Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Cleveland
|Died||25 March 1667|
|Battles/wars||English Civil War:|
He was the eldest son of Henry Wentworth, 3rd Baron Wentworth (1558–1593), and Anne, daughter of Sir Owen Hopton. His paternal grandfather was Thomas Wentworth, 2nd Baron Wentworth, the last Englishman to hold Calais. The younger Thomas succeeded his father in 1593.
In 1614, Wentworth inherited from an aunt the estate of Toddington, Bedfordshire, until then the property of the Cheyney family, and here he made his principal residence. In 1626, he was created Earl of Cleveland, and in the following year he served under George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, in the expedition to La Rochelle. Adhering to the cause of King Charles I in the King's dispute with the Parliament of England, he attended his kinsman Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, at his execution, and afterwards was a general on the royalist side in the Civil War until he was taken prisoner at the Second Battle of Newbury in 1644. Cleveland commanded a cavalry regiment at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, when he was again taken prisoner, and he remained in the Tower of London until 1656.
His early extravagance and the fortunes of war had greatly reduced his estates, and Nettlestead manor was sold in 1643. Cleveland was described by Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, as "a man of signal courage and an excellent officer"; his cavalry charge at the Battle of Cropredy Bridge, where he routed John Middleton's Parliamentary horse and then with Lord Wilmot's horse led another charge that captured the Parliamentary artillery, was one of the most brilliant incidents in the Civil War, and it was by his bravery and presence of mind that enabled King Charles II to escape from Worcester.
At his death on 25 March 1667 the Earldom of Cleveland became extinct. He outlived his son by Anne Crofts (died 1638), Thomas (c. 1613–1665), who was called up to the House of Lords in his father's lifetime as Baron Wentworth, and whose daughter, Henrietta Maria, became Baroness Wentworth in her own right.
- Trevor Royle, The Civil Wars (London 2005)
- Trevor Royle, The Cavalier Generals (London 2007)