Tag Archives: Oliver Cromwell

“There I would go …  and quietly call to him” (Ann Fanshawe, 1653)

Another in the occasional series on contemporary – “pen-portrait” – accounts of events in the history of London, this one written by Ann Fanshawe regarding her Royalist husband Sir Richard Fanshawe’s imprisonment in London following his capture by Parliamentarians at the Civil War Battle of Worcester in 1651:

“During the time of his imprisonment, I failed not constantly to go, when the clock struck four in the morning, and with a dark lantern in my hand all alone and on foot, from my lodging in Chancery Lane … to Whitehall, in at the entry that went out of King Street and onto the bowling-green.  There I would go under his window and quietly call to him.  He, that after the first time expected me, never  failed to put out his head at the first call; thus we talked together, and sometimes I was so wet with the rain, that it went in at my neck and out at my heels.  He directed me how I should make my addresses, which I did ever to their general, Cromwell … ”.

Sir_Richard_Fanshawe,_1st_Baronet.jpeg

Sir Richard was duly released by Cromwell.  He went on after the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 to resume his political and diplomatic career, serving as Ambassador to Portugal and Spain.  He died in Madrid in 1666, whereupon  his body was brought back to England for burial.

The Civil War and its aftermath are discussed on  various of our standard walk, including the “Rebellious London” themed special.

Further details of all our walks are available in the “Guided Walks” section of this web-site.

Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section of the web-site, or by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com).

Cromwell cancels Christmas (John Evelyn, 1657)

 

2 - The church of St Margaret, Westminster - where the warden was fined for celebrating Christmas  in 1647 - Copy

On this day in 1657, during the Commonwealth and Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell that followed the Civil War, John Evelyn wrote in his diary:

“I went to London with my wife, to celebrate Christmas day, Mr Gunning preaching in Exeter chapel … .  Sermon ended, as he was giving us the Holy Sacrament, the chapel was surrounded with [Parliamentarian] soldiers, and all the communicants and assembly surprised and kept prisoner by them … .  It fell to my share to be confined to a room …, where yet I was permitted to dine with the master of it … and some others of quality who invited me.  In the afternoon came Colonel Whalley, Goffe, and others … to examine us one by one; some they committed to the marshal, some to prison.  When I came before them, they took my name and abode, examined me why, contrary to the ordinance made, that none should any longer observe the superstitious time of the nativity (so esteemed by them), I durst offend …, and … pray for  Charles Stuart … .  I told them we did not pray for Charles Stuart, but for all kings, princes, and governors.  They replied … with other frivolous and ensnaring questions, and much threatening; and, finding no color to detain me, they dismissed me with much pity of my ignorance”.

The church of St Margaret Westminster, where the warden was fined for celebrating Christmas in 1647, is visited on our “St Paul’s to Westminster Abbey” standard walk, and on our “Tudor and Stuart London” and “Rebellious London” themed specials.

Further details of all our walks are available in the “Our Guided Walks” section of this web-site.

Bookings may be made through the “Contact/Booking” section of the web-site, by e-mail (lostcityoflondon@sky.com), or by phone (020-8998-3051).

The Putney Debates

Interior of St Mary the Virgin, Putney

Interior of St Mary the Virgin, Putney

October 28th –  On this day in 1647, in the midst of the Civil War, the so-called “Putney Debates” began in the church of St Mary The Virgin.

The debates were  chaired by Cromwell and attended by officers and men of his New Model Army, many of whom were “Levellers”, and addressed  nothing of less import than the post-Civil War future and constitution of England.

Exterior, ,St Mary, Putney

Exterior, St Mary, Putney

Among the issues discussed were not only whether power should be vested in the King and House of Lords or in the Commons, but also whether there should be universal – male – suffrage (“one man, one vote”).  Colonel Thomas Rainsborough, personifying the radical contingent, famously argued that:

“ … [T]he poorest hee that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest hee … ”.

Among the outcomes was a declaration of “native rights” for all Englishmen, including  freedom of conscience, and equality before the law.

Rainsborough quotation, on display in St Mary the Virgin

Footnote.  Rainsborough went on to be killed during the siege of Pontefract, and to be buried in the church of St John in Wapping on November 14th 1648.

For a fuller account of his extraordinary life, the reader is referred to “The Rainborowes” by Adrian Tinniswood.

Rainsborough plaque, St John, Wapping

Rainsborough plaque, St John, Wapping

The  attempted arrest of the “five members” (John Rushworth, 1642)

A seventeenth-century portrait of John Hampden (Robert Walker)

A seventeenth-century portrait of John Hampden (Robert Walker)

4th January – On this day in 1642, King Charles I and his henchmen entered the Houses of Parliament and attempted to arrest five Members of Parliament, namely, John Hampden (c.1595–1643) (*), Arthur Haselrig (1601–1661), Denzil Holles (1599–1680), John Pym (1584–1643) and William Strode (1598–1645).  

It is said that when the King demanded to be told the whereabouts  of the MPs, the Speaker of the House, William Lenthall, retorted:

“May it please your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here”.

A nineteenth-century painting in the Houses of Parliament of the attempted arrest of the five members (Charles West Cope)

A nineteenth-century painting in the Houses of Parliament of the attempted arrest of the five members (Charles West Cope)

 

The event was essentially the last in a series that eventually led to the Civil War between on the one hand the Royalists under Charles, and on the other the Parliamentarians under Cromwell (*).

It is ceremonially re-enacted each year during the State Opening of Parliament, when the Crown’s  representative, “Black Rod”, is despatched from the Lords to the Commons, there to have the doors slammed shut in his face.

*Hampden was Cromwell’s cousin, and one of his ablest military commanders during the early part of the war.  He died  of wounds sustained at the Battle of Chalgrove Field  in 1643.

Cromwell cancels Christmas (John Evelyn, 1657)

Portrait of John Evelyn by Robert Walker 1648

Portrait of John Evelyn by Robert Walker 1648

December 25th – On this day in 1657, John Evelyn wrote in his diary:

“I went to London with my wife, to celebrate Christmas day, Mr Gunning preaching in Exeter chapel … .  Sermon ended, as he was giving us the Holy Sacrament, the chapel was surrounded with [Parliamentarian] soldiers, and all the communicants and assembly surprised and kept prisoner by them … .  It fell to my share to be confined to a room …, where yet I was permitted to dine with the master of it … and some others of quality who invited me.  In the afternoon came Colonel Whalley, Goffe, and others … to examine us one by one; some they committed to the marshal, some to prison.  When I came before them, they took my name and abode, examined me why, contrary to the ordinance made, that none should any longer observe the superstitious time of the nativity (so esteemed by them), I durst offend …, and … pray for  Charles Stuart … .  I told them we did not pray for Charles Stuart, but for all kings, princes, and governors.  They replied … with other frivolous and ensnaring questions, and much threatening; and, finding no color to detain me, they dismissed me with much pity of my ignorance”.

The church of St Margaret, Westminster - where the warden was fined for celebrating Christmas  in 1647

The church of St Margaret, Westminster – where the warden was fined for celebrating Christmas in 1647

The Putney Debates

Interior of St Mary the Virgin, Putney

Interior of St Mary the Virgin, Putney

October 28th –  On this day in 1647 began in the church of St Mary The Virgin the so-called “Putney Debates”, chaired by Cromwell and attended by officers and men of his New Model Army, many of whom were “Levellers”, and addressing  nothing of less import than the post-Civil War future and constitution of England.

Exterior, ,St Mary, Putney

Exterior, St Mary, Putney

Among the issues discussed were not only whether power should be vested in the King and House of Lords or in the Commons, but also whether there should be universal – male – suffrage (“one man, one vote”).  Colonel Thomas Rainsborough, personifying the radical contingent, famously argued that:

“ … [T]he poorest hee that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest hee … ”.

Among the outcomes was a declaration of “native rights” for all Englishmen, including  freedom of conscience, and equality before the law.

Rainsborough quotation, on display in St Mary the Virgin

Footnote.  Rainsborough went on to be killed during the siege of Pontefract, and to be buried in the church of St John in Wapping on November 14th 1648.

For a fuller account of his extraordinary life, the reader is referred to “The Rainborowes” by Adrian Tinniswood.

Rainsborough plaque, St John, Wapping

Rainsborough plaque, St John, Wapping

The Putney Debates

Exterior, ,St Mary, Putney

St Mary the Virgin, Putney

October 28th – On this day in 1647 began in the church of St Mary The Virgin the so-called “Putney Debates”, chaired by Cromwell and attended by officers and men of his New Model Army, many of whom were “Levellers”, and addressing  nothing of less import than the post-Civil War future and constitution of England.

Interior of St Mary the Virgin, Putney

Interior of St Mary the Virgin, Putney

Among the issues discussed were not only whether power should be vested in the King and House of Lords or in the Commons, but also whether there should be universal – male – suffrage (“one man, one vote”).  Colonel Thomas Rainsborough, personifying the radical contingent, famously argued that:

“ … [T]he poorest hee that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest hee … ”.

Among the outcomes was a declaration of “native rights” for all Englishmen, including  freedom of conscience, and equality before the law.

Rainsborough quotation, on display in St Mary the Virgin

Rainsborough quotation, on display in St Mary the Virgin

Footnote.  Rainsborough went on to be killed during the siege of Pontefract.  He was buried in the church of St John in Wapping on November 14th 1648.

Rainsborough plaque, St John, Wapping

Rainsborough plaque, in the churchyard of St John, Wapping