Richard Cromwell - Lord Protector

Felsted School 1639 - 1644
Lord Protector 1658 - 1659

Richard Cromwell was the third son of Oliver Cromwell and Elizabeth Bourchier. He attended Felsted School and became Lord Protector and Head of State on the death of his father, Oliver, in 1658. His period as the country’s political leader was not a success but it must be said that the crises which he inherited such as government debts due to a war with Spain, the unpopularity of army leaders and the desire of many people for a return to the Stuart monarchy, were not of his own making.

Although sometimes caricatured as ‘Tumbledown Dick’, he was a peace-loving man in an age of strife who had happily married into a Hampshire gentry family and played no part in the Civil Wars. His time in power was brief due to the opposition of senior army officers and republican MPs, although any leader would have struggled to cope with the scale and complexity of the problems facing the government by 1658. According to some historians, he was simply not ambitious or ruthless enough to survive in the cut-throat world of seventeenth century English politics. 

Perhaps happier living in obscurity, he had the satisfaction of out-living his political enemies, surviving until 1712.


 

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