Fairfax was a leading Parliamentarian general in the English Civil War, who nevertheless supported the restoration of Charles II.
Thomas Fairfax, Lord Fairfax of Cameron, was born into an aristocratic family at Denton in North Yorkshire on 17 January 1612. He studied at Cambridge University and then volunteered for an expedition to fight for the Protestant cause in the Netherlands. In 1639, he served under Charles I against the Scots, and was knighted by the king, but together with his father joined the Parliamentary forces when the English Civil War broke out in 1642. He played an important part in the defeat of Royalist forces at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644.
Early in 1645, parliament decided to form a new, more professional army and Fairfax was made commander-in-chief with Oliver Cromwell in charge of the cavalry. Fairfax moulded the New Model Army into a disciplined fighting force and in June, the army inflicted a serious defeat on the Royalists at Naseby.
Fairfax opposed the execution of Charles I in 1640. The following year he resigned his command because he did not approve of Cromwell's war against Scotland. He then withdrew from public life. In 1660, Fairfax supported General Monck in his successful attempt to restore the monarchy. Fairfax then retired to Yorkshire and died on 12 November 1671.
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