Lieutenant General Piercy Kirke (the Younger)
If military histories are always to be believed (which they aren’t) Piercy Kirke (the younger) must have had rapid promotion. According to Volume VI of The Queen’s Royal Regiment History he was born in 1684 and Gazetted as an Ensign in Trelawny’s Regiment two years later in 1686. (Youthful enthusiasm, no doubt!). The latter date would seem to be the correct one as he was promoted to Lieutenant on 18th April 1689 and to Captain on 26th September of the same year.
He was appointed to the 2nd Queen’s as Lieutenant Colonel on 23rd July 1707, vice the Earl of Portmore, and further to Colonel by purchase on 19th September 1710. Still progressing, he was appointed Brigadier General in 1727, Major General in 1735 and Lieutenant General in 1739.
His military service included participation in the War of the Spanish Succession where he was taken prisoner at Almanza on 25th April 1707.
He died on 1st January 1741 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
(Notes on the Kirkes, father and son extracted from the Army Historical Society)
The family are of Scottish origin and seem to have obtained their coat-of-arms c. 1600. These arms, were certainly confirmed to Piercy's father George (a groom of the bedchamber and Master of the Robes to Charles I) in 1633, with the addition of a crest and motto. (Described fully by Chester in his Harleian Society volume of the registers of Westminster Abbey, p. 295n. 1; a rough draft with drawing is in the British Library Stowe M.S. 677, f. 59). The arms can be seen on the monument to Piercy Kirke's son, Piercy Kirke the Younger, in Westminster Abbey.
In 1680 Piecry Kirke was commissioned Lieutenant-Colonel of the of the Earl of Plymouth's Regiment (13 July) then raising for the reinforcement of Tangier. This was the Second Tangier Regiment (later King's/4th Foot) and Kirke sailed with them, arriving at the end of the year. Plymouth died at Tangier in 1680 and Kirke was made colonel in his place (27 November). When Kirke became governor of Tangier in 1682 he transferred to the colonelcy of the Governor's Regiment or Old Tangier Regiment (later Queen's/2nd Foot; the Lambs) and his commission is dated 19 April 1682. (all dates are as printed in Dalton).
Kirke died on 20 October 1691 according to a petition to the Commons by his widow, Lady Mary, on 2 March 1703/4; this concerns outstanding pay (Commons Journals, vol XIV, p. 365). The D.N.B. prints 31 October, which is presumably the new style date.