The Friday feast of historical trivia

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  • Richard Cromwell. Second Lord Protector.

    Richard Cromwell. Second Lord Protector.

  • "Rump Parliament"

  • "Rump and Oliver"

  • A verse about the Rump.

    A verse about the Rump.

Welcome to Friday 22nd April. So what trivia can we muse upon this week…?
Lets go back to 1659 when this this day saw the dissolution of Parliament under Lord Protector of England Richard Cromwell.

The English civil war was fought between 1642 and 1651, pitting Parliamentarians ( known as Roundheads) against the Royalists, resulting in the execution of King Charles the 1st and the installing of first a Commonwealth, then a Protectorate Parliament under Oliver Cromwell's personal rule.
First Lord Protector of England, Oliver Cromwell died on September 3rd 1658, his son Richard was controversially named as his successor, the Second Lord Protector, on the same day. Richard did not have the military prowess of his father nor hold the confidence of the army. The whole regime was also reputedly £2million in debt after years of bloody civil war, resulting in Cromwell recalling Parliament to redress these issues.

The “Third protectorate Parliament” was set up in January 1659, dominated by both Presbyterians and Republicans, a kind of house of commons. At the same time the “Other house”, sometimes also known as the “Upper house” was formed as a check on the commoners.
The New Model Army, a disciplined force set up by Oliver Cromwell in 1645, was suspicious of a seeming return to pre war governance with what appeared all but in name to be a new House of Lords.
Parliament soon became deadlocked when it became apparent that the Republicans were seeking ways to disband the army fearing a return to full blown civil war, distancing themselves from the military. Officers partitioned Cromwell to no avail, ultimately ordering troops to assemble outside St James palace in mid April as a show of defiance.
Forced to back down, Richard Cromwell ordered the dissolution of Parliament on April 22nd and a “Rump Parliament” took power. A Rump basically meant the leftovers of the first administration, ( the “Long Parliament” first formed back in 1640).
Richard himself was forced out of the proceedings and lived for a short while at Whitehall Palace before a voluntary exile to France, not returning to England till 1680. He died in 1712 aged 85.
There were many person Royalist attacks on his fall from grace, including the nickname of “Tumbledown Dick”.

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