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Hopton, Sir Ralph

Hopton, Sir Ralph (1596–1652). One of the most successful royalist commanders during the Civil War, Hopton was given a barony in 1643. Educated at Lincoln College, Oxford, he had fought in Bohemia for the protestants during the Thirty Years War. In the Long Parliament, he initially opposed the king, voting for Strafford's attainder in 1641. The following year he joined the royalist cause, having on his battle standard the motto ‘I will strive to serve my sovereign king.’ A west countryman by birth, he spent almost all his time campaigning in that region. He had a good record of success, winning at Braddock Down (January 1643), Stratton (May 1643), Lansdowne (July 1643, where he was badly wounded), Roundway Down (July 1643), before being beaten by his old friend and opponent Waller at Cheriton in March 1644. Beaten again by Fairfax at Torrington (February 1646), he was forced to capitulate at Truro in March and went into exile. Clarendon called him ‘the soldiers' darling … the soul of that army’.

Ian Gentles

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