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Royalist Army Officer
Born c.1609 Died 1670

William Legge, the eldest son of Edward Legge (d. 1616), vice-president of Munster, gained some military experience on the continent of Europe and then returning to England assisted Charles I in his war against the Scots in 1638. He was also very useful to the king during the months which preceded the outbreak of the Civil War, although his attempt to seize Hull in January 1642 failed. During the war Legge distinguished himself at Chalgrove and at the first battle of Newbury, and in 1645 he became governor of Oxford. However, he only held this position for a few months, as he shared the disgrace of Prince Rupert, to whom he was very devoted; but he was largely instrumental in putting an end to the quarrel between the king and the prince.

Legge helped Charles to escape from Hampton Court in 1647, and after attending upon him he was arrested in May 1648. He was soon released, but was again captured in the following year while proceeding to Ireland in the interests of Charles II. Regaining his freedom in 1653, he spent some years abroad, but in 1659 he was once more in England inciting the royalists to rise. Legge enjoyed the favour of Charles II, who offered to make him an earl. The old royalist died on the 13th of October 1670.

Extracted from the entry for DARTMOUTH, EARLS OF in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.

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