Rating the Monarchs of Britain: Now Disc. George III

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Zaz, May 27, 2009.

  1. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

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    Jul 31, 2002
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    But wasn't Cromwell the head of Parliament? The political reforms that Cromwell instituted may have been necessary for the growth of England, but his imposition of Puritan values on an entire society weren't.
  2. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    Charles II, like James I, ran a court full of bad behaviour.
  3. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Oliver "warts and all" Cromwell The Lord Protector may have done some good things, but dissolving the Parliament he had fought on the side of doesn't seem like a good plan. All that happened was that various factions jostled for power until George Monck reinstated Parliament and oversaw the restoration of the Monarchy.
  4. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    If you lot would just let me finish Charles I, we'll get to Cromwell. :mad: IMO, he had more ability in his little finger than all four Stuart kings of England, but obviously you don't agree. Your privilege.
  5. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    It's not difficult to have more ability then a Monarch, especially stuck up over-edulgant ones. Damn the Tudors for dying out and leaving us the Stuarts.
  6. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    The Tudors had a high level of competence, which would have been even higher if Mary I and Edward VI had left religion alone.
  7. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

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    I'm neither pro or anti-Cromwell, but it would do to remember that his reign was, unless I'm mistaken, the first time a confirmed 'non-noble' or non-ruler was essentially in control of a nation or kingdom since the fall of the Roman Empire with no claims at kingship. He was the first modern, post-monarchic leader, so to speak. It was a rather new thing, a bellwether of things to come and the first stirrings of the concept that the whole concept of nobility and monarchs is a pretty childish and romantic notion that doesn't necessarily fit the best interest of running a nation.

    Perhaps he might not compare all too favorably with George Washington or Thomas Jefferson 100 years or so later. But then, if you look at the maniacs who came to power in the French Revolution, Cromwell looks pretty tame.
  8. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 11, 1998
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    And he was actually English. The English had been ruled by the Danes, the Normans, the Welsh and the Scots, but they hadn't had an English ruler since the Anglo-Saxons--though Elizabeth was pretty close. Cromwell respected and admired Elizabeth--he made her accession day a national holiday. But he utterly despised the Stuarts as foreign incompetents. Of Charles II, he said "All [he] wants is a leg of mutton and a whore." Which about sums it up.
  9. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 11, 1998
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    The English Civil War

    [image=http://www.uni-bielefeld.de/lili/personen/fleischmann/d_archsuse05/202_van_dyck_charles_I.jpg]

    "The English Civil War had not yet started, but both sides began to arm. Following futile negotiations, Charles raised the royal standard in Nottingham on 22 August 1642. He then set up his court at Oxford, when his government controlled roughly the Midlands, Wales, the West Country and north of England. Parliament remained in control of London and the south-east as well as East Anglia. Charles raised an army using the archaic method of the Commission of Array. The Civil War started on 26 October 1642 with the inconclusive Battle of Edgehill and continued indecisively through 1643 and 1644, until the Battle of Naseby tipped the military balance decisively in favour of Parliament. There followed a great number of defeats for the Royalists, and then the Siege of Oxford, from which Charles escaped in April 1646.[25] He put himself into the hands of the Scottish Presbyterian army at Newark, and was taken to nearby Southwell while his "hosts" decided what to do with him. The Presbyterians finally arrived at an agreement with Parliament and delivered Charles to them in 1647. He was imprisoned at Holdenby House in Northamptonshire, until cornet George Joyce took him by force to Newmarket in the name of the New Model Army. At this time mutual suspicion had developed between the New Model Army and Parliament, and Charles was eager to exploit it.

    He was then transferred first to Oatlands and then to Hampton Court, where more involved but fruitless negotiations took place. He was persuaded that it would be in his best interests to escape ? perhaps abroad, to France, or to the custody of Colonel Robert Hammond, Parliamentary Governor of the Isle of Wight.[26] He decided on the last course, believing Hammond to be sympathetic, and fled on 11 November.[27] Hammond, however, was opposed to Charles, whom he confined in Carisbrooke Castle.[28]

    From Carisbrooke, Charles continued to try to bargain with the various parties, eventually coming to terms with the Scottish Presbyterians that he would allow the establishment of Presbyterianism in England as well as Scotland for a trial period. The Royalists rose in July 1648 igniting the Second Civil War, and as agreed with Charles the Scots invaded England. Most of the uprisings in England were put down by forces loyal to Parliament after little more than skirmishes, but uprisings in Kent, Essex and Cumberland, the rebellion in Wales and the Scottish invasion involved the fighting of pitched battles and prolonged sieges. But with the defeat of the Scots at the Battle of Preston, the Royalists lost any chance of winning the war."



    Yes, folks, the same pointed-head nimrod who started the damn war by telling the Scots that they had to be Anglicans now--in return for returning to power--made a bargain with the Scots that he would impose Presbyterianism in England! This set off the Second Civil War, wherein the English fought the Scots. The War broke out in the first place because the moderates feared Parliament was too radical, and joined the King. They would regret it. Charles wasn't a bad soldier, but he wasn't good enough, given that the wealthiest part of the country, the major cities, and the Navy all came out for Parliament. Numerous very gifted and able men died in this useless war. It was called a Civil War, but in fact, it was the first genuine Revolution, and it followed the standard pattern: the King loses; the moderates take over and screw up; the radicals take over and screw up; a military dictator takes over; a King is restored, but not for long. The effect on England, Scotland and Ireland would be very, very long-reaching.
  10. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    I never quite understood why Parliament had a superior army. The proper crack troops trained for defence of England are loyal to the reigning monarch and fight in his/her name.

    Parliament on the other hand represents the people and therefore would more likely have recruited civilians to their cause. Regular people are not very likely to succeed against proffessionally trained soldiers.

    So, how did the Crown get such a stomping?
  11. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but did things work precisely like that at the time? It seems to me you're describing standing armies, which came about mostly with the advent of Napoleon and the French Revolution. It may have been there were standing navies at this point or ones were starting to be formed to combat piracy and such, but I don't think there actually were large scale forces at this time that regularly took orders from generals with the King as thier commander in chief.

    There were guards in that position, surely: but they might not have had numbers all that significant to fight a war. Noticed the key words there in Zaz's post "Charles RAISED an army" -- you don't raise armies today: at most you draft or sign people up into existing ones. In times like WWI you could say new armies were raised, but that was because they needed more in addition to the existing ones, and it was the revolution / Napoleonic wars that really introduced that concept. Otherwise armies didn't exist until war was being prepared.

    I think most troops at that time operated more as mercenaries, or at least hired conscripts often with little actual combat experience themselves. For instance if someone joined an army as an archer during wartime, thier experience most likely came from just hunting around thier home -- not because they trained to fight in any sort of clash of armies. Maybe allegience to the King and or liege-lord was expected... although probably more on the wane amongst non-nobles at that time than maybe it had been previously (nobles of course have always been notorious at slitting thier monarch's throat when he least expects it), the loyalty to the King when situations like this came up was probably more of a personal matter. There may have been laws to some respect but enforcing even most laws across a kingdom anywhere was haphazard until, again, the French Revolution or at least Louis XIV introduced the concept of police in the form of the Gendarmes.
  12. Black-Tiger Jedi Master

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    Nov 25, 2008
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    Ollie was great. Best leader we've had. And as has been said he was English too. Didn't he ban Christmas and kick all the back slapping corrupt MPs out of Parliament by the point of the army's guns? Ahh, if only he was alive and well this year.:cool:
  13. Rouge77 Jedi Grand Master

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    Parliament didn't actually represent "the people" but a very shallow group of entitled citizens, many of them powerful men, and England didn't have much in the way of a standing or professionally trained army (certainly no crack troops) and militarily trained people - some who had served on the continent in the Thirty Years War - served on both sides.

    Charles was also a monarch who had a very high ideas of kingship and kingly powers, but who himself was a man of modest abilities. A kind of English version of the Russian emperor Nicholas II. Often when it came to winning the loyalty of people he was his own worst enemy and he was stubborn and couldn't make compromises. Nor did any of his generals, even the relatively good ones like Prince Rupert, rank among the best field commanders of the time.
  14. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

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    Charles was also a monarch who had a very high ideas of kingship and kingly powers, but who himself was a man of modest abilities. A kind of English version of the Russian emperor Nicholas II.

    Yeah, but in the epic battle of Monarchic Moronic Stupidity, I still think Nicholas II wins the game over Charles I in overtime.
  15. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    In 'dire-effect-on-millions-of-innocent-people', Nicholas does take the palm, if only because he caused much more suffering. Charles' stupidity actually (in the long term) had a good effect--the English stripped most future kings of most of their powers. But in the short term, his three kingdoms suffered a lot.

    At the start of the Civil War, neither Charles nor Parliament had a standing army; that was the issue. Charles wanted to raise one, to subdue the Scottish rebellion, which broke out because Charles wanted to impose Anglicanism on a Presbyterian country--Scotland--against its will.

    To raise one, he needed money. To get money, he needed to call Parliament. Parliament hadn't been called for nearly ten years because they wanted reforms he was unwilling to give. See above for details.

    Parliament didn't want to give him the money for a lot of reasons. They had no beef with the Scots and their religion, for one. For another, there was no guarantee Charles would stop at the Scots once he *had* the army, and lot of his subjects suspected him of Romanizing tendencies. And there were many more pressing issues-to them--than Presbyterianism in Scotland.

    Charles eventually raised his own army, as did Parliament. Both armies were basically amateur night; the difference was that Parliament's gradually became more professional as time went on, and began kicking the Cavaliers but good.

    The canard that the Parliamentary armies all consisted of Puritans is just that. Numerous lords and gentlemen fought with Parliament.

    Charles, of course, had a choice. He could have negotiated a settlement before he raised an army. But he thought he could win. Once he was beaten, he promised anything to anyone. The Parliamentarians called him 'that man of blood' and they were right. He would tell any lie, betray any supporter, to get his own way. He didn't flee Britain because he was certain that the government of the kingdoms required a King, and that Parliament had to give way to his wishes eventually. He was to get a rude but entirely deserved surprise.
  16. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    I can see his viewpoint though.

    After all, would you give up inhereted rule over a nation and all the wealth, land, property & powers that go with it simply to be a figurehead ruler that has no authority to do anything other then sign stuff and read out Parliament's laws?

    I sure as hell wouldn't like that.
    He should've worked more closely with Parliament to try and compromise.

    However, I still think a Revolution of some kind would eventually have happened like in France where the Monarch is ousted and elected officials control the nation.
  17. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

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    I'm not sure I really see the point that way. I mean a lot of rulers had to compromise wihtout totally crapping out like that. I mean the guy did so badly at the whole thing HE KILLED THE CONCEPT OF MONARCHY. I mean like... wow. Zaz's point is probably well taken in that the only thing I can understand is his not fleeing England because he assumed they were going to have to have a King, because when had thier ever been a kingdom without a king anywhere ever (the Romans don't count)?

    So yeah, THAT I can see as being a surprise and being a surprise to probably all but the most incisive of rulers. I'm not even sure MAchiavelli could have seen that one coming down the pipe. But otherwise no: he was pretty much an idiot.


    However, I still think a Revolution of some kind would eventually have happened like in France where the Monarch is ousted and elected officials control the nation.

    If it did happen you really, really wouldn't want to do it like the French though. Frankly the people who suffered most during the French Revolution until Napoleon came along were... the French. Thereafter with Napoleon in charge it was, as usual per European history, the Russians (although the Spanish took some drubbings as well).

    Any epic historical event in Europe is always accompanied by a lot of Russian suffering. It's just how it goes.
  18. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    He wasn't ousted because of his autocratic tendencies. He was ousted because he meddled with something the people simply refused to tolerate: their religion. As I said upthread, if he had left religion alone (and nobody, but nobody forced him to decide to inflict Anglicanism on the Scots. He decided it. And when he didn't have the guts nor the balls to enforce it, the whole house of cards came down on his head) he might well have died in his bed. At the end of his reign, he had discredited monarchy so badly that the people took a very drastic alternative. He could have made a deal after losing the first Civil War, but no. He made a an entirely cynical deal with the Scots, one that he had no intention whatsoever in honouring, promising them that he would enforce Presbyterianism not only in Scotland but in England (!) This triggered the second Civil War, between the Scots and the English Parliamentarians, with some risings by the Royalists in England. It ended with Cromwell's victory at Preston against the Scots. A good many of the Cavaliers had given their parole after the end of the first Civil War, and when they participated in the second, they were executed. Was Charles chagrined? Not hardly. He still expected to be restored to the throne, but the second Civil War convinced even the moderates that he was completely unreliable, as indeed he was. Until the second Civil War, most of the Parliamentarians did want to restore Charles, on conditions. His behaviour convinced them otherwise. And it was entirely stupid thing to do so unless he was sure he could win, which, based on the evidence, was unlikely. By this time, the Parliamentarians had the first professional standing army in English history--the New Model Army, and several extremely gifted generals, including Cromwell and Fairfax. Charles' only good general, Montrose, was cut off in the Highlands, his luck about to run out. But Charles resembled his grandmother, Mary, Queen of Scots, not a little; he loved intrigue for its own sake, and he was extremely bad at it. Some of his letters, indicating that he was lying to everybody, became public, and the Parliament was infuriated.
  19. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Messing with religion can work for a Monarch, Henry VIII got away with it well enough.
    Mary went rather crazy but Elizabeth fixed that.

    I don't see why Parliament didn't just force Charles out and put someone else on the throne, there was an heir wasn't there?
    If you can't work with one king, compromise or get rid of them. Look at King John, he had to sign the Magna Carta.
  20. saturn5 Jedi Master

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    Aug 28, 2009
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    Hostorians now shy away from the term English Civil War as it also involved Ireland and Scotland.

    Hard to defend Cromwell as a man who cancelled Christmas! But no, a great man who did much to create modern Britain (comedian Mark Steel did a hilarious spoof documentary on him likening him to Johnny Cash).

    Charles the 1st, a pitiful figure who was everything a king should not be. That said when he was eventually executed they say the whole country wailed in unison, no one wanted to kill the king, he forced their hand

    Charles 2nd the last of the goodtime guys. If you ever go to see the crown jewels be sure to check out his solid punch bowl and ladel, sums the opulence of his reign up right there
  21. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    Henry VIII got away with it for several reasons: he confined himself to England; he was far tougher and far smarter than Charles; he offered fantastic financial incentives to a wide variety of people by giving them church lands; he offered the clergy the opportunity to get married; and he changed the basic style of worship very little. Still there were several rebellions, which he put down with great brutality. He was the sort of man who would praise you to the skies just before he arrested you. Everyone knew this and didn't fool around with him.

    Actually Parliament did consider offering the throne to one of the Lutheran sons of Charles' sister, Elizabeth of Bohemia. Two of them fought on Charles' side (Prince Rupert and Prince Maurice) so it was unlikely that they would consent. Too bad; either one of them would have been a better King than Charles I or II, though Rupert is rightly described as 'more dashing than brilliant' as a soldier. Rupert also advised Charles to make peace with Parliament after the Battle of Naseby, so he knew a lost cause when he saw one. Charles, of course, ignored this excellent advice. But eventually Elizabeth's descendents did consent, if not until 1714, when Elizabeth's great-grandson, George I, succeeded, the Stuarts having shot themselves in the foot as per usual.
  22. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    [image=http://mercuriuspoliticus.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/execution-charles.jpg]The Execution of Charles I[/link]

    Now, the denouement: after the Battle of Naseby in 1646, Charles' forces began to dissipate. His heir and wife were already abroad; he himself escaped from Oxford, and appeared 8 days later at the encampment of the Scottish army at Newark.

    Exactly what he thought he was doing, no one knows. He may have gambled on the ancient loyalty of the Scots, despite his ill-treatment of them. He may have remembered that his idiot grandmother, Mary, Queen of Scots, had commanded considerable support, even after the murder of his grandfather. He may have feared Cromwell, who was now in control of the New Model Army. He may thought that he could mediate among the developing factions, not understanding how much most of them loathed him. The Scots asked him to confirm the Covenant; he wouldn't. The English asked him to agree to a limited constitutional monarchy. He wouldn't do that, either. Evidence suggests that he was delaying in the hope that the factions would start to fight with each other, the better to allow him to scheme. Finally the English lost patience; they purchased Charles' person from the Scots for a million pounds.

    Charles was in custody for awhile in England; then he made a deal with the Scots--he now agreed to Presbyterianism in England, for a term of three years. The Scots invaded and had their silly asses thoroughly kicked by Cromwell at the battle of Preston, in August, 1648.

    The Parliament and the New Model Army lost patience. Charles continued to fuss about Anglican Romanized fripperies; he would seem to see sense and then he would huff that the country could not do without him. The country was beginning to think it could.

    But Charles refused to believe it. He dismissed several good opportunities to escape. He refused to compromise, so that attempts to get him to accept more limited powers were unsuccessful.

    He was placed on trial in January, 1649. He was not allowed to speak at the trial, and he was condemned to death, and executed January 30th, 1649, giving a long, dull and defensive speech before he did so. He was 49.

    Andrew Marvel, a Puritan poet, wrote:

    "He nothing common did, or mean
    Upon that memorable scene."

    Yeah, but he had done plenty of common and mean things during his lifetime. Which is not to say that beheading wasn't a terrible step; and despite everything there was a revulsion of feeling once he *was* executed. Thus began the process of trying to portray Charles as a martyr. He wasn't; he was an utterly misguided, unintelligent and ungifted man, whose schemes had cost many a better man his life.

    Achievements: His only political achievements were negative; that is, he fostered the growth of democracy by being such a deadweight on the body politic.

    The Good: Charles was uxorious, the only male Stuart in the English period to be so. He is always held to be a good parent, but this is, IMO, premature. Given the story that he boxed Charles II's ears for flirting with ladies in waiting while he was in his early teens, he made have had a hard time tolerating the subsequent amatory careers of his sons, had he lived long enough.

    His other talent was for art. He had an excellent eye for both art and architecture, and amassed a famous art collection (most of which was sold by Parliament after his death.)

    The Bad: See above.

    On Screen: He was played, very well, by Alec Guinness, in the film "Cromwell"

    Rating: In all three kingdoms: 0/10



    Books about Charles I available online

    * History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England: Begun in the Year 1641 by Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon (1717): Volume I, Part 1, Volume I, Part 2, Volume II, Part 1, Volume II, Part 2, Volume III, Part 1, Volume III, Part 2
    * The History of Great Britain Under the House of Stuart by David Hume (1759): Volume I, Volume II
    * An Historical and Critical Account of the Lives and Writings of James I and Charles I, and the Lives of Oliver Cromwell and Char
  23. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    And so endeth the lesson. England did not restore Charles' eldest son to the throne after his death, though they could have done so. Scotland offered him the throne of that country, if he would sign the Covenant. Great Britain now entered on a period of chaos, whereby Charles II tried to take the throne back, and the Parliamentarians, who have the lowest opinion of him--not at all unjustified--tried to keep it away from him. Though he had considerable talents for double-dealing and politics (more than his father) he lacked something necessary for a man opposing Oliver Cromwell--he was not a good soldier.

  24. Zaz Jedi Grand Master

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    I suppose it's stretching it to call Oliver Cromwell a "Monarch" of Britain...though he came very close to it indeed.

    But when I said upthread that Cromwell was 'entirely English', I was wrong.

    [image=http://artroots.com/brigitte/gifs40/olivercromwell.jpg]

    [image=http://www.1st-art-gallery.com/thumbnail/181524/1/Portrait-Of-Oliver-Cromwell-$281599-1658$29.jpg]

    1st Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland
    In office
    16 December , 1653 ? 3 September , 1658
    Preceded by Council of State
    Succeeded by Richard Cromwell
    Member of Parliament for Cambridge
    In office
    1640 ? 1642
    Monarch Charles I
    In office
    1640 ? 1640
    Member of Parliament for Huntingdon
    In office
    1628 ? 1629
    Born 25 April 1599(1599-04-25)
    Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
    Died 3 September 1658 (aged 59)
    Whitehall, London
    Resting place Tyburn, London
    Nationality English
    Spouse(s) Elizabeth Bourchier

    Relations:
    Robert Cromwell (Father)
    Elizabeth Steward Cromwell (Mother)

    Children

    Robert Cromwell (died aged 17)
    Oliver Cromwell
    Bridget Cromwell
    Richard Cromwell, Lord Protector
    Henry Cromwell, Lord Deputy of Ireland
    Elizabeth Cromwell
    Mary Cromwell
    Frances Cromwell (ancestress of the current Duchess of Kent)

    Alma mater Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
    Occupation Parliamentarian; Military commander
    Religion Puritan (Independent)

    Cromwell was a collateral descendant of Henry VIII's Chancellor, Thomas Cromwell:

    [image=http://www.tyndale.org/DeCoursey/cromwell.gif]

    Cromwell was a self-made man--the son of a cloth-maker. He favoured the new learning and helped Henry divorce Catherine and then rid himself of Anne Boleyn. He came a cropper by recommending the King's marriage to Anne of Cleves, and Henry executed him, in 1540.

    A contemporary said: "Many lamented but more rejoiced, and specially such as either had been religious men, or favoured religious persons; for they banqueted and triumphed together that night, many wishing that that day had been seven year before; and some fearing lest he should escape, although he were imprisoned, could not be merry. Others who knew nothing but truth by him both lamented him and heartily prayed for him. But this is true that of certain of the clergy he was detestably hated, & specially of such as had borne swynge, and by his means was put from it; for in dead he was a man that in all his doings seemed not to favour any kind of Popery, nor could not abide the snoffyng pride of some prelates, which undoubtedly, whatsoever else was the cause of his death, did shorten his life and procured the end that he was brought unto."

    Cromwell was survived by a son, Gregory, who married Elizabeth Seymour, sister of Jane Seymour. This probably was the reason Gregory survived his father without much suffering, though Thomas Cromwell was attainted (that is, he could not pass on the title Henry gave him--Earl of Essex). Cromwell was also survived by two nephews, daughter of his sister, Catherine, and a man called Morgan ap Williams, both of whom died of the plague. Williams was Welsh, and because of that, his surname was a patronymic--that is, it wasn't really a surname; it meant 'son of William'. Possibly at the suggestion of Henry VIII, Cromwell's two nephews adopted their uncle's English surname. The elder, Richard Cromwell, was a great favorite of the King, and survived his uncle's ouster. Oliver was his great-grandson.

    Morgan ap Williams had another point of interest: his mother's name was Joan Tudor, and she was reputedly one of the two illegitimate daughters of Jasper Tudor, the uncle of Henry VII. If this is true, Cromwell had both French and English royal descent. However, there appears no contemporary discussion of it, so the chances aren't that good. Go back far enough, though, and you strike a Norman knight named Guyon le Grant, who moved from England to Wales, and became acclimatized.

    Cromwell's mother's surname was "Steward" but the family was from Calais, not Scotland. He was one of ten children, of which seven survived. He was the only surviving son, which suggests he got a good
  25. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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