Jones, Michael (d. 1649), parliamentarian soldier, was the younger son of Lewis Jones (qv), bishop of Killaloe, and his wife Mabel, daughter of Arland Ussher and sister of James Ussher (qv), later archbishop of Armagh. He was educated at Lincoln's Inn, but returned to Ireland at the outbreak of rebellion in 1641 and was appointed captain of foot in the royalist forces, serving under Lord Broghill (qv) at the siege of Lismore in 1642. Jones opposed the cessation of arms brokered by the marquess of Ormond (qv) in September 1643, and in early 1644 attended the council in Dublin to argue against any further peace deals with the confederate catholics. His opposition to Ormond may have been coloured by his disappointment at being refused a lieutenant-colonel's commission. By the end of 1644 he had joined the parliamentarian army, as lieutenant-colonel of horse under Sir William Brereton in Cheshire. He fought with distinction on the Welsh borders throughout 1645, taking charge of operations on the Welsh side of the River Dee and aiding the parliamentarian victory at Rowton Heath (September). On the surrender of Chester (February 1646) he was appointed governor of the town. Once the English civil war was won, Jones prepared to return to Ireland. From May 1646 he negotiated with parliament to raise a regiment of horse for service in Ireland under Philip Sidney, Viscount Lisle (qv), and in March 1647 he was chosen as commander of the Leinster forces. In April he was appointed governor of Dublin and commissioner to treat with Ormond for the surrender of the Leinster garrisons.
Jones landed in Dublin on 7 June 1647, and joined his fellow commissioners in securing Ormond's surrender, which was agreed under the Dublin articles of 18 June. Thereafter, Jones reorganised the Dublin forces, and in August marched out to relieve the garrison at Trim. In his absence, Thomas Preston (qv) tried to attack Dublin, but Jones intercepted him and inflicted a crushing defeat on the confederate army at Dungan's Hill. Parliament's reluctance to send sufficient military and financial aid to Dublin in 1647 and 1648 limited Jones's offensive capabilities, and forced him to make a truce with Owen Roe O'Neill (qv) to keep the confederates at bay. This raised the hopes of the recently returned marquess of Ormond, who put pressure on Jones to join forces with the royalists in the weeks following the execution of Charles I in January 1649. Jones's abrupt refusal prompted Ormond to advance, taking Dundalk and Drogheda and besieging Dublin in June. Reinforced by fresh English regiments, Jones trounced the royalist army at Rathmines on 2 August – a victory that paved the way for the invasion of Oliver Cromwell (qv), who landed at Dublin less than two weeks later.
After Cromwell's arrival, Jones was appointed lieutenant-general of the horse, and leaving his brother, Sir Theophilus Jones (qv), to take charge of Dublin, he accompanied the new lord lieutenant on his campaigns. Jones fought in the sieges of Drogheda and Wexford, the assault on Duncannon, and the unsuccessful attack on the city of Waterford. In the midst of all this activity he fell ill, probably from dysentery, and was taken to Dungarvan, where he died on 10 December. Later accounts of his deathbed wish to see Cromwell beaten out of Ireland are probably apocryphal. In fact, his death came as a terrible blow to Cromwell, who described him as a man of ‘so much honour, courage, and fidelity, as his actions better speak than my pen. What England lost hereby is above me to speak. I am sure I lost a noble friend and companion in labours’ (Abbott, ii, 177). Others who mourned his passing included the regicide Edmund Ludlow (qv) and the lawyer Bulstrode Whitelocke; and it was Lord Broghill who paid him the greatest compliment – by arranging for his burial in the Boyle family tomb at Youghal. Jones had married Mary, widow of Sir Hugh Culme, in 1646/7; they had no children. In his will, written on 9 October 1649, he left his lands in Co. Dublin and Co. Meath to his wife, with remainder to his nephew, also Michael Jones, son and heir of Henry Jones (qv), bishop of Clogher.