General Thomas Fairfax or Black Tom

In place of my usual Saturday Snippets for the month of May, I’ll be posting about the characters and places in my coming book, “John Culpepper the Merchant.” It’s the second in the Culpepper Saga.

General_Thomas_Fairfax_(1612-1671The book starts in 1640 at the onset of the English Civil War, and one of the characters my hero’s family keeps running into in battle is General Thomas Fairfax (photo). The Culpepper family backed the king as royalists, Fairfax backed Parliament and became the general of the parliamentarian army.

Thomas Fairfax was the 3rd lord of Cameron. He was born into the gentry class January 1612 and was a talented army commander, claiming many victories during the war. He served in Parliament with Oliver Cromwell, but became disenchanted with Cromwell’s policies after Cromwell conquered a town, then murdered one hundred of the three hundred people who surrendered.

Nearing the end of the war, Cromwell had the king in custody and charged him with treason, the consequences of the charge would be beheading. The day the court gathered to sign the king’s death warrant in January of 1650, Fairfax was a no-show. He sent his wife to tell the court that they shouldn’t have elected him to the court for he had no interest in killing the king. He resigned from the army, leaving Cromwell in control the country.

Upon Cromwell’s death in 1659, Fairfax was active in restoring the monarchy to the Stuarts, which conveniently made him exempt from the punishments the new king exacted on the other leaders of the revolution.

Leeds_Maidstone_Fairfax_Doublet_1648His dark hair and eyes earned him the nickname “Black Tom.” This photo is the doublet he wore in 1648 at the battle of Maidstone, which is a whole chapter in my coming book where he fought directly with Thomas Culpepper (our hero’s brother), and you can read a little about it HERE.

General Fairfax died in 1671 with no sons to take his title of baron, so it was given to his cousin Henry Fairfax. In the future (though not in the Culpepper Saga because it ends before this time) Lord Thomas Fairfax 5th baron of Cameron (Henry’s son) will marry a Culpepper granddaughter. It must have been highly scandalous as their grandfathers were trying to kill each other a few years earlier. Perhaps I should plan on writing another book, The Culpepper-Fairfax Scandal.  🙂

“John Culpepper the Merchant” will be released May 24, 2015.

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4 responses to “General Thomas Fairfax or Black Tom

  1. Pingback: 52 Ancestors #26 Sir Alexander Culpepper | a day in the life of patootie

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