Name: Oliver Cromwell

Alive: 1599-1658

Bio: Born in Huntingdon to a family of Puritans, a branch of Protestantism that sought major reform in the Church of England. Following a religious epiphany Cromwell was envisaged himself fighting for the Protestant Reformation in England and ridding the Church of its Catholic influences. In response to the rising religious tensions in the early 1640’s, the English Civil War broke out in 1642. Cromwell raised and army against Charles I and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General. In the aftermath of the Parliamentarian Army victory and Charles’ execution, Cromwell assumed the position of the First Chairman of the new Council State. In 1653, after returning from military campaigns in Ireland and Scotland, Cromwell was disgusted by Parliament and so after a re-election and a coup d’état, was named Lord Protector of the British Republic and given full power. For the rest of his rule, Cromwell attempted to hold a balance between the royalists and the republicans, however he never succeeded in fully winning over either of the groups. Cromwell died of pneumonia and two years after his death the Stuart monarchy was restored.

Quotes:

“He who stops being better, stops being good.”

“A few honest men are better than numbers.”

“Subtlety may deceive you; integrity never will.”

Popular Culture:

“Cromwell” – film, 1970

“To Kill a King” – film, 2003.

Further Reading:

  • Antonia Frazer, Cromwell (2008)
  • Ian Gentles, Oliver Cromwell: God’s Warrior and the English Revolution (2011)
  • Peter Gaunt, Oliver Cromwell (1996)