Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Cromwell, the Righteous

Depending whether you are of English, Irish, or Scottish heritage, the name “Oliver Cromwell” evokes entirely disparate emotions.***

Cromwell lived between 1599 – 1658, and was an intensely religious man.  Every event in his life, Cromwell believed was ordained and dictated by God. 

After Elizabeth I died, succession was a royal mess.  James? No, how about…down to Charles I (who was captured and beheaded).  Much of it was related to two religions, two churches.  Catholic king?  Protestant king?

*** If you wish to avoid all this reading, skip on down to Monty Python's telling about Oliver Cromwell.

Parliament became a total mess as well.  

Dissolved, then “Rump Parliament” (honest to goodness, this was its title) was established, consisting of those who supported beheading Charles. It was a very nervous collection of men. 

Oliver Cromwell tired of the back and forth of politics, proceeded to walk in with sizable military force under his command. He dissolved the Parliament session for a time.

To keep this Commonwealth from crumbling, Cromwell (with his loyal military) assumed charge of ensuing chaos, suppressing any and all uprising.  

England was fairly easy to deal with, so Cromwell moved onto Ireland, where populations were heavily Catholic and were loyal to Charles 1. 

Massacre in Drogheda, Ireland, 1649

To say Cromwell dealt harshly is ridiculous.  His slaughter and subjugation of Ireland 1649-1653 resulted in near-genocide of all Catholics. Cromwell moved onto Scotland to do the same.

In Ireland, if one says “Cromwell”, responses will vary, but all vehement in some way.  It was fairly common for a big huff, a strong mucous spittle on the ground, a swear word of some sort, and perhaps other actions. This is true at this current history.

Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland. His ironfisted military control kept England together by absolute oppression. 

House in Ely where he lived a life of gentry

When Cromwell's uncle died, he inherited this house, Ely, near Cambridge, England.  Cromwell and family had lived in this delightful house in Ely for a time. A tour through the house included a 
This home has been completely restored.  Each room displayed very realistic figures, props and furniture narrative of his life in Ely.

 history, life in that room.  Each room displayed very realistic figures and perfect props.

What was unusual was that it was just after Easter, and the house still had plastic eggs throughout the house. A few on his Bible and rocking chair, even some on his deathbed (not accurate). The special effect in that room was lights dimming, Cromwell shook side to side. What was awesome was that there were some Easter eggs about the room, including one on his crotch. 

It was very clear that Cromwell is revered in Ely and all over England where many bronze statues have been erected to pay homage to his accomplishments.

He died in 1658, buried with honor in Westminster Hall, until 1660, when Royalists returned to power.  Cromwell was dug up. He had been interred in Westminster Hall with great honor. A year later he was dug up, without pomp and ceremony. This was supervised General George Monck, a former supporter of Cromwell, who jumped ships.

Taking a trip to Tyburn meant one was going to watch a hanging.

After Cromwell was disinterred, he was tried posthumously for treason, beheaded, while his body was hung in chains at Tyburn, (where criminals and others guilty of treason were executed).  

Without any ceremony, he was tossed into a common grave, minus his head.  
Cromwell's head on a spike

BUT a storm knocked it down, causing the head to roll away.  

A soldier found it and decided to hide it in his home chimney. For decades his head passed from hand to hand, often being displayed in carnival shows. (This cannot be made up. Well documented and everything!)

plaque marking burial place of Cromwell's head WKPD
Speaks for itself.

A Dr. Wilkinson bought it and offered it to Sydney Sussex College in 1960.  Cromwell’s head was finally re-buried in a secret place on college grounds.

Cromwell lived a life of religious fervor, where he was certain that he was doing God’s work. He will never be forgotten, in one way or the other.

Religious fervor cannot be tolerated before it erupts in absolute anarchy. He did just that, as have other regimes.

Why would anyone care to learn about Cromwell?  It is an incredible story, almost unbelievable in its horror and violence.  If it were happening today in our own countries, what would we do?  If it were occurring in some other country, what would be done? 

This post has been heavily loaded in history and such.  While living in Ireland, we learned much about Cromwell.  Our son in first grade came home one afternoon furious, absolutely furious about what Cromwell and English had done to Ireland, as if it were just yesterday or maybe last week.  

***To lighten this post, please listen to this Monty Python performance about...

This was posted back in 2017. Monty Python is brilliant. 

We will be taking a train to see our babies in Chicago.  I don't know if I will answer.  BUT please make your comment here!  I won't answer, but I will read!!


  1. The English Civil War ended rule by absolute monarchy and transferred true governing power to parliament. So that was a good thing. However, like all revolutions, its human toll and cost was high. Cromwell was a military dictator at home and a war criminal in Ireland and Scotland.

  2. I remember when I was making a Kings and Queens of England altered book, there were lots of responses to Cromwell. Seemed no one was neutral on him. Some lines weren't meant to be crossed.

    Have a good trip to Chi-town.

    1. True, dictator or self righteous slaughterer.

  3. Cromwell is a good example of knowing what happened in the past so we can learn from mistakes and not repeat them.

    1. I was hoping that this part of history is bloody and seems to happen world wide.

  4. It is probably a reflection of my background but I have never heard good things about Cromwell. The very kindest thing I have ever heard about him was 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions'.
    Death and dictators are too closely related for me to ever feel comfortable with the latter.

  5. Everyone thought the English Civil War would be over quickly, but between 1642 and 1646, about a quarter of Englishmen became soldiers and one in twenty-five of the population died thanks to Oliver Cromwell.

  6. Have a great trip. (Ah, history. How we see the past tells us much about our present.)

    1. I wish our current history could see what was happening then.

  7. Cromwell was, and is, far from universally popular in England. He was a grim and puritanical theocrat who imposed a repressive and dreary regime on a country whose real culture is just the opposite -- much like the Islamist regime in Iran. Cromwell even banned Christmas (knowing it to be pagan) and sent troops into disobedient towns to enforce his order. His death and the restoration of the monarchy (with more limited powers) was greeted with celebration, not because people were so enamored of having a king, but because it meant people could start having fun again.

  8. Always amazes me how nutcases like OC claim they are doing God's will and have no idea what God's will is. And those who blindly follow never realize they're following an antichrist.

  9. The history of the world tells us that that we never really learn and it always repeats itself.

  10. I'm pretty good on English history but I have about a 300 year gap in really knowing all the details and this is part of that gap, so I find this post especially welcome and fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing all the details, which I really appreciate. I learned a lot and now want to perhaps dig a bit more into the big empty gap in my knowledge!

  11. I now know far more than I ever wanted to about Cromwell, seems like a nasty bully to me, yet people followed him and seemed glad to do so. Or were they afraid not to?

  12. Very Interesting read. Of course we have heard the name Cromwell all a our lives. This is the most I have ever read about him. informative, for sure.
    the video won't do well with our signal tonight.
    Thanks for a good read.
    Sherry & jack

  13. Not somebody one would welcome as a neighbour!

    1. What would have been. NO BBQ IN THEIR HOUSE

  14. “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority.”

    “Despotic power is always accompanied by corruption of morality.”

    “Authority that does not exist for Liberty is not authority but force.”

    “Everybody likes to get as much power as circumstances allow, and nobody will vote for a self-denying ordinance.”

    “Absolute power demoralizes.”

    All from Lord Acton, who knew of what he spoke.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Me gusto conocer mas de Cromwell. Genial entrada. Te mando un beso

  16. tRUMP is a Cromwell wannabe.

  17. absolute anarchy gives rise to absolute hatter and that is what CromWell did
    sad story
    hope you enjoyed time with your babies :)


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