A year ago, I launched this site. Happy Anniversary Blog!
We’ve had a lovely year together, exploring 17th Century history while musing about history and storytelling in general. I was a little nervous about how we would get on. Was I taking on too much of a commitment? Would I be shackled to the computer, checking stats and worrying if I could keep up the stream of postings my blog might expect? I didn’t have to worry after all. It’s a been a rewarding year.
I want to thank all the visitors to my blog this past year–all 2,000 of you! How incredible is that? Keep visiting, sharing and commenting!
And because no posting is complete without a bit of 17th Century history, on this day in 1650, 1651, and 1658, three key events occurred relating to the Civil War and Oliver Cromwell.
The Battle of Dunbar, September 3, 1650
After Scotland named Charles II the King of Scotland, Oliver Cromwell, Commander in Chief of the English forces, marched his army into Scotland on July 22nd.
The Scots burned the fields to starve the English invaders and for a time, it looked as though Cromwell would soon return to England in disgrace. After ill-conceived meddling by Scottish Commissioners, which weakened their army’s position, Cromwell defeated the Scots in what many consider to be his greatest victory.
Recently in the news, skeletons were found near Durham cathedral and were believed to be the remains of Scottish prisoners taken at Dunbar. If you missed it, check out The Guardian for the article. Those who didn’t die in captivity were shipped to the colonies (Barbados and New England) as indentured servants.
The Battle of Worcester, September 3, 1651
This has the distinction of being the final battle of the civil war, fought by Charles II, and you guessed it, Oliver Cromwell.
Many believe that Cromwell delayed engaging the King at Worcester so that he could time his attack with the anniversary of Dunbar. It worked out well for him, but not so good for Charles.
For a full account the Battle of Worcester, click here.
While Cromwell won the day, he lost the real prize–the Fugitive King. For an account of how Charles eluded capture after the Battle and managed to escape to France, check out the first instalment of the Fugitive King Series.
The Death of Oliver Cromwell, September 3, 1658
As either a final victory or final defeat (your choice), Cromwell died at Whitehall at four o’clock in the afternoon, from a complication of a malaria type fever he had off and on in his life.
There is an old story, spread by his enemies no doubt, that Cromwell was seen before the Battle of Worcester in the woods speaking to a shadowy figure. People whispered that he was making a deal with the Devil, and his payment was due seven years later.
After his death, the Protectorate fell apart and Parliament invited Charles to reclaim his throne.
Charles had the last word. Proving that anniversaries mattered to him too, twelve years after his father’s execution, on January 30, 1661, Charles had Cromwell’s body exhumed so he could hang him at Tyburn.
So on that high note, Happy Anniversary Blog and many happy returns.
The Battle of Dunbar Flag: By Kim Traynor (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
The Battle of Worcester: By Unknown English: English School [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Oliver Cromwell’s Death Mask: By Mista Mike B from UK (Oliver Cromwell) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Cryssa, I didn’t know that about Cromwell’s dead body being hung. How gory and gross some of these people were!
I’m glad you mentioned that, Elaine. Actually, Cromwell got off easy. When Charles was restored to throne, he only persecuted the people who signed his father’s death warrant. Third on that list was Cromwell’s. John Bradshaw, who was first on the list, was also disinterred and posthumously hung. As well, consider that before his father’s trial, Charles sent Parliament a blank letter with his signature on it. Charles clearly valued his father more than his throne and was willing to give up everything to save him. You could say that the regicides had an opportunity to turn away from that path; ignoring the plea sealed their fate.
Thanks for your comment!