Oliver Cromwell – I can’t believe I am admitting this…

Oliver Cromwell by Robert Walker

Let’s make on thing quite clear:

I am not a fan of Oliver Cromwell.

There, I admitted it. In my rather embarrassing days in the Sealed Knot I was a member of a Royalist regiment and as we faced the Parliamentarian army in front of the crowds we would shout insults such as “A POX ON PARLIAMENT!!”. And it was those months spent in the Royalist ‘army’, sleeping in muddy fields and having my tent flooded on each and every occasion that I began to develop a serious interest in the Seventeenth Century.

And a serious dislike for Oliver Cromwell.

During my time reading up on the Seventeenth Century and researching the English Civil War for my Uni dissertation (the one that is going to published!) that I realised that had I lived back then, and been a man, I would have fought on the side of the King. Why? Charles I was a bit of a stubborn derp, but he believed fully in his divine right and fought to keep the traditions of England going. Oliver Cromwell on the other man was harsh and banned everything fun – including mince pies at Christmas!

That’s not to say I don’t respect him historically because of course I do. He tried his best to keep the country running during the Interregnum and was pretty successful. It’s just the people got bored, and after Oliver died his son Richard just sort of shrugged his shoulders and left, leading Parliament to bring back the Monarchy.

Oliver Cromwell looking at the body of King Charles II

Anyway, I am currently reading “Oliver Cromwell: Our Chief of Men” by Antonia Fraser on my Kindle. It’s a little weird for me, reading about the English Civil War from his point of view, and even weirder for me to be enjoying what I’m reading about him and dare I say it…

I actually feel sorry for him. And I am growing to like him.

Yes, you heard me correctly. The man is growing on me. It seems he was a bit of a tearaway as a child and loved getting into trouble and stealing apples from farms. Just that makes me like him more than I did before. And yes, I feel sorry for him – why? Because in the early 1630’s he was suffering badly from depression and spent much of his time in bed feeling pretty useless, but he did get treatment from the best doctor in the country for it.

Now, Cromwell will never overtake Charles I and Charles II in my affections but let’s just say that branching out and reading more about Cromwell has really helped me develop a new kind of respect for the man. And dare I even say it, I have developed a liking for the man. And I am very much looking forward to reading more about him

This entry was posted in charles i, charles ii, english civil war, interregnum, oliver cromwell, protectorate. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Oliver Cromwell – I can’t believe I am admitting this…

  1. Struan says:

    Enjoyed reading this .. a complex figure! Also saw your article on the English Civil War damage in Winchester – from I can find there hasn't been much ECW archaeology done around the city. Did climb St Giles Hill recently where defences are thought to have been positioned. Also didn't realise how obvious some of the damage inside the cathedral was – thanks for posting the pics.

    http://www.englishcivilwar.org

  2. bluffkinghal says:

    Traitor! Traitor! Off with your head!

    But seriously, I just want to make a point here that those who always cry “he created a republic” forget that it was never really a republic. There was no voting, for one thing. It was simply replacing the monarchy for the tyranny of another man, who did not like the monarchy. It was also basically imposing religion and harsh religious practices on the people, which had actually become quite lax since the time of Elizabeth I. I can see no merit in the actions of the man, but I do agree that he wanted to do what he thought best. But then, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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