by the Restoration and returned to live in relative poverty in his native Shrewsbury.
Baker, P. R. S. (January 2008) . "Prince, Thomas (fl. 1630–1657)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/66672.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)