Cromwell was born on April 25, 1599, in Huntingdon, near Cambridge.
His father Robert was the younger son of a knight, which in those days
meant that he had very little property. Cromwell grew up in genteel
poverty; not quite a member of the nobility, yet not a commoner either.
In 1620 he married Elizabeth Bourchier.
the early part of his adult life, Oliver scraped along, barely making
ends meet on the scraps he had inherited from his father. Then in 1630
the failure of his business caused him to move to St. Ives and begin
again as a yeoman farmer. However in 1637 he inherited a modest income
and property when his mother's brother died without heirs.
Cromwell's impoverished circumstances, he had many opportunities to
interact with powerful figures at court. His grandfather lived in state
at his house outside Huntingdon, where he frequently entertained royalty
and court officials. And through his wife's father, Sir James Bourchier,
Cromwell was brought into contact with London merchants and leading
1630 Cromwell suffered what we would today term a mental breakdown.
At the same time he underwent a powerful religious conversion to the
Puritan cause. He afterwards said that he felt as though he was waiting
for God to give him a mission. In
the meantime Cromwell was elected as a member of Parliament for Huntingdon,
a post he owed more to patronage and aristocratic connections than to
any great merit. He attended the Parliament of 1628-9 (and was likely
the poorest MP there). He seems to have been overawed by his elevated
status, and hardly made any contribution to the Parliamentary sessions.
in 1640 Cromwell was back in Parliament, this time representing Cambridge.
And this time he had quite a lot to say! He was one of the most outspoken
critics of royal policies and of the established Anglican church. He
also advocated increased Parliamentary powers, calling for annual sessions
of Parliament, and for Parliament, not the king, to have the power to
name army generals.
fighting finally broke out in 1642, Cromwell was named a captain of
horse (a minor cavalry commander). But now his military leadership qualities
came to the fore. Within a year he was Lieutenant General of Horse for
the Army of the Eastern Association (essential equivalent to modern
1645, the three largest Parliamentary armies were combined. Parliamentary
leaders could not agree on who should lead the cavalry of the new army,
so they appointed Cromwell as temporary commander for 40 days. The temporary
appointment was renewed many times over until finally becoming permanent
the meantime Cromwell led his cavalry in some of the most vital battles
of the Civil War. His horsemen were responsible for major contributions
to the victories at Marston
Moor (1644) and Naseby (1645).
is easy to regard Cromwell as a fire-breathing radical, but that assessment
is not a fair one. To be sure, he roundly castigated Parliamentary leaders
who advocated a negotiated settlement with the king. Cromwell wanted
to settle for nothing less than total victory over the Cavaliers.
the other hand, Cromwell rigorously opposed the religious intolerance
of the Presbyterians, and the political intolerance of the Levelers.
He seems to have made a genuine effort to work within the existing forms
of government and negotiate in good faith with King Charles for governmental
and religious reforms.
resolve towards tolerance was tested in 1647 when Charles prompted a
Scottish rising. He put down the royal allies at Preston, and Yorkshire.
Though he felt betrayed by Charles, Cromwell held out against a trial,
and when he agreed it was with the idea that Charles would abdicate
in favour of one of his sons. But Charles was obstinate to the last,
and refused to step aside. Once it became clear that the king would
not be swayed, Cromwell became one of the most vocal supporters of regicide.
the death of Charles, further rebellions in favour of the future Charles
II arose in Ireland and Scotland. Cromwell dealt with Ireland first,
and his ferocious retribution for Irish actions earned him a reputation
for cruelty. Scotland was next, and finally Cromwell defeated the younger
Charles at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.
then participated in the debates of the "Rump Parliament",
which sat until 1653. Finally, tired of the continuous bickering and
lack of real desire for reform, he dissolved the Rump by the crude expediency
of armed force. He tried to work with religious leaders to " to
design a blueprint for a godly commonwealth", but once again his
efforts were done in by the inability of the various parties to work
and probably with a sense of exasperation, Cromwell himself took up
the reigns as Lord Protector, head of an executive council. Several
efforts were made to have him named king, but this Cromwell resisted
firmly. His rule was a time of rigid social and religious laws on radical
September 3, 1658, Oliver Cromwell died and was buried at Westminster
Abbey. After abortive attempts by his son, Richard Cromwell, to govern
as Lord Protector, Charles II was called back from exile to resume the
monarchy. In 1661 Oliver Cromwell's body was exhumed from its grave
and hung at Tyburn. Then his head was cut off and put on public display
for nearly 20 years outside Westminster Hall.
Cromwell (April 25, 1599 - September 3, 1658) was an English politician; who, as Lord Protector following the overthrow of the British Monarchy, ruled England, Scotland and Ireland from December 16, 1653, until his death.
the English Civil War broke out, Cromwell raised a cavalry
troop which became the basis of his Ironsides. It was at the Battle of Marston Moor (1644) that Cromwell came to prominence. As a leader of the Parliamentarian cause, and commander of the New Model Army which he was instrumental in forming,
he defeated King Charles I's forces, thus bringing to an end the
absolute power of the English monarchy.
Cromwell descended from Catherine Cromwell (born circa 1483), an older sister of Tudor statesman Thomas Cromwell. Although she married, her children
kept her name, possibly to maintain their connection with their famous
uncle. Of these children, Richard Cromwell (c 1500 - 1544) was the father of Henry Cromwell (c 1524 - January 6, 1603). Henry's extravagant tendencies left his heirs including
his son Robert Cromwell, Esquire (c 1560 - 1617) with an inheritance that included lands but not money. Oliver
was born to Robert Cromwell and his wife Elizabeth Steward or Stewart(1564 - 1654) on April 25, 1599.
was born in Huntingdon, in the county of Huntingdonshire in East Anglia. He was a gentleman farmer. He was also a
devout Puritan. He became the Member of Parliament (MP) for Huntingdon in the
Parliament of 1628 - 1629. He began his political career by defending the people of
The Fens from wealthy landowners who wanted to drive them
off their land.
influence as a military commander and politician during the English
Civil War dramatically altered the military and the political landscape
of the British Isles. The so-called "second civil war",
which broke out in 1648 after Charles I's escape from prison, suggested to Cromwell
that no compromise was possible, and he was mainly responsible for pushing
through the king's trial and execution.
actions made him very unpopular in Scotland and Ireland which, as nominally independent nations, were effectively
conquered by English forces. In particular, Cromwell's suppression of
the Royalists in Ireland during 1649 still has a strong resonance for many Irish people. The massacre
of nearly 3,500 people in Drogheda after its capture -- comprising around 2,700 Royalist
soldiers and all the men in the town carrying arms, including civilians,
prisoners, and Catholic priests -- is one of the historical memories
that has fuelled Irish-English and Catholic-Protestant strife for over
three centuries. Cromwell felt justified in ordering the massacre because
the city's defenders had continued to fight, in violation of what were
then the norms of warfare, after the walls had been breached.
the peace following the civil wars, he ruled for several years as Lord Protector of the republican Commonwealth of England but declined the kingship
when Parliament offered it to him in 1657. Many of his actions during this period appear unwise or hypocritical.
He was savage in putting down the mutinies which occurred within his
own army towards the end of the war (prompted by failure to pay the
troops) and showed little sympathy for the Levellers, an egalitarian movement which had contributed
greatly to Parliament's cause. In 1653, he dismissed the Rump Parliament, and his foreign policy led him into
the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652 - 1654) against the Netherlands. His rule gradually assumed the guise of a military
two years of Cromwell's death on September 3, 1658 (his son Richard Cromwell having proved an unworthy successor),
parliament restored Charles II as king.
1661 Oliver Cromwell's body was exhumed from Westminster Abbey and was subjected to the ritual
of a posthumous execution. He would be interred at
Tyburn; his head was buried in the grounds of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.
came 10th in a popular BBC poll of "Great Britons".
was born into a family which was one of the wealthiest and most influential
in the area. Educated at grammar school, and at Cambridge University,
he became a minor East Anglian landowner.
From the outbreak of war in summer 1642, Cromwell was an officer in
the parliamentary army. He was successful and rapidly promoted, playing
a major part in parliament’s victory. By 1648 he commanded a large
part of the New Model Army which crushed rebellions.
In June, 1647 Cromwell tried to reconcile the king, Charles I, Parliament
and the army, but when this failed Cromwell put his full support behind
By the late 1640s he was one of the power-brokers in parliament and
he played a decisive role in the winter of 1648-9 which saw the trial
and execution of the King and the abolition of monarchy and the House
of Lords. Cromwell’s signature was third on the king’s death
In December 1653, he became head of state as Lord Protector, though
shared political power with parliaments and a council. He headed a tolerant,
inclusive and largely civilian regime, which sought to restore order
and stability. He refused the English crown when offered it in 1657.
Cromwell life and actions had a radical edge springing from his strong
religious faith. He sought to reform the most inhumane elements of the
legal, judicial and social systems and clamped down on drunkenness,
immorality and other sinful activities. He also believed in freedom
for faiths to practise their beliefs undisturbed.
On the 3rd September 1658, Cromwell died. A state funeral was held in
Horrifically, On 30th January 1661, Cromwell’s body was dug up
by the new monarchist regime, symbolically executed and then buried