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Guilford Slingsby (1610–1643) was a politician in the Irish Parliament. He was confidential secretary to, and a close personal friend of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, the Lord Deputy of Ireland.[1] He fought on the Royalist side during the English Civil War, and died of wounds received in battle.

Guildford Slingsby
AllegianceEngland England
Service/branchEnglish Army



He was the eldest son of Sir Guylford Sligsby, Comptroller of the Navy (died 1631) and Margaret Water or Walter of York. His father was one of the many children of Sir Francis Slingsby and Mary Percy, sister of Henry Percy, 8th Earl of Northumberland.[2] He grew up at Bifrons in Canterbury, where his father, who came originally from Scriven in North Yorkshire, had purchased an estate. He was educated at the University of St Andrews. Several of his younger brothers also achieved a measure of fame, including Sir Robert Slingsby, 1st Baronet,[3] who like his father became Comptroller of the Navy, and was a close friend of Samuel Pepys; and Sir Arthur Slingsby, the first of the Slingsby Baronets of Bifrons.


Slingsby was elected Member of Parliament for Carysfort in the Irish House of Commons in 1634.[4] He later became lieutenant of the ordnance office and vice-admiral of Munster.[4]

Secretary to StraffordEdit

About the same time he entered Parliament, he entered the Lord Deputy's household as his personal secretary. It is possible that his cousin Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland, who was then one of Strafford's closest friends, recommended him. He proved to be an excellent secretary and also became a close friend of Strafford.[5] When Strafford was impeached, he asked Slingsby to join him in London, and throughout the trial which ended in Strafford's attainder and execution, Slingsby provided invaluable support, as well as giving evidence on his behalf.[5] There were unconfirmed reports that Slingsby had attempted to arrange Strafford's escape from the Tower of London.

It has been suggested that Slingsby may have been part author of the Brief and Perfect Relation of the Answers and Replies of Thomas Earl of Strafford to the Articles exhibited against him by the House of Commons, which was published in 1647.

Friendship with StraffordEdit

Strafford's affection and regard for Slingsby are clear from his final letter to him:[6]

Keep out of the way till I be forgotten and then your return may be with safety...God direct and prosper you in all your ways; and remember there was a person whom you were content to call master that did very much value and esteem you and carried to his death a great stock of his affections for you.


After Strafford's execution, Slingsby fled to the Netherlands, and then to France. He gained the favour of Queen Henrietta Maria, and was designated as secretary to the future Charles II.[7] He returned to England in 1642, and raised a regiment for King Charles's service, but unfortunately he had no military training or ability. In January 1643 he was defeated in a skirmish at Guisborough by Sir Hugh Cholmeley, wounded and taken prisoner. Cholmeley, who was a distant cousin, showed him every consideration, but it was necessary to amputate his legs, and he died shortly afterwards from his wounds, his mother arriving just too late to be with him at the end. [8] He was buried in York Minster; the funeral sermon was preached by John Bramhall, Bishop of Derry.[4]


  1. ^ Wedgwood, C.V. Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford 1593-1641- a revaluation Phoenix Press reissue 2000 pp.337-8
  2. ^ Betham, William Baronetage of England London 1805 Vol. 5 p.26
  3. ^ Betham p.26
  4. ^ a b c Guildford Slingsby at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  5. ^ a b Wedgwood p.338
  6. ^ Wedgwood p.384
  7. ^ Rushworth, John The Tryal of the Earl of Strafford London 1686 p.773
  8. ^ Rushworth p.774