leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth
, and served as Lord Protector
of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
Cromwell was one of the commanders of the New Model Army
which defeated the royalists
in the English Civil War
. After the execution of King Charles I
in 1649, Cromwell dominated the short-lived Commonwealth of England
, conquered Ireland and Scotland, and ruled as Lord Protector from 1653 until his death in 1658.
Cromwell was born into the ranks of the middle gentry
, and remained relatively obscure for the first 40 years of his life.
1649 Siege of Drogheda ends: Oliver Cromwell's English Parliamentarian troops take the town and execute its garrison.
1649 Sack of Wexford: After a ten-day siege, English New Model Army troops (under Oliver Cromwell) stormed the town of Wexford, killing over 2,000 Irish Confederate troops and 1,500 civilians.
1649 New Ross town, Co. Wexford, Ireland, surrenders to Oliver Cromwell.
1650 Third English Civil War: in the Battle of Dunbar, English Parliamentarian forces lead by Oliver Cromwell defeat an army loyal to King Charles II of England and lead by David Leslie, Lord Newark.
1653 Oliver Cromwell dissolves the Rump Parliament.
1661 Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England is ritually executed two years after his death, on the anniversary of the execution of the monarch he himself deposed.
I had rather have a plain, russet-coated Captain, that knows what he fights for, and loves what he knows, than that you call a Gentleman and is nothing else.
A few honest men are better than numbers.
The State, in choosing men to serve it, takes no notice of their opinions. If they be willing faithfully to serve it, that satisfies.
God made them as stubble to our swords.
Truly England and the church of God hath had a great favour from the Lord, in this great victory given us.
We study the glory of God, and the honour and liberty of parliament, for which we unanimously fight, without seeking our own interests... I profess I could never satisfy myself on the justness of this war, but from the authority of the parliament to maintain itself in its rights; and in this cause I hope to prove myself an honest man and single-hearted.
I could not riding out alone about my business, but smile out to God in praises, in assurance of victory because God would, by things that are not, bring to naught things that are.
This is our comfort, God is in heaven, and He doth what pleaseth Him; His, and only His counsel shall stand, whatsoever the designs of men, and the fury of the people be.
leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth
, and served as Lord Protector
of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
Cromwell was one of the commanders of the New Model Army
which defeated the royalists
in the English Civil War
. After the execution of King Charles I
in 1649, Cromwell dominated the short-lived Commonwealth of England
, conquered Ireland and Scotland, and ruled as Lord Protector from 1653 until his death in 1658.
Cromwell was born into the ranks of the middle gentry
, and remained relatively obscure for the first 40 years of his life. Along with his brother, Henry, he kept a smallholding of chickens and sheep, selling eggs and wool to support himself. His lifestyle resembled that of a yeoman
farmer until he received an inheritance from his uncle. After undergoing a religious conversion
during the same decade, Cromwell made an independent
style of puritan
ism an essential part of his life. As a ruler he executed an aggressive and effective foreign policy and did as much as any English leader to shape the future of the land he governed. But his Commonwealth collapsed after his death and the royal family was restored in 1660. An intensely religious man—a self-styled Puritan Moses—he fervently believed God was guiding his victories. He was never identified with any one sect or position, however, and strongly favoured religious tolerance for all the various Protestant groups.
He was elected Member of Parliament for Huntingdon
in 1628 and for Cambridge
in the Short
(1640) and Long (1640–49) Parliaments
. He entered the English Civil War on the side of the "Roundheads" or Parliamentarians and became a key military leader. Nicknamed "Old Ironsides
", he was quickly promoted from leading a single cavalry troop to command of the entire army. In 1649 he was one of the signatories of Charles I's death warrant and was a member of the Rump Parliament
(1649–1653), which selected him to take command of the English campaign in Ireland during 1649–50. He led a campaign against the Scottish army between 1650 and 1651. On 20 April 1653 he dismissed the Rump Parliament by force, setting up a short-lived nominated assembly known as the Barebones Parliament
, before being made Lord Protector of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland on 16 December 1653. He was buried in Westminster Abbey
. After the Royalists returned to power
, they had his corpse dug up, hung in chains, and beheaded
Cromwell has been one of the most controversial figures in the history of the British Isles
—considered a regicidal
dictator by some historians such as David Hume
and Christopher Hill
as quoted by David Sharp, he was considered a hero of liberty by others such as Thomas Carlyle
and Samuel Rawson Gardiner
. In a 2002 BBC poll in Britain, Cromwell was elected as one of the Top 10 Britons of all time
. His measures against Catholics in Scotland and Ireland have been characterised as genocidal
or near-genocidal. In Ireland his record is harshly criticised.
Early yearsHe was born at Cromwell House in Huntingdon
on 25 April 1599, to Robert Cromwell and Elizabeth Steward. He was descended from Katherine Cromwell (born c. 1482), an elder sister of Tudor statesman Thomas Cromwell
. Katherine was married to Morgan ap William, son of William ap Yevan of Wales. The family line continued through Richard Williams, alias Cromwell, (c. 1500–1544), Henry Williams
, alias Cromwell, (c. 1524–6 January 1604), then to Oliver's father Robert Cromwell (c. 1560–1617), who married Elizabeth Steward (c. 1564–1654) on the day of Oliver Cromwell's birth. Thomas thus was Oliver's great-great-great-uncle.
His father was a younger son of a family founded by Thomas Cromwell (c. 1485–1540), a minister of Henry VIII, which had acquired considerable wealth by taking over monastery property during the Reformation. At the time of Oliver's birth his grandfather, Sir Henry Williams, was one of the two wealthiest landowners in Huntingdonshire, Oliver's father was of modest means but still inside the gentry class. As a younger son with many siblings, Robert's inheritance was limited to a house at Huntingdon and a small amount of land. This land would have generated an income of up to £300 a year, near the bottom of the range of gentry incomes. Cromwell himself in 1654 said "I was by birth a gentleman, living neither in considerable height, nor yet in obscurity".
Records survive of Cromwell's baptism on 29 April 1599 at St. John's Church, and his attendance at Huntingdon Grammar School
. He went on to study at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
, which was then a recently founded college with a strong Puritan
ethos. He left in June 1617 without taking a degree, immediately after the death of his father. Early biographers claim he then attended Lincoln's Inn
, but there is no record of him in the Inn's archives. Fraser (1973) concludes he likely did train at one of the London Inns of Court
during this time. His grandfather, his father, and two of his uncles had attended Lincoln's Inn, and Cromwell sent his son Richard there in 1647.
Cromwell probably returned home to Huntingdon after his father's death, for his mother was widowed and his seven sisters were unmarried, and he, therefore, was needed at home to help his family.
Marriage and familyOn 22 August 1620 at St Giles-without-Cripplegate
, London, Cromwell married Elizabeth Bourchier
(1598–1665). They had 9 children.
- Robert (1621–1639), died while away at school.
- Oliver (1622–1644), died of typhoid feverTyphoid feverTyphoid fever, also known as Typhoid, is a common worldwide bacterial disease, transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person, which contain the bacterium Salmonella enterica, serovar Typhi...
while serving as a Parliamentarian officer.
- RichardRichard CromwellAt the same time, the officers of the New Model Army became increasingly wary about the government's commitment to the military cause. The fact that Richard Cromwell lacked military credentials grated with men who had fought on the battlefields of the English Civil War to secure their nation's...
(1626–1712), his father's successor as Lord Protector.
- HenryHenry CromwellHenry Cromwell was the fourth son of Oliver Cromwell and Elizabeth Bourchier, and an important figure in the Parliamentarian regime in Ireland.-Life:...
(1628–1674), later Lord Deputy of IrelandLord Deputy of IrelandThe Lord Deputy was the King's representative and head of the Irish executive under English rule, during the Lordship of Ireland and later the Kingdom of Ireland...
- ElizabethElizabeth ClaypoleElizabeth Claypole ,also Cleypole and Claypoole second daughter of Oliver Cromwell and Elizabeth, she married John Claypole in 1646 and is said to have interceded for royalist prisoners. After Cromwell created a peerage for her husband, she was known as Lady Claypole...
(1629–1658), married John ClaypoleJohn ClaypoleJohn Claypole , was an officer in the Parliamentary army in 1645 during the English Civil War. He was created Lord Cleypole by Oliver Cromwell, but this title naturally came to an end with the Restoration of 1660....
- James (b. & d. 1632), died in infancy.
- Mary (1637–1713), married Thomas Belasyse, 1st Earl FauconbergThomas Belasyse, 1st Earl FauconbergThomas Belasyse, 1st Earl Fauconberg PC was an English peer. He supported the Parliamentary cause in the English Civil War drawing close to Oliver Cromwell and married Cromwell's third daughter Mary...
- Frances (1638–1720), married (1) Robert Rich, 3rd Earl of WarwickRobert Rich, 3rd Earl of WarwickRobert Rich, 3rd Earl of Warwick , was the son of Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick and Frances Hatton. His only son, also Robert, predeceased him by 15 months dying of consumption...
, (2) Sir John Russell, 3rd BaronetSir John Russell, 3rd BaronetSir John Russell, 3rd Baronet of Chippenham , first a Royalist, but afterwards a colonel of foot for Parliament and distinguished himself at the Battle of Marston-Moor, and in the Protectorate's wars in Ireland and Flanders....
- Bridget (1624-1662), married (1) Henry Ireton, (2) Charles Fleetwood
Elizabeth's father, Sir James Bourchier, was a London leather merchant who owned extensive land in Essex
and had strong connections with puritan gentry families there. The marriage brought Cromwell into contact with Oliver St John
and with leading members of the London merchant community, and behind them the influence of the earls of Warwick
. Membership in this influential network would prove crucial to Cromwell’s military and political career.
Crisis and recoveryAt this stage, though, there is little evidence of Cromwell's own religion. His letter in 1626 to Henry Downhall, an Arminian minister, suggests that Cromwell had yet to be influenced by radical puritanism. However, there is evidence that Cromwell went through a period of personal crisis during the late 1620s and early 1630s. He sought treatment for valde melancolicus (depression) from London doctor Theodore de Mayerne
in 1628. He was also caught up in a fight among the gentry of Huntingdon over a new charter for the town, as a result of which he was called before the Privy Council
In 1631 Cromwell sold most of his properties in Huntingdon—probably as a result of the dispute—and moved to a farmstead in St Ives
. This was a major step down in society compared with his previous position, and seems to have had a significant emotional and spiritual impact. A 1638 letter survives from Cromwell to his cousin, the wife of Oliver St John, and gives an account of his spiritual awakening. The letter outlines how, having been "the chief of sinners", Cromwell had been called to be among "the congregation of the firstborn". The language of this letter, which is saturated with biblical quotations and which represents Cromwell as having been saved from sin by God's mercy, places his faith firmly within the Independent
beliefs that the Reformation
had not gone far enough, that much of England was still living in sin, and that Catholic beliefs and practices needed to be fully removed from the church.
from his uncle on his mother's side, as well as his uncle's job as tithe
collector for Ely Cathedral. As a result, his income is likely to have risen to around £300–400 per year; by the end of the 1630s Cromwell had returned to the ranks of acknowledged gentry. He had become a committed puritan and had established important family links to leading families in London and Essex
Member of Parliament: 1628–29 and 1640–42Cromwell became the Member of Parliament for Huntingdon
in the Parliament of 1628–1629, as a client of the Montagus. He made little impression: records for the Parliament show only one speech (against the Arminian
Bishop Richard Neile
), which was poorly received. After dissolving this Parliament, Charles I
ruled without a Parliament for the next eleven years. When Charles faced the Scottish rebellion known as the Bishops' Wars
, shortage of funds forced him to call a Parliament again in 1640. Cromwell was returned to this Parliament as member for Cambridge
, but it lasted for only three weeks and became known as the Short Parliament
. Cromwell moved his family from Ely to London in 1640.
A second Parliament was called later the same year, and became known as the Long Parliament
. Cromwell was again returned as member for Cambridge. As with the Parliament of 1628–29, it is likely that Cromwell owed his position to the patronage of others, which might explain why in the first week of the Parliament he was in charge of presenting a petition for the release of John Lilburne
, who had become a puritan martyr after his arrest for importing religious tracts from Holland. For the first two years of the Long Parliament Cromwell was linked to the godly group of aristocrats in the House of Lords
and Members of the House of Commons
with whom he had established familial and religious links in the 1630s, such as the Earls of Essex
, Oliver St John, and Viscount Saye and Sele
. At this stage, the group had an agenda of godly reformation: the executive checked by regular parliaments, and the moderate extension of liberty of conscience. Cromwell appears to have taken a role in some of this group's political manoeuvres. In May 1641, for example, it was Cromwell who put forward the second reading of the Annual Parliaments Bill and later took a role in drafting the Root and Branch Bill for the abolition of episcopacy.
English Civil War beginsFailure to resolve the issues before the Long Parliament led to armed conflict between Parliament and Charles I in the autumn of 1642, the beginning of the English Civil War
. Before joining Parliament's forces Cromwell's only military experience was in the trained bands, the local county militia. He recruited a cavalry troop in Cambridgeshire after blocking a valuable shipment of silver plate from Cambridge colleges that was meant for the king. Cromwell and his troop then rode to, but arrived too late to take part in the indecisive Battle of Edgehill
on 23 October 1642. The troop was recruited to be a full regiment in the winter of 1642 and 1643, making up part of the Eastern Association
under the Earl of Manchester
. Cromwell gained experience in a number of successful actions in East Anglia
in 1643, notably at the Battle of Gainsborough
on 28 July. He was subsequently appointed governor of Ely and a colonel
in the Eastern Association.
Marston MoorBy the time of the Battle of Marston Moor
in July 1644, Cromwell had risen to the rank of Lieutenant General
of horse in Manchester's army. The success of his cavalry in breaking the ranks of the Royalist cavalry and then attacking their infantry from the rear at Marston Moor was a major factor in the Parliamentarian victory. Cromwell fought at the head of his troops in the battle and was slightly wounded in the neck, stepping away briefly to receive treatment during the battle but returning to help force the victory. After Cromwell's nephew was killed at Marston Moor he wrote a famous letter to his brother-in-law
. Marston Moor secured the north of England for the Parliamentarians, but failed to end Royalist resistance.
The indecisive outcome of the Second Battle of Newbury
in October meant that by the end of 1644 the war still showed no signs of ending. Cromwell's experience at Newbury, where Manchester had let the King's army slip out of an encircling manoeuvre, led to a serious dispute with Manchester, whom he believed to be less than enthusiastic in his conduct of the war. Manchester later accused Cromwell of recruiting men of "low birth" as officers in the army, to which he replied: "If you choose godly honest men to be captains of horse, honest men will follow them ... I would rather have a plain russet-coated captain who knows what he fights for and loves what he knows than that which you call a gentleman and is nothing else". At this time, Cromwell also fell into dispute with Major-General Lawrence Crawford
, a Scottish Covenanter
Presbyterian attached to Manchester's army, who objected to Cromwell's encouragement of unorthodox Independents and Anabaptists. Cromwell's differences with the Scots, then allies of the Parliament, developed into outright enmity in 1648 and in 1650–51.
New Model ArmyPartly in response to the failure to capitalise on their victory at Marston Moor, Parliament passed the Self-Denying Ordinance
in early 1645. This forced members of the House of Commons
and the Lords
, such as Manchester
, to choose between civil office and military command. All of them—except for Cromwell, whose commission was given continued extensions and was allowed to remain in parliament—chose to renounce their military positions. The Ordinance also decreed that the army be "remodelled" on a national basis, replacing the old county associations; Cromwell contributed significantly to these military reforms. In April 1645 the New Model Army
finally took to the field, with Sir Thomas Fairfax in command and Cromwell as Lieutenant-General of cavalry, and second-in-command. By this time, the Parliamentarians' field army outnumbered the King's by roughly two to one.
Battle of NasebyAt the critical Battle of Naseby
in June 1645, the New Model Army smashed the king's major army. Cromwell led his wing with great success at Naseby, again routing the Royalist cavalry. At the Battle of Langport
on 10 July, Cromwell participated in the defeat of the last sizeable Royalist field army. Naseby and Langport effectively ended the King's hopes of victory, and the subsequent Parliamentarian campaigns involved taking the remaining fortified Royalist positions in the west of England. In October 1645, Cromwell besieged and took the wealthy and formidable Catholic fortress Basing House
, later to be accused of killing one hundred of its three-hundred-man Royalist garrison there after its surrender. Cromwell also took part in successful sieges at Bridgwater
, Bristol, Devizes
, and Winchester
, then spent the first half of 1646 mopping up resistance in Devon
. Charles I surrendered to the Scots on 5 May 1646, effectively ending the First English Civil War
. Cromwell and Fairfax took the formal surrender of the Royalists at Oxford
Cromwell's military styleCromwell had no formal training in military tactics, and followed the common practice of ranging his cavalry
in three ranks and pressing forward, relying on impact rather than firepower. His strengths were an instinctive ability to lead and train his men, and his moral authority. In a war fought mostly by amateurs, these strengths were significant and are likely to have contributed to the discipline of his cavalry.
Cromwell also introduced close-order cavalry formations, with troopers riding knee to knee; this was an innovation in England at the time, and was a major factor in his success. He kept his troops close together following skirmishes where they had gained superiority, rather than allowing them to chase opponents off the battlefield. This facilitated further engagements in short order, which allowed greater intensity and quick reaction to battle developments. This style of command was decisive at both Marston Moor and Naseby.
Politics: 1647–49In February 1647 Cromwell suffered from an illness that kept him out of political life for over a month. By the time he had recovered, the Parliamentarians were split over the issue of the king. A majority in both Houses pushed for a settlement that would pay off the Scottish army, disband much of the New Model Army, and restore Charles I in return for a Presbyterian settlement of the Church. Cromwell rejected the Scottish model of Presbyterianism, which threatened to replace one authoritarian hierarchy with another. The New Model Army, radicalised by the failure of the Parliament to pay the wages it was owed, petitioned against these changes, but the Commons declared the petition unlawful. In May 1647 Cromwell was sent to the army's headquarters in Saffron Walden
to negotiate with them, but failed to agree.
In June 1647, a troop of cavalry under Cornet George Joyce
seized the king from Parliament's imprisonment. After the King was in arm's reach of Cromwell, he was eager to find out what conditions the king would be willing to compromise on if we was restored his authority. The king appeared to be willing to compromise, so Cromwell employed his son in law, Henry Ireton to draw up proposals for a constitutional settlement. Proposals where drafted up multiple times with different changes until finally the "Head of the Proposals" pleased Cromwell in principle and would allow for further negotiations. It was designed to check the powers of the executive, to set up regularly elected parliaments, and to restore a non-compulsory Episcopalian
Many in the army, such as the Levellers
led by John Lilburne
, thought this was not enough and demanded full political equality for all men, leading to tense debates in Putney during the autumn of 1647 between Fairfax, Cromwell and Ireton on the one hand, and radical Levellers like Colonel Rainsborough
on the other. The Putney Debates
ultimately broke up without reaching a resolution. The debates, and the escape of Charles I from Hampton Court on 12 November, are likely to have hardened Cromwell's resolve against the king.
Second Civil WarThe failure to conclude a political agreement with the king led eventually to the outbreak of the Second English Civil War
in 1648, when the King tried to regain power by force of arms. Cromwell first put down a Royalist uprising in south Wales led by Rowland Laugharne
, winning back Chepstow Castle
on 25 May and six days later forcing the surrender of Tenby
. The castle at Carmarthen
was destroyed by burning. The much stronger castle at Pembroke
, however, fell only after a siege of eight weeks. Cromwell dealt leniently with the ex-royalist soldiers, but less so with those who had previously been members of the parliamentary army, John Poyer
eventually being executed in London after the drawing of lots.
Cromwell then marched north to deal with a pro-Royalist Scottish army (the Engagers
) who had invaded England. At Preston
, Cromwell, in sole command for the first time and with an army of 9,000, won a brilliant victory against an army twice as large.
During 1648, Cromwell's letters and speeches started to become heavily based on biblical imagery, many of them meditations on the meaning of particular passages. For example, after the battle of Preston, study of Psalms 17 and 105 led him to tell Parliament that "they that are implacable and will not leave troubling the land may be speedily destroyed out of the land". A letter to Oliver St John in September 1648 urged him to read Isaiah
8, in which the kingdom falls and only the godly survive. This letter suggests that it was Cromwell's faith, rather than a commitment to radical politics, coupled with Parliament's decision to engage in negotiations with the king at the Treaty of Newport
, that convinced him that God had spoken against both the king and Parliament as lawful authorities. For Cromwell, the army was now God's chosen instrument. The episode shows Cromwell’s firm belief in "Providentialism
"—that God was actively directing the affairs of the world, through the actions of "chosen people" (whom God had "provided" for such purposes). Cromwell believed, during the Civil Wars, that he was one of these people, and he interpreted victories as indications of God's approval of his actions, and defeats as signs that God was directing him in another direction.
King tried and executed
In December 1648, those members of parliament who wished to continue negotiations with the king were prevented from sitting for parliament by a troop of soldiers headed by Colonel Thomas Pride
, an episode soon to be known as Pride's Purge
. Thus weakened, the remaining body of MPs, known as the Rump
, agreed that Charles should be tried on a charge of treason. Cromwell was still in the north of England, dealing with Royalist resistance, when these events took place, but after he had returned to London, on the day after Pride's Purge, he became a determined supporter of those pushing for the king's trial and execution, believing that killing Charles was the only way to end the civil wars. The death warrant for Charles was eventually signed by 59 of the trying court's members, including Cromwell (who was the third to sign it); Fairfax conspicuously refused to sign. Charles was executed on 30 January 1649.
Establishment of the Commonwealth: 1649After the execution of the King, a republic was declared, known as the Commonwealth of England
. The Rump Parliament exercised both executive and legislative powers, with a smaller Council of State
also having some executive functions. Cromwell remained a member of the Rump and was appointed a member of the Council. In the early months after the execution of Charles I, Cromwell tried but failed to unite the original group of 'Royal Independents' centred around St John and Saye and Sele, which had fractured during 1648. Cromwell had been connected to this group since before the outbreak of war in 1642 and had been closely associated with them during the 1640s. However, only St John was persuaded to retain his seat in Parliament. The Royalists, meanwhile, had regrouped in Ireland, having signed a treaty with the Irish Confederate Catholics
. In March, Cromwell was chosen by the Rump to command a campaign against them. Preparations for an invasion of Ireland occupied Cromwell in the subsequent months. In the latter part of the 1640’s, Cromwell came across political dissidence in his New Model Army. The “Leveller,” or “Agitator,” movement was a political movement that emphasized popular sovereignty, extended suffrage, equality before the law, and religious tolerance. These sentiments were expressed in the manifesto “Agreement of the People” in 1647. Cromwell and the rest of the Grandees disagreed with these sentiments in that they gave too much freedom to the people; they believed that the vote should only extend to the landowners. In the Putney Debates of 1647, the two groups debated these topics in hopes of forming a new constitution for England. There were rebellions and mutinees following the debates, and in 1649, the Bishopsgate mutiny resulted in the execution of Leveller Robert Lockyer by firing squad. The next month, the Banbury mutiny occurred with similar results. Cromwell led the charge in quelling these rebellions. After quelling Leveller mutinies within the English army at Andover and Burford in May, Cromwell departed for Ireland from Bristol at the end of July.
Irish campaign: 1649–50Cromwell led a Parliamentary invasion of Ireland from 1649–50. Parliament's key opposition was the military threat posed by the alliance of the Irish Confederate Catholics
and English royalists (signed in 1649). The Confederate-Royalist alliance was judged to be the biggest single threat facing the Commonwealth. However, the political situation in Ireland in 1649 was extremely fractured: there were also separate forces of Irish Catholics who were opposed to the royalist alliance, and Protestant royalist forces that were gradually moving towards Parliament. Cromwell said in a speech to the army Council on 23 March that "I had rather be overthrown by a Cavalierish interest than a Scotch interest; I had rather be overthrown by a Scotch interest than an Irish interest and I think of all this is the most dangerous".
Cromwell's hostility to the Irish was religious as well as political. He was passionately opposed to the Roman Catholic Church, which he saw as denying the primacy of the Bible in favour of papal and clerical authority, and which he blamed for suspected tyranny and persecution of Protestants in Europe. Cromwell's association of Catholicism with persecution was deepened with the Irish Rebellion of 1641
. This rebellion, although intended to be bloodless, was marked by massacres of English and Scottish Protestant settlers by Irish
and Old English
, and Highland Scot Catholics in Ireland. These settlers had settled on land seized from former, native Catholic owners to make way for the non-native Protestants. These factors contributed to the brutality of the Cromwell military campaign in Ireland.
Parliament had planned to re-conquer Ireland since 1641 and had already sent an invasion force there in 1647. Cromwell's invasion of 1649 was much larger and, with the civil war in England over, could be regularly reinforced and re-supplied. His nine month military campaign was brief and effective, though it did not end the war in Ireland. Before his invasion, Parliamentarian forces held only outposts in Dublin and Derry
. When he departed Ireland, they occupied most of the eastern and northern parts of the country. After his landing at Dublin on 15 August 1649 (itself only recently defended from an Irish and English Royalist attack at the Battle of Rathmines
), Cromwell took the fortified port towns of Drogheda
to secure logistical supply from England. At the Siege of Drogheda
in September 1649, Cromwell's troops massacred nearly 3,500 people after the town's capture—comprising around 2,700 Royalist soldiers and all the men in the town carrying arms, including some civilians, prisoners and Roman Catholic priests. Cromwell wrote afterwards that:
I am persuaded that this is a righteous judgment of God upon these barbarous wretches, who have imbued their hands in so much innocent blood and that it will tend to prevent the effusion of blood for the future, which are satisfactory grounds for such actions, which otherwise cannot but work remorse and regret.
At the Siege of Wexford in October, another massacre took place under confused circumstances. While Cromwell was apparently trying to negotiate surrender terms, some of his soldiers broke into the town, massacred 2,000 Irish troops and up to 1,500 civilians, and burned much of the town. No disciplinary actions were taken against his forces subsequent to this second massacre.
After the taking of Drogheda, Cromwell sent a column north to Ulster
to secure the north of the country and went on to besiege Waterford
in Ireland's south-east. Kilkenny surrendered on terms, as did many other towns like New Ross
, but Cromwell failed to take Waterford
, and at the siege of Clonmel
in May 1650 he lost up to 2,000 men in abortive assaults before the town surrendered.
One of his major victories in Ireland was diplomatic rather than military. With the help of Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery
, Cromwell persuaded the Protestant Royalist troops in Cork
to change sides and fight with the Parliament. At this point, word reached Cromwell that Charles II
had landed in Scotland and been proclaimed king by the Covenanter
regime. Cromwell therefore returned to England from Youghal
on 26 May 1650 to counter this threat.
The Parliamentarian conquest of Ireland dragged on for almost three years after Cromwell's departure. The campaigns under Cromwell's successors Henry Ireton
and Edmund Ludlow
mostly consisted of long sieges of fortified cities and guerrilla warfare in the countryside. The last Catholic-held town, Galway
, surrendered in April 1652 and the last Irish troops capitulated in April of the following year.
In the wake of the Commonwealth's conquest, the public practice of Catholicism was banned and Catholic priests were murdered when captured. All Catholic-owned land was confiscated in the Act for the Settlement of Ireland 1652
and given to Scottish and English settlers, the Parliament's financial creditors and Parliamentary soldiers. The remaining Catholic landowners were allocated poorer land in the province of Connacht
—this led to the Cromwellian attributed phrase "To hell or to Connacht". Under the Commonwealth, Catholic landownership dropped from 60% of the total to just 8%.
Debate over Cromwell's effect on IrelandThe extent of Cromwell's brutality in Ireland has been strongly debated. Some historians argue that Cromwell never accepted that he was responsible for the killing of civilians in Ireland, claiming that he had acted harshly but only against those "in arms". Other historians, however, cite Cromwell's contemporary reports to London including that of 27 September 1649 in which he lists the slaying of 3,000 military personnel, followed by the phrase "and many inhabitants". In September 1649, he justified his sacking of Drogheda as revenge for the massacres of Protestant settlers in Ulster
in 1641, calling the massacre "the righteous judgement of God on these barbarous wretches, who have imbued their hands with so much innocent blood." However, Drogheda had never been held by the rebels in 1641—many of its garrison were in fact English royalists. On the other hand, the worst atrocities committed in Ireland, such as mass evictions, killings and deportation of over 50,000 men, women and children as slaves to Bermuda
, were carried out under the command of other generals after Cromwell had left for England. On entering Ireland, Cromwell demanded that no supplies were to be seized from the civilian inhabitants and that everything should be fairly purchased; "I do hereby warn....all Officers, Soldiers and others under my command not to do any wrong or violence toward Country People or any persons whatsoever, unless they be actually in arms or office with the enemy.....as they shall answer to the contrary at their utmost peril." Several English soldiers were hanged for disobeying these orders.
While the massacres at Drogheda and Wexford were in some ways typical of the day, especially in the context of the recently ended Thirty Years War which reduced the male population of Germany by up to half, there are few comparable incidents during Parliament's campaigns in England or Scotland. One possible comparison is Cromwell's Siege of Basing House in 1645—the seat of the prominent Catholic the Marquess of Winchester—which resulted in about 100 of the garrison of 400 being killed after being refused quarter. Contemporaries also reported civilian casualties, six Catholic priests and a woman. However, the scale of the deaths at Basing House was much smaller. Cromwell himself said of the slaughter at Drogheda in his first letter back to the Council of State: "I believe we put to the sword the whole number of the defendants. I do not think thirty of the whole number escaped with their lives." Cromwell's orders—"in the heat of the action, I forbade them to spare any that were in arms in the town"—followed a request for surrender at the start of the siege, which was refused. The military protocol of the day was that a town or garrison that rejected the chance to surrender was not entitled to quarter
. The refusal of the garrison at Drogheda to do this, even after the walls had been breached, was to Cromwell justification for the massacre. Where Cromwell negotiated the surrender of fortified towns, as at Carlow, New Ross, and Clonmel, he respected the terms of surrender and protected the lives and property of the townspeople. At Wexford, Cromwell again began negotiations for surrender. However, the captain of Wexford castle surrendered during the middle of the negotiations, and in the confusion some of his troops began indiscriminate killing and looting. Amateur Irish historian (and Drogheda native) Tom Reilly
has taken this argument further, claiming that the accepted versions of the campaigns in Drogheda and Wexford in which wholesale killings of civilians on Cromwell's orders took place "were a 19th century fiction". However, Reilly's conclusions have been rejected by other scholars.
Although Cromwell's time spent on campaign in Ireland was limited, and although he did not take on executive powers until 1653, he is often the central focus of wider debates about whether, as historians such as Mark Levene and John Morrill
suggest, the Commonwealth conducted a deliberate programme of ethnic cleansing
in Ireland. Most Irish remember him as the man responsible for the mass slaughter of civilians at Drogheda and Wexford and as the agent of the greatest episode of ethnic cleansing ever attempted in Western Europe as, within a decade, the percentage of land possessed by Catholics born in Ireland dropped from sixty to twenty. In a decade, the ownership of two-fifths of the land mass was transferred from several thousand Irish Catholic landowners to British Protestants. The gap between Irish and the English views of the seventeenth-century conquest remains unbridgeable and is governed by O.K. Chesterton's mirthless epigram of 1917, that "it was a tragic necessity that the Irish should remember it; but it was far more tragic that the English forgot it."
- James M Lutz, Brenda J Lutz, (2004). Global Terrorism, Routledge:London, p.193: "The draconian laws applied by Oliver Cromwell in Ireland were an early version of ethnic cleansing. The Catholic Irish were to be expelled to the northwestern areas of the island. Relocation rather than extermination was the goal."
- Mark Levene (2005). Genocide in the Age of the Nation State: Volume 2. ISBN 978-1845110574 Page 55, 56 & 57. A sample quote describes the Cromwellian campaign and settlement as "a conscious attempt to reduce a distinct ethnic population".
- Mark Levene (2005). Genocide in the Age of the Nation-State, I.B.Tauris: London:
[The Act of Settlement of Ireland], and the parliamentary legislation which succeeded it the following year, is the nearest thing on paper in the English, and more broadly British, domestic record, to a programme of state-sanctioned and systematic ethnic cleansing of another people. The fact that it did not include 'total' genocide in its remit, or that it failed to put into practice the vast majority of its proposed expulsions, ultimately, however, says less about the lethal determination of its makers and more about the political, structural and financial weakness of the early modern English state.By the end of the Cromwellian campaign and settlement there had been extensive dispossession of landowners who were Catholic, and a huge drop in population.
The sieges of Drogheda and Wexford have been prominently mentioned in histories and literature up to the present day. James Joyce
, for example, mentioned Drogheda in his novel Ulysses
: "What about sanctimonious Cromwell and his ironsides that put the women and children of Drogheda to the sword with the bible text God is love pasted round the mouth of his cannon?" Similarly, Winston Churchill
described the impact of Cromwell on Anglo-Irish relations:
...upon all of these Cromwell's record was a lasting bane. By an uncompleted process of terror, by an iniquitous land settlement, by the virtual proscription of the Catholic religion, by the bloody deeds already described, he cut new gulfs between the nations and the creeds. 'Hell or Connaught' were the terms he thrust upon the native inhabitants, and they for their part, across three hundred years, have used as their keenest expression of hatred 'The Curse of Cromwell on you.' ... Upon all of us there still lies 'the curse of Cromwell'."
Cromwell is still a figure of hatred in Ireland, his name being associated with massacre, religious persecution, and mass dispossession of the Catholic community there. As Churchill notes, a traditional Irish curse was mallacht Chromail ort or "the curse of Cromwell upon you".
The key surviving statement of Cromwell's own views on the conquest of Ireland is his Declaration of the lord lieutenant of Ireland for the undeceiving of deluded and seduced people of January 1650. In this he was scathing about Catholicism, saying that "I shall not, where I have the power... suffer the exercise of the Mass." However, he also declared that: "as for the people, what thoughts they have in the matter of religion in their own breasts I cannot reach; but I shall think it my duty, if they walk honestly and peaceably, not to cause them in the least to suffer for the same." Private soldiers who surrendered their arms "and shall live peaceably and honestly at their several homes, they shall be permitted so to do." As with many incidents in Cromwell's career, there is debate about the extent of his sincerity in making these public statements: the Rump Parliament's later Act of Settlement
of 1652 set out a much harsher policy of execution and confiscation of property of anyone who had supported the uprisings.
Scots proclaim Charles as KingCromwell left Ireland in May 1650 and several months later, invaded Scotland after the Scots had proclaimed Charles I's son Charles II
as king. Cromwell was much less hostile to Scottish Presbyterians, some of whom had been his allies in the First English Civil War, than he was to Irish Catholics. He described the Scots as a people "fearing His [God's] name, though deceived". He made a famous appeal to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
, urging them to see the error of the royal alliance—"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken." The Scots' reply was robust: "would you have us to be sceptics in our religion?" This decision to negotiate with Charles II led Cromwell to believe that war was necessary.
Battle of DunbarHis appeal rejected, Cromwell's veteran troops went on to invade Scotland. At first, the campaign went badly, as Cromwell's men were short of supplies and held up at fortifications manned by Scottish troops under David Leslie. Cromwell was on the brink of evacuating his army by sea from Dunbar
. However, on 3 September 1650, unexpectedly, Cromwell smashed the main army at the Battle of Dunbar
, killing 4,000 Scottish soldiers, taking another 10,000 prisoner and then capturing the Scottish capital of Edinburgh
. The victory was of such a magnitude that Cromwell called it, "A high act of the Lord's Providence to us [and] one of the most signal mercies God hath done for England and His people".
Battle of WorcesterThe following year, Charles II and his Scottish allies made a desperate attempt to invade England and capture London while Cromwell was engaged in Scotland. Cromwell followed them south and caught them at Worcester
on 3 September 1651. At the subsequent Battle of Worcester
, Cromwell's forces destroyed the last major Scottish Royalist army. Charles II barely escaped capture
, and subsequently fled to exile in France and the Netherlands, where he would remain until 1660. Many of the Scottish prisoners of war taken in the campaigns died of disease, and others were sent as indentured labourers to the colonies. To fight the battle, Cromwell organised an envelopment followed by a multi pronged coordinated attack on Worcester which involved his forces attacking from three directions with two rivers partitioning his force. During the battle, Cromwell switched his reserves from one side of the river Severn to the other and back again. The editor of the Great Rebellion article of the Encyclopædia Britannica, eleventh edition noted that compared to the early Civil War Battle of Turnham Green, Worcester was a battle of manoeuvre, which the English parliamentary armies at the start of the war were unable to execute, and agreed with a German critic that it was a prototype for the Battle of Sedan (1870).
ConclusionIn the final stages of the Scottish campaign, Cromwell's men, under George Monck, sacked the town of Dundee
, killing up to 2,000 of its population of 12,000 and destroying the 60 ships in the city's harbour. During the Commonwealth, Scotland was ruled from England, and was kept under military occupation, with a line of fortifications sealing off the Highlands
, which had provided manpower for Royalist armies in Scotland, from the rest of the country. The north west Highlands was the scene of another pro-royalist uprising in 1653–55, which was only put down with deployment of 6,000 English troops there. Presbyterianism
was allowed to be practised as before, but the Kirk
(the Scottish church) did not have the backing of the civil courts to impose its rulings, as it had previously.
Cromwell's conquest, unwelcome as it was, left no significant lasting legacy of bitterness in Scotland. The rule of the Commonwealth and Protectorate was, the Highlands aside, largely peaceful. Moreover, there was no wholesale confiscations of land or property. Three out of every four Justices of the Peace in Commonwealth Scotland were Scots and the country was governed jointly by the English military authorities and a Scottish Council of State. Although not often favourably regarded, Cromwell's name rarely meets the hatred in Scotland that it does in Ireland.
Return to England and dissolution of the Rump Parliament: 1651–53
, symbol of Parliament's power, and demanded that the "bauble" be taken away. Cromwell's troops were commanded by Charles Worsley
, later one of his Major Generals and one of his most trusted advisors, to whom he entrusted the mace.
Establishment of Barebone's Parliament: 1653After the dissolution of the Rump, power passed temporarily to a council that debated what form the constitution should take. They took up the suggestion of Major-General Thomas Harrison for a "sanhedrin
" of saint
s. Although Cromwell did not subscribe to Harrison's apocalyptic
, Fifth Monarchist
beliefs—which saw a sanhedrin as the starting point for Christ's rule on earth—he was attracted by the idea of an assembly made up of men chosen for their religious credentials. In his speech at the opening of the assembly on 4 July 1653, Cromwell thanked God’s providence that he believed had brought England to this point and set out their divine mission: "truly God hath called you to this work by, I think, as wonderful providences as ever passed upon the sons of men in so short a time." Sometimes known as the Parliament of Saints or more commonly the Nominated Assembly, it was also called the Barebone's Parliament after one of its members, Praise-God Barbon. The assembly was tasked with finding a permanent constitutional and religious settlement (Cromwell was invited to be a member but declined). However, the revelation that a considerably larger segment of the membership than had been believed were the radical Fifth Monarchists led to its members voting to dissolve it on 12 December 1653, out of fear of what the radicals might do if they took control of the Assembly.
The Protectorate: 1653–58After the dissolution of the Barebones Parliament, John Lambert
put forward a new constitution known as the Instrument of Government, closely modelled on the Heads of Proposals
. It made Cromwell Lord Protector for life to undertake “the chief magistracy and the administration of government”. Cromwell was sworn in as Lord Protector on 16 December 1653, with a ceremony in which he wore plain black clothing, rather than any monarchical regalia. However, from this point on Cromwell signed his name 'Oliver P', the P being an abbreviation for Protector, which was similar to the style of monarchs who used an R to mean Rex or Regina, and it soon became the norm for others to address him as "Your Highness". As Protector, he had the power to call and dissolve parliaments but was obliged under the Instrument to seek the majority vote of a Council of State. Nevertheless, Cromwell's power was buttressed by his continuing popularity among the army. As the Lord Protector he was paid £100,000 a year.
Cromwell had two key objectives as Lord Protector. The first was "healing and settling" the nation after the chaos of the civil wars and the regicide, which meant establishing a stable form for the new government to take. Although Cromwell declared to the first Protectorate Parliament that, "Government by one man and a parliament is fundamental," in practice social priorities took precedence over forms of government. Such forms were, he said, "but ... dross and dung in comparison of Christ". The social priorities did not, despite the revolutionary nature of the government, include any meaningful attempt to reform the social order. Cromwell declared, "A nobleman, a gentleman, a yeoman; the distinction of these: that is a good interest of the nation, and a great one!", Small-scale reform such as that carried out on the judicial system
were outweighed by attempts to restore order to English politics. Direct taxation was reduced slightly and peace was made with the Dutch, ending the First Anglo-Dutch War
England's American colonies in this period consisted of the New England Confederation
, the Providence Plantation, the Virginia Colony and the Maryland Colony. Cromwell soon secured the submission of these and largely left them to their own affairs, intervening only to curb his fellow Puritans who were usurping control over the Maryland Colony at the Battle of the Severn
, by his confirming the former Catholic proprietorship and edict of tolerance there. Of all the English dominions, Virginia was the most resentful of Cromwell's rule, and Cavalier emigration there mushroomed during the Protectorate.
Cromwell famously stressed the quest to restore order in his speech to the first Protectorate parliament
at its inaugural meeting on 3 September 1654. He declared that "healing and settling" were the "great end of your meeting". However, the Parliament was quickly dominated by those pushing for more radical, properly republican reforms. After some initial gestures approving appointments previously made by Cromwell, the Parliament began to work on a radical programme of constitutional reform. Rather than opposing Parliament’s bill, Cromwell dissolved them on 22 January 1655.
that followed the dissolution of the first Protectorate Parliament. After a royalist uprising
in March 1655, led by Sir John Penruddock
, Cromwell (influenced by Lambert) divided England into military districts ruled by Army Major Generals who answered only to him. The 15 major generals and deputy major generals—called "godly governors"—were central not only to national security
, but Cromwell's crusade to reform the nation's morals. The generals not only supervised militia
forces and security commissions, but collected taxes and ensured support for the government in the English and Welsh provinces. Commissioners for securing the peace of the commonwealth were appointed to work with them in every county. While a few of these commissioners were career politicians, most were zealous puritans who welcomed the major-generals with open arms and embraced their work with enthusiasm. However, the major-generals lasted less than a year. Many feared they threatened their reform efforts and authority. Their position was further harmed by a tax proposal by Major General John Desborough to provide financial backing for their work, which the second Protectorate parliament
—instated in September 1656—voted down for fear of a permanent military state. Ultimately, however, Cromwell's failure to support his men, sacrificing them to his opponents, caused their demise. Their activities between November 1655 and September 1656 had, however, reopened the wounds of the 1640s and deepened antipathies to the regime.
in 1657, over 350 years after their banishment by Edward I
, in the hope that they would help speed up the recovery of the country after the disruption of the Civil Wars.
In 1657, Cromwell was offered the crown by Parliament as part of a revised constitutional settlement, presenting him with a dilemma, since he had been "instrumental" in abolishing the monarchy. Cromwell agonised for six weeks over the offer. He was attracted by the prospect of stability it held out, but in a speech on 13 April 1657 he made clear that God's providence had spoken against the office of king: “I would not seek to set up that which Providence hath destroyed and laid in the dust, and I would not build Jericho
again”. The reference to Jericho harks back to a previous occasion on which Cromwell had wrestled with his conscience when the news reached England of the defeat of an expedition against the Spanish-held island of Hispaniola
in the West Indies in 1655—comparing himself to Achan
, who had brought the Israelites defeat after bringing plunder back to camp after the capture of Jericho.
Instead, Cromwell was ceremonially re-installed as Lord Protector on 26 June 1657 at Westminster Hall, sitting upon King Edward's Chair
which was specially moved from Westminster Abbey
for the occasion. The event in part echoed a coronation
, utilising many of its symbols and regalia, such as a purple ermine-lined robe, a sword of justice and a sceptre (but not a crown or an orb). But, most notably, the office of Lord Protector was still not to become hereditary, though Cromwell was now able to nominate his own successor. Cromwell's new rights and powers were laid out in the Humble Petition and Advice
, a legislative instrument which replaced the Instrument of Government. Despite failing to restore the Crown, this new constitution did set up many of the vestiges of the ancient constitution including a house of life peers (in place of the House of Lords). In the Humble Petition it was called the Other House
as the Commons could not agree on a suitable name. Furthermore, Oliver Cromwell increasingly took on more of the trappings of monarchy. In particular, he created two baronages after the acceptance of the Humble Petition and Advice—Charles Howard was made Viscount Morpeth and Baron Gisland in July 1657 and Edmund Dunch
was created Baron Burnell of East Wittenham in April 1658. Cromwell himself, however, was at pains to minimise his role, describing himself as a constable or watchman.
Death and posthumous execution
and from "stone
", a common term for urinary/kidney
infections. In 1658 he was struck by a sudden bout of malarial fever, followed directly by illness symptomatic of a urinary or kidney complaint. A Venetian
physician tracked Cromwell's final illness, saying Cromwell's personal physicians were mismanaging his health, leading to a rapid decline and death. The decline may also have been hastened by the death of his favourite daughter, Elizabeth Claypole
, in August. He died aged 59 at Whitehall on Friday 3 September 1658, the anniversary of his great victories at Dunbar
. The most likely cause of Cromwell's death was septicaemia
following his urinary infection. He was buried with great ceremony, with an elaborate funeral based on that of James I, at Westminster Abbey
, his daughter Elizabeth also being buried there.
He was succeeded as Lord Protector by his son Richard
. Although Richard was not entirely without ability, he had no power base in either Parliament or the Army, and was forced to resign in May 1659, ending the Protectorate. There was no clear leadership from the various factions that jostled for power during the short lived reinstated Commonwealth, so George Monck, the English governor of Scotland, at the head of New Model Army regiments was able to march on London, and restore the Long Parliament
. Under Monck's watchful eye the necessary constitutional adjustments were made so that in 1660 Charles II
could be invited back from exile to be king under a restored
On 30 January 1661, (symbolically the 12th anniversary of the execution of Charles I), Oliver Cromwell's body was exhumed from Westminster Abbey, and was subjected to the ritual of a posthumous execution
, as were the remains of John Bradshaw
and Henry Ireton
. (The body of Cromwell's daughter was allowed to remain buried in the Abbey.) His body was hanged in chains at Tyburn
. Finally, his disinterred body was thrown into a pit, while his severed head was displayed on a pole outside Westminster Hall until 1685.
However, doubts began to circulate about the identity of the body mutilated at Tyburn and about the true resting place of Cromwell's mortal remains. These doubts are based upon the assumption that at some point between his death in September 1658 and the exhumation of January 1661 Cromwell's corpse was buried or reburied somewhere other than the designated vault in the Abbey in order to protect it from vengeful royalists. The stories suggest that his remains rest undisturbed in the soil of London, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire or Yorkshire. It is continually questioned whether the body mutilated at Tyburn was in fact that of Oliver Cromwell.
Ironically the Cromwell vault was then used as a burial place for Charles II’s illegitimate descendants. Afterwards the head changed hands several times, including the sale in 1814 to a man named Josiah Henry Wilkinson, before eventually being buried in the grounds of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
, in 1960.
Political reputationDuring his lifetime, some tracts painted him as a hypocrite motivated by power—for example, The Machiavilian Cromwell and The Juglers Discovered, both part of an attack on Cromwell by the Levellers
after 1647, present him as a Machiavellian figure. More positive contemporary assessments—for instance, John Spittlehouse in A Warning Piece Discharged—typically compared him to Moses
, rescuing the English by taking them safely through the Red Sea
of the civil wars. Several biographies were published soon after his death. An example is The Perfect Politician, which described how Cromwell "loved men more than books" and gave a nuanced assessment of him as an energetic campaigner for liberty of conscience brought down by pride and ambition. An equally nuanced but less positive assessment was published in 1667 by Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon
, in his History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England. Clarendon famously declared that Cromwell "will be looked upon by posterity as a brave bad man". He argued that Cromwell's rise to power had been helped not only by his great spirit and energy, but also by his ruthlessness. Clarendon was not one of Cromwell's confidantes, and his account was written after the Restoration
of the monarchy.
During the early eighteenth century, Cromwell's image began to be adopted and reshaped by the Whigs
, as part of a wider project to give their political objectives historical legitimacy. A version of Edmund Ludlow
’s Memoirs, re-written by John Toland
to excise the radical Puritanical elements and replace them with a Whiggish brand of republicanism, presented the Cromwellian Protectorate as a military tyranny. Through Ludlow, Toland portrayed Cromwell as a despot
who crushed the beginnings of democratic rule in the 1640s.
During the early nineteenth century, Cromwell began to be adopted by Romantic
artists and poets. Thomas Carlyle
continued this reassessment of Cromwell in the 1840s by presenting him as a hero in the battle between good and evil and a model for restoring morality to an age that Carlyle believed to have been dominated by timidity, meaningless rhetoric, and moral compromise. Cromwell's actions, including his campaigns in Ireland and his dissolution of the Long Parliament, according to Carlyle, had to be appreciated and praised as a whole.
By the late 19th century, Carlyle's portrayal of Cromwell, stressing the centrality of puritan morality and earnestness, had become assimilated into Whig
. The Oxford civil war historian Samuel Rawson Gardiner
concluded that "the man—it is ever so with the noblest—was greater than his work". Gardiner stressed Cromwell’s dynamic and mercurial character, and his role in dismantling absolute monarchy
, while underestimating Cromwell’s religious conviction. Cromwell’s foreign policy also provided an attractive forerunner of Victorian
, with Gardiner stressing his “constancy of effort to make England great by land and sea”.
During the first half of the twentieth century, Cromwell's reputation was often influenced by the rise of fascism in Nazi Germany
and in Italy
. Wilbur Cortez Abbott
, for example—a Harvard historian—devoted much of his career to compiling and editing a multi-volume collection of Cromwell's letters and speeches. In this work, which was published between 1937 and 1947, Abbott began to argue that Cromwell was a proto-fascist. However, subsequent historians such as John Morrill
have criticised both Abbott's interpretation of Cromwell and his editorial approach. Ernest Barker
similarly compared the Independents to the Nazis. Nevertheless, not all historical comparisons made at this time drew on contemporary military dictators.
Late twentieth century historians re-examined the nature of Cromwell's faith and of his authoritarian regime. Austin Woolrych explored the issue of "dictatorship" in depth, arguing that Cromwell was subject to two conflicting forces: his obligation to the army and his desire to achieve a lasting settlement by winning back the confidence of the political nation as a whole. Woolrych argued that the dictatorial elements of Cromwell's rule stemmed not so much from its military origins or the participation of army officers in civil government, as from his constant commitment to the interest of the people of God and his conviction that suppressing vice and encouraging virtue constituted the chief end of government.
Historians such as John Morrill, Blair Worden and J. C. Davis have developed this theme, revealing the extent to which Cromwell’s writing and speeches are suffused with biblical references, and arguing that his radical actions were driven by his zeal for godly reformation.
Monuments and posthumous honours
was a noted Cromwell enthusiast, and noted collector of Cromwell manuscripts and memorabilia. His collection included many rare manuscripts and printed books, medals, paintings, objets d'art and a bizarre assemblage of "relics." This includes Cromwell's bible, button, coffin plate, death mask and funeral escutcheon. On Tangye's death, the entire collection was donated to the Museum of London
, where it can still be seen today.
- In 1776, one of the first ships commissioned to serve in the Continental NavyContinental NavyThe Continental Navy was the navy of the United States during the American Revolutionary War, and was formed in 1775. Through the efforts of the Continental Navy's patron, John Adams and vigorous Congressional support in the face of stiff opposition, the fleet cumulatively became relatively...
during the American Revolutionary WarAmerican Revolutionary WarThe American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...
was named the Oliver Cromwell.
- In Westminster AbbeyWestminster AbbeyThe Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...
the site of Cromwell’s burial was marked, during the 19th century, by a floor stone, laid in what is now the Air Force ChapelRAF ChapelAt the eastern end of Westminster Abbey in the magnificent Lady Chapel built by King Henry VII is the RAF Chapel dedicated to the men of the Royal Air Force who died in the Battle of Britain between July and October 1940....
, reading THE BURIAL PLACE OF OLIVER CROMWELL 1658–1661.
- In 1851, the newly-incorporated town of CromwellCromwell, ConnecticutCromwell is a town in Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States located in the middle of the state. The population was 12,871 at the 2000 census.The town was named after Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England.-Points of interest:...
, Connecticut in the United States was named after him.
- In 1875, a statue of Cromwell by Matthew NobleMatthew NobleMatthew Noble was a British sculptor.-Life:Noble was born in Hackness, near Scarborough, as the son of a stonemason, and served his apprenticeship under his father. He left Yorkshire for London when quite young, there he studied under John Francis...
was erected in Manchester outside the cathedral, a gift to the city by Mrs Abel Heywood in memory of her first husband. It was the first such large-scale statue to be erected in the open anywhere in England and was a realistic likeness, based on the painting by Peter LelyPeter LelySir Peter Lely was a painter of Dutch origin, whose career was nearly all spent in England, where he became the dominant portrait painter to the court.-Life:...
and showing Cromwell in battledress with drawn sword and leather body armour. The statue was unpopular with the local Conservatives and with the large Irish immigrant population alike. When Queen Victoria was invited to open the new Manchester Town HallManchester Town HallManchester Town Hall is a Victorian-era, Neo-gothic municipal building in Manchester, England. The building functions as the ceremonial headquarters of Manchester City Council and houses a number of local government departments....
, she is alleged to have consented on condition that the statue of Cromwell be removed. The statue remained, Victoria declined, and the Town Hall was opened by the Lord Mayor. During the 1980s the statue was relocated outside Wythenshawe HallWythenshawe HallWythenshawe Hall is a 16th-century medieval timber-framed historic house and former stately home in Wythenshawe, Manchester, England. It is east of Altrincham and south of Stretford, five miles south of Manchester city centre, in Wythenshawe Park.-History:The half-timbered Tudor house was the home...
, which had been occupied by Cromwell and his troops – image.
- During the 1890s plans to erect a statue of Cromwell outside Parliament caused considerable controversy. Pressure from the Irish Nationalist PartyNationalist Party (Ireland)The Nationalist Party was a term commonly used to describe a number of parliamentary political parties and constituency organisations supportive of Home Rule for Ireland from 1874 to 1922...
forced the withdrawal of a motion to seek public funding for the project and eventually it was funded privately by Lord Rosebery. In 2008 the statue was restored to mark the 350th anniversary of Cromwell’s death.
- There is an above life-sized statue of Cromwell in the centre of St Ives, CambridgeshireSt Ives, CambridgeshireSt Ives is a market town in Cambridgeshire, England, around north-west of the city of Cambridge and north of London. It lies within the historic county boundaries of Huntingdonshire.-History:...
where he blew up the bridge to prevent the royalist troops approaching London – image.
- A statue of Cromwell also stands outside The Academy in Bridge Street, WarringtonWarringtonWarrington is a town, borough and unitary authority area of Cheshire, England. It stands on the banks of the River Mersey, which is tidal to the west of the weir at Howley. It lies 16 miles east of Liverpool, 19 miles west of Manchester and 8 miles south of St Helens...
, an historic building which is now home to the Warrington Guardian newspaper. Cromwell fought the battle of Warrington Bridge against Scottish Royalists in the town in 1648.
- As First Lord of the Admiralty before the First World War, Winston Churchill suggested naming a British battleship HMS Oliver Cromwell. The suggestion did not meet with royal approval.
- In 1940 "Cromwell" was the codeword warning that German invasion of Britain was imminent.
- The Cromwell TankCromwell tankTank, Cruiser, Mk VIII, Cromwell ,The designation as the eighth Cruiser tank design, its name given for ease of reference and its General Staff specification number respectively and the related Centaur tank, were one of the most successful series of cruiser tanks fielded by Britain in the Second...
, a British WWII cruiser tank, first used in 1944, was named after him.
- A steam locomotive built by British Railways in 1951, 70013 Oliver CromwellBR standard class 7 70013 Oliver Cromwell70013 Oliver Cromwell is a British Railways standard class 7 preserved steam locomotive. The locomotive is notable as one of the four steam locomotives which worked the last steam railtour on British Railways in 1968 before the introduction of a steam ban.-Career:One of 55 of the "Britannia"...
was named after Cromwell.
- A statue of Cromwell is included amongst 35 English monarchs depicted on the facade of Bradford City HallBradford City HallBradford City Hall is a Grade I listed, 19th century town hall in Centenary Square, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, and is notable for its landmark bell/clock tower.- As town hall :The building was designed by Lockwood and Mawson, and opened in 1873....
, which are arranged in chronological order. Cromwell's statue appears between Charles ICharles I of EnglandCharles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...
and Charles IICharles II of EnglandCharles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...
- In one of the earliest novels to feature Cromwell as a character, Abbe PrevostAntoine François PrévostAntoine François Prévost , usually known simply as the Abbé Prévost, was a French author and novelist.- Life and works :...
's Le philosophe anglais (1731–39), he is portrayed as a hypocritical womaniser, a deceitful tyrant, and a coward. The protagonist of this novel, Mr Cleveland, is the illegitimate son of Cromwell via one of Charles I's cast-off mistresses. For a synopsis, go to: this link
- Cromwell’s adoption by the French Romantic movement was typified by Victor HugoVictor HugoVictor-Marie Hugo was a Frenchpoet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France....
's 1827 play CromwellCromwell (play)Cromwell is a play by Victor Hugo written in 1827. It was a result of the creation of the literary circle around Hugo which identified itself as Romanticist, taking Shakespeare as their model dramatist rather than the Classicist models of Jean Racine and Pierre Corneille supported by the French...
, often considered to be symbolic of the French romantic movement, which represents Cromwell as a ruthless yet dynamic Romantic hero. A similar impression of a world-changing individual with a strong willWill (philosophy)Will, in philosophical discussions, consonant with a common English usage, refers to a property of the mind, and an attribute of acts intentionally performed. Actions made according to a person's will are called "willing" or "voluntary" and sometimes pejoratively "willful"...
and personality was provided in 1831 in the picture by French artist Hippolyte DelarocheHippolyte DelarocheHippolyte Delaroche , commonly known as Paul Delaroche, was a French painter born in Paris. Delaroche was born into a wealthy family and was trained by Antoine-Jean, Baron Gros, who then painted life-size histories and had many students.The first Delaroche picture exhibited was the large Josabeth...
, depicting the legendary visit by Cromwell to the body of Charles I after the King’s execution.
- Alexandre Dumas's sequel to the Three Musketeers, Twenty Years AfterTwenty Years AfterTwenty Years After is a novel by Alexandre Dumas, père, first serialized from January to August, 1845. A book of the D'Artagnan Romances, it is a sequel to The Three Musketeers and precedes The Vicomte de Bragelonne .The novel follows events in France during La Fronde, during the childhood reign...
, is set against the backdrop of the Second English Civil War, with the four friends split to fight on opposing sides on behalf of Cromwell and Charles I. The main antagonist, Mordaunt, is portrayed as Cromwell's secretary and spy.
- Rutland BoughtonRutland BoughtonRutland Boughton was an English composer who became well known in the early 20th century as a composer of opera and choral music....
's Symphony No. 1 (1904–05) was subtitled "Oliver Cromwell".
- 1970 saw the release of the Ken HughesKen HughesKen Hughes was a British film director, writer, and producer.-Personal history:Wife Charlotte Hughes living in LA...
film CromwellCromwell (film)Cromwell is a 1970 film, based on the life of Oliver Cromwell who led the Parliamentary forces during the English Civil War and, as Lord Protector, ruled Great Britain and Ireland in the 1650s. It features an all-star cast led by Richard Harris as Cromwell and Alec Guinness as King Charles I...
starring Richard Harris in the leading role. To Kill a KingTo Kill a KingTo Kill a King is a UK 2003 English Civil War film directed by Mike Barker, starring Tim Roth and Dougray Scott. It relates the relationship between Oliver Cromwell and Thomas Fairfax in the post-war period from 1648 until the former's death, in 1658. It deals with the corruption of Parliament...
, a film of 2003 focussed on the relationship between Dougray ScottDougray Scott-Early life:The son of Elma, a nurse, and Alan Scott, an actor and salesperson, Stephen Dougray Scott was born in Glenrothes, Fife and attended Auchmuty High School...
as Fairfax and Tim RothTim RothSimon Timothy "Tim" Roth is an English film actor and director best known for his roles in the American films,Legend of 1900, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Four Rooms, Skellig, Planet of the Apes, The Incredible Hulk and Rob Roy, receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for...
as Cromwell, with Rupert EverettRupert EverettRupert James Hector Everett is an English actor. He first came to public attention in 1981, when he was cast in Julian Mitchell's play and subsequent film Another Country as an openly gay student at an English public school, set in the 1930s...
as King Charles ICharles I of EnglandCharles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...
. Jack Shepherd's 2004 play Through a Cloud, set in 1656, imagines a meeting between Cromwell and John MiltonJohn MiltonJohn Milton was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell...
- Oliver Cromwell was played by Bernard HeptonBernard HeptonBernard Hepton is a British actor of stage, film and television.Hepton is known as a particularly versatile character actor. He trained at Bradford Civic Theatre school under Esme Church along with actors such as Robert Stephens...
in the twelve-part radio series God's Revolution, which was written by Don TaylorDon Taylor (director)Donald Victor Taylor was an English writer, director and producer, active across theatre, radio and television for over forty years...
, broadcast on BBC Radio 4BBC Radio 4BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...
in 1998 and rebroadcast on BBC Radio 7 in 2010.
- Blackadder: The Cavalier YearsBlackadder: The Cavalier YearsBlackadder: The Cavalier Years is a 15 minute one-off edition of Blackadder set during the English Civil War, shown as part of Comic Relief's Red Nose Day on Friday 5 February . The episode included series regulars Rowan Atkinson as Sir Edmund Blackadder, Tony Robinson as Baldrick, and Stephen Fry...
features a parody of Cromwell played by Warren ClarkeWarren Clarke-Biography:Clarke was born in Oldham, Lancashire. His first television appearance was in the long running Granada soap opera Coronation Street, initially as Kenny Pickup in 1966 and then as Gary Bailey in 1968. His first major film appearance was in Stanley Kubrick's controversial A Clockwork...
- Cromwell has also been mentioned in popular songs, such as:
- A more light-hearted take on Cromwell's life and deeds, "Oliver CromwellOliver Cromwell (song)"Oliver Cromwell" is a song released by Monty Python in 1989, and featured in their 1991 album Monty Python Sings. John Cleese, who wrote the lyric, originally debuted the song on February 2, 1969 in the radio show I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, where it was introduced as "The Ballad of Oliver...
", was released by Monty PythonMonty PythonMonty Python was a British surreal comedy group who created their influential Monty Python's Flying Circus, a British television comedy sketch show that first aired on the BBC on 5 October 1969. Forty-five episodes were made over four series...
in 1989, in which a factually accurate capsule biography is sung to the music of Chopin's Polonaise in A-flat, Op. 53, for piano.
- Elvis CostelloElvis CostelloElvis Costello , born Declan Patrick MacManus, is an English singer-songwriter. He came to prominence as an early participant in London's pub rock scene in the mid-1970s and later became associated with the punk/New Wave genre. Steeped in word play, the vocabulary of Costello's lyrics is broader...
's 1979 hit pop single "Oliver's ArmyOliver's Army"Oliver's Army" is a song written by Elvis Costello, originally performed by Elvis Costello and the Attractions and appearing on the album Armed Forces in 1979. It remains his most successful single, spending four weeks at Nº2 in the UK singles chart....
- The PoguesThe PoguesThe Pogues are a Celtic punk band, formed in 1982 and fronted by Shane MacGowan. The band reached international prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. MacGowan left the band in 1991 due to drinking problems but the band continued first with Joe Strummer and then with Spider Stacy on vocals before...
mention him in their 1989 song “Young Ned of the Hill”: A song about Cromwell's assault on Drogheda, it references him directly by saying: “A curse upon you Oliver Cromwell / You who raped our Motherland.”
- "Irish Blood, English Heart", the 2004 single by MorrisseyMorrisseySteven Patrick Morrissey , known as Morrissey, is an English singer and lyricist. He rose to prominence in the 1980s as the lyricist and vocalist of the alternative rock band The Smiths. The band was highly successful in the United Kingdom but broke up in 1987, and Morrissey began a solo career,...
includes the lyrics: "I've been dreaming of a time when the English are sick to death of LabourLabour Party (UK)The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...
and ToriesConservative Party (UK)The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...
/ And spit upon the name Oliver Cromwell / And denounce this royal line that still salute him / And will salute him forever".
- The song "Tobacco Island" by Irish-AmericanIrish AmericanIrish Americans are citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry to Ireland. A total of 36,278,332 Americans—estimated at 11.9% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau...
celtic punkCeltic punkCeltic punk is punk rock mixed with traditional Celtic music. The genre was founded in the 1980s by The Pogues, a band of punk musicians in London who celebrated their Irish heritage. Celtic punk bands often play covers of traditional Irish folk and political songs, as well as original compositions...
band Flogging MollyFlogging MollyFlogging Molly is a seven-piece Irish-descendant band from Los Angeles, California, that is currently signed to their own record label, Borstal Beat Records.-Early years:...
describes the deportation of Irish citizens to Barbados.
- A more light-hearted take on Cromwell's life and deeds, "Oliver Cromwell
- Oliver Cromwell, played by Dominic WestDominic WestDominic Gerard Fe West is an English actor best known for his role as Detective Jimmy McNulty in the HBO drama series The Wire.-Film and TV:...
, is one of the main characters in the 2008 Channel 4 TV miniseries The Devil's WhoreThe Devil's WhoreThe Devil's Whore is a four-part television series set during the English Civil War, produced by Company Pictures for Channel 4 in 2008. It centres on the adventures of the fictional Angelica Fanshawe, and the historical Leveller soldier Edward Sexby...
- Popular Australian fantasy author Kate ForsythKate ForsythKate Forsyth is an Australian fantasy author, best known for the Witches of Eileanan series, and the Rhiannon's Ride series, which is also set in Eileanan....
wrote Oliver Cromwell into her series The Chain of Charms.
- Protagonist "Alucard" of the Japanese mangaMangaManga is the Japanese word for "comics" and consists of comics and print cartoons . In the West, the term "manga" has been appropriated to refer specifically to comics created in Japan, or by Japanese authors, in the Japanese language and conforming to the style developed in Japan in the late 19th...
, HellsingHellsingis a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Kouta Hirano. It first premiered in Young King Ours in 1997 and ended in September 2008. The individual chapters are collected and published in tankōbon volumes by Shōnen Gahosha. As of March 2009 all chapters have been released in 10 volumes in...
, refers to his power restriction system as the Cromwell Invocation.
- In The Adventures of Luther ArkwrightThe Adventures of Luther ArkwrightThe Adventures of Luther Arkwright was a limited series comic book written and drawn by Bryan Talbot.-Publishing history:Luther Arkwright made his first appearance in the mid 1970s in "The Papist Affair", a short strip for Brainstorm Comix where Arkwright teamed up with a group of cigar-chewing...
, a comic book fantasy adventure spanning countless alternative universes, modern day England is a fascist theocracy ruled by a descendant of Cromwell.
- Orson Scott CardOrson Scott CardOrson Scott Card is an American author, critic, public speaker, essayist, columnist, and political activist. He writes in several genres, but is primarily known for his science fiction. His novel Ender's Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead both won Hugo and Nebula Awards, making Card the...
's alternate historical fantasy novel series The Tales of Alvin MakerThe Tales of Alvin MakerThe Tales of Alvin Maker is a series of novels by Orson Scott Card that revolve around the experiences of a young man, Alvin Miller, who discovers he has incredible powers for creating and shaping things around him...
diverges from reality in that folk magic actually works, and because at least one of his physicians had a healing "knackAptitudeAn aptitude is an innate component of a competency to do a certain kind of work at a certain level. Aptitudes may be physical or mental...
", Cromwell did not die so young, so the English RestorationEnglish RestorationThe Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...
never happened, causing drastic alterations in the 19th Century North American setting of the series (e.g. there were four separate nations in the area occupied by the real United States of the time, only one of which had that name). Cromwell himself does not appear in the series.
- In a 2002 BBCBBCThe British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...
telephone and internet poll in Britain, Cromwell was voted to be one of the Top 10 Britons of all time100 Greatest Britons100 Greatest Britons was broadcast in 2002 by the BBC. The programme was the result of a vote conducted to determine whom the United Kingdom public considers the greatest British people in history. The series, Great Britons, included individual programmes on the top ten, with viewers having further...
- "Cromwell Road" remains a popular street name in many British towns and cities, and towns in New Zealand and the United States have been named "Cromwell".
- Neal StephensonNeal StephensonNeal Town Stephenson is an American writer known for his works of speculative fiction.Difficult to categorize, his novels have been variously referred to as science fiction, historical fiction, cyberpunk, and postcyberpunk...
’s alternate historical novel series The Baroque CycleThe Baroque CycleThe Baroque Cycle is a series of novels by American writer Neal Stephenson. It was published in three volumes containing 8 books in 2003 and 2004. The story follows the adventures of a sizeable cast of characters living amidst some of the central events of the late 17th and early 18th centuries in...
contains many references to Cromwell, as well as extensive descriptions of his grass-roots supporters and their behaviour after The Restoration. This creates a detailed picture of the beliefs and attitudes of his supporters and the civil warriors after they have witnessed the destruction of all their dreams and accomplishments. The novel series begins in 1655, but Cromwell himself does not appear in the series.
- The Morganville Vampires Novels features Cromwell as a vampire.
- Robert WalkerRobert Walker (painter)Robert Walker was an English portrait painter, notable for his portraits of the "Lord Protector" Oliver Cromwell and other distinguished parliamentarians of the period...
Article includes information about the various portraits of Cromwell by the artists Robert Walker, Peter Lely and Samuel Cooper.
- Adamson, John (1990). "Oliver Cromwell and the Long Parliament", in Morrill, John (ed.), Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution Longman, ISBN 0582016754
- Ashley, Maurice (1958). The Greatness of Oliver Cromwell Macmillan
- Bennett, Martyn. Oliver Cromwell (2006), ISBN 0415319226
- Clifford, Alan (1999). Oliver Cromwell: the lessons and legacy of the Protectorate Charenton Reformed Publishing, ISBN 095267162X. Religious study.
- Davis, J. C. (2001). Oliver Cromwell Hodder Arnold, ISBN 0340731184
- Fraser, Antonia (1973). Cromwell, Our Chief of Men, and Cromwell: the Lord Protector Phoenix Press, ISBN 0753813319. Popular narrative.
- Firth, C.H. (1900). Oliver Cromwell and the Rule of the Puritans online edition ISBN 1402144741; classic older biography
- Gardiner, Samuel Rawson (1901). Oliver Cromwell, ISBN 1417949619. Classic older biography.
- Gaunt, Peter (1996). Oliver Cromwell Blackwell, ISBN 0631183566. Short biography.
- Hill, ChristopherChristopher Hill (historian)John Edward Christopher Hill , usually known simply as Christopher Hill, was an English Marxist historian and author of textbooks....
(1970). God's Englishman: Oliver Cromwell And The English Revolution Penguin, ISBN 0297000438.
- Hirst, Derek (1990). "The Lord Protector, 1653-8", in Morrill, John (ed.), Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution Longman, ISBN 0582016754
- Mason, James and Angela Leonard (1998). Oliver Cromwell Longman, ISBN 0582297346
- McKeiver, Philip (2007). "A New History of Cromwell's Irish Campaign", Advance Press, Manchester, ISBN 9780955466304
- Morrill, John (2004). "Cromwell, Oliver (1599–1658)", in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press
- Morrill, John (1990). "The Making of Oliver Cromwell", in Morrill, John (ed.), Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution Longman, ISBN 0582016754.
- Paul, Robert (1958). The Lord Protector: Religion And Politics In The Life Of Oliver Cromwell
- Smith, David (ed.) (2003). Oliver Cromwell and the Interregnum Blackwell, ISBN 0631227253
- Wedgwood, C.V. (1939). Oliver Cromwell Duckworth, ISBN 0715606565
- Worden, Blair (1985). "Oliver Cromwell and the sin of Achan", in Beales, D. and Best, G. (eds.) History, Society and the Churches, ISBN 0521021898
- Durston, Christopher (2000). "'Settling the Hearts and Quieting the Minds of All Good People': the Major-generals and the Puritan Minorities of Interregnum England", in History 2000 85(278): pp. 247–267, ISSN 0018-2648 . Full text online at Ebsco.
- Durston, Christopher (1998). "The Fall of Cromwell's Major-Generals", in English Historical Review 1998 113(450): pp. 18–37, ISSN 0013-8266
- Firth, C.H. (1921). Cromwell's Army Greenhill Books, ISBN 1853671207
- Gillingham, J. (1976). Portrait Of A Soldier: Cromwell Weidenfeld & Nicholson, ISBN 0297771485
- Kenyon, John & Ohlmeyer, Jane (eds.) (2000). The Civil Wars: A Military History of England, Scotland, and Ireland 1638–1660 Oxford University Press, ISBN 019280278X
- Kitson, Frank (2004). Old Ironsides: The Military Biography of Oliver Cromwell Weidenfeld Military, ISBN 0297846884
- Marshall, Alan (2004). Oliver Cromwell: Soldier: The Military Life of a Revolutionary at War Brassey's, ISBN 1857533437
- McKeiver, Philip (2007). "A New History of Cromwell's Irish Campaign", Advance Press, Manchester, ISBN 9780955466304
- Woolrych, Austin (1990). "The Cromwellian Protectorate: a Military Dictatorship?" in History 1990 75(244): 207–231, ISSN 0018-2648 . Full text online at Ebsco.
- Woolrych, Austin (1990). "Cromwell as a soldier", in Morrill, John (ed.), Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution Longman, ISBN 0582016754
- Young, Peter and Holmes, Richard (2000). The English Civil War, Wordsworth, ISBN 1840222220
Surveys of era
- Coward, Barry (2002). The Cromwellian Protectorate Manchester University Press, ISBN 0719043174
- Coward, Barry (2003). The Stuart Age: England, 1603–1714, Longman, ISBN 0-582-77251-6. Survey of political history of the era.
- Davies, Godfrey (1959). The Early Stuarts, 1603–1660 Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198217048. Political, religious, and diplomatic overview of the era.
- Korr, Charles P. (1975). Cromwell and the New Model Foreign Policy: England's Policy toward France, 1649–1658 University of California Press, ISBN 0520022815
- Macinnes, Allan (2005). The British Revolution, 1629–1660 Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 0333597508
- Morrill, John (1990). "Cromwell and his contemporaries". In Morrill, John (ed.), Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution Longman, ISBN 0582016754
- Trevor-Roper, Hugh (1967). Oliver Cromwell and his Parliaments, in his Religion, the Reformation and Social Change Macmillan.
- Venning, Timothy (1995). Cromwellian Foreign Policy Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 0333633881
- Woolrych, Austin (1982). Commonwealth to Protectorate Clarendon Press, ISBN 0198226594
- Woolrych, Austin (2002). Britain in Revolution 1625–1660 Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780199272686
- Abbott, W.C. (ed.) (1937–47). Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, 4 vols. The standard academic reference for Cromwell's own words. Questia.com.
- Carlyle, Thomas (ed.) (1904 edition), Oliver Cromwell's letters and speeches, with elucidations. ;
- Haykin, Michael A. G. (ed.) (1999). To Honour God: The Spirituality of Oliver Cromwell Joshua Press, ISBN 1894400038. Excerpts from Cromwell's religious writings.
- Davis, J. C. Oliver Cromwell (2001). 243 pp; a biographical study that covers sources and historiography
- Gaunt, Peter. "The Reputation of Oliver Cromwell in the 19th century," Parliamentary History, Oct 2009, Vol. 28 Issue 3, pp 425–428
- Lunger Knoppers, Laura. Constructing Cromwell. Ceremony, Portrait and Print, 1645–1661 (2000), shows how people compared Cromwell to King Ahab, King David, Elijah, Gideon and Moses, as well as Brutus and Julius Caesar.
- Morrill, John. "Rewriting Cromwell: a Case of Deafening Silences." Canadian Journal of History 2003 38(3): 553–578. Issn: 0008-4107 Fulltext: Ebsco
- Morrill, John (1990). "Textualizing and Contextualizing Cromwell", in Historical Journal 1990 33(3): pp. 629–639. ISSN 0018-246X . Full text online at Jstor. Examines the Carlyle and Abbott editions.
- Worden, Blair (2001). Roundhead Reputations: the English Civil Wars and the passions of posterity Penguin, ISBN 0141006943
- Worden, Blair. "Thomas Carlyle and Oliver Cromwell", in Proceedings Of The British Academy(2000) 105: pp. 131–170. ISSN 0068-1202 .
- Worden, Blair. Roundhead Reputations: the English Civil Wars and the passions of posterity (2001), 387pp; ISBN 0-14-100694-3.
- Oliver Cromwell World History Database
- Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution—In Honor of Christopher Hill 1912–2003
- The Cromwell Association
- The Cromwell Museum in Huntingdon
- Chronology of Oliver Cromwell World History Database
- Biography at the British Civil Wars & Commonwealth website
- Works by or about Oliver Cromwell at Internet ArchiveInternet ArchiveThe Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge". It offers permanent storage and access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and nearly 3 million public domain books. The Internet Archive...
(scanned books original editions color illustrated)
- Vallely, Paul. The Big Question: Was Cromwell a revolutionary hero or a genocidal war criminal?, The IndependentThe IndependentThe Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...
4 September 2008.
- The Cromwellian Catastrophe in Ireland:an Historiographical Analysis (an overview of writings/writers on the subject by Jameel Hampton pub. Gateway An Academic Journal on the Web: Spring 2003 PDF