Sir Thomas Fairfax

Parliamentarian General Sir Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Lord Fairfax of Cameron, husband to Anne de Vere, father of Mary Fairfax, died on this day 12th November, 1671, in Yorkshire, England.

Fairfax fought in the English Civil War as a General of the Parliamentarians (Roundheads). And though I think he backed the wrong side, he comes across as a noble, likeable, and good man. Why? He did not attend the King’s trial and seems to have tried to prevent the execution of King Charles I, as he did not agree with that – Cromwell and his supporters had taken things too far. Things would probably have gone better under Fairfax than they did under Cromwell, and many of us like to think of how things could have been without the latter. Alas, Fairfax was more soldier than politician, and he eventually quit his roles in the military and retired to a quiet country life with his family. He and his wife, Anne, had a daughter, Mary, who married (the eventually notorious Restoration rake) the Duke of Buckingham. This caused further trouble between Fairfax and Cromwell and the two had an argument only a few days before the Lord Protector’s death.

One of the best on-screen depictions I’ve seen of Fairfax is probably by Dougray Scott in “To Kill a King.”

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