Biography – Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658)

Oliver Cromwell was born in Huntingdon on April 25th 1599. He was born into a family which was for a time one of the wealthiest and most influential in the area. He was educated at Huntingdon grammar school and at Cambridge University, and then became a minor East Anglian landowner. He made a living by farming and collecting rents,first in Huntingdon, then from 1631 in St Ives and from 1636 in Ely. Cromwell’s inheritances from his father, who died in 1617, and later from a maternal uncle were not great, 1640 he played only a small role in local administration and no significant role in national politics. It was the civil wars of the 1640s which lifted Cromwell from zero to hero.
Oliver was the only surviving son of Robert and Elizabeth Cromwell. They had ten children (three sons and seven daughters). Their eldest son was called Henry, but he died soon after birth in 1595. Their second son was born in 1599 and was christened Oliver, in honour of Robert;s eldest brother, Sir Oliver. He became the eldest surviving son and heir of Robert. A younger brother, Robert junior, was born in 1609 but he, too, quickly died. This left Oliver an only son, as he was the one son of Robert and Elizabeth to survive infancy. Oliver grew to manhood in a female-dominated environment. He had no surviving brothers and his father died quite young in 1617, his widowed mother became for a time, head of a household, which included seven growing daughters, sisters to Oliver. Three of his sisters were older than him, the remaining four younger. Most of his sisters married and had about 5 children each leaving Oliver with many nieces and nephews. His mother lived with him and his wife, Elizabeth Bourchier, who he married on the 22nd of August 1620 and his children for many years up until her death at Whitehall in 1654.
From the outbreak of the Civil War in the summer of 1642, C


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