Person    | Male  Born 25/4/1599  Died 3/9/1658

Oliver Cromwell

Born Huntingdon, the great-grandson of Richard Cromwell who was Thomas Cromwell's nephew. The picture source website also provides these words: "Following the traumatic upheavals of civil war and regicide, he rose from the ranks of the minor gentry to become Lord Protector and ruler of England, Scotland and Ireland, enjoying the powers - if not the title - of king." Died after a short illness at Whitehall and was buried quickly in Westminster Abbey. Then a funeral modelled on that of James I's was prepared, and on 23 November the procession and ceremony took place.

Following the restoration of the monarchy, and a House of Commons vote on 4 December 1660 it was decided that the bodies of Cromwell, Henry Ireton and John Bradshaw should not be allowed to rest in peace. What follows is just one version of many....on 26 or 28 (depending on source) January 1661, the three corpses were dug up and taken to the Red Lion Inn in Holborn. On the 30th, exactly 12 years after the death of the King, they were taken and hanged at Tyburn gallows. Cromwell's head was then removed, impaled on a spike and displayed on the south end of Westminster Hall for almost twenty years. A convoluted story involving fairgrounds and dinner parties has it eventually being donated to Cromwell's Cambridge college and buried in an unmarked grave in 1960. Another story has a body switch with Cromwell's being buried in a family vault in Newburgh Priory, Yorkshire (the home of the Fauconbergs, the family into which Cromwell's daughter married).

Similar post-death indignities were inflicted on others involved in the regicide, or even just related to Cromwell, such as his mother

From Cambridge University Library: Since his death "the controversy surrounding his extraordinary career has divided professional historians and the general public alike. Some see Cromwell as the defender of principles and liberties, the champion of religious diversity and toleration, while for others he was nothing more than a tyrant, a murderer and a bigot."

2014: The Guardian reports on an early case of plaque pilfering. A bronze plaque buried with Cromwell in September 1658 was exhumed along with the mouldering body and purloined by the man carrying out this unpleasant task, James Norfolke. The article gives the history of the plaque right down to its entry for auction at Sotheby’s on 9 December. It also adds a grim detail to Cromwell's already gruesome postmortem story - Cromwell's facial wart has survived and is held (gingerly, we bet) by the Society of Antiquaries of London.

His wife was Elizabeth Bourchier (1598–1665).

This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
Oliver Cromwell

Commemorated ati

Charles II trampling Cromwell

Though the statue still exists we label it as 'lost' because it is lost to Lo...

Read More

Cromwell's body

The plaque gives the date of Cromwell's death rather than the date of his exh...

Read More

Cromwell statue

Controversy over who, if anyone, should fund this statue was overcome by the ...

Read More

Putney Debates

In this place Oliver Cromwell, the General Council of the Army and elected so...

Read More

Show all 7

Other Subjects

G. F. Danielli

G. F. Danielli

A Commissioner for the 1892 Westminster Public Baths and Wash-houses. Andrew Behan has kindly carried out some research on this man: George Frederick Danielli's birth was registered in the 4th qua...

Person, Politics & Administration

1 memorial
Richard Fitzalan, 11th Earl of Arundel

Richard Fitzalan, 11th Earl of Arundel

Had been one of the group who arranged for the execution of Simon Burley.  King Richard never forgave that, and when Fitzalan joined Gloucester to oppose the King's peace with France the King took ...

Person, Execution, Politics & Administration

1 memorial
Sir Peter Studd

Sir Peter Studd

Lord Mayor in 1971. Excelled at cricket in his youth. In 1967, while Studd was Alderman Sheriff of the City of London, the 1831 London Bridge which had been sold to Arizona was installed in its n...

Person, Lord Mayor, Politics & Administration

1 memorial
Robert Clayton

Robert Clayton

Born Northamptonshire. Apprenticed as a scrivener (like a secretary). Entered business and then set up a bank. Made a fortune from his connections with the slave trade and entered politics. Lord Ma...

Person, Lord Mayor, Philanthropy, Politics & Administration, Race Issues

1 memorial
League of Nations

League of Nations

Founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference at the end of World War I. At its height, it had 58 member states. Although achieving much in its early years, it was unable to prevent the aggress...

Group, Peace, Politics & Administration

1 memorial