Thomas Fowke

Lieutenant General Thomas Fowke, also spelt Foulks (c. 1690 – 29 March 1765) was a British military officer of the 18th century, who was twice court-martialled, the first time after the Battle of Prestonpans during the 1745 Jacobite Rising.

Lieutenant General Thomas Fowke
The Fowke family home, Gunstone Hall
Bornc. 1690
Gunstone, South Staffordshire
Died29 March 1765
Bath, England
Allegiance Great Britain
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1702-1756
RankLieutenant General
Commands heldGovernor of Gibraltar 1753-1756
Battles/warsWar of the Spanish Succession
Almanara Saragossa and Villaviciosa 1745 Jacobite Rising
Battle of Prestonpans
Seven Years' War
RelationsSir Frederick Gustavus Fowke, 1st Baronet, of the Fowke baronets (grandson)

Acquitted on that occasion, he was tried again for his part in the 1756 Battle of Minorca that led to the execution of Admiral Byng. He was originally sentenced to nine months suspension but after George II intervened, he was dismissed from the service and removed as Governor of Gibraltar. He was reinstated in his rank of Lieutenant General following the accession of George III in 1761.

Life

Thomas Fowke was the elder son of Thomas Fowke (ca 1645-1708) and his second wife Mary (ca 1650-1705), born in 1690 near Gunstone, South Staffordshire. He had two sisters, Mary and Martha; his younger brother Edmund (1704-1784) became a Rear-admiral in the Royal Navy.[1]

He was married twice, first in 1721 to Elizabeth Ingoldsby (ca 1705-1735), with whom he had a daughter, Theophila Lucy (1724-1734). In 1747, he married Dorothea Randall (ca 1732-1788); they had two children, another Theophila (ca 1745-1756) and Sir Thomas Fowke (1744-1786), Groom of the Bedchamber to Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn; his grandson was Sir Frederick Gustavus Fowke (1782–1856), first of the Fowke baronets.[2]

He died in Bath, England in March 1765.

Career

Fowke began his military career during the War of the Spanish Succession in 1702 as an Ensign in Nicholas Lepell's Regiment of Foot, his father being a captain in the same unit.[3] Until the late 19th century, commissions could be purchased or sold; in June 1707, he became captain after exchanging positions with his father, who died in June 1708.[4]

Peregrine Lascelles, later associated with Fowke in the 1745 Jacobite Rising, also joined Lepells as a captain and the unit was posted to Spain in 1709, where it fought at Almanara and Saragossa.[5] Fowke was also present at Villaviciosa, where the regiment suffered heavy losses; Lepell, by then the senior British officer in Catalonia, reported over 107 men were missing after the battle.[6]

Villaviciosa ended the British campaign in Spain; Lepells was taken over by William Stanhope in March 1711, then disbanded in November 1712 as the army was reduced in the run-up to the 1713 Peace of Utrecht.[7] However, Fowke transferred to the Whetham's, later 27th Foot, before joining Cotton's Foot, later Somerset Light Infantry in 1716, as a Major. In June 1722, he was commissioned as Lieutenant-Colonel Kerr's Dragoons, later 11th Hussars, a position he retained until late 1740.[8] The period of comparative peace after 1713 now ended with the outbreak of the War of the Austrian Succession and in January 1741, Fowke became Colonel of a new regiment, the 43rd Foot but exchanged into the Queen's Royal Regiment in August.[9]

He was promoted Brigadier General in June 1745, three months before Charles Edward Stuart landed in Scotland and launched the 1745 Jacobite Rising. As deputy commander in Scotland to Sir John Cope, he fought at Prestonpans in September; the government army collapsed in the face of the Jacobite assault and the battle lasted less than 15 minutes. Fowke was in command of the two regiments of dragoons but was unable to rally them and joined Cope in withdrawing to Berwick-upon-Tweed. Along with Lascelles, the two were later tried by a court-martial in 1746; while all three were exonerated, Cope never held command again.[10]

Fowke however spent the rest of the war on the staff in Flanders and became a Major General in 1747, followed by an appointment as Governor of Gibraltar in 1752. The opening action of the Seven Years' War was the British naval defeat at Minorca in June 1756, an event that led to the trial and execution of Admiral John Byng.[11] Fowke was court martialled for refusing to provide Byng with soldiers from the Gibraltar garrison; he was originally sentenced to be suspended for nine months but George II insisted he be dismissed from the army; his career was finished, although he was reinstated in 1761 when George III succeeded as king.[12]

Legacy

After Royalist defeat in the Second English Civil War in 1651, Thomas Fowke's great-uncle Gerard moved to Virginia, along with his cousin, Philip Mason. One of their descendants was George Mason (1725-1792), a US Founding Father, who commemorated the family roots in 1755 by naming his new house in Virginia Gunston Hall; in 1923, another Mason built a second Gunston Hall, in North Carolina.[13]

As was common for the period, Fowke kept a personal journal and record of correspondence; his papers for the period 1752 to 1755, including his time as Governor of Gibraltar, were acquired by in 2015 by the Lewis Walpole Library, part of Yale University.[14]

After his retirement, Fowke lived near Park Hill, Yorkshire, now the site of the Park Hill council estate, Sheffield, which was given listed building status in 1998.

References

  1. "Fowke". The Peerage. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  2. Von Massenbach, Camilla. "Lt. Gen. Thomas Fowke (Ingoldsby, Randall) c. 1690 - 1765". Genealogy Links. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  3. Dalton, Charles (1904). English army lists and commission registers, 1661-1714 Volume V. Eyre and Spottiswood. p. 269.
  4. Dalton p. 189
  5. Dalton, Charles (1904). English army lists and commission registers, 1661-1714 Volume VI. Eyre and Spottiswood. p. 243.
  6. Tumath, Andrew (2013). "The British Army in Catalonia after the Battle of Brihuega 1710-1712". Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research. 91 (367): 185. JSTOR 44232207.
  7. Adjutant General's Office (1842). Historical Records of the British Army; History of the 13th Light Dragoons. John W Parker. p. 84.
  8. Leslie, JH (1916). Notes and Queries, 12th Series, Volume II. Frank Chance. p. 123. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  9. "Lt. Gen. Thomas Fowke c. 1690 - 1765". Genealogy Links. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  10. Blaikie (ed), Walter Biggar (1916). Publications of the Scottish History Society (Volume Series 2, Volume 2 (March, 1916) 1737-1746). Scottish History Society. p. 434.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  11. Regan, Geoffrey (2000). Brassey's Book of Naval Blunders. Brassey's. p. 35. ISBN 978-1574882537.
  12. Dalton, p. 269
  13. La Raia, Jackie (12 September 2013). "George Mason's Gunston Hall". Gunston Hall Blog (Virginia). Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  14. "Papers of Lieutenant-General Thomas Fowke". Lewis Walpole Library. 2 August 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2019.

Sources

  • Adjutant General's Office (1842). Historical Records of the British Army; History of the 13th Light Dragoons. John W Parker.
  • Blaikie (ed), Walter Biggar (1916). Publications of the Scottish History Society (Volume Series 2, Volume 2 (March, 1916) 1737-1746). Scottish History Society.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Dalton, Charles (1904). English army lists and commission registers, 1661-1714 Volume V. Eyre and Spottiswood.
  • Dalton, Charles (1904). English army lists and commission registers, 1661-1714 Volume VI. Eyre and Spottiswood.
  • Leslie, JH (1916). Notes and Queries, 12th Series, Volume II. Frank Chance.
  • Regan, Geoffrey (2000). Brassey's Book of Naval Blunders. Brassey's. p. 35.;
  • Tumath, Andrew (2013). "The British Army in Catalonia after the Battle of Brihuega 1710-1712". Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research. 91 (367): 182–205. JSTOR 44232207.
Government offices
Preceded by
Humphrey Bland
Governor of Gibraltar
1753–1756
Succeeded by
Lord Tyrawley
Military offices
Preceded by
None
Colonel of Thomas Fowke's Regiment of Foot
1741
Succeeded by
William Graham
Preceded by
Percy Kirke
Colonel of The Queen's Own Royal Regiment of Foot
1741–1755
Succeeded by
John Fitzwilliam
Preceded by
Edward Braddock
Colonel of the 14th Regiment of Foot
1755–1756
Succeeded by
Charles Jeffereys
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