English Civil war - Cromwell and the Army

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by stripeyretired, Mar 5, 2008.

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  1. Here's just a a few posers of my own, about this era , maybe someone will have the time (and informed opinions) to reply/ moan/tell me to fkuc off/make a point, etcetra.

    Are we sitting comfortable?....then here goes:

    If the "INTERREGNUM (1649-1660) (between Charles I and Charles II, had lasted, and the republic had continued for a couple of hundred years before Restoration, I wonder how much different our society would be now...

    What if a suitable successor could have been found, after Oliver Cromwell, thereby negating the restoration of the monarchy and continuing the Republic ?.
  2. From The New Model Army To The Guards Divisions

    This revolutionary war machine of the British Civil Wars, within months of its formation, the New Model inflicted a decisive defeat on the Royalists at the battle of Naseby. From then on, this new army went from strength to strength, throught two English civil wars, finally transferring from the Republic to the Monarchy after Oliver Cromwell's death

    How strong are the supposed ties to modern regiments,

    Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards

    The Grenadier Guards and the Life Guards,
    formed by the exiled Charles II

    All respects are paid to theQueen's Guards, senior Household Units, HCR, and Life Guards, as is their due.
  3. I rather believe that the growing power and "dead hand" of extremists and fundamentalists doomed the Commonwealth. To describe the removal of Charles I as universally popular seems a bit OTT - the broad middle of British political activists were not singuraly determined to remove the king. Indeed Parliament's war aims at the earliest estage were to compell or convince him to rule in a more biddable way.

    So the majority of those involved in ownign the country probably did not feel the Restoration was such a big deal - the Westminster village even then being a lot removed from day-to-day concerns around the country.
  4. The Civil War was primarily about the 'Divine Right of Kings.' A secondary but still a big issue was the Protestant/Catholic strife.

    The Restoration was a typical English, pragmatic response: Cromwell was de-facto King in all but name. He was even offered the Crown but wisely declined.

    No matter what form revolution takes to overthrow despotism, whatever replaces that despotism comes to mirror it in short order: the American colonies replaced George III with a President, France replaced Louis with Napoleon, Russia with Lenin/Stalin, Wilhelmine Germany with Hitler.

    England (we are talking specifically about pre-Union here), did the same thing, albeit with some brakes upon Regal power.

    We are lucky that our revolutions took place before more political ideologies took root. It gave England and then Great Britain a stability it took others longer to acquire, that in turn allowed Britain to emerge as the world power while the others were engaged in navel gazing.

    The notion that in England, the Commonwealth (or Republic if you will), would have been able to continue with its egalitarian principals is a mistake IMO.

    For all the notions of rule by committee, even those of 'government by Cabinet' are illusions. Societies always seem to prefer one person at the helm.

    The trick of course is to avoid having a despot at the tiller!
  5. The failure of Cromwell and the Commonwealth was founded upon Cromwell being caught between opposing forces. His attempts to placate the army, the nobility, Puritans and Parliament resulted in the alienation of each group. Leaving the political machinery of the parishes and shires untouched under the new constitution was the height of inconsistency; Cromwell, the army and Parliament were unable to make a clear separation from the ancient constitution and traditional customs of loyalty and obedience to monarchy.

    Lacey Baldwin Smith (historical author) wrote: "When Commons was purged out of existence by a military force of its own creation, the country learned a profound, if bitter, Lesson: Parliament could no more exist without the crown than the crown without Parliament. The ancient constitution had never been King and Parliament but King in Parliament; when one element of that mystical nion was destroyed, the other ultimately perished."

    It's funny but 400 odd years later it seems nothing has changed that much.
  6. There are even today, in this (Labour party amended) democracy, groups which want a republic (without the Windsors). Our aristocratic and hereditary systems have been largely (not entirely) dismantled

    More recently, some powers have been devolved to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London. However, despite all these changes our constitution remains a family affair, a system in which the 'crown' is sovereign. Despite this Government's constitutional fiddling, and public opinion, it seems ithat Parliament and the Sovereign cannot exist without the other.
  7. As far as the army is concerned it well could be argued the Cromwell’s New Model Army provided a solid and lasting foundation for all later developments concerning the British army.

    The New Model differed from all previous British armies in that, under Cromwell's rule, it became a national standing army, many former Royalist soldiers having been enlisted in its ranks - including high-ranking officers such as General George Monk (1608-70). The New Model was thus the progenitor of the regular army and, although the Commonwealth army was theoretically stood down following the return of monarchical rule, a much smaller professional army was immediately reformed from existing personnel.

    One of the many legacies of Cromwell’s army were the red coats which were worn by the infantry regiments (and probably most of the cavalry) – each regiment being distinguished by different coloured facings.
  8. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    One important result of the Restoration and (later) the Act of Settlement was to establish that ultimately Parliament can decide WHO is going to be the monarch - effectively going back to the Anglo-saxon Witan electing the King. Not tested since, but it's sleeping there within the constitution (not needed for E VIII who was out-manoeuvred by Baldwin). Parliament could still derail Camilla by passing the succession to William before HM dies but I don't think it will do so!
  9. " passing the succession to William before HM dies "

    What a good idea.
  10. Now for a bit of trivia , which if I have got wrong, please correct me.

    During the Civil war(s) in England, the parliamentarians (Cromwell) and the Royalists ridiculed each other, in what was probably the most pathetic name calling in English history (even before our own Government....)

    The Puritans took the rise out of the Royalists, giving them the mantle "cavalier" (because of their dandified cavalier attitude) and other disparaging names. Of course, "cavalier" well suited prince Rupert (of the Rhine, yes, German) apparently, whose cavalier attitude cost the Royalists vital battles and lost them quite a bit of ground.

    Royalists ridiculed the Roundheads (Puritans) who were so called, because of their pudding-basin (puritan style) haircuts. Was there then, i wonder, just a couple of "haircut' bowls to go round?

    As for the connection with the Coldstream Guards, apparently they do have links with the New Model Army:

    " On Sunday, 6 January 1661, an armed revolt occurred against the King, forcing an alarmed Parliament somewhat reluctantly to call on ''Monck's Regiment of Foot'' for help. Monck's men, veterans of a decade of hard campaigning, swiftly quelled the rebels and ended the rioting. A grateful Parliament repealed the order for disbandment. On 14 February 1661, Monck's Regiment of Foot paraded at Tower Hill. The men symbolically laid down their arms and with them their association with the New Model Army. They were immediately ordered to take them up again as Royal troops in the New Standing Army.

    The new Regiment received the title of ''The Lord General's Regiment of Foot Guards'' and became Household Troops from that moment. A Royal Commission placed them as the second senior Regiment of Household Troops. However, the Regiment, to make its views clear on the injustice of this decision, took as its motto the phrase ''Nulli Secundus'', or ''Second to None''. To this day, the Regiment does not accept that it should ever be referred to as ''The Second Guards''. Monck, who had become the Duke of Albemarle, died in April 1670 and the Lord General's Regiment was conferred upon the Earl of Craven. From this time the Regiment became officially known as the ''Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards''.

    Source: The Coldstream Guards/MOD
  13. How did William III (of Orange) & George I get offered the throne? Was this from a vote?
  14. We'd be more like the French... without the p1ssing in the street bit. And I guess there'd still be a little less music and a few less buttons around. And Ollie probably wouldn't have been dug up to have his head chopped off.

    Apart from that very little... unless it wiped out the girlies reigns... bless their cotton socks. Then we wouldn't have been a world power. English wouldn't be the No1 language in the world and London would now still be full of English people.
  15. Nope, marriage connections...it's not what you know but who you know!