The Info List - Richard Cromwell

--- Advertisement ---

Richard Cromwell
Richard Cromwell
(4 October 1626 – 12 July 1712) became the second Lord Protector
Lord Protector
of England, Scotland
and Ireland, and was one of only two commoners to become the English head of state, the other being his father, Oliver Cromwell, from whom he inherited the post. On his father's death Richard became Lord Protector, but he lacked authority. He attempted to mediate between the army and civil society, and allowed a Parliament to sit which contained a large number of disaffected Presbyterians
and Royalists. Suspicions that civilian councillors were intent on supplanting the army were brought to a head by an attempt to prosecute a major-general for actions against a Royalist. The army made a threatening show of force against Richard, and may have had him in detention; he formally renounced power nine months after succeeding. Without a king-like figure, such as Oliver Cromwell, as head of state the government lacked coherence and legitimacy. Although a Royalist
revolt was crushed by recalled civil war figure General John Lambert, who then prevented the Rump Parliament
Rump Parliament
from reconvening and created a Committee of Safety, he found his troops melted away in the face of general George Monck's advance from Scotland. Monck then presided over the Restoration of 1660. Richard Cromwell subsisted in straitened circumstances after his resignation, he went abroad and lived in relative obscurity for the remainder of his life. He eventually returned to his English estate, dying in his eighties. None of his children had offspring of their own and he has no descendants.[1]


1 Early years and family 2 Political background 3 Move into political life 4 Lord Protector
Lord Protector

4.1 Dates as Lord Protector

5 Later years (1659–1712) 6 Fictional portrayals 7 Ancestry 8 Notes 9 References 10 External links

Early years and family[edit] Cromwell was born in Huntingdon
on 4 October 1626, the third son of Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
and his wife Elizabeth. Little is known of his childhood. He and his three brothers were educated at Felsted School in Essex close to their mother's family home.[2] There is no record of his attending university. In May 1647, he became a member of Lincoln's Inn.[2] He may have served as a captain in Thomas Fairfax's lifeguard during the late 1640s, but the evidence is inconclusive. In 1649 Cromwell married Dorothy Maijor, daughter of Richard Maijor, a member of the Hampshire
gentry.[3] He and his wife then moved to Maijor's estate at Hursley
in Hampshire. During the 1650s they had nine children, five of whom survived to adulthood.[4] Cromwell was named a Justice of the Peace
Justice of the Peace
for Hampshire
and sat on various county committees. During this period Cromwell seems to have been a source of concern for his father, who wrote to Richard Maijor saying, "I would have him mind and understand business, read a little history, study the mathematics and cosmography: these are good, with subordination to the things of God. Better than idleness, or mere outward worldly contents. These fit for public services, for which a man is born". He fought in none of the English civil wars. Political background[edit] Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
had risen from unknown member of Parliament in his forties to being commander of the New Model Army, which emerged victorious from the English Civil War. When he returned from a final campaign in Ireland, Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
became disillusioned at inconclusive debates in the Rump Parliament
Rump Parliament
between Presbyterians
and other schools of thought within Protestantism. Parliamentarian suspicion of anything smacking of Catholicism, which was strongly associated with the Royalist
side in the war, led to enforcement of religious precepts that left moderate Anglicans barely tolerated. A Puritan
regime strictly enforced the Sabbath, and banned almost all form of public celebration, even at Christmas. Cromwell attempted to reform the government through an army-nominated assembly known as Barebone's Parliament, but the proposals were so unworkably radical that he was forced to end the experiment after a few months. Thereafter, a written constitution created the position of Lord Protector for Cromwell and from 1653 until his death in 1658, he ruled with all the powers of a monarch, while Richard took on the role of heir. Move into political life[edit] In 1653, Cromwell was passed over as a member of Barebone's Parliament, although his younger brother Henry was a member of it. Neither was he given any public role when his father was made Lord Protector in the same year; however, he was elected to the First Protectorate Parliament as M.P. for Huntingdon
and the Second Protectorate Parliament as M.P. for Cambridge University.[5] Under the Protectorate's constitution, Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
was required to nominate a successor, and from 1657 he involved Richard much more heavily in the politics of the regime. He was present at the second installation of his father as Lord Protector
Lord Protector
in June, having played no part in the first installation. In July he was appointed chancellor of Oxford University, and in December was made a member of the Council of State. Lord Protector
Lord Protector

Proclamation announcing the death of Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
and the succession of Richard Cromwell
Richard Cromwell
as Lord Protector. Printed in Scotland 1658.

See also: The Protectorate Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
died on 3 September 1658, and Richard was informed on the same day that he was to succeed him. Some controversy surrounds the succession. A letter by John Thurloe
John Thurloe
suggests that Cromwell nominated his son orally on 30 August, but other theories claim either that he nominated no successor, or that he put forward Charles Fleetwood, his son-in-law. Richard was faced by two immediate problems. The first was the army, which questioned his position as commander given his lack of military experience. The second was the financial position of the regime, with a debt estimated at £2 million. As a result, Cromwell's Privy council decided to call a parliament in order to redress these financial problems on 29 November 1658 (a decision which was formally confirmed on 3 December 1658). Under the terms of the Humble Petition and Advice, this Parliament was called using the traditional franchise (thus moving away from the system under the Instrument of Government whereby representation of rotten boroughs was cut in favour of county towns). This meant that the government was less able to control elections and therefore unable to manage the parliament effectively. As a result, when this Third Protectorate Parliament
Third Protectorate Parliament
first sat on 27 January 1659 it was dominated by moderate Presbyterians, crypto-royalists and a small number of vociferous Commonwealthsmen (or Republicans). The "Other House" of Parliament – a body which had been set up under the Humble Petition and Advice
Humble Petition and Advice
to act as a balance on the Commons – was also revived. It was this second parliamentary chamber and its resemblance to the House of Lords (which had been abolished in 1649) that dominated this Parliamentary session. Republican malcontents gave filibustering speeches about the inadequacy of the membership of this upper chamber (especially its military contingent) and also questioned whether it was indicative of the backsliding of the Protectorate regime in general and its divergence from the "Good Old Cause" for which parliamentarians had originally engaged in Civil War. Reviving this House of Lords in all but name, they argued, was but a short step to returning to the Ancient Constitution of King, Lords and Commons.

Coat of arms of the Protectorate, borne by Cromwell during his reign as Lord Protector.

At the same time, the officers of the New Model Army
New Model Army
became increasingly wary about the government's commitment to the military cause. The fact that Cromwell lacked military credentials grated with men who had fought on the battlefields of the English Civil War
English Civil War
to secure their nation's liberties. Moreover, the new Parliament seemed to show a lack of respect for the army which many military men found alarming. In particular, there were fears that Parliament would make military cuts to reduce costs, and by April 1659 the army's general council of officers had met to demand higher taxation to fund the regime's costs. Their grievances were expressed in a petition to Cromwell on 6 April 1659 which he forwarded to the Parliament two days later. Yet Parliament did not act on the army's suggestions; instead they shelved this petition and increased the suspicion of the military by bringing articles of impeachment against William Boteler on 12 April 1659, who was alleged to have mistreated a royalist prisoner while acting as a major general under Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
in 1655. This was followed by two resolutions in the Commons on 18 April 1659 which stated that no more meetings of army officers should take place without the express permission of both the Lord Protector
Lord Protector
and Parliament, and that all officers should swear an oath that they would not subvert the sitting of Parliament by force. These direct affronts to military prestige were too much for the army grandees to bear and set in motion the final split between the civilian-dominated Parliament and the army, which would culminate in the dissolution of Parliament and Cromwell's ultimate fall from power. When Cromwell refused a demand by the army to dissolve Parliament, troops were assembled at St. James's Palace. Cromwell eventually gave in to their demands and on 22 April, Parliament was dissolved and the Rump Parliament
Rump Parliament
recalled on 7 May 1659. In the subsequent month, Cromwell did not resist and refused an offer of armed assistance from the French ambassador, although it is possible he was being kept under house arrest by the army. On 25 May, after the Rump agreed to pay his debts and provide a pension, Cromwell delivered a formal letter resigning the position of Lord Protector. "Richard was never formally deposed or arrested, but allowed to fade away. The Protectorate
The Protectorate
was treated as having been from the first a mere usurpation".[6] He continued to live in the Palace of Whitehall
Palace of Whitehall
until July, when he was forced by the Rump to return to Hursley. Royalists rejoiced at Cromwell's fall, and many satirical attacks surfaced, in which he was given the unflattering nicknames "Tumbledown Dick" and "Queen Dick".[7] Dates as Lord Protector[edit]

3 September 1658 – 25 May 1659. Title: His Highness By the Grace of God and Republic, Lord Protector
Lord Protector
of England, Scotland
and Ireland.

Later years (1659–1712)[edit] During the political difficulties of the winter of 1659, there were rumours that Cromwell was to be recalled as Protector, but these came to nothing. In July 1660, Cromwell left for France, never to see his wife again.[8] While there, he went by a variety of pseudonyms, including John Clarke. He later travelled around Europe, visiting various European courts. As a visiting Englishman, he was once invited to dine with Armand de Bourbon, Prince of Conti, who was unaware of who he was. At dinner, the prince questioned Cromwell about affairs in England and observed, "Well, that Oliver, tho' he was a traitor and a villain, was a brave man, had great parts, great courage, and was worthy to command; but that Richard, that coxcomb and poltroon, was surely the basest fellow alive; what is become of that fool?". Cromwell replied, "He was betrayed by those he most trusted, and who had been most obliged by his father". Cromwell departed the following morning.[9] During this period of voluntary exile, he wrote many letters to his family back in England; these letters are now held by Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies at the County Record Office in Huntingdon. In 1680 or 1681, he returned to England and lodged with the merchant Thomas Pengelly in Cheshunt
in Hertfordshire,[2] living off the income from his estate in Hursley. He died on 12 July 1712 at the age of 85.[10] His body was returned to Hursley
and interred in a vault beneath All Saints' Parish Church, where a memorial tablet to him has been placed in recent years. Until 29 January 2012, when Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II
surpassed Cromwell's age at death (85 years 282 days) he was the longest-lived ruler of Britain, although he was only in power for a very short period. Fictional portrayals[edit] Cromwell has been depicted in historical films. They include:

Cromwell (1970). Portrayed by actor Anthony May[11] To Kill a King
To Kill a King
(2003). Portrayed by actor John-Paul Macleod.[12]


Cromwell family

Ancestors of Richard Cromwell

16. Sir Richard Williams

8. Sir Henry Cromwell

17. Frances Murfyn

4. Robert Cromwell

18. Sir Ralph Warren

9. Joan Warren

19. Joan Lake

2. Oliver Cromwell, 1st Lord Protector

10. William Steward

5. Elizabeth Steward

22. Thomas Paine

11. Catherine Paine

1. Richard Cromwell

24. Richard Bourchier

12. Thomas Bourchier

6. Sir James Bourchier

26. James Morley

13. Elizabeth Morley

3. Elizabeth Bourchier

14. Thomas Crane

7. Frances Crane


^ " Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
- Faq 7". www.olivercromwell.org. Retrieved 15 July 2017.  ^ a b c Waylen & Cromwell 1897, p. 28 ^ Waylen & Cromwell 1897, p. 37 ^ Waylen & Cromwell 1897, pp. 37–40 ^ "Cromwell, Richard (CRML656R)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.  ^ Jones, J.R. Country and Court: England 1658–1714 Edward Arnold (1978) 120 ^ Fraser, Antonia (1979). King Charles II. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p.163. ^ Waylen & Cromwell 1897, pp. 28–29 ^ Kimber, Isaac (1743). The Life of Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Lord Protector
Lord Protector
of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland (5th ed.). London: J. Brotherton and T. Cox. p. 406.  ^ Waylen & Cromwell 1897, p. 29 ^ Munden 1971, pp. 214–215 ^ " To Kill a King
To Kill a King
(2003)". RottenTomatoes.com. Retrieved 4 May 2011. 


Chapman, James (2005), Past and present: national identity and the British historical film, I.B.Tauris, ISBN 978-1-85043-808-3  Gaunt, Peter (2004). "Richard Cromwell". 11298Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.  Hutton, Ronald (1985). The Restoration: A Political and Religious History of England and Wales, 1658–1667. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-822698-5.  Beevor, R. J.; Roberts, E. T.; others (1903). Alumni Felstedienses.  Munden, Kenneth White (1971), The American Film Institute Catalog, Feature films 1961–1970, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0-520-20970-1  Waylen, James; Cromwell, John Gabriel (1897). The House of Cromwell: A Genealogical History of the Family and Descendants of the Protector. London: Elliot Stock. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Richard Cromwell.

BBC Bio of Oliver Cromwell Britannia.com "Monarchs" Page on Richard Cromwell

Political offices

Preceded by Oliver Cromwell Lord Protector
Lord Protector
of England, Scotland
and Ireland 3 September 1658 – 25 May 1659 Succeeded by Council of State

Academic offices

Preceded by Oliver Cromwell Chancellor
of the University of Oxford 1657–1660 Succeeded by William Seymour

v t e

English monarchs

Anglo-Saxon England 927–1066

Æthelstan Edmund I Eadred Eadwig Edgar Edward the Martyr Æthelred the Unready Sweyn Edmund Ironside Cnut1 Harold Harefoot Harthacnut Edward the Confessor Harold Godwinson Edgar Ætheling

Kingdom of England 1066–1649

William I William II Henry I Stephen Matilda Henry II1 Henry the Young King Richard I John1 Henry III1 Edward I1 Edward II1 Edward III1 Richard II1 Henry IV1 Henry V1 Henry VI1 Edward IV1 Edward V1 Richard III1 Henry VII1 Henry VIII1 Edward VI1 Jane1 Mary I1 with Philip1 Elizabeth I1 James I2 Charles I2

Commonwealth of England, Scotland
and Ireland 1653–1659

Oliver Cromwell3 Richard Cromwell3

Kingdom of England 1660–1707

Charles II2 James II2 William III and Mary II2 Anne2

1Also ruler of Ireland 2Also ruler of Scotland
and Ireland 3Lord Protector

Debatable or disputed rulers are in italics.

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 12416181 LCCN: n85053942 ISNI: 0000 0001 2099 1559 GND: 118670603 SELIBR: 314426 SUDOC: 034507590 BNF: cb12525730s (da