Posted by: internationalroutier | April 23, 2010

Oliver Cromwell & the 25th April

by Louise, editor

Happy 411th Birthday Oliver Cromwell!

Oliver Cromwell arrived in London to represent his family in Parliament proud of his Cambridge education and fervently Puritan. Cromwell sat in both the Short April 1640 and Long Parliament August 1640 through April 1660.
Once Civil War broke out in 1642 Cromwell donated 60 horses to the Roundhead cause but their loss at The Battle of Edge Hill was the impetus for Cromwell building a trained cavalry which became the New Model Army (not to be confused with these guys) Apparently he was quite good at this military lark and was soon known as “Ironsides” in tribute.
In November 1648 Cromwell’s army forcibly removed 110 members of parliament and another 160 then refused to participate in protest. This left barely a quorum who became known as the Rump Parliament who then embarked on a series of radical constitutional changes in a Dettol and wire brush approach, abolishing the Monarchy, Privy Council, Courts of the Exchequer and Admiralty, and House of Lords for good measure.
Cromwell’s Army then went about the realm crushing rebellions, beating the nobility into submission, controlling the press, and defeating Levellers (not to be confused with these guys)

Sometimes described as ‘politcally conservative’ (ya think?) Cromwell’s Army was sent to Ireland to crush the loyalist and Catholic and are said to have killed over 40% of indigenous Irish and transported the rest to County Connaught under the Act Of Settlement 1653.
The Rump Parliament soon became petty and self interested losing the support of the Army and eventually Cromwell. He turned the Parliament out with a drawn sword on April 21, 1653. The next lot were not much better and in 1655 Cromwell decided to rule alone and dissolved the current Parliament.
The army tried instigating a new version of parliament and created the House of Peers , unsurprisingly packed to the rafters with Cromwellian yes men. The House of Commons however were still antagonistic towards Cromwell so this set up didn’t succeed either! Cromwell then changed his title from Lord General of the Army to Lord Protector of the Realm (he did have the good grace to reject the title ‘King’ as was suggested). When Cromwell died in 1658 the new system, under Cromwell’s son, floundered and within 2 short years the monarchy had been restored.

The failure of Cromwell and the Commonwealth was founded upon Cromwell being caught between opposing forces. His attempts to placate the army, the nobility, Puritans and Parliament resulted in the alienation of each group. Leaving the political machinery of the parishes and shires untouched under the new constitution was the height of inconsistency; Cromwell, the army and Parliament were unable to make a clear separation from the ancient constitution and traditional customs of loyalty and obedience to monarchy. Lacey Baldwin Smith cast an astute judgment concerning the aims of the Commonwealth: “When Commons was purged out of existence by a military force of its own creation, the country learned a profound, if bitter, Lesson: Parliament could no more exist without the crown than the crown without Parliament. The ancient constitution had never been King and Parliament but King in Parliament; when one element of that mystical nion was destroyed, the other ultimately perished.”



  1. I’d wish him happy birthday, but he probably didn’t celebrate them (Leviticus 19:26)

  2. In the Walker painting he looks suspiciously like a debonair version of Alonso. Of course this must have something to do with the Illuminati.

    However on a personal note, I feel such petit bourgeois disruptions of capitalist progress as Cromwell’s interregnum are but hiccups on the road to a proper caring and sharing type of state and society.

    • Mr Lilburne, are you trying to imply that Alonzo isn’t debonaire? For shame, sir! Goback to your Levelling.

  3. Death to the The Rump Parliament and the Lord Protector
    Erin Go Bragh

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