Loella Pinkston

Written by Loella Pinkston

Modified & Updated: 03 Mar 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Source: Historic-uk.com

Oliver Cromwell, a name that rings throughout history as a powerful figure during the 17th century. Known for his role in the English Civil War and as the Lord Protector of England, Cromwell’s impact on the country is undeniable. But beyond his well-known achievements, there are many fascinating and lesser-known facts about this influential leader. In this article, we will delve into 16 mind-blowing facts about Oliver Cromwell that shed light on his life and legacy. From his military prowess to his religious beliefs and even his unorthodox behavior, these facts offer a glimpse into the complexities of one of England’s most formidable leaders. Get ready to be amazed as we uncover the lesser-known side of Oliver Cromwell, a man who left an indelible mark on history.

Key Takeaways:

  • Oliver Cromwell was a powerful leader who played a key role in the English Civil War and the execution of King Charles I, shaping the course of English history.
  • Cromwell’s legacy is controversial, with some seeing him as a hero and others condemning his authoritarian rule and brutal conquest of Ireland.
Table of Contents

Oliver Cromwell led the Parliamentarian forces during the English Civil War.

Oliver Cromwell played a crucial role in the English Civil War, leading the Parliamentarian forces against King Charles I and his loyalists. His military strategies and leadership skills helped secure victory for the parliamentary cause.

Cromwell was instrumental in the execution of King Charles I.

As a key figure in the trial and execution of King Charles I, Cromwell was one of the signatories of the king’s death warrant. This act marked a significant turning point in English history, leading to the establishment of the Commonwealth under Cromwell’s leadership.

Oliver Cromwell served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

After the execution of Charles I, Cromwell assumed the title of Lord Protector and became the de facto ruler of England, Scotland, and Ireland. His rule lasted from 1653 until his death in 1658.

Cromwell played a crucial role in the conquest of Ireland.

Under Cromwell’s command, the Parliamentarian forces launched a military campaign in Ireland, known as the Cromwellian conquest. The brutal campaign resulted in the subjugation of the Irish population and the confiscation of their lands.

Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas celebrations.

As a staunch Puritan, Cromwell viewed Christmas celebrations as pagan and overly extravagant. During his rule, the public celebration of Christmas was banned, and festivities were replaced with days of fasting and religious reflection.

Cromwell implemented strict moral codes.

During his time as Lord Protector, Cromwell enforced strict moral codes, including censoring theaters and suppressing entertainment deemed immoral. He aimed to create a society based on Puritan values and sought to eliminate perceived excess and debauchery.

Oliver Cromwell is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Despite his controversial legacy, Cromwell was given a ceremonial burial in Westminster Abbey. However, after the restoration of the monarchy, his body was exhumed and posthumously executed, symbolically punishing him for his role in the regicide.

Cromwell’s nickname was the “Lord Protector.”

Oliver Cromwell gained the nickname “Lord Protector” due to his role as the head of state during the Commonwealth period. This title represented his position as the de facto ruler of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

Cromwell’s military career began in middle age.

Prior to his involvement in the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell lived a relatively quiet life as a farmer and member of Parliament. It was not until his forties that he emerged as a skilled military leader and key player in the political landscape.

Cromwell established the New Model Army.

During the English Civil War, Cromwell played a crucial role in the formation of the New Model Army. This disciplined and well-trained military force became instrumental in the Parliamentarian victory and Cromwell’s rise to power.

Oliver Cromwell was a staunch advocate of religious tolerance.

Despite his reputation as a strict Puritan, Cromwell supported religious tolerance to some extent. He acknowledged the rights of individuals to practice their own faith as long as it did not contradict the principles of the Commonwealth.

Cromwell’s influence extended beyond England.

Cromwell’s impact was not limited to England alone. His rule as Lord Protector had a significant influence on Scotland and Ireland, where his policies and military campaigns shaped the political and social landscapes of both countries.

Oliver Cromwell faced several assassination attempts.

As a polarizing figure, Cromwell was the target of numerous assassination attempts. Despite these threats, he managed to evade any successful plots against his life and maintained a firm grip on power until his death.

Cromwell’s death marked the end of the Commonwealth.

Upon Cromwell’s death in 1658, his son Richard succeeded him as Lord Protector. However, Richard’s leadership was short-lived, and the Commonwealth quickly dissolved, leading to the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II.

Oliver Cromwell’s body was posthumously executed.

Following the restoration of the monarchy, Oliver Cromwell’s body was exhumed and subjected to a symbolic execution as a form of retribution for his role in the regicide. His remains were then hung at Tyburn before being buried in a common pit.

Cromwell’s legacy remains controversial to this day.

The legacy of Oliver Cromwell continues to be a subject of debate and controversy. While some view him as a hero and champion of liberty, others condemn him for his authoritarian rule and brutality during the conquest of Ireland.


In conclusion, Oliver Cromwell was a fascinating historical figure who left a lasting impact on English history. Through his military and political achievements, he transformed England into a republic and played a significant role in shaping the country’s future. Cromwell’s strong leadership and determination allowed him to overcome numerous challenges and establish a powerful Commonwealth. However, his controversial policies and actions have also generated much debate and criticism. Regardless of one’s opinion on Cromwell, there is no denying the profound influence he had on English politics and society during the 17th century.


1. Who was Oliver Cromwell?

Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who played a crucial role in the English Civil War and the subsequent establishment of the Commonwealth of England.

2. What were Oliver Cromwell’s achievements?

Cromwell successfully led the Parliamentarian forces to victory in the English Civil War, which resulted in the execution of King Charles I. He then ruled England as Lord Protector, bringing about significant political, religious, and military reforms.

3. How did Oliver Cromwell transform England?

Cromwell transformed England by abolishing the monarchy and establishing a republic known as the Commonwealth of England. He introduced religious tolerance, enacted social reforms, and expanded the influence of Parliament.

4. What is the controversy surrounding Oliver Cromwell?

Cromwell’s harsh suppression of the Irish rebellion and his role in the massacre of Drogheda have generated controversy and criticism. Additionally, his authoritarian rule as Lord Protector has been a subject of debate.

5. What is Oliver Cromwell’s legacy?

Cromwell’s legacy is complex. While he is celebrated by some as a champion of democracy and religious freedom, others view him as a dictator who undermined the rights of individuals. His legacy continues to be debated and analyzed by historians.

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