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Richard Ingle (1609-1653)

Richard Ingle was sometimes called “that ungrateful Villagine” by those living in Maryland, because when he took control of Maryland’s government in 1645, he allowed his men to destroy the property of many Catholic settlers.

We do not know much about Ingle’s background. He was born in England, and probably came from a middle-class Protestant family. He could read, so he most likely had some schooling. Eventually he became a trader and a ship captain.

At first, he was very friendly with the leaders of Maryland, whose goods he transported back and forth to England. At one point he was described as the chief trader to Maryland.1 However, when civil war broke out in England, Ingle sided with the radical Protestants, or Puritans, against the King.

Ingle had a temper, and after some disagreements with the Catholic leaders of Maryland, Ingle decided to attack the colony in the name of Parliament. In 1645 he sailed his ship, the Reformation, to Maryland and attacked the settlement of St. Mary’s. He made prisoners of the colony's leaders and brought two Jesuit priests back to England in chains.

Wealthy Catholic settlers like Thomas Cornwallis had their property stolen or damaged. Cornwallis estimated his losses to be £2623, a fortune in Maryland at the time. Ingle claimed to have the permission of the new English government, but many colonists thought he was no better than a pirate. In the end, the English court forced him to turn over some money to Cornwallis to make up for what he had taken in Maryland.

1Timothy B. Riordan, The Plundering Time: Maryland in the English Civil War, 1642-1650. Unpublished draft manuscript, 1997, Chapter 2, p.20.

  • Maloney, Eric John, Papists and Puritans in Early Maryland: Religion in the Forging of Provincial Society, 1632-1665. PhD. Dissertation, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1996..

  • Riordan, Timothy B., The Plundering Time: Maryland in the English Civil War, 1642-1650. Unpublished draft manuscript, 1997.
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