Denzil Holles

Denzil Holles

Denzil Holles, the second son of John Holles, 1st Earl of Clare, was born in Nottinghamshire in 1599. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1624. Holles, a Presbyterian, was a strong opponent of Charles I and played an important role in having the king's two senior advisers, William Laud and Thomas Wentworth arrested and sent to the Tower of London.

Charged with treason, Wentworth's trial opened on 22nd March, 1641. The case could not be proved and so his enemies in the House of Commons, led by Arthur Haselrig, John Pym and Henry Vane, resorted to a Bill of Attainder. Charles I gave his consent to the Bill of Attainder and Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, was executed on 12th May 1641.

Parliament then passed a law that gave members control over the king's ministers. Charles I was furious and decided it was time to retaliate. On 4 January 1642, Charles sent his soldiers to arrest Holles, Arthur Haselrig, John Pym, John Hampden and William Strode. The five men managed to escape before the soldiers arrived. Members of Parliament no longer felt safe from Charles and decided to form their own army. After failing to arrest the Five Members, Charles fled from London. Aware that Civil War was inevitable, Charles began to form an army.

Holles fought at Edgehill but soon afterwards began advocating a compromise settlement. Holles was accused of treason and in 1647 he fled to France. In 1660 he played an important role in recalling Charles II to the throne. On the Restoration Holles was created Baron Holles of Ifield in Sussex.

Denzil Holles died in 1680.