Famous People from the Isle of Ely

Cromwell, Oliver (1599-1658)

English soldier and statesman, born in Huntingdon. Educated at Huntingdon and Cambridge, he studied law in London. A convinced Puritan, he sat in both the Short and the Long Parliaments (1640), and when war broke out (1642) fought for the parliament at Edgehill. He formed his unconquerable Ironsides, combining rigid discipline with strict morality, and it was his cavalry that secured the victory at Marston Moor (1644), while under Fairfax he led the New Model Army to decisive success at Naseby (1645). He quelled insurrection in Wales in support of Charles I, and defeated the invading army of Hamilton. He then brought the king to trial, and was one of the signatories of his death warrant (1649). Having established the Commonwealth, Cromwell suppressed the Levellers, Ireland (1649-50), and the Scots (under Charles II) at Dunbar (1650) and Worcester (1651). He dissolved the Rump of the Long Parliament (1653), and after the failure of his Barebone's Parliament, established a Protectorate (1653). He refused the offer of the crown in 1657. At home he reorganized the national Church, upheld toleration, and gave Scotland and Ireland parliamentary representation. Under him the Commonwealth became the head and champion of Protestant Europe. He was succeeded by his son Richard Cromwell (1626-1712), who was forced into French exile in 1659.

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