top of page

Oliver Cromwell

Updated: Apr 30

Oliver Cromwell served as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland until his death in 1658. Often characterized as ruthless, he led successful efforts to remove the British monarch from power, earning him the label of a dictator. Cromwell, a devout Puritan, harbored strong intolerance towards Catholics and Quakers, yet some credit him with steering Great Britain towards constitutional governance.

Born into wealth in 1599 near Cambridge, Cromwell married into a Puritan family and later joined the sect. Despite his political success, he faced financial troubles and struggled with depression. Cromwell entered Parliament in 1628, but King Charles I’s suspension of the legislative body in 1629 cut short his tenure until it reconvened in 1640 due to rebellion.

The outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642 thrust Cromwell into military leadership despite lacking formal training. He distinguished himself in battles like Edgehill and Naseby, rising to prominence within the Parliamentarian forces. His religious fervour and belief in divine support fueled his actions, including the harsh siege of Catholic stronghold Basing House.

After Parliament’s victory in the First English Civil War, Cromwell negotiated unsuccessfully with Royalists, leading to the outbreak of the Second Civil War in 1648. Following the decisive Parliamentarian win, Cromwell played a key role in the execution of Charles I during Pride’s Purge, leading to a shift in Parliament’s composition.

Cromwell’s military campaigns extended to Ireland, where his forces engaged in brutal massacres at Drogheda and Wexford, leading to the confiscation of Catholic-owned land and persecution of Irish Catholics.

In March 1649, Westminster appointed Oliver Cromwell to lead an invasion of Ireland in order to crush all resistance to the new English Commonwealth and to avenge the alleged massacres of Protestant settlers in 1641-2. Irish land was also a valuable commodity, almost 70% of which was still held by Catholic landowners. Cromwell arrived in August, with 12,000 troops and a formidable train of siege artillery. Over the next four years his army defeated most military opposition in a series of bloody sieges and battles, which included notorious massacres at Drogheda and Wexford in late 1649. Catholic Irish resistance proved very stubborn and the English army resorted to scorched earth tactics to deny the enemy any sustenance or shelter. Between 1650 and 1652 Ireland suffered a demographic disaster with at least 25% of the population dying as a result of deliberately induced famine, which also encouraged the spread of diseases such as dysentery and the plague.

By 1653, when the last formal surrenders of the war took place, the country had been devastated, the population decimated, the economic infrastructure destroyed. 

Cromwell’s death in 1658 paved the way for his son Richard to assume power briefly, but his lack of support led to his resignation. George Monck’s actions initiated the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, with Charles II ascending the throne. Cromwell’s posthumous fate saw his body exhumed, beheaded, and displayed, symbolizing the triumph of the monarchy over his republican ideals.

Are you enjoying Stair Wars? If so, you might like some of my other products. Visit the shop here.

This is how I scored Oliver Cromwell. Was I fair? Have your say and, as site members, your vote will be incorporated into the next print run of Stair Wars.

  • more of a ‘force for good’

  • Less of a ‘force for good’


bottom of page