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Henry Cromwell (b. 1516, d. Bet. 1602 - 1603)Henry Cromwell (son of Richard Williams CROMWELL and Frances MURFYN) was born 1516 in Hinchbrook, Huntingtonshire, England, and died Bet. 1602 - 1603 in Hinchinbrooke, Huntingtonshire, England.He married Joan Warren on 1536 in Hinchinbrooke, Huntingtonshire, England, daughter of Ralph WARREN.
Notes for Henry Cromwell:
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The Cromwell Family
When young Oliver Cromwell, the future Lord Protector, matriculated at Sidney Sussex College in 1616 he was breaking with longstanding family tradition. His grandfather, his father and uncle and their cousin, and four of his first cousins had all been Queensmen. The Cromwells were a wealthy Huntingdonshire family who had risen to prominence during the reign of Henry VIII. The Queens' Cromwells were thoroughly Royalist during the Civil War, absolutely opposed to their cousin Oliver, illustrating how the War split families and divided near neighbours. Perhaps it was the family association that ensured the survival of a portrait of Oliver Cromwell that hangs to this day in the President's Lodge.
The family fortune was made by the Protector's great-grandfather, Richard Williams, son of a Welsh gentleman from Glamorganshire, Morgan ap William. This Richard was introduced to the Court of Henry VIII by his kinsman, the great courtier and royal secretary Thomas Cromwell, later Earl of Essex. Some sources suggest that Richard's mother was Cromwell's sister, others that Cromwell himself had married the widow of a Williams. Richard soon became a favourite of the King and was one of the gentlemen sent to suppress the Pilgrimage of Grace. In recognition of his services he was appointed one of the Visitors of the religious houses as his kinsman pursued the policy that led to the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The rewards started to pour in - Richard was granted the estates of the nunnery of Hinchinbrook and the great abbey of Ramsey, both in Huntingdonshire, as well as several other smaller religious houses. Then, in 1540, he distinguished himself at a joust in Westminster. During the tournament he was knighted by Henry VIII and presented with a diamond ring off the King's own finger. On Henry's recommendation he changed his name to Cromwell in honour of his relation, the Earl of Essex. However, his fortunes were in no way injured by the sudden ruin and execution of the Earl. In 1541 Sir Richard Cromwell became High Sheriff of Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire (the two counties were then, as they have been again in recent years, counted as one civil administration, and the High Sheriff was chosen in rotation from the old county of Cambridge, from the Isle of Ely, and from Huntingdonshire) and in 1542 he was elected to Parliament as MP for Huntingdonshire. He was appointed a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber and served in France as a general of infantry. And all the while he accrued more and more honours and more and more estates and wealth. It was said when he died in 1546 that he must have left a prodigious fortune to his two sons, as big an estate as any peer.
The eldest son, Henry Cromwell, matriculated at Queens' in the early 1540s, the first member of the family, so far as is known, to enter the College. His younger brother Francis was knighted, served as MP for the county of Huntingdon in 1573 and was in turn High Sheriff of Hunts and Cambs. Francis' son Henry entered Queens' in 1580 at the age of 15. Little is known of this Henry Cromwell, except that he was a moderately wealthy country gentleman and fathered a son Richard who went up to Jesus College in 1619.
Sir Richard Cromwell's elder son Henry Cromwell was knighted by Elizabeth I in 1563, the year before she visited Hinchinbrook House. He was MP for Huntingdonshire in 1563 and four times High Sheriff of Hunts and Cambs. He was also a Commissioner for the draining of the Fens. He restored and repaired the Manor House at Ramsey, living there in the summer, and built Hinchinbrook House (now a school) in which he and his family lived in the winter. He was famous for his liberality to the poor and was known as "The Golden Knight". There was, however, one dark episode towards the end of his life. His first wife having died after bearing him eleven children, he married again. The second Lady Cromwell died after a long and unpleasant illness. Because of its lingering nature, her death was attributed by local folk to witchcraft. An elderly couple from Warboys and their daughter were accused and in circumstances of extreme barbarity were tortured, condemned and executed. Their meagre possessions, valued at £40, were seized and should have reverted to Sir Henry as Lord of the Manor of Warboys. Instead, he gave the money to the Borough of Huntingdon on condition that a "Bachelor or Doctor of Divinity of Queens' College, Cambridge" should be invited to the town every year to preach a sermon against the evil of witchcraft in one of the churches. This annual sermon was still being preached as late as 1787.
Sir Henry Cromwell's eldest two sons - Oliver and Robert (father of the great Oliver Cromwell) both matriculated at Queens' early in 1579 (a year before their cousin Henry). A third son, yet another Henry, went to St John's College, Oxford, where he became a Fellow. He served as MP for Huntingdonshire and was one of the gentlemen adventurers who financed the colonisation and planting of Virginia. The next brother, Richard, was also an MP during the reign of Elizabeth I. The fifth brother, Philip Cromwell, followed Henry to St John's, Oxford, and was knighted by James I. The fate of his sons, all first cousins of the Protector, illustrates the terrible divisions in families caused by the Civil War. The eldest surviving son, Philip Cromwell, was a Major in the Parliamentary Army. He died of wounds sustained in the storming of Bristol. The next son, Thomas, was a Colonel in the opposing Royalist Army. The third son, Oliver, was an MP and also a Colonel in the Parliamentary Army. Sir Philip's youngest son Richard wisely kept out of the military and at the Restoration rapidly changed his name back to Williams.
Sir Oliver Cromwell, the famous Oliver's uncle, was also his godfather. He was a long-serving MP for Huntingdonshire in the reigns of Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I over at least 36 years and inevitably Sheriff of Hunts and Cambs. He is best remembered for his extraordinarily lavish entertainment of James I at Hinchinbrook House on the King's progress south from Scotland on his accession to the English throne in 1603. He was rewarded with a gold cup, some choice horses, hounds and hawks and a Knighthood of the Bath. It was to Hinchinbrook that the representatives of Cambridge University came to pay their respects to the new King. James I returned to stay with Sir Oliver on at least three more occasions, as probably did Charles I. Sir Oliver was briefly Attorney to Queen Anne of Denmark, a Commissioner for draining the Fens and also subscribed to the Virginia venture. However, his extravagance was his undoing. In 1627 he was forced to sell Hinchinbrook House to Sir Sidney Montagu. He withdrew from public service, sold most of the rest of his estates and retired to Ramsey. At the outbreak of the Civil War he supported the Royalist cause with all the resources at his disposal. He raised men, gave money, obliged his sons to take up arms and incurred the ire of Parliament. They sent his nephew, Oliver, with a troop of horse to remonstrate. Oliver disarmed the old knight, seized his plate, but also asked for his godfatherly blessing. Nevertheless, old Sir Oliver persisted in his support of the Royalists, even as their cause waned. This time, the younger Oliver threatened to burn down Ramsey. He parleyed with his uncle on the town bridge and extracted a fine of £1,000 and 40 saddle horses. Sir Oliver was unrepentant, supporting the Royalist cause to the end. Parliament voted to sequester all his estates, but, through the intervention of his nephew, by now Lieutenant-General of Ireland, the order was reversed. The old man made no attempt to court favour with the Protector and insisted that the flags taken by his sons from Parliamentary forces remain hanging in Ramsey church. He died oppressed with his debts in August 1655 aged 92. He was remembered for his prodigious hospitality, his loyalty to the Crown, his upright dealings and his vivacity, but also for dissipating his property and impoverishing his family.
The Lord Protector's father, Robert Cromwell, younger brother of Sir Oliver and fellow Queensman, settled in the town of Huntingdon. Though a JP and briefly MP for the Borough, he preferred the private life. He was one of the signatories of a certificate to the Privy Council that the draining of the Fens was feasible and "might be performed without peril to any haven or county". He died in 1617, leaving his wife Elizabeth to bring up their young family - one son, the great Oliver, and six surviving daughters. Elizabeth ran a brewing business to help the family finances and was always close to her son. She died in 1654 in her apartments in the Palace of Whitehall.
Four of the Royalist Sir Oliver's sons followed him to Queens' - Henry in 1600, Thomas, John and William in 1604. Henry Cromwell was a Colonel in the Royalist Army but was taken prisoner in the Battle of Routon Heath. He was fined for his 'delinquency' and his estates sequestered, but again his cousin intervened and "at the request of the Lord Lieutenant and out of the favour of this House" the fines were remitted and the sequestration reversed by Parliament. Henry lived privately till his death, though he was plagued by debts. His cousin tried to court his friendship when Lord Protector and appointed him an Assessor for Huntingdonshire in 1657 but he died that same year.
Sir Oliver Cromwell's second son Thomas also served in the Royalist Army. He was fined for his 'delinquency' and died soon afterwards. The third son, John, was a military man who served in James I's army in the Palatinate in 1624. He then entered the service of the Netherlands and was Colonel of an English Regiment serving in Holland. Late in 1648 when news of the condemnation to death of Charles I was received, he was sent by the Prince of Orange to his cousin Oliver to plead for the King's life. Having with difficulty gained admittance, he argued vehemently that the execution would be seen on the Continent as an indelible stain on England and even threatened Oliver that the entire family would change their name back to Williams out of shame if the execution went ahead. The mission was, of course, unsuccessful, and John Cromwell returned to Holland. He saw the conduct of his cousin as criminal, though that didn't stop him applying to the Lord Protector for redress over a case involving his estranged wife who had, he claimed, reduced him to penury. The fourth brother William was also a Lieutenant Colonel in the Dutch service. He was apprehended in England involved in treasonable correspondence with Royalists, but the Lord Protector overlooked the offence and even persuaded him to undertake a secret embassy to Denmark. Later William was implicated in a plot to assassinate his cousin, but again Oliver got the case dropped. After the Restoration he became Carver to the Queen of Bohemia. On a visit to Ramsey in February 1666 he died of the plague. It was said the disease had come in a coat he had ordered from London. 400 citizens of the town also died.
Colonel Henry Cromwell, eldest son of Sir Oliver, had two sons - James (Jesus 1634) was a Royalist Colonel but died before his father; Henry (Magdalene 1626) was on better terms with the Protector, serving as an MP for Huntingdonshire in the 1650s. He lived to vote for the Restoration and was a courtier of Charles II, changing his name to Williams in 1660. On his death without male heirs the senior line of the Cromwells, once the most opulent family in Huntingdonshire, died out, most of their great estates long since sold off.
Based on the third edition of "Memoirs of the Protectoral -House of Cromwell" by the Revd Mark Noble, published in 1787.
More About Henry Cromwell:
Title (Facts Pg): 1563, Knighted by Queen Elizabeth.
More About Henry Cromwell and Joan Warren:
Marriage: 1536, Hinchinbrooke, Huntingtonshire, England.
Children of Henry Cromwell and Joan Warren are:
- +Frances Cromwell, b. 05 Aug 1575, Hinchinbrooke, Huntingdonshire, England, d. Aft. 1620, Prob. Kirkston, Nottinghamshire, England.