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Richard Deane

Richard DeaneBorn: 8-Jul-1610
Birthplace: Temple Guiting, Gloucestershire, England
Died: 1-Jun-1653
Location of death: Gabbard, Suffolk, England (offshore)
Cause of death: War

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Military

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Signed Charles I's death warrant

British general-at-sea, major-general and regicide, was a younger son of Edward Deane of Temple Guiting or Guyting in Gloucestershire, where he was born, his baptism taking place on the 8th of July 1610. His family seems to have been strongly Puritan and was related to many of those Buckinghamshire families who were prominent in the parliamentary party. His uncle or great-uncle was Sir Richard Deane, Lord Mayor of London, 1628-29. Of Deane's early life nothing is accurately known, but he seems to have had some sea training, possibly on a ship-of-war. At the outbreak of the Civil War he joined the parliamentary army as a volunteer in the artillery, a branch of the service with which he was constantly and honorably associated. In 1644 he held a command in the artillery under Essex in Cornwall and took part in the surrender after Lostwithiel. Essex (Letter to Sir Philip Stapleton, Rushworth Collection) calls him "an honest, judicious and stout man", an estimate of Deane borne out by Clarendon's "bold and excellent officer", and he was one of the few officers concerned in the surrehder who were retained at the remodelling of the army. Appointed comptroller of the ordnance, he commanded the artillery at Naseby and during Fairfax's campaign in the west of England in 1645. In 1647 he was promoted colonel and given a regiment. In May of that year Oliver Cromwell was made lord-general of the forces in Ireland by the parliament, and Deane, as a supporter of Cromwell who had to be reckoned with, was appointed his lieutenant of artillery. Cromwell refused to be thus put out of the way, and Deane followed his example. When the war broke out afresh in 1648 Deane went with Cromwell to Wales. As brigadier-general his leading of the right wing at Preston contributed greatly to the victory. On the entry of the army into London in 1648, Deane superintended the seizure of treasure at the Guildhall and Weavers' Hall the day after Pride "purged" the House of Commons, and accompanied Cromwell to the consultations as to the "settlement of the Kingdom" with Lenthall and Sir Thomas Widdrington, the keeper of the great seal. He is rightly called by Sir J. K. Laugkiton (in the DNB) Cromwell's "trusted partisan", a character which he maintained in the active and responsible part taken by him in the events which led up to the trial and execution of King Charles I. He was one of the commissioners for the trial, and a member of the committee which examined the witnesses. He signed the death warrant.

Deane's capacities and activities were now required for the navy. In 1649 the office of lord high admiral was put into commission. The first commissioners were Edward Popham, Robert Blake and Deane, with the title of generals-at-sea. His command at sea was interrupted in 1651, when as major-general he was brought back to the army and took part in the battle of Worcester. Later he was made president of the commission for the settlement of Scotland, with supreme cormmand of the military and naval forces. At the end of 1652 Deane returned to his command as general-at-sea, where Monck had succeeded Popham, who had died in 1651. In 1653 Deane was with Blake in command at the battle off Portland and later took the most prominent and active part in the refitting of the fleet on the reorganization of the naval service. At the outset of the three days' battle of the Gabbard off the North Foreland, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of June 1653, Deane was killed. His body lay in state at Greenwich and after a public funeral was buried in King Henry VII's chapel at Westminster Abbey, to be disinterred at the Restoration.

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