Tracing the disparate ancestries of four great families

Richard Cromwell

Richard Cromwell

Male 1626 - 1712  (85 years)

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  • Name Richard Cromwell 
    Born 4 Oct 1626 
    Gender Male 
    Died 12 Jul 1712 
    Person ID I1254  Brooksbank
    Last Modified 28 Jan 2010 

    Father Oliver Cromwell,   b. 25 Apr 1599, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Sep 1658  (Age 59 years) 
    Mother Elizabeth Bourchier,   b. 1598, Felstead, Essex Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Oct 1665, Marlborough, Wiltshire Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years) 
    Family ID F433  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Spouse Dorothy Major,   b. 1627,   d. 1676  (Age 49 years) 
    Married 5 Jun 1649  Hursley, Hampshire Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Last Modified 28 Jan 2010 
    Family ID F436  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Richard Cromwell
      Born: 4-Oct-1626
      Died: 12-Jul-1712
      Location of death: Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, England
      Cause of death: unspecified

      Gender: Male
      Ethnicity: White
      Occupation: Head of State

      Nationality: England
      Executive summary: Lord Protector of England, 1658-59

      Richard Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, eldest surviving son of Oliver Cromwell and of Elizabeth Bourchier, was born on the 4th of October 1626. He served in the parliamentary army, and in 1647 was admitted a member of Lincoln's Inn. In 1649 he married Dorothy, daughter of Richard Mayor, or Major, of Hursley in Hampshire. He represented Hampshire in the parliament of 1654, and Cambridge University in that of 1656, and in November 1655 was appointed one of the council of trade. But he was not brought forward by his father or prepared in any way for his future greatness, and lived in the country occupied with field sports, until after the institution of the second protectorate in 1657 and the recognition of Oliver's right to name his successor. On the 18th of July he succeeded his father as chancellor of the University of Oxford, on the 31st of December he was made a member of the council of state, and about the same time obtained a regiment and a seat in Cromwell's House of Lords. He was received generally as his father's successor, and was nominated by him as such on his deathbed. He was proclaimed on the 3rd of September 1658, and at first his accession was acclaimed with general favor both at home and abroad. Dissensions, however, soon broke out between the military faction and the civilians. Richard's elevation, not being "general of the army as his father was", was distasteful to the officers, who desired the appointment of a commander-in-chief from among themselves, a request refused by Richard. The officers in the council, moreover, showed jealousy of the civil members, and to settle these difficulties and to provide money a parliament was summoned on the 27th of January 1659, which declared Richard protector, and incurred the hostility of the army by criticizing severely the arbitrary military government of Oliver's last two years, and by impeaching one of the major-generals. A council of the army accordingly established itself in opposition to the parliament, and demanded on the 6th of April a justification and confirmation of former proceedings, to which the parliament replied by forbidding meetings of the army council without the permission of the protector, and insisting that all officers should take an oath not to disturb the proceedings in parliament. The army now broke into open rebellion and assembled at St. James's. Richard was completely in their power; he identified himself with their cause, and the same night dissolved the parliament. The Long Parliament (which re-assembled on the 7th of May) and the heads of the army came to an agreement to effect his dismissal; and in the subsequent events Richard appears to have played a purely passive part, refusing to make any attempt to keep his power or to forward a restoration of the monarchy. On the 25th of May his submission was communicated to the House. He retired into private life, heavily burdened with debts incurred during his tenure of office and narrowly escaping arrest even before he quitted Whitehall. In the summer of 1660 he left England for France, where he lived in seclusion under the name of John Clarke, subsequently removing elsewhere, either (for the accounts differ) to Spain, to Italy, or to Geneva. He was long regarded by the government as a dangerous person, and in 1671 a strict search was made for him but without avail. He returned to England about 1680 and lived at Cheshunt, in the house of Sergeant Pengelly, where he died on the 12th of July 1712, being buried in Hursley church in Hampshire. Richard Cromwell was treated with general contempt by his contemporaries, and invidiously compared with his great father. According to Mrs. Hutchinson he was "gentle and virtuous but a peasant in his nature and became not greatness." He was nevertheless a man of respectable abilities, of an irreproachable private character, and a good speaker.

      Father: Oliver Cromwell (Lord Protector of England)
      Mother: Elizabeth Bourchier
      Wife: Dorothy (m. 1649)

      Administrator: Chancellor, Oxford University (1657-)

      U.K. Member of Parliament 1654, Hampshire
      U.K. Member of Parliament 1656, Cambridge University
      Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn
    • (Research): Richard Cromwell of Hursley, Lord Protector (b 1625/6, d 13.07.1712, 3rd son)
      m. (1643) Dorothy Major (b c1630, d c1675, dau of Richard Major of Hursley)
      (a) Elizabeth Cromwell (d unm 1731)
      (b) Anne Cromwell (dsp 1727)
      m. Thomas Gibson (physician general)
      (c) Dorothy Cromwell (d 1681)
      m. John Mortimer of Somerset