The Immortal Seven

In preparing for the Horn & Crown campaign arc, I’ve been doing research on many of the power players in King William’s Court.  And while not exclusive to them, it certainly means doing the work researching the Immortal Seven.  I’ve already picked a few of these personages to play a prominent background role in the new story arc, but I like to have a more complete picture of the time.  There is much more to these men than what is included in the profiles below, but in the interests of the campaign my notes focus on the period of 1689 and 1690, leading up to the Battle of Boyne in the Summer of 1690.

The following information has been culled from Wikipedia (naturally) and a few other sources throughout the internet.



The Immortal Seven were the seven individuals who put their name to the formal letter of invitation sent on the 30th of June, 1688, to William of Orange requesting that he make the necessary preparations to depose James II.  Together they represented a broad selection of the highest level of English society, sufficient to convince William of Orange that he would enjoy a suitably wide degree of support from across the country.

On the afternoon of the 30th June 1688 seven men sat down to put their names to a formal letter of invitation to William of Orange.

“…the people are so generally dissatisfied with the present conduct of the government in relation to their religion, liberties and properties (all which have been greatly invaded), and they are in such expectation of their prospects being daily worse, that Your Highness may be assured there are nineteen parts of twenty of the people throughout the kingdom who are desirous of a change.”

None of the seven were so foolish as to actually sign their names to the invitation itself, but rather identified themselves by a secret code, a two digit number (that follows their names below).  The letter was duly carried to the Netherlands by Arthur Herbert, the Earl of Torrington (discreetly referred to as Mr H within the letter) and had the desired effect as William of Orange ordered the necessary military and naval preparations for his invasion of Britain.

All seven of these gentlemen received their due rewards when William of Orange and his wife Mary became settled in as William and Mary.

These seven men were thereafter known as the Immortal Seven:

  • The Earl of Devonshire, William Cavendish (24)
    • Whig; House of Commons from 1661 to 1684
      • leader of the anti-court and anti-Catholic party
    • Age: 50
    • son of William Cavendish, 3rd Earl of Devonshire
      • inherited his father’s peerage as Earl of Devonshire
    • one of the wealthiest landowners in the country
    • After the revolution, Cavendish is a leading Whig, serving as William’s Lord Steward
  • The Lord Lumley, Richard Lumley (29)
    • Age: 40
    • The Lumleys were an ancient family from the north of England
    • son of John Lumley; grandson of Richard Lumley, 1st Viscount Lumley
    • played a prominent part in the suppression of the rebellion of the Duke of Monmouth
      • personally responsible (according to John Evelyn) for Monmouth’s arrest
    • wife: Frances Jones, daughter of Sir Henry Jones of Oxford
    • Secured Newcastle for William in December 1688
    • appointed by William in rapid succession (1689-90) as a Gentleman of the Bedchamber, a member of the Privy Council, Colonel of the 1st Troop of Horse Guards, Viscount Lumley of Lumley Castle, Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland and Lord Lieutenant of Durham
      • Lumley is created Earl of Scarbrough on 15 April 1690
  • The Earl of Danby, Thomas Osborne (27)
    • Tory
    • Age: 58
    • Impeached and disgraced member of Parliament with nearly no supporters he could rely on
      • Spent nearly five years in the Tower of London following his impeachment
      • A number of pamphlets asserting his complicity in the Popish Plot, and even accusing him of the murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey, were published in 1679 and 1680
    • following his imprisonment and release, returned to the House of Lords as a leader in the Tory party
    • Driven to opposition by King James’ attacks on Protestantism
    • Thought that William would not claim the crown
      • Supported the succession of Mary
      • This met with little support
        • rejected both by William and by Mary herself
      • voted against the regency and joined with Halifax and the Commons in declaring the prince and princess joint sovereigns.
    • April 1689 created Marquess of Carmarthen
    • made lord-lieutenant of the three ridings of Yorkshire
    • greatly disliked by the Whigs
      • given the nickname the “White” marquess in allusion to his sickly appearance
    • February 1689: appointed to the post of Lord President of the Council
      • could not conceal his vexation and disappointment
      • increased by the appointment of Halifax as Lord Privy Seal (Treasurer Position that he had held before his disgrace).
        • The antagonism between the “black” and the “white” marquess revived in all its bitterness.
      • retired to the country and was seldom present at the council.
      • In June and July, motions were made in Parliament for his removal
    • In 1690: Halifax’s retires in 1690
    • Once again again acquired the post of Lord Treasurer
    • In 1690, appointed Mary’s chief advisor
  • The Earl of Shrewsbury, Charles Talbot (25)
    • Age: 30
    • crossed to Holland to join William
      • contributed towards defraying the expenses of the projected invasion
      • landed with him in England in November 1688 during the Glorious Revolution
    • appointed Secretary of State for the Southern Department
    • 1690: resigned from office when the Tories gained control of Parliament
    • There is evidence that he had made overtures to the Jacobites after his resignation
      • in correspondence with James at his court in exile at Saint Germains
      • some evidence that these relations were entered upon with William’s full connivance
      • Others claim Shrewsbury was unaware of the King’s knowledge and toleration which would explain the terrified letters he was in the habit of penning to him.
      • Regardless, although often presented with evidence against him, William affected to have no suspicion of Shrewsbury’s loyalty
  • The Bishop of London, Henry Compton (31)
    • Tory
    • Age: 58
    • important figure about London
    • a successful botanist
    • Published:
      • several theological works
      • the Life of Donna Olympia Maladichini (1667)
        • translated from Italian
        • governed the Church during the time of Pope Innocent X (1644 to 1655)
      • the Jesuits’ Intrigues (1669)
        • translated from French
      • A book on the Invisible World and the supernatural
        • published under a pseudonym
    • liberal in his views about Protestants; strong bias against Catholics
    • February 1685: Lost his seat in the council and position as Dean of the Chapel Royal on the accession of James II
    • suspended by James’s Court of High Commission in mid-1686.
      • for his firmness in refusing to suspend John Sharp
        • rector of St Giles’s-in-the-Fields
        • anti-papal preaching had rendered him obnoxious to the king
      • The suspension was lifted in September 1688, two days before the High Commission was abolished
    • embraced the cause of William and Mary,
      • performed the ceremony of their coronation
      • his old position was restored to him
      • Appointed to the Privy Council; serves as an advisor to the King and Queen of England, an office that he has had before
      • chosen as one of the commissioners for revising the liturgy

The Witch Hunter Adventures, The Legion Cycle and its predecessor, A Child’s Game, establish Henry Compton as a major figure in London and someone the cadre is likely to interact with.  This information is reprinted from those sources.

  •  though not a Witch Hunter, he is a friend of the Stalwarts of St. Christopher
    • the original text establishes his connection with Brotherhood of Ashen Cross, which doesn’t make a lot of sense given his prejudices and biases against Catholics.  The Stalwarts have roots in Anglicanism and makes much more sense.
  • concerned about a number of supernatural threats that seemed to be moving into the area, along with London’s new growth.
    • Particularly concerned that many of these new evils seem to be using London as a gateway to the New World.
  • Captain Edward Russell (35)
    • Whig
    • Age: 37
    • elected Whig Member of Parliament for Launceston
    • 1689: appointed Treasurer of the Navy in 1689.
    • May 1689: Promoted directly to full admiral
      • Russell took command in the Channel
      • HMS Duke
      • enforced a blockade of France
    • lived at Chippenham Park in Cambridgeshire
      • re-modelled the manor house and greatly extended Chippenham Park
      • dominates the parish to the south of the village
    • March 1690: elected Member of Parliament for Portsmouth in the general election in March 1690.
    • Spring 1690: conveyed Maria Anna of Neuburg, Charles II of Spain’s future consort, from Flushing to Coruna
    • June 1690: becomes a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty on the Admiralty board led by the Earl of Pembroke
    • July 1690: promoted to Admiral of the Fleet following the debacle at the Battle of Beachy Head
      • Admiral the Earl of Torrinton fell out of favor
    • December 1690: became Commander-in-Chief of the Navy.
      • He was fully engaged in providing naval support for the Williamite War in Ireland until the war ended in October 1691
  • Henry Sidney (33)
    • Whig
    • Age: 49
    • Often dismissed as a mere flunkey and court favorite, nevertheless a expert Statesman,
      • an adroitness for manipulating men
    • 1679: entered Parliament
    • 1688: employed by nephew, the 2nd Earl of Sunderland, Robert Spencer to negotiate with William of Orange
    • one of the signatories to, and the actual author of, the cipher sent to the Prince calling for the Glorious Revolution.
    • created Baron Milton and Viscount Sidney by William

5 thoughts on “The Immortal Seven

  1. Pingback: 11 Laws of Negotiation from History’s Greatest Leaders

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