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The Cromwellian Protectorate

The Cromwellian Protectorate

Edited by Patrick Little
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 230
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  • Book Info
    The Cromwellian Protectorate
    Book Description:

    The Protectorate is arguably the Cinderella of Interregnum studies: it lacks the immediate drama of the Regicide, the Republic or the Restoration, and is often dismissed as a 'retreat from revolution', a short period of conservative rule before the inevitable return of the Stuarts. The essays in this volume present new research that challenges this view. They argue instead that the Protectorate was dynamic and progressive, even if the policies put forward were not always successful, and often created further tensions within the government and between Whitehall and the localities. Particular topics include studies of Oliver Cromwell and his relationship with Parliament, and the awkward position inherited by his son, Richard; the role of art and architecture in creating a splendid protectoral court; and the important part played by the council, as a law-making body, as a political cockpit, and as part of a hierarchy of government covering not just England but also Ireland and Scotland. There are also investigations of the reactions to Cromwellian rule in Wales, in the towns and cities of the Severn/Avon basin, and in the local communities of England faced with a far-reaching programme of religious reform. PATRICK LITTLE is Senior Research Fellow at the History of Parliament Trust. Contributors: BARRY COWARD, DAVID L. SMITH, JASON PEACEY, PAUL HUNNEYBALL, BLAIR WORDEN, PETER GAUNT, LLOYD BOWEN, STEPHEN K. ROBERTS, CHRISTOPHER DURSTON.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-528-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vi-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Patrick Little
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
  7. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-13)
    Barry Coward

    At the symposium on the Cromwellian protectorate held in January 2004, when most of the following chapters first saw the light of day, I was invited to bring the day to an end with a session entitled ‘conclusion’. Almost exactly two years later, I have been asked to begin this book with an ‘introduction’. According to the notes I made at the symposium, I began my ‘conclusion’ on a very up-beat note by saying that ‘my immediate reaction to what I have heard today is one of optimism, since the quality of the papers that have just been read indicates...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Oliver Cromwell and the Protectorate Parliaments
    (pp. 14-31)
    David L. Smith

    Oliver Cromwell’s inability to achieve an effective working relationship with successive parliaments during the 1650s remains one of the greatest ironies of the English revolution. It was also a crucial reason why the English republic failed to generate lasting political stability. This chapter will reconsider this problem and suggest that the principal difficulty lay in Cromwell’s desire to use parliament to reconcile the interests of the English nation as a whole with those of a godly minority (including himself) who embraced a radical religious agenda. He hoped that through parliaments the nation and the godly people could become coterminous. His...

  9. CHAPTER THREE The Protector Humbled: Richard Cromwell and the Constitution
    (pp. 32-52)
    Jason Peacey

    Through lingering Whig tendencies, or mere laziness, few have questioned the inevitability of Richard Cromwell’s fall. The collapse of the protectorate of ‘Tumbledown Dick’ is regarded as having reflected a lack of political and military experience, imperfect judgement, and a misspent youth. The ridiculing began during his reign and has continued almost uninterrupted to the present day. In the late 1650s he was styled the ‘young gentleman’, and the ‘pretended protector’, and the insults became even more prevalent after May 1659, when republicans and royalists alike dubbed him ‘Queen Dick’, the ‘meek knight’, and the ‘milk sop’. However, there has...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Cromwellian Style: The Architectural Trappings of the Protectorate Regime
    (pp. 53-81)
    Paul M. Hunneyball

    Among the more striking images of the Cromwellian protectorate are the descriptions of the formal audiences granted to foreign ambassadors. Their normal venue was the Banqueting House of Whitehall Palace, a building indelibly associated with the execution of Charles I, and yet one whose architectural style and lavish fittings remained redolent of the Stuart regime in all its splendour. Here, beneath Rubens’s great ceiling panels celebrating the reign of James I, Oliver Cromwell accorded visiting dignitaries an elaborate, ceremonial welcome that similarly revived memories of the English monarchy. Cromwell’s semi-regal image as lord protector attracted criticism at the time, and...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Oliver Cromwell and the Council
    (pp. 82-104)
    Blair Worden

    The counselling of rulers is the perennial problem of monarchical or neomonarchical government. The fate of realms depends on the qualities and influence of the advisers who have access to rulers and sway their judgements. Under the Tudors, men looked to ethics and education to mould providers of good counsel. Counsellors, it was urged, should be trained in virtue and wisdom and public spirit and be taught to shun their opposites.¹ Amid the parliamentary conflicts and political emergencies of the early seventeenth century, that ethical approach became subordinate to an institutional one, which had medieval antecedents. Less was now said...

  12. CHAPTER SIX ‘To Create a Little World out of Chaos’: The Protectoral Ordinances of 1653–1654 Reconsidered
    (pp. 105-126)
    Peter Gaunt

    On 7 January 1654 one of the new councillors, Sir Charles Wolseley, wrote thus to the politician and diplomat Bulstrode Whitelocke, then in Sweden, to inform him of recent constitutional developments at home. Wolseley had played a leading role in ending the former regime and had been appointed to the protectoral council. An insider, with a case to make and position to defend, he was one of several politicians and propagandists who praised the incoming regime and constitution. On the previous day the journalist Marchamont Nedham had written in similar tones to Whitelocke, announcing that ‘we have a new world...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN The Irish and Scottish Councils and the Dislocation of the Protectoral Union
    (pp. 127-143)
    Patrick Little

    On 28 July 1657, General George Monck anxiously awaited the receipt of ‘a letter to the [Scottish] council concerning the revenues of Scotland, and also concerning the expenses’. He was well aware of the urgency of settling the rickety finances of the civilian and military administration north of the border, and that the English council ‘expect an answer from us’. Yet the revenue orders did not arrive. In a report of 29 July the clerk of the Irish council, Thomas Herbert, was able to solve the mystery:

    By the last return of the post save one the council here received...

  14. CHAPTER EIGHT ‘This Murmuring and Unthankful Peevish Land’: Wales and the Protectorate
    (pp. 144-164)
    Lloyd Bowen

    As Barry Coward noted in his recent volume on the protectorate, the history of Wales under Cromwell ‘has not received a great deal of attention’, a situation in marked contrast to the flowering of recent literature dealing with Ireland and Scotland in the 1650s. What writing there has been on the interregnum in Wales is dominated by the activities of the commission for the propagation of the gospel in Wales between 1650 and 1653, while for the protectorate period, the opposition of the ‘metropolitan of the itinerants’, the Fifth Monarchist Vavasor Powell, who penned the anti-protectoralWord for God,with...

  15. CHAPTER NINE Cromwellian Towns in the Severn Basin: A Contribution to Cis-Atlantic History?
    (pp. 165-187)
    Stephen K. Roberts

    On a Saturday in the autumn of 1657, a group of seven young gentlemen sat drinking in one of the rooms of the Sun Tavern in Hereford. They were the sons of justices of the peace, tax commissioners or even members of parliament in one or other of the three Parliaments to have assembled that far into the decade. Whether through some earlier provocation or mere binge drinking, a quarrel broke out between the young gentry and some lower class men in another room of the city-centre inn, in which John Holmes’s sword was grabbed by one of the weaponless...

  16. CHAPTER TEN Policing the Cromwellian Church: The Activities of the County Ejection Committees, 1654–1659
    (pp. 188-206)
    Christopher Durston

    One of the key concerns of the successive godly regimes that held power in England between 1642 and 1660 was to improve the moral and religious standards of the elect chosen nation they believed divine Providence had entrusted to their care. The nine thousand or so parochial ministers who were responsible for providing the day-to-day pastoral support for the population were perceived as a critical resource in this task, and strenuous efforts were made to ensure that they were both up to the task of moral reformation and religiously and politically ‘on message’. From the early 1640s onwards, a series...

  17. INDEX
    (pp. 207-218)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 219-219)