Oliver Cromwell
Privacy Level: Open (White)

Oliver Cromwell (1599 - 1658)

Oliver "Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland" Cromwell
Born in Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 22 Aug 1620 (to 3 Sep 1658) in St Giles, Cripplegate, London, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died at age 59 in Whitehall, London, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 12 Sep 2010
This page has been accessed 19,645 times.
English flag
Oliver Cromwell is managed by the England Project.
Join: England Project
Discuss: england

Oliver Cromwell was an army commander in two English civil wars, signed the death sentence for King Charles I, and became Lord Protector of England, Ireland and Scotland.[1] This biography focuses on his family, for a fuller description of his military and political career please see his Wikipedia entry.


Flag of Huntingdonshire (adopted 2009)
Oliver Cromwell was born in Huntingdonshire, England.

No man rises so high as he who knows not whither he goes. Cromwell on becoming Lord Protector, as recorded in the memoirs of Cardinal de Retz[2]

Oliver Cromwell was born the fourth of nine children of Robert Cromwell and Elizabeth Stewart, at Huntingdon on 25 April 1599. He was baptised at the church of St John four days later[3]. While his grandfather had been a wealthy man, much of the family fortune had dissipated and his father was a younger son. Robert Cromwell had briefly been an MP, disliked the experience and by the time of Oliver's birth he was Justice of the Peace for Huntingdon and lived quietly there on a modest income.

He was educated at Huntingdon Grammar School and then went to Cambridge to Sidney Sussex College, then newly founded as a Puritan establishment within the university[4]. After just one year there, his father died and Oliver was called home to look after the family[5].

In August 1620, aged just 21, he married Elizabeth Bourchier at St Giles Cripplegate in London.[6] Elizabeth was the niece of the wife of his uncle and the daughter of Sir James Bourchier, a successful London leather merchant. Based on their surviving letters it was a close and loving marriage[5]. They had nine children together, the first of these, Robert, being born the year after the marriage. They lived the life of minor gentry in Huntingdon, Oliver becoming Justice of the Peace[7].

In 1628, not yet 30, Oliver was elected MP for Huntingdon[7]. He was a quiet backbencher and the following Spring the king dissolved parliament, unhappy with its politics. There was no parliament for eleven years. Oliver returned to Huntingdon.

His finances failed and he sold his property in Huntingdon and moved to a farm near Ely, which he worked for the next five years, struggling both with depression and his awakening religious convictions[7].

In 1636 he inherited a substantial amount from his uncle's estate[7], leaving him once again a comfortable member of the gentry.

Cromwell's House in Ely, Cambridgeshire

They moved into a large house in Ely and it was here that their youngest two children were born.

In 1640 the King was forced to recall Parliament. Oliver returned as the MP for Cambridge[7] for both the Short and Long Parliaments. This time he was not a quiet backbencher. He moved his family down to London and they remained there from then on, first in lodgings and later in the Palace of Whitehall.

When the Civil War broke out in 1642, Cromwell returned to Cambridge and raised a troop of horse, preventing the Royalists from seizing the silver of the Cambridge colleges[4]. Arriving late at the Battle of Edgehill in October 1642 he observed the superiority of the Royalist cavalry and determined to match it.

Cromwell was perhaps the only truly gifted general of the war. By the time of Marston Moor in 1644 and Naseby in 1645 he commanded the entire Parliamentarian cavalry[4]. In the Second Civil War starting in 1648 he commanded the entire army. He finished the conflict by defeating the English Royalists in 1648, the Irish in 1649, the Scots in 1650 and finally the young Charles II at Worcester in 1651.

In the middle of this he had time to sign the death warrant for King Charles in 1649. All attempts to set up a working parliament failed due to factional disputes and in 1653 Cromwell became Lord Protector, king in all but name.

He died 3 September 1658 in the Palace of Whitehall. He was survived by Elizabeth, two of his five sons and all four of his daughters. His son Richard succeeded him as Lord Protector.

Cromwell's death mask, including the famous wart

Oliver Cromwell was famously exhumed from his grave in Westminster Abbey for a posthumous execution, on the twelfth anniversary of King Charles execution. Numerous stories regarding the separate burial of head and body exist, including supposition that it may have not even been the body of Cromwell that was exhumed at all.

Research Notes

  • Oliver Cromwell v Thomas Scott, 1657 Legal Record: "Surrey Feet Of Fines 1558-1760" [8]


  1. John Morrill, ‘Cromwell, Oliver (1599–1658)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Sept 2015 accessed 23 May 2017. This is a subscription site but access is free to readers of British libraries whose library subscribes.
  2. Title: The Memoirs of Cardinal de Retz, by Jean Francois Paul de Gondi, Cardinal de Retz https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3846/3846-h/3846-h.htm
  3. This Extract from the Register of St. John's Parish in Huntingdom, which Mr. Ferrar has been so obliging as to send me, includes Six of the Family, prior to the Protector Himself: But I will begin with Him, at present. .....25th April 1599. Oliverius, filius Roberti Cromwell Gen. et Eliz. uxoris ejus, natus 25. April 1599. et bapt. 29. .... (Oliver, son of Robert Cromwell, gentleman, and Elizabeth, his wife, was born April 25, 1599, and baptised 29.) A Few Anecdotes and Observations Relating to Oliver Cromwell and His Family, Serving to rectify Several Errors concerning Him, published by Nicholaus Comnenus Papadopoli In his Historia Gymnasii Patavini, By a Member of the Royal Society, and of the Society of Antiquaries, of London, London: Printed for J. Worrall, at the Dove in Bell-Yard, near Lincolns-Inn, 1763, Page 8 - data found under Oliverius (Oliver) Cromwell
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 British Civil War Project: Biography of Oliver Cromwell http://bcw-project.org/biography/oliver-cromwell
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Oliver Cromwell Association http://www.olivercromwell.org/ database online, (accessed 4 Sept. 2014)
  6. * Marriage: "London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812"
    London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: P69/GIS/A/002/MS06419/002
    Ancestry Sharing Link - Ancestry au Record 1624 #6644699 (accessed 6 December 2021)
    Oliver Crumwell marriage to Elizabeth Bourch on 22 Aug 1620 in Saint Giles Cripplegate, City of London, London, England.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1604-1629/member/cromwell-oliver-1599-1658 Hist. History of Parliament.
  8. Oliver Cromwell v Thomas Scott, 1657 Legal Record: "Surrey Feet Of Fines 1558-1760"
    Archive: The National Archives; Reference: CP 25/2
    FindMyPast Transcription (accessed 6 December 2021)
    First name(s): Oliver; Last name: Cromwell; Year: 1657; Term: Michaelmas; Record as transcribed: Oliver Cromwell, lord protector v Thomas Scott; Place: Lambeth; County: Surrey; Country: England/ Archive reference: (CP 25/2) /Archive: The National Archives/ Record set: Surrey Feet Of Fines 1558-1760/ Category: Institutions & organisations/ Subcategory: Courts & Legal/ Collections from: England, Great Britain. (copyright: Cliff Webb)

More Genealogy Tools

Sponsored Search

Sponsored Search by Ancestry.com

No known carriers of Oliver's DNA have taken a DNA test.

Have you taken a DNA test? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Sponsored by Ancestry ®

Family History Search.


Enter a grandparent's name. Just one grandparent can lead you to many discoveries.

Comments: 3

Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.
Oliver and Nancy are third cousins 10 times removed
posted by Nancy (Lowe) Sitzlar
Hello 10th Great Grandpa...!!!
posted by Merriam Langdon
I found this online at my ASU library and thought it would be helpful to those managing the protector Oliver Cromwell's page as it lists his descendants.