Sir Alexander RADCLIFFE of Ordsall, Knight

Born: 1573, Ordsall Hall, Lancashire, England

Christened: 26 Jan 1573, Manchester Church, Lancashire, England

Died: 5 Aug 1599, Ireland

Father: John RADCLIFFE of Ordsall (Sir)

Mother: Anne ASSHAWE

Alexander Radcliffe, eldest son and heir of Sir John, was born at Ordsall, and baptized at Manchester on the 26 Jan 1573. He was sixteen years old when his father died. He had already been introduced to the Court under the patronage of his FitzWilliam cousins, and was one of the eager youths, 'bearing their birthrights proudly on their backs', who accepted Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, as their natural leader. Alexander took part in the famous exploit against Cadiz in 1596, and was amongst those knighted by Essex at the end of the great adventure. He and his sister, Margaret, were amongst the most intimate friends of Essex, as they also enjoyed the loving favour of Queen Elizabeth.

In the summer on 1598 the rebel Earl of Tyrone inflicted a disastrous defeat on the English forces in Ireland, and Essex persuaded Queen Elizabeth and the Council to grant him the command in Ireland and the task of subduing Tyrone. Sir Alexander's brother, Captain William Radcliffe, had fallen in the Battle of Blackwater, and the young knight of Ordsall was eager to avenge his brother's death and freely offered his service to his friend, Essex, in the tremendous task he had undertaken. On 22 Mar 1599 he made his will, and the following day rode forth to Chester, there to join Essex, who sailed from the Dee at the head of the greatest expedition Elizabeth had ever sent abroad, 16000 foot and 100 horse, levies voluntarily raised throughout the land at the call of national honour and by the magic of the leader's name. Arrived in Ireland Essex paid too much heed to the persuasions of the Irish Council, anxious to secure the preservation of their own estates, and instead of proceeding against Tyrone in Ulster led his army into Munster. Disease attacked his forces with disastrous results, and he was compelled to return to Dublin with nothing noteworthy accomplished in the months of his campaign, but with his army broken and weary from their lenghty sojourn into the misty boglands. Severely wounded, and ravaged with fever, Sir Alexander Radcliffe died 5 Aug 1599.

The affections of Sir Alexander had been claimed and held by his cousin, Marie Radcliffe, daughter of his father's brother, Richard of Newcroft. Marie was the playmate of his childhood, and the confidante of his courtier days. He nominated Marie and Thomas Gillibrand, his servant, as executors of his will, and devised to them for 2000 years all is lands in Ashby and Tavelby in Leicestershire and in Chesterfield, Newbold, Brampton, and Spittlefield in Derbyshire. To his three sisters, Margaret, Jane, and Anne, he gave annuities, and to each of his brothers, Thomas and Edmund, he gave an annuity of thirty six pounds, thirteen shillings and fourpence. The residue of his estates he left to his brother, John, or in case the latter died before him, they were to go to such other as should be heir at common law at his decease. He commended his soul into the hands of Almighty God, and his body to Christian and decent funeral where it should please Almighty God to dispose of the same, and to be answerable and fitting to his state and degree. The will was sealed before the eminent Salford notary, Humphrey Davenport.

His brothers Thomas, and Edmund, both of whom died in French Flanders in 1599 from fever contracted whilst serving with the garrison forces there. He was succeeded to Ordsall by the remainder brother, Sir John.

For more information, see:

Ordsall Hall, a Tudor Manor House

to Bios Page to Family Page
to Peerage Page to Home Page