Memorial: M1183

Memorial to Colonel Richard Nicolls, d. 1672  during the Battle of Solebay, Ampthill


St Andrew's Church, Ampthill, Bedfordshire, England


[On pediment surrounding cannon ball] 'Instrumentum mortes et Immortalitatas'. [Instrument of death and immortality], [Inscription tablet] ‘M.S. / Optimis Parentibus nunc tumulo conjunctus / Pietate semper conjunctissimus / Hic Jacet / RICARDUS NICOLLS Francis : gcti : ex MARGAR : BRUCE / Filius / Illimo IACOBO Duci EBOR: a Cubiculis Intimis / Anno 1643 : Relictis Musarum Castris / Turmam equestri contra REBELLES Duxit / Juvenis strenuous atq : impiger. / Ano : 1664, Aetate jam & Scientia military matures / In AMERICAM / Septentrionalem cum imperio missus / Longam illam caeterasq Insulas / BELGIS EXPULSIS vero Domino restitituit / Provinciam arcesq munitissimas / Heri Sui Titulas insignivit / Et triennio pro Preside Rexit / Academia / Literis / Bello / Virtute / Aula / Candore Animi / Magistratu / Prudentia / Celebris / Ubiq Bonis charus sibi et Negotiis Par. / 28 Maii 1672 / Nave Praetoria contra eosdem BELGAS / Fortiter dimicans / Ictu globi majoris transtosus Occubuit / Fratres habuit / Praeter GVLIELMVM praecoci fato defunctum / EDVARDVM et FRANCISCVM / Utrumq. Capiarum Pedestrium Centurionem. / Qui Faedae et servilis Tyrrannidis / Quae tunc ANGLIAM oppresserat IMPATIENTES / Exilio praelato (si modo Regem extorrem sequi exilium sit) / Alter PARISIIS Alter HAGA comitis / ad caelestem Patriam migrarunt.’ [Translation] 'Joined now in the tomb to the best of parents, always closely joined to them by filial affection, her lies Richard Nicolls, the son of Francis by his marriage to Margaret Bruce. Groom of the Bedchamber to the most illustrious James, Duke of York. In the year 1643, having left the castle of the muses, he led a troop of cavalry against the rebels, then being a vigorous and brisk youth. In the year 1664, being already mature in age and military knowledge, he was sent to North America, with a command. He expelled the Dutch from Long Island and other islands and restored them to their true master. The citadels and province were well fortified, demonstrating the title of his heirs. For three years he ruled as governor. He was famous in learning, letters, war, court, honesty, justice, prudence. Everywhere he was dear for his goodness, for himself and all he undertook. On the 28 May 1672, he was killed, fighting bravely on the flagship against the same Dutch, struck on the deck by a cannon ball. He had brothers Edward and Francis, in addition to William who died early. Both were captains of infantry, who impatient of the vile and servile tyranny which then oppressed England, preferred exile (if indeed to follow a fugitive king is indeed exile) one to Paris, the other to the Hague. They travelled in company to their heavenly homeland.'


Description: A floor monument with a broken pediment containing a cartouche of arms with a crest, above within a second pediment is embedded an iron cannon ball. The inscription tablet is flanked by fabric drops decorated with husks and suspended by bows, with volutes and swags of foliage below. The whole stands on a plain base.
Type: Wall monument
Position: Sanctuary
Materials: Marble
Artists: Marshall, Joshua


Battle of Solebay 1672

Event Category

1672-1674 Third Anglo-Dutch War


Nicolls, Richard
Age: 48
Date of Death: 1672
Cause of Death: War casualty
Rank / Occupation: Colonel
Organisation: English Army


Notes: Nicolls received the surrender of Nieuw Amsterdam which he renamed New York, after his patron the Duke of York (later James II). The flags above the memorial were presented by the U.S. Airforce, Chicksands in 1995. Erected by Nichols' executors in accordance with his will see PROB 11/339/151. Dr Clive Easter has attributed the monument to Joshua Marshall (1628-1678).
Bibliography: Andrew Underwood ‘Ampthill Parish Church History and Guide’ (Ampthill, 2007) pp.44-45.
Recorder: B. Tomlinson
Photographer: B. Tomlinson