Cromwells Head Girl Essay

By Alan Murdie

September 3rd 2008 marked the 350th anniversary of the death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658. Not surprisingly such a powerful and controversial ruler is reputed to have left a number of echoes in ghostly form. But are they really Cromwell or something else?

References to the ghost of Oliver Cromwell begin as long ago as 1681 with pamphlet works such as ‘Oliver Cromwell’s ghost dropt from the clouds’ (1681). Care must be taken with such works not to interpret them as evidence of psychic occurrences, since 17th century writers often used ghosts and visions for religious, satirical and propaganda purposes. However, it is also noteworthy that Cromwell’s one time chaplain Richard Baxter later wrote a collection of ‘true’ ghost stories, The Certainty of the World of Spirits (1691), using ghosts as evidence of a spiritual dimension to refute atheism.

Cromwell’s ghost is said to prowl the site of the Basing House in Hampshire, site of a lengthy siege between 1643-44, particularly around Grange Farm and the Old Barn.(Lore of the Land (2006) Jacqueline Simpson and Jennifer Westwood).  The King’s Head Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire also has a Cromwell Room to which Oliver’s ghost may return.

Cromwell’s House, Ely, England

Cromwell’s modest Cambridgeshire home at Ely is reputedly haunted by a female spectre and “a brooding male” presence believed to be Cromwell himself. In April 1979, a lady guest staying with her husband encountered sensed an invisible male presence in a bedroom. She felt her arms clenched in a strong masculine grip and saw the features of the room had changed. The lady did not feel any fear but rather a strong mental bond with the unseen presence  and she sensed the words “It is not my way” being repeatedly spoken. The next morning red marks were visible on her arms, seen by both her husband and the Rev. Neil Munt with whom the couple had been staying. Cromwell’s House since has been turned into an atmospheric museum and the Ely tourist information centre, and staff sometimes report odd incidents such as their shoe laces being untied.(See Haunted Ely by Margaret Haynes and Vivienne Doughty (2003); ‘Cromwell’s Ghost Untied My Shoes!’ Ely Standard 3 December 1998). As an acknowledgement of public interest in the supernatural, the custodians of Cromwell’s House have sportingly added a flickering light effect in the Lord Protector’s bedroom to represent his ghost at the end of the tour. In November 2003, the Cambridge Paranormal Society held an investigation at the museum and a medium Marjory Kite stated she had heard Cromwell’s voice and received a supportive message from him (Ely Standard 4 December 2003).

Otherwise, mediumistic communications with Cromwell have been few and certainly widely separated; previously it was an early 20th century medium Carlos Mirabelli in Brazil who reputedly received lengthy communications in Portuguese from Oliver Cromwell, together with a few sentences in English. (Mensagens Do Alem (1929) reviewed in (1930) Journal of the Society for Psychical Research vol 26 pp142-4). In life, Cromwell is unlikely to have known any Portuguese, although he was responsible for popularising the drinking of port wine in England.(See Cromwell: Our Chief of Men (1973) Antonia Fraser).

Rosalind Heywood in The Infinite Hive (1964) mentions sensing unseen presences at Boyland Hall in Norfolk,  owned by her aunt. Her aunt encountered the apparition of a man who stopped her going up the stairs. Later she recognised the figure in a portrait of Oliver Cromwell and was told that as a young man the Lord Protector had been involved with an ‘unfortunate love affair” with a girl who lived in the house.

The ghost of a lady reputed to be the mistress of Oliver Cromwell was reported to be haunting the Golden Lion Hotel, St Ives, Huntingdonshire in January 1971. The spectre was known as the ‘Green Lady’, but the tale seems to owe more to active  local imaginations working with a surfeit of genuine Cromwellian associations in Huntingdonshire and an antique  portrait of a woman in a green dress hanging in  the hotel . When poltergeist phenomena were reported, including the movement of ornaments, bell ringing and the pulling off of bedclothes, Tony Cornell and members of the Cambridge University  Society for Psychical Research spent three nights in the premises with tape recorders and thermometers, but nothing unusual was experienced. (Cambridge Evening News  18 January 1971).

Following the Restoration in 1660, Cromwell’s body was disinterred from Westminster Abbey on January 29th 1661 for posthumous punishment. It rested overnight at the Red Lion Inn in Holborn and the taken with bodies of Henry Ireton (d.1652) and John Bradshaw (d. 1659) to Tyburn for ceremonial hanging and decapitation. Cromwell’s ghost was thereafter said to haunt both the Red Lion itself, and the cloaked figures of all three are said to wander Red Lion Square. Cromwell’s ghost is also claimed to haunt Apsely House, W1 and the alleged burial site for his body at 1 Connaught  Place at Tyburn. Others claim Cromwell’s ghost haunts the site of the Battle of Naseby in Northamptonshire where an alternative tradition claims he was secretly buried. (The Cromwellian Gazetteer (1987)  by Peter Gaunt; Cromwell: Our Chief of Men (1973) Antonia Fraser;  Ghosts of London (1982 )by A.J. Brooks).

Cromwell’s severed head was displayed on a spike at Westminster until the Great Storm of 1703 when it was blown down and taken away by a sentry. It then passed through a number of keepers until finally receiving a decent burial at Sidney Sussex Chapel in March 1960. At any one time only three people are reputed to know its precise resting place at the college where Cromwell spent a year between 1616-17. (See ‘The Posthumous History of Oliver Cromwell’s Head’ by C. Parish  in Sidney Sussex College, Historical Essays in Commemoration of the Quartercentenary (1996)).

Seven years later there were suspicions that Cromwell’s ghost was coming back to Sidney Sussex College. Just after Hallowe’en 1967, in the early hours of November 1st, three students at rooms near H staircase claimed paranormal experiences. Linda Nield Siddall saw a purple eye, John Emslie saw another a disembodied head and a Peter Know Shaw claimed to have sensed a presence and smelt an appalling odour of rotting meat! Other students later reported smelling the curious odour, variously compared to oxo or spam that had gone off. The University magazine commented, ‘one amazing thing is that everybody takes it absolutely seriously’ (Varsity 18 November 1967). Cynics have suggested that Hallowe’en hysteria or experimentation with hallucinogenic substances may have contributed to these visions. The burial of Cromwell’s head might be seem as the stimulant to such an experience seven years later.

However, an interesting twist emerged in 1998 when historian Robert Halliday discovered an account of an early Victorian ghost sighting at Sidney Sussex College.  On the night of August 6th 1841 the tranquillity of the college was broken by the screams of two serving maids. The terrified pair had heard strange noises and seen a partly-formed white figure with no arms glide down a staircase. Constables called to the disturbance encountered a pungent smell. Magistrates were called to investigate but nothing was discovered and the incident was forgotten.  It is an interesting coincidence, that over 120 years apart the two accounts we have of apparitions at Sidney Sussex involve partially formed appearances and curious smells. (Cambridge Advertiser 11-18 August 1841; The Times 12 August 1841;The Cambridge Ghost Book (2000) by Robert Halliday and Alan Murdie).

In 2002 footsteps were heard by two Mexican students visiting the college in July 2002 and were staying near staircase O, and knocks have also been above the porter’s lodge. (Ghost Club Newsletter Winter 2002;  various informants July 7th 2002).

An elderly Cambridge man told me in December 2001 how his father who had worked at King’s College at the beginning of the 20th century had heard the ghostly sounds of horses in King’s College Chapel one midnight in 1900; it was believed to be an echo of the times when Cromwell used the chapel as a stable block for cavalry horses.

Neighing horses and the ghost of Cromwell in armour were experienced at a “rambling manor” in Huntingdonshire by a Mrs Anne E. Podro  of the W.A.A.F during World War II. She also heard clanging armour and she saw “Swooping towards the house were many men riding horses. One man towered above the rest and I knew I was looking at Cromwell.” Afterwards her Commanding Officer told her that the house was once a monastery “and was later ransacked by Cromwell who lived nearby and used it as some sort of headquarters.” (The Star 23 Dec 1951). The building concerned is likely to have been either Ramsey Manor or Bodley Manor.

Mrs Podro’s explanation was that “I like to think that Cromwell and other great leaders of old through sheer love of our country, are able to come back and help us in time of stress.”

Of course, all of these manifestations may have nothing to do with Oliver Cromwell. However, when psi events occur it seems the human mind needs, at some level, an explanation whether a spiritual or sceptical explanation in order to try and rationalize and normalise the experience, as a means of processing it. Assuming hauntings arise from a historical figure – on flimsy or non-existent evidence – is one way of trying to deal with such experiences, and, in a sense, to escape them.


Oliver Cromwell — An Outline for Term Papers

Oliver Cromwell — Term Paper Outline

Are you writing a paper on Oliver Cromwell or other aspects of English history or biography? Would you like to just download something and turn that in? Or maybe copy and paste this into your document? Feel free to use this material!You have my full permission to use all this material. I only ask that you give me due credit by simply listing the URL of this page in your bibliography:

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An Accurate and Detailed Historical Outline of the Life of Oliver Cromwell


Henry VIII ascended to the throne of England, later beheading wives, Sir Thomas More, and anyone else in the way. Thomas Cromwell, an ex-soldier, became Henry's advisor. His suggestion "Why don't you try getting a divorce from this one, instead of cutting off her head as usual?" led to the establishment of the Anglican Church in 1532 and the first translation of the Bible into English in 1537.


Oliver Cromwell was born on 25 April in Huntingdonshire, in fulfillment of the prophecies.


Oliver began his travels in the Middle East, spending time in Damascus, Cairo, the northern Arabian desert, and elsewhere in western Asia and north-eastern Africa.

Detailed itineraries of his time there have been lost to history. What becomes clear later is that he spent most of his time studying a wide variety of indigenous fighting techniques while developing his own style of mixed martial arts.


Oliver returned to England.


Oliver published A New & Violent Meanes of Fyghting, based on what he learned and developed during his time in Damascus, Cairo, and elsewhere in the Middle East 1618-1623.

A cotton gin of Oliver Cromwell's invention. Note that this representation is of a time immediately before Cromwell's emancipation of the slaves in the 1650s.


Oliver invented an early version of the cotton gin to mechanize harvests on his farm. This led to vastly increased English cotton production.


Oliver joined parliament representing Huntingdonshire.


Civil Wars broke out. Oliver joined the anti-king Parliamentarians against the pro-king Royalists, a.k.a. the Cavaliers. He led the New Model Army, nicknamed the "Roundheads," and rampaged through England.


The anti-royal forces won stunning victories after they adopted a method of hand-to-hand combat developed by Oliver — a synthesis of traditional sporting fisticuffs, Irish pub brawling, and Moorish edged-weaponry work. While initially denigrated as "Crom-Fu" by its detractors (most of which were royalists), it eventually became the standard hand-to-hand combat method employed by elite English (and later, British) forces, and has come to proudly bear the name once used to scorn it. It is used today by the SAS and SBS. Click here to learn Crom-Fu!
(Warning — violent content)

L: Charles I of England
R: His brother Chester
Front: Charles II


King Charles I fled to Scotland and his son fled to France, both of them crying like little girls. The Scots soon realized, "Hey, it's not like he's a Scottish king," and ransomed Charles I to Cromwell's forces.


The trial and execution of Charles I, and establishment of the Commonwealth, both under Oliver's leadership.

Charles' final words were, "You can't win, Oliver. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."

Cromwell became Lord-General and Commander in Chief of the Commonwealth, and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

This period is often referred to as the English Renaissance due to the flourishing of the arts and sciences under Oliver Cromwell's guidance.

A scene from the discovery of Australia by Oliver Cromwell's expedition


An exploration representing Oliver's new government discovered Australia.

The newly discovered land was quickly settled and became very productive.

Local factories were established to construct cotton gins of Oliver's design. These were then used to process the cotton crop that soon covered most of the new continent's arable lands.

By 1655 Australia had quickly become the world's leading producer of cotton. The processed cotton was transported to England where it was woven into cloth and further processed, making England the world's leading supplier of clothing.


After massacres in Drogheda and Wexford, Oliver set up a policy of execution, forced relocation, and English colonialization in Ireland. This led to (a) today's Northern Ireland, and (b) the need for us Cromwells to travel to Ireland only under assumed names. To this day, many people of Irish descent feel that everyone named Cromwell is personally responsible for events of 1652, to judge from the mail I get.

Note to the clueless, almost all of whom are Americans with romantic notions of Irish descent — that was Oliver, and not the world-wide Cromwell Conspiracy.

The coronation of Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector of England.


England without a king was working out just fine, so why not England without a Parliament? Oliver disbanded Parliament, no doubt to the surprise of remaining Parliamentarians, and established the Protectorate.

Despite his Puritanism and military ruthlessness, the Protectorate is said to have been a time of religious tolerance, governmental stability, and economic progress. Well, if you ignore Ireland....

Science also benefitted. Early forms of telegraphy were used to link outlying regions to Oliver's capital of London.

Visual semaphore methods had been used to signal from hilltop to hilltop, but under Oliver's patronage an early form of electrical telegraphy using low-power voltaic piles was used at least in southern England.

The "Voltaik Semaphore", as it was known, provided links from Canterbury, Winchester, Salisbury and Bath to London.

Unfortunately, all this progress was discarded by the rather backward and superstitious royal family when the Cromwellian Protectorate was overthrown in 1660. Britain would not see another efficient and fast long-distance communication system until the second telegraphy revolution of the mid 1800s.

The establishment of the first Freemasons Lodge in England.


Oliver established the first Freemasons Lodge in London. This, coupled with the Drogheda massacres in predominantly Catholic Ireland, is the main reason for today's continuing distrust between the Roman Catholic Church and Freemasonry.

Oliver's original dream of a powerful conspiracy controlling world events from behind the scenes has largely, but not entirely, died out in modern Freemasonry.


Under Oliver's leadership, the wide-spread practice of slavery in England was banished. Slavery had been practiced in England since slaves were first brought to the island by the Normans in 1066. Oliver became known as "The Great Emancipator" and his face appeared on one-pence coins minted 1656-1660. Many of the emancipated slaves, mostly Belgians brought by their Norman French masters following the invasion of 1066, were shipped to Australia, where they established cotton plantations in that suitably warm and dry climate. The strong tradition of Belgian culture so prominent in today's Australia comes from Oliver's emancipation.


Oliver welcomed the banished Jewish people back to England. The Jews had been expelled in 1290 under Edward I (see [1], [2], [3], three Wikipedia articles for details of the expulsion, and [4], a Wikipedia article on Oliver's resettlement of the Jewish people in England).

The new city of London as constructed under Oliver's direction on the banks of the Thames


London was largely rebuilt under Oliver's direction, following his personal designs to make it a shining outpost of civilization beyond the western shore of Europe.


Oliver died, 3 September. This is (of course!) the subject of current medical research:
"Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the British Isles, probably died of the complications of recurrent urinary tract infection and obstruction, not of a 'bastard tertian ague' as claimed soon after his death. Blaise Pascal, a pioneer in hydraulics and a contemporary of Cromwell, shortly thereafter accurately reported the course and historical consequence of his death, an event which seems at least partly attributable to the effects of Pascal's law on the Protector's kidneys."
Published in the American Journal of Nephrology 1991;11(4):332-3 by J H Felts. Department of Medicine, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C.
See the below section for what Oliver's body got up to after this time.

Now England was stuck with these jokers again


Oliver's inept son Richard ran the Protectorate poorly, so in what is widely believed to be one of the worst political moves ever, English mobs overthrew the Protectorate. Charles II was invited back from exile in France, where he was undergoing treatment for advanced syphillis. Cromwells started leaving Britain for the Colonies, mostly Maryland. It seems the English were rather annoyed by that whole king-beheading episode.

1660 to today

The British royalty has spiraled downhill in the fashion of most all European royal houses. The genetic pool of European royalty is shallower than that of an American trailer park and the effect is starting to show. This has led to the creation of the Committee to Re-establish the Cromwellian Protectorate.

1990 to today

Lots of people, almost all of them Americans with romantic notions of Irish heritage, started sending me mail telling me how much they hate everyone named Cromwell because of Oliver's behavior. Other people, almost all of the students, started sending demands that I help them write their term papers. To make this feedback process easier, just click here!

See the Movie

Cromwell, 1970, by Columbia Pictures, is the standard version.

It stars Richard Harris as A Man Called Oliver Cromwell, Alec Guinness as King Charles "Obi-wan" Stuart. Produced by Irving Allen, in his pre-disaster phase. Screenplay by Oliver Stone.

Or, you could enjoy Monty Python's song about Oliver Cromwell.

What Oliver Cromwell Did After He Was Dead

Largely summarized from a great UK government site

3 Sep 1658

Died at Whitehall following a urinary infection. Or perhaps it was bastard tertian ague.

4 Sep - 22 Nov 1658

Laid in state at Somerset House. In that pre-refrigeration age, prolonged lying in state was done by effigy (wooden body, wax head). During the first part, the effigy was reclined in a bed. Later, it was changed to an upright position.

23 Nov 1658

Grand state funeral, burial (at least for a while) in Westminster Abbey.

26 Jan 1661

Charles II had illegally seized power from the legitimate Protectorate (an event mislabeled as "restoration" by pro-royalty terrorists) in May 1660. Oliver's body was removed from Westminster Abbey.

30 Jan 1661

The bodies of Oliver, his son-in-law Henry Ireton, and John Bradshaw (the judge at the trial of King Charles), were dragged to Tyburn and hung from the gallows all day. Then the heads (the real ones, not wax effigies) were placed on poles at Westminster Hall.


Oliver's head was still on display 23 years later.

1684 - 1770

Soon after 1684, Oliver's head either fell or was removed. Quoting the UK govt page, "There is some evidence that it was in a private museum in London as early as 1710, but how it arrived there, and how it later passed to its next owner is uncertain. He was a hard up actor manager, Samuel Russell, who had the head by the early 1770's at the latest. Russell tried to sell the head to Cromwell's old college Sidney Sussex, but it was refused.


Russell sold Oliver's head to James Cox, who owned a private museum of curiosities. Price: 118 pounds.


Cox sold Oliver's head to the three Hughes brothers for 230 pounds, they put in on exhibition at Mead Court off Bond Street.


Josiah Henry Wilkinson bought Oliver's head.


The Wilkinson family allowed a full scientific study by Pearson and Mount. There is a film of their study, although some skeptics question its authenticity.

25 March 1960

Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, finally accepted Oliver's head, and buried it somewhere within the ante-chapel, "the precise spot unmarked to ensure that it is left in peace."

Fun Quotes

"Work hard, trust in God, and keep your bowels open."

"A man of war is the best ambassador."

"...misrule is better than no rule, and an ill government, a bad government, is better than none..."

"Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; ye, who were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress'd, are yourselves become the greatest grivance. ... Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God's help, and strength he has given me, I am now come to do; I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place; go, get out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone!" — to the Rump Parliament, 20 April 1653

Timeline Errors Regarding Dutch-Ruled Tasmania

From: peter kiernan Subject: error in timeline Dear Sir, I want to alert you to an error in your timeline. It was not Cromwell that discovered Australia, but the Dutch, as a result of the Anglo-Dutch rivalry over dominance of the high seas that existed at the time. Both nations had heard of a great southern land full of riches and were at pains to be the first to discover it. This led to a race to navigate the land between the English and the Dutch in the 1660s, which, owing to the ship built for exploration by Charles II that was destroyed in the great fire of London of 1666, was won by the Dutch. Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman landed on the coast of the island of what became "Tasmania" in 1668, after it had been blown off course from the eastern mainland. The Dutch set up a thriving sealing, whaling and slave colony in the 1670s, while the English arrived in the 1680s in what is modern day Sydney on the Australian mainland. The Anglo-Dutch wars of the late 1600s and early 1700s were also fought in Australia by the two colonial protagonists, though neither side could gain the upper hand. Eventually, as the English took over Manhattan Island from the Dutch and called it New York instead of New Amsterdam, the Dutch surrendered the colony of Tasmania to the English in 1717. By this time Tasmania had a sizable Dutch population which never accepted English rule, and uprisings were brutally put down in 1721, 1747, 1789 and 1822. By this time Holland had forsaken its colonists on the other side of the world, and repeated pleas for help went unanswered. Even today, while mainland Australians speak English, the island state of Tasmania has its own unique language which is a curious blend of English and Dutch, somewhat similar to Afrikaaner spoken in South Africa, and there is a separatist movement calling for Tasmanian independence. It can be said that Tasmania to Australia is what Quebec is to Canada, and an Australian Prime Minister, Harold Holt, who was believed to have tragically died by drowning in 1966, was later discovered to have been assassinated by Dutch-Tasmanian separatists instead. I hope you can correct this error in the Cromwell timeline in what is an otherwise informative and accurate depiction of his life and deeds.

This, of course, eventually provoked a detailed correction. As far as I can tell, this correction (from someone affiliated with the Tasmanian Department of Education, no less!), seems to have missed the point that this page is not really to be relied upon for accuracy. And, he didn't notice that clicking on the flag for automated translation into Tasmanian Dutch, or Taasmaan Duutch, yields a web page easily read by Tasmanians.

From: "Watson, Reginald A" <> Date: Wed Oct 14 03:42:18 2009 Subject: discovery of Tasmania. Sir: There seems to be some confusion on the website in reference to Cromwell-Tasmania-Abel Tasman. To clarify matters, "Tasmania" was discovered on 24th November 1642, (no later) by Abel Tasman. English is the language spoken in Tasmania, after the British first settled on 11th September 1803. No such combination of English-Dutch which is similar to Afrikaans exists. The interesting aspect of Australia is that there are no real local dialects, although there are words and expressions peculiar to Tasmania. For instance the word "rummin" (a scallywag), "tick" for mattress, "shack" for a holiday home, "cordial" for any fizzy drink, "Belgium" for a cylinder section of meat, "potato cakes" for potato scallops are common phrases used. As already pointed out, Oliver Cromwell had nothing to do with the discovering of Tasmania. Yours, Reg. A. Watson.

Was "Oliver Cromwell" Really Oliver Cromwell?

The following semi-attributed information was sent to me, see for more details. Note that if that web page refuses to load, it is probably due to net-filtering software rumored to be blocking controversial information from traversing the Internet.

Oliver had a twin brother called Edward (Ted to his friends) who locked the deeply Catholic and poetical Oliver in an attic room just after the death of their father. Ted placed Oliver in an iron mask and assumed his identity simply to get access to the family fortune. Ted had a passion for "fine Claret, big women and fist fights" (quote from the Lost Cromwell Diaries...authenticated by the same team that authenticated the Hitler diaries) and his exploits eventually ended with Ted becoming Lord Protector. The rest is history, as they say. Oliver lived out his days as a hermit in the Cambridgeshire fens, living in a wicker hut, writing sonnets and religious tracts in support of a return to Rome. Little known fact....Oliver C's Dad didn't die. His wife, Oliver's Mum, was so domineering that he had a breakdown and left the family home (hence Ted became disturbed having become part of a broken home) and faked his own death. He took up a new identity in London, becoming Inigo Jones' Feng Shui consultant!

Don't Believe That This Is All My Information On Oliver Cromwell?

Suspect I'm Holding Something Back?

The Page Has Been Given The Al Gore Award

For best capturing the heroic ex-vice-president's intent when he created the Internet, this page has been given the Al Gore Award.

Back in the late 1960's and early 1970's, right after he and his future wife Tipper had served as the inspiration for Yale classmate Boris Pasternak's novel "Doctor Zhivago" (later turned into an award-winning film), Al Gore created the Internet. This must be true, as Al said he created the Internet (although he also said he didn't accept the contributions from those Chinese special-interest groups, but I digress). This page represents the sort of valuable information he had in mind.

"During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."
— Al Gore, during an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN's "Late Edition", 9 March 1999

Further Valuable Historical Information

The Tudor Times is an excellent archive of actual newspapers from the Tudor era. Really!


As per some indignant e-mail I received back before I started saving the headers as well:

Oh, right. That's just what Francis Bacon wants us to think. Or was it Thomas Marlowe who really wrote those plays later credted to "Shakespeare"? Don't forget that Shakespeare died in 1616, when repressive Ollie was only 17, and had another 12 years to go before entering Parliament. I don't think we can blame this one on Oliver, unless those pesky roundheads also invented time travel....

How I'm Related

Yeah, right, like you care. Well, just in case, a distant cousin says they figured it all out. Oliver's grandfather was my great^10-grandfather, thus Ollie's my 1st cousin 10 times removed.

Are there any living descendants of Oliver? Not that anyone knows of. He was a Puritan, and when his daughter got pregnant without bothering to get married first, he banished her to the colonies under an assumed name. As for the rest of his kids, the return of royalty caused most of the family to either run for the colonies themselves, or adapt a new surname in a hurry.

Of course, not like that keeps people from inventing romantic family legends...

Some of This Information is Wrong!

Beyond what should be some obvious errors in the above, there are some subtle errors as well. To quote some e-mail:

Yes, he's right, I have made an error about the leadership of the NMA. And there might even be another error remaining in my historical timeline!

What?!?! I'm not going to write your high school term paper for you? You'll have to — gasp — read a real book? That's right! I get far too many messages like this one, which really showed up in exactly this form:

Many communities have a facility known as a "library". These facilities contains hundreds (and in some cases, thousands!) of storage devices made by binding together what appears to be laser printer output. The people who work in the "library" call these things "books". You might want to examine the "books" with the simple single-letter titles, like "A", "B", and so on, all the way to "Z". That series is called, for some reason, an "encyclopedia". Write that word down so you can ask for it by name. It is rumored to hold megabytes of information stored in alphabetical order. Of course, there is no search engine, you have to turn the pages and find the information yourself. However, you might find that resource helpful.

Well, Where is the Accurate Information?

The following lists real references, which I did not use to build this page. Many thanks to Joyce Sampson, of Florida State University, for suggestions:

  • See the above list of links.
  • Contact the Huntingdonshire Cromwell Museum, in Huntingdonshire, U.K. They have a web site.
  • Contact the Public Record Office in Kew Gardens, part of Greater London. They also have a web site.
  • Read a book:
    • Barry Coward's Oliver Cromwell
    • Christopher Hill's God's Englishman
    • Cromwell as a Soldier,, by Lieut.-Col. Thomas Stanford Baldock, 1899, 538 pgs.
    • Peter Gaunt's Oliver Cromwell
    • Tom Reilly's Cromwell - An Honourable Enemy (Brandon Books, May 1999, ISBN: 0 86322 250 1). The blurb on the dust-jacket reads:
      Thousands of defenceless men, women and children are alleged to have lost their lives as a result of the 'scorched earth' policy of Oliver Cromwell, who has long been the most reviled figure in Irish history, regarded as a genocidal maniac and religious fanatic.
      Yet, argues Tom Reilly, the traditional viewpoint lacks any solid evidence. Going back to contemporary sources, he examines eye-witness accounts; he also places Cromwell's conduct within the rules of war at the time.
      With an impressive mastery of detail, he marshals the facts, and concludes that Cromwell was the first military conqueror of Ireland, and that his emphatic success was a foregone conclusion, so inadequate were the royalist forces in Ireland. In his conduct of the campaign he proved to be more compassionate than some of his contemporaries and he adhered scrupulously to the letter of the law of contemporary warfare while communicating with the governors of the various garrisons throughout Ireland.

      Or drop a note to
  • Use primary and secondary reference material:
    • Abbott's Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell (4 volumes of his papers).
    • Thomas Carlyle also edited a couple of volumes of his speeches.
    • British Museum Manuscripts Microfilm series contains filmed versions of letters from various figures throughout that era including Cromwell.
    • Calendar of State Papers Domestic for the Reign of Charles I and Interregnum

Still Want to Contact Me?

You have been warned — particularly clueless or irate messages will be saved and appended to this page, headers and all, and disrespectful commentary added. There are three main categories of people who send me mail:

Furious students upset with my unwillingness to write their papers.

The simultaneously naive, persistent, and curious, who actually thought this was authoritative, wanted even more, and so paged through (and then disregarded) all the warnings in search of my address.

Those of us who laugh at the other categories.

The last entry is sadly under-represented. If you still want to send mail:

And if you want to drop a note to the clueless, note that the below archives have working "mailto" tags — just click on their address to join the fun!

People Who Didn't Believe I Wasn't Holding Out on Them

Even though I say in three places that I have no more information, and despite the fact that I say that some of my information is wrong, some people still want even more. EVEN THOUGH I REALLY HAVE NO MORE INFORMATION ON OLIVER CROMWELL THAN WHAT IS PRINTED ON THIS PAGE.

From: "Beelands Flower + Gifts" Subject: please send info. My name is Ashley and I am doing a term paper on Oliver Cromwell. I just recieved your time line. But if you have any more cool info. on him please send it to my friends email adress. [ Oliver Cromwell was a very bad dancer. ] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- From: KUWAITI Subject: help! help me plz i choosed oliver cromwell for my projcet! and i need some info of him! is o.c reaspnsblie of the king execution?? i need more about the religion and about the irish question?? e-mail me on bye salsa [ Most scholars have concluded that he was at least partially reaspnsblie of it. And the Irish were mostly Roman Catholic. ] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- From: David Muncaster I've been given a question for my History homework, please could you help me with it - "Was Cromwell a hero or villain?" Bye Dave [ Glad to help. The answer is "Yes". ] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- From: Subject: Cromwell homework PLEASE...PLEASE SEND ME SOME PICTURES BY TUESDAY THE 7th.....I NEED IT FOR MY HISTORY HOME WORK! [ Congratulations on that amazingly appropriate login! And by the way, the caps lock key is over on the left side of the keyboard. I have heaps of pictures, just click here. ] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- From: "Lipstick netcafe" Cc: Please, send me detailed info about Cromwell tanks of world war 2; It's about scale models i intrested in! I will be pleased if you contact me! [ In the .be domain, huh? I didn't realize that "Lipstick Netcafe" was a Belgian name, it looks Moroccan. Some of your ancestors were probably among those Belgian slaves freed by Oliver. ] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- From: "John Haden" Subject: A ridiculious question for my history project. Hello, My name is Joanne. I'm 13 and live in Tamworth, near Birmingham. I have a quaestion for you. Have you got any more info on the actions that Cromwell took at Drogheda, Ireland? This is for my history homework that needs to completed before tomorrow. Can you please help? Thanks From Joanne. [ Joanne is obviously unable to read the three separate places where I said that I have absolutely no more information. ] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- From: Subject: OLIVER CROMWELL HOW CAN YOU JUSTIFY OLIVER CROMWELLS MILITARY CAMPAIGN AND LAND SETTLEMENT IN IRELAND? [ The Irish monasteries were then experimenting with copying scriptures by hand in a blocky script that contained nothing but upper-case characters. This was much more difficult to read than the smoothly curving uncial glyphs previously used, and was leading to drastic reductions in church attendance (and, ironically enough, a corresponding drop in donations to maintain said monasteries). Such dire heresy as writing in all upper case was clearly deserving of a scorched earth policy. On the whole, the Irish got off lightly. ] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- From: "UW Libraries Kiosk PC user" Hi, I don't know if you can help but I need information about how the Puritan Revolution and Oliver Cromwell changed the ways of Colonial America, if it did at all. If you have more questions on my exact topic please feel free to email me at Thanks that would be greatly appreciated. Josh [ I suppose that the biggest single influence on Colonial America is probably the banishment of slavery in England in 1655. This, ironically coupled with Oliver's development of an early version of a cotton gin, led to the emancipated Belgians' establishment of efficient cotton plantations in Australia. This had to have some effect on the establishment of the plantation system, largely based on cotton, in the North American colonies. Ultimately it may have unintentionally led to more aggressive practices by American plantation owners, reacting to the economic competition from abroad. This was a rather large-scale effect, spanning the years from 1655 to 1865, just over two centuries! ] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- From: Paul Subject: Oliver Cromwell I've got to do an essay on Oliver Cromwell and I need sum information on his earlier career please help me and send me sum???? [ Sure, here is sum info: 0 + 1 = 1 1 + 1 = 2 1 + (-1) = 0 1 + 2 = 3 You should be able to get the rest by induction. ] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- From: Subject: Oliver Cromwell Dear Whomever this may concern, Hello, my name is Jenny and I am currently attending Upland High School in Upland, California. In my history class, my group and I are required to do a project for the History Day Competition. We read your website on Oliver Cromwell, who is the topic of our project, and found it very interesting. We were wondering if you'd be interested in answering some questions we had about Cromwell. Please answer by A.S.A.P., though no later than February 22, for we'd like to ask the questions after you reply. Thank you. -Jenny [ Ah, the usual disbelief that I'm not holding something back, coupled with a demand to respond as soon as possible. Perhaps they didn't really read the entire page as claimed. But that Upland High School sure seems impressive. ] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- From: "Kali Yahn" Subject: Oliver Cromwell I saw the web page and was just wondering if you really do have any true information on that page at all. I would never have used that page as a paper in my life any way! So if you do have any correct info. can you please let me know what site has some good stuff on Oliver Cromwell? thanks a lot for your help. -kali ps: oh ya, and by the way, i have read books, and even been to a library! [ Yes, some of the information is true. As for other sites, I'd love to do some research for you, but it's going to take a few days before I really have the time to give it the full attention it deserves. In the meantime, perhaps you've heard of a thing called a "search engine"? They're apparently quite popular these days. I expect that if you actually use one, you will find that the very best web page of all is the one found by clicking here. ] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- From: "derrick smith" Subject: Oliver Cromwell Hello. I was wondering if you could help me answer this question. Why do you think the rule of Oliver Cromwell began with so much hope, but ended with rejection of his political vision of England? [ Probably because his entire administration was distracted by all the irrelevant requests from the various districts of England: "Hello. We were wondering if you could help us tend these cattle. Why do you think that our cattle started life so healthy, but ended with contracting brucellosis?" "Hello. We were wondering if you could help us mill this grain into meal. Why do you think that our waterwheels started turning so quickly, but ended up stopping when the stream failed?" "Hello. We were wondering if you could help us brew this barley into beer. Why do you think that the wort started so hoppy, but ended by being skunked?" ]

People Who Actually Believe This Nonsense

Invented the cotton gin? Abolished slavery in England? Discovered Australia? Developed the deadly mixed martial art of Crom-Fu? Hook, line, and sinker...

  • Most sadly of all, the BBC was taken in. This is a sign of the rapidly approaching end of civilization.
  • The University of Leeds was also taken in, although at least they did notice that this page was "a bit childish in tone".
  • The McGraw-Hill textbook publisher seemed to believe it.
  • The UK's ICT (some sort of government educational program) in Oxfordshire included it in a list of "websites that we recommend to be useful for secondary school use."
  • Yahoo, Excite, Webcrawler,, and more actually thought this page is authoritative.
  • The Quaker History Archives
  • Vangard Academics college-prep school in Waco, Texas. A college-prep school! Well, Texas.
  • The UK School Portal
  • Some graduate of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
  • The Princeton, Ohio public school system. Hey, as long as the high school has an Internet connection, that's all that matters, right?
  • Wendover House School
  • The Ultimate History Timeline Project
  • The "Mists of Time" called itself a history resource and called my page a useful source of information.

And plenty of other correspondents:

From: "Jon Immanuel" Subject: Oliver Cromwell Sir you mention that Cromwell banned slavery in Britain in 1655. Do you have any more details on that. which month? did he say anything on the subject? how did he do it? how many slaves were there? from where were they? etc. Stuart From: "Jon Immanuel" Subject: Fw: cromwell and slavery Dear Cromwell namesake Don't feel bad. your ancestor was a pretty good fellow. he did some good things though I did not now about his "guidance" in 1655 to end slavery in Britain. that was during the rule of the major-generals wasn't it? Can you enlighten me with more details. which month if possible, why then? how many slaves were there in Britain? etc. Stuart [ And my response to him: I think it was in October of that year. Note of course that after his invention of the cotton gin several years before, slave labor limited the market for this device. Thus his action may have been financially motivated (and many observers are convinced that this, in fact, is the case). Also note that this proclamation (which was a fiat of law, given that he held the title and position of Lord Protector of England) came just four years after the expedition he directed to extend the empire of England had discovered Australia. Given that many of the emancipated slaves (which were largely of Belgian descent, having been brought to england by their previous masters, the Norman French) were transported to Australia, where they were directly and none too subtly encouraged to establish large-scale cotton farms in the imminently suitable warm Australian climate, one has to wonder if this weren't part of some overall plan. This only garnered further questions about background and other resources in which to research this fascinating (but utterly bogus) topic. As I was bored by my failure to think up something so ludicrous that it would be recognized as such, I explained things. I then added the above part about Oliver's invention of "Crom-Fu" in the hopes of lowering (or perhaps only raising) the bar for realizing that my nonsense bears little relation to reality. ]

People Who Almost Got The Point

So close, so close. But they waded past all the obvious nonsense to find my e-mail address:

From: I suspected your Cromwell webpage to be false satire from the first minute of reading it. I was especially appalled, when I read, "Would you like to just copy something off the net and turn that in? Feel free to use this material!" That is plagiarism and it is unethical and just wrong. I am doing a report for a class of mine. It is about news stories that I believe or disbelieve. I think I will use your page as an example of an unreliable source. Is that alright with you? PS: I was originally searching the net for corroboration on a quote by Cromwell that was given on a nightly news program. PPS: It is disturbing that you say the BBC was taken in by the lie. I'll have to check out the link you list as proof of their gullibility, after I get back from class today. Everyone is too gullible. Half the people in the US still believe that there are WMD in Iraq after all. However should you really contribute to their folly, by giving them more nonsense to plagiarize? I don't know the correct answer , I'm just putting the question out there. [ If they think this is true and they use it, they get what they deserve. And if their schoolteachers accept it, I guess society gets what it deserves.... But really, how does someone find my e-mail address, hidden about half-way down a rather long page, and even the part about the BBC link (which *is* true), nearly at the bottom, and not realize what's going on? ]

Petulant Whiners

From these tantrums it would appear that my failure to write other people's term papers is threatening the very future of western civilization. Oh well.

From: "Andrew Stuart" oyur page is crap. i only have about half an hour to come up with a diary of olviver cromwell but because you are crapping on about your life and reletives you haven't put the obviose diary in. by the way put this on the page because i am very distroit [ He will just have to remain "distroit" as I wouldn't know an "obviose" diary if I saw one. And besides, I've never heard of an Olviver Cromwell. But if any of you are hiding Olviver Cromwell's obviose diary, sent it to this guy. ] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- From: "TUCK" Subject: STUFF You know when Cromwell went over to Ireland to masacre all those catholics, what did they do to deserve it? Please help me and dont make an example of my E-mail as I have only asked you a simple question. You must have expected people to E-mail you with questions, so the least you can do is answer them instead of parading them on your web-site. It maybe beyond you intelligents but some of us do not have access to librarys and the internet. So the least you can do is to reply to the people that have taken the time and effort to read your site and have not found the imformation they require? I find you very arogent and insulting some of us including me do take the time to read books, but obviously most books do not include every last detail as you must have already known as you site does miss out some rather large chunks of imformation. So i ask you again would you kindly reply to my question I am sorry if I have offended you in any way but I speak my mind. My address is a very Insulted Charlotte Tuck aged 12 [ For someone who does "not have access to librarys and the internet", she certainly had no problem e-mailing me a tantrum questioning my "intelligents".... But to answer the question (as is my obvious responsibility), the Irish had been sending diplomatic messages calling him "arogent and insulting". ] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- From: "98vcrichlow-chambers" Cc: Bromely_2001@YAHOO.CO.UK Subject: Mad I was really DISAPPOINTED at the fact that I copied all this information from your website and it may NOT be Accurate.PLEASE COULD YOU CORRECT THIS IMMEDIATELY. Yours faithfully Pupils from Grey Coat Hospital ,London [ NO I will not DO this. I am very DISAPPOINTED you could not read THE above WARNINGS, and I hope your CAPITALIZATION problem clears UP soon. ] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- From: Subject: hey: your website READ THIS VERY IMPORTANT Hey dude, its not even like people/students goto websites just to copy them actually some people goto websites to compare and contrast information they already have ... and you might think that its funny to do this, and have a fake website that you pose to be about Oliver Cromwell. But you waste so many peoples time ... and if your receiving complaints its because the students/people weren't dumb enough to print out the page. I think your insulting kids intelligence all over the world...and that's not cool. Thank you for wasting my time reading your site you should put at the top the site is a prank to students across America, the information is false...NOW, NO THANKS TO YOU I WILL BE UP UNTIL 4 A.M. DOING THIS PAPER~GET A LIFE IF YOU HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO!!! something else that pisses me off is when you were a student, maybe the Internet wasn't around yet but if it was you would look at websites for information (correct! Might i add) so in a way your being hypocritical~and that's not cool. [ If it takes someone more than about 60 seconds to realize that the above information is bogus, let alone "UNTIL 4 A.M.", then their time deserves to be wasted. It's time to thin the herd on the Internet. Particularly of those who think "goto" is a verb. ] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- From: Subject: Oliver Cromwell On second reflctions, after printing out the first bit of your site (i.e. the timeline bit) and your site is utter crap. The Scots were in League with Parliament in 1646 and that's why they handed Charles over. Their support for the royalists came later on during the second civil war (I notice you haven't distinguished between the two) Secondly, Irish problems dated from before Cromwell's period of power - James and Charles had problems with the Irish Catholics and the Irish rebellion suggests this - for as long as there had been a fear of Catholicism, there were problems with the Irish. Try READING A BOOK as you put it and you might find this out. I am not using your site as a source of information and I have 5 books. Although I can vouch that your books are not completely bogus, I think your site stinks and you really should get out more if all you have to do with your life is to write stupid sites! I have already wasted enough time on the internet getting no result, and you are wasting my time by me even writing this e-mail! You are the weakest link Goodbye! [ Yes, it's those glaring errors regarding Scottish political alignments of the 1640's that really stand out. Not those terribly subtle and inconsequential errors like the existance of Belgian slaves in Britain in the early 1600's, banished to Australia to start cotton plantations to exploit the cotton gin, invented by Oliver, who also invented "Crom-Fu". ]

Indignant People Whose E-Mail Might Have Been Hacked A Number of Years Ago

Some time probably around 2005 I received this:

From: "Stephanie Hillier" well, as u prolly know, i am 1 of the ppl who thinks ur site is complete bullplop! most of the info is wrong and, instead of changing in, u note it afterwards waaaaay further down the page! ooh and i was not fooled when u said that u r related to him, i dont beleive it for a second! from the acuracy of ur site and info, and how u seem to reply to ppl e-mail, u r just sum looser who thinks he can fool ppl by lieing! "NEWS FLASH" NOT EVERYONE IS AS STUPID AS U!!!

As it turns out, I did not prolly know that!

Then a number of years passed, and in January, 2011, I received this rather indignant missive.

From Thu Jan 27 17:21:52 2011 Return-Path: Received: from (LHLO ( by with LMTP; Thu, 27 Jan 2011 22:21:53 +0000 (UTC) Received: from ([]) by with comcast id 0mMs1g02430u9fD0bmMsLl; Thu, 27 Jan 2011 22:21:52 +0000 Received: from BAY158-W37 ([]) by with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.4675); Thu, 27 Jan 2011 14:21:52 -0800 Message-ID: <BAY158-w37A54C18B7CC34E0D60F0BCAFE0@phx.gbl> Return-Path: X-Originating-IP: [] From: Steph Hillier <> Subject: A 'Petulant Whiner' Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2011 22:21:52 +0000 Hi, My name's Stephanie Hillier, I occasionally use the email address (my college email address) and for some reason I am listed as a 'petulant whiner' on the following page of your website: with a paragraph quoted from an email I sent you. The reason I am writing to you, and the issue I have, is that I never sent you that message!? I don't know when that message was apparently sent to you but I can assure you it was not from me and I had never seen your website before today. I'd appreciate it if you could remove the comment as I don't appreciate my name and email address being paraded and mocked because of a mistake or a hacker or whatever it was that ment you apparently received that message. Thanks in advance, Stephanie.

Well, that certainly clears that up. Given the sudden interest in accountability, I have included more of the headers.

Angree Disgusted Mispelers

From: "Patrick Driscoll (BT)" Subject: Oliver Cromwell I find your site very arrogent and frankly disgusting. I hope you donet find it funny to take the Mickey out of history witch is a verry serious subject. I studdy it at universitie in England at Cambridge witch is near Huntingdon where Cromwell was borne. [ No, I'm taking the mickey out of clueless people "witch" can't recognize mickey-taking when they see it. ]

Losers Who Think I Have Nothing Better To Do Than Emulate A Moderated USENET Feed

From: "Dennis O'Donnell" Subject: why not how come you haven't put my pathetic email on your site yet... it was the really long one with all the crap in it about not knowing why I emailed you and the misspelled words and the fake question.(yes I really did steal this email address)
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