From Civilian to Soldier: Recalling Cromwell in Cambridge, 1642

by Dr Sue L Sadler

On 13th August 1642 George Swathe (1601-1664?) Minister of Denham, prayed;

O My Lord God, Etc … I praise the for preventing Bloodshed at Cambridge upon Thursday, about the Quarrel of the College Plate, which was taken by the Parliament as it was going towards the King.1

This prayer leads to the heart of the story about Cromwell’s entry into the civil war, or more accurately conflicting stories, and this is our problem. We know a good deal about Cromwell’s past compared with many contemporaries, but we still strive in vain to unveil his years in obscurity.2 We know Cromwell crossed the threshold between civilian and military activities before the official outbreak of war. His boundary between peace and war is our subject, where we begin reviewing what we know about Cromwell in the summer of 1642, by considering the transmission of evidence, discordant voices (problems we know exist in reconciling accounts of what happened) and silences (handling gaps).3 I hope through aligning distinctions between the past and history for Cromwell in 1642, noting aspects of the common inheritance and variability in histories about Cromwell, and studying what from the locality was represented as newsworthy at that moment, to illuminate a silent space ripe for exploration that might draw us nearer to what happened in Cromwell’s transition from civilian to soldier.

Cromwell, Cambridge and the past

The story’s components passed down in the retelling can be summarised as follows. In August 1642 Cromwell raced from Westminster to Cambridgeshire (sometimes accounts add companions) after warnings from his faction amongst Cambridge townsmen of the University’s attempts to send convoys of plate to the King. Cromwell, with volunteers, guarded the road between Cambridge and Huntingdon before overpowering the militia protecting a convoy near Kings College. Sir Philip Stapleton told the Commons on 15th August that Cromwell had seized the magazine in Cambridge’s castle and hindered the exportation of plate to Charles. In decisively pre-empting the outbreak of war, Cromwell risked charges of treason and Parliament indemnified him, Valentine Walton and anyone assisting them. Cromwell began securing his surroundings, prevented royalists from reading the Commission of Array, and sent the ring-leaders as prisoners to London on 1st September. He also mustered recruits on the 29th August, leading a company of sixty men by 6th September, and was ordered on 13th September, to prepare to join Essex’s field army.

These components belong to an evaporating peace, characterised by improvisation, uncertainty and naivety, and connect to Cromwell’s 1642 campaign. In joining Essex, he and his men were involved, to an unknown extent, at Edgehill and were initiated into the realities of warfare. The Cromwell who returned was developing, like others, a greater appreciation of military task and embarked on a distinctive plan to recruit and train soldiers capable of withstanding Prince Rupert’s cavalry. This phase differed from the 1643 campaign onwards where Cromwell and others entered a world of death and taxes.4 We are concerned, therefore, with the particular (incidents, simultaneously familiar and obscured), when a relatively unknown MP dragged moderates, the fearful and the slow-of-thinking over the boundaries between peace and war.

Alongside these components, are the practicalities of retelling the story. The trajectories of individuals and communities intersect with Cromwell’s past. Historians know that when they select a thread from the past within their sources, they necessarily let others fall away in the interest of coherence. Therefore, selection concerns us (choices in the transmission of events affecting our understanding of Cromwell).5

In its published guise, like any history, fragmentary events from the past may be smoothed into the narrative of Cromwell biographies; for example, those of John Morley or John Buchan.6 Given their scope and constraints on word-limits, that is all it merits. What is striking about the published retelling of Cromwell’s activities during the summer and autumn of 1642 is how badly they cohere once expanded beyond short summaries. Practitioners know the received account is constructed from sources that are difficult to reconcile. In lengthier biographies and specialised studies, word-limits expand allowing scope for interpretation of glimmers of the man who would become Lord Protector. Cromwell’s actions and the lessons he learned increase our understanding of the man of escalating military renown who became a political force in his own right. Seizing the initiative worked. Colin Davis, for example, depicts Cromwell as a team player in part of his evaluation of his ‘rapid establishment … as a commander of considerable military potential’.7

Evaluating an interpretation requires a reliable narrative, yet many variant stories exist. We are unsure with whom Cromwell acted (Desborough8 or Russell9), of the chronology, and how effective he was (see below). Such instability suggests something is wrong with the story. If the details shape what is extrapolated about his later reputation and the apparent duality of his identity, studying the gaps in what we know matters. Cromwell’s years in obscurity provide the baseline for measuring his rise. Understanding what Cromwell did in 1642, was said to have done, or what passed, then, is more than clarifying what is hazy and filling in some blanks in the period before he became famous. The impediments to a smooth narrative merit attention in their own right.

We know that inconsistent contemporary accounts of his transition from civilian to soldier in 1642 come from a chorus of voices, none of which are Cromwell’s own. From him there is near silence. With neither diary, nor letters near the event, we resort to traces of the past still available, his signature on a receipt of 19th July reimbursing him for arms and the receipt of 7th September for pay for Cromwell’s sixty troopers signed by his quartermaster.10 In seeking Cromwell’s own words historians focus on the retrospective nugget in notes of his extempore speech to Parliament, 13th April 1657:

I was a person, who, from my first employment, was suddenly preferred and lifted up from lesser trusts to greater; from my first being a captain of a troop of horse; and I did labour as well as I could to discharge of my trust, and God blessed me as it pleased him …11

This reveals something about his preoccupations in 1657, his difficult rejection of the Crown, his need to reclaim his past, as well as his present, from charges of covetous folly and betrayal, and his self-representation. In striving to reorder a crownless society and struggling towards the promised- land, Cromwell needed his actions in 1642 to be those of a ‘plain and honest man’.12 It reveals less of his preoccupations in 1642, so we seek other sources to construct a sequence of events.

The bulk of contemporary evidence used in published accounts belongs to the contradictory words of others about Cromwell. We mainly have a chain of parliamentary commands, university records, newsbooks, parliamentarian investigations, and retrospective accounts (see below ).13 Even so, it is startling how much variation appears on the incident ‘of which no historian gives any clear account’.14 Given that evidence and chronology affect the relationship between narrative and analysis, do our evaluations of Cromwell’s in 1642 shift if we test the chronology and sources? What happened was pivotal for Cromwell, the University and Cambridgeshire, but is an incident(s) we partially understand (derived from fragmentary, contradictory sources resulting in an unstable, possibly unreliable, narrative) suitable for interpretations of this phase in Cromwell’s career?

This steers us towards our interaction with the filters standing between us and what we want to know about Cromwell’s past. At a general level the transmission of information and historiography concerns us, or, the limits in what we might know about Cromwell through the survival and absence of evidence, and ways of manoeuvring through Chinese-whispers towards what happened. If the published story’s multiple versions suggest the retelling of events is inadequately sustained by the known facts, we must start revisiting sources underpinning the narratives, their creation, survival, potential for mutability, selection and deployment. Its variability emphasises that Cromwell’s past and history are not identical. Setting a historiographical thread on the transmission of the story alongside the perspective of newsbooks indicates that the task has potential.

The outwitting of Cromwell in Varley’s history

Swathe’s prayer was critical for F.J. Varley’s retelling of Cromwell’s activities. How do we track the trail from Varley to Swathe, when the account of Cromwell’s entry into military life emanates from the contradictory words of others? Cromwell’s arrival in Cambridgeshire marks his shift from organising arms to using force. We know he was at Westminster, 1st August15 and Stapleton reported, Monday 15th August:

Mr Cromwell, in Cambridgeshire, has seized the Magazine in the Castle at Cambridge, and hath hindered the carrying away of the plate from that University;16

The sequence of events between is uncertain. Varley claimed in 1935 that he could identify Cromwell’s arrival in Cambridge and defeat of the convoy of plate as the 10th of August, using Swathes prayer of the 13th.

Varley challenged the royalist account of the college plate incident in which Barnabus Oley‘s party of horse evaded Cromwell. To illustrate this version Varley quoted Helkiah Bedford’s translation of Peter Barwick’s biography of his brother John published in 1724. Barwick, a St John’s student in 1642, began the biography in 1671, seven years after his brother’s death.17

[Varley’s quotation overlaid in bold on Barwick’s passage.]

But this could not be effected without first outwitting Cromwell, who had been appriz’d of their design by some of the townsmen of Cambridge (by whose interest he had been chosen member of the town) and with a disorderly band of peasants on foot, lay in wait for the rich booty at a place called Lowler Hedges, betwixt Cambridge and Huntington. But Mr Barwick and some other select persons of the University, to whose care and prudence the management of this important affair was committed, having got intelligence of Cromwell’s way- laying them, send away the royal supply through by roads, convoy’d by a small party of horse, that very night in which Cromwell with his foot beset the common road, or else the spoil had the next morning certainly fallen into the enemy’s hands. He that was made choice of to conduct this expedition, was the Reverend Mr. Barnaby Oley, a man of great prudence, and very well acquainted with all the by-ways, through which they were to pass. He was president of Clare Hall; and none more proper to be the messenger of the University’s duty and affection to their most gracious Sovereign and dearest country; for I question whether Cambridge ever bred a person of more learning, accompanied with so great modesty, and such an exemplary holiness of life. Under the protection of God’s good providence he arrived safe at Nottingham, where he had the honour to lay at his Majesty’s feet this small testimony and earnest of the University’s loyalty at that very time, when the royal standard was set up in the castle there, summoning the King’s good subjects from all parts to the performance of their faith and true allegiance.18

Rescuing Cromwell from ‘prejudice’ reduced the account’s strident royalism, but apart from sidestepping ‘outwitting Cromwell’, the omissions are insignificant.19 Varley insisted there was one convoy, supervised by Captain James Docwra and overpowered by Cromwell, using sequestration depositions from 1646 quoted by Alfred Kingston in 1897, to identify parts of the narrative Varley believed to be reliable. (Kingston’s work, situated within the resurgence of civil war local histories, included generous quotations from primary sources.20) He discredited the Querela’s dating, the beginning of August, as deliberate misinformation (the Querela was undoubtedly partisan) and dismissed Kingston’s account:

‘Kingston, in an attempt to reconcile two conflicting accounts, is driven to invent two removals, ignoring all evidence which points definitely to only one removal, or attempt to remove’.21

Varley then cited Swathe’s prayer dated 13th August as his trump card, asserting ‘His [Cromwell’s] arrival in Cambridge may be dated as August 10th, for on Sunday, August 13th, George Swathe … offered the following Prayer …’22 The 10th has been used sporadically since 1935,23 sometimes as a tentative date,24 alternatively, the second week in August25 and looser descriptions continue.26

How credible was Varley’s key source? A George Swathe studied at Cambridge 1619–1626 and was possibly vicar of Hatfield-Peveril 1661–4. The name appears in the Denham Parish Registers as minister from 1637 and previously as Snailwell’s curate. We can partly track the provenance. Varley took Swathe’s prayer from Appendix 1 in Zachery Grey’s The Schismatics delineated from Authentic Vouchers (1739). Grey (1688–1766), an Anglican clergyman, religious historian and antiquary, opposing the Presbyterian historian Daniel Neale’s characterisation of Puritans, described it as containing ‘Some curious PRAYERS in the Time of the Grand Rebellion, copied from the Originals, and never before printed …’ proclaiming ‘The Originals will be left in the Publisher’s Hands for Six Months; to be perused by those who are desirous of comparing them with these Extracts’ (printed for J. Roberts in Warwick Lane, London).27 His second appendix, William Dowsing’s journal, was ‘Copied likewise from his Original Manuscript’. Trevor Cooper researched the provenance of Dowsing’s journal, confirming the accuracy of Grey’s transcription by comparison with those of his friend, the non-juring clergyman, and antiquary, Thomas Baker (1656–1740), a specialist in Cambridge’s past. The manuscripts are now lost. Grey’s widow sold some papers, including those intended for his life of Baker, to John Nichols in 1778.28 Here the trail cools.

Varley, impatient of anything ‘typical of the prejudice against Cromwell’, may have reacted to anti-Cromwellian seventeenth century royalist polemic and 1930s representations of Cromwell as a proto-fascist dictator. 29 Varley failed to note that Grey loathed Cromwell, but Grey’s anti-Puritan tone was clear, using Swathe’s words ‘against the grain’. If Grey transcribed accurately and Swathe’s words were genuine, Swathe supported Parliament. With neither the original manuscript nor its provenance, questions remain, but stripped of Grey’s irony and marginal notes, Swathe appears to be a good source for Varley’s purpose.

But, how reliable was Varley? Regarding Cromwell’s relationship with fenlanders, he was probably right.30 With the college plate, he may have miscalculated dates and ignored internal discrepancies. In fact, Sunday was the 14th and the preceding Thursday was the 11th.31 The action lasted over two days and this is a minor issue, but the pagination is amiss. Grey’s Appendix I is a selection of 52 prayers from January to November 1642 printed on pages 3–45. Grey’s transcription included his source’s pagination, revealing they were selections from a text with pages 2–476. All selections run in order from page 2–476. All dates run in order from January to November, except for two prayers, August 13th and 18th. On Grey’s page 34, the 37th prayer selected, the first on page 34, is transcription page 354 and dated 18th August. The 38th prayer selected, second on that page (which Varley used), is transcription page 357, but is dated August 13th. The only error in sequencing happens where Varley provides evidence supporting the 10th August.

It matters because the preceding prayer, also referring to trouble in Cambridge, reads:

Page 354 Aug 18
O My good Lord God, etc – I praise the for my Confidence in the, that thou hast, dost, wilt hear me for Helpe to the Town of Cambridge, who intercepted the Schollers Plate, which they sent to the King to help to pay Soldiers to bring in Tyranny, which Place, as I am credibly informed, by the Kings Command, is to be assaulted this Day, by the Trained Bands of Cambridgeshire, under the Command of Sir John Cotton, High Sheriff, and Captain Dockray, (Lord) I pray the appeare from Heaven this Day in thyne own Cause, for thy Servants of the Towne of Cambridge, shew some Token of Good to them, either diswade the Trained Bands, all, or most of them, from Appearance, discourage, dishearten all which shall appeare; if any shall dare to assault, let them be overthrown, cut off, put to flight, discomfited (Lord from Heaven).32

We think of this as the culmination of Cromwell’s charge to Cambridge, via Lolworth, of early on 10th August. Given the tense used, if the 18th August is correct the activities near Kings happened later than the accepted account suggests, the day the Commons summoned Docrwa and commenced arranging Cromwell’s indemnity.33 Should it be the 1st or the 8th? Was Swathes prayer of the 13th written retrospectively out of sequence, or were there repeated confrontations, and how does this relate to Stapleton’s words of the 15th?

J.B. Mullinger (1834–1917) in The University of Cambridge, first published in 1873, used Swathe’s prayer in Grey’s Appendix to indicate a collision was anticipated, and suggested that Charles Henry Cooper’s 1845 account confused plate which Cromwell hoped to intercept with that he prevented leaving, and cast doubt on Barwick’s chronology. Handling the same source as Varley, Mullinger proposed separate convoys. Mullinger, whilst sometimes dangerously eccentric, held lecturing posts in London and Cambridge from 1881 and was sufficiently well regarded to collaborate with S.R. Gardiner.34 Varley’s depiction of one convoy captured by Cromwell is not conclusive; he ignored problems with his source (as did others), and his record elsewhere was variable.35

Claims that Cromwell acted on the 10th in a decisive swoop on a royalist convoy are potentially suspect. Without the manuscript, we can neither establish its authenticity, nor address the mis-ordering of dates.36 Combined with the changed tense, this is a significant detail that might unravel the sequence we rely on. If Swathe’s prayer, on which the dating of the 10th of August depends, prompts serious questions, there is a case for re-evaluating our information.

Cromwell and local news

Another reason for reconsidering royalist representations is the reaction of the ‘Parliamentarian’ press in August and September 1642. We find refracted glimmers of Cromwell’s action in words about others, but the depths of shadow may be the most telling evidence. The immediate, transitory, ephemeral nature of these sources helps relax the strangle-hold of retrospective knowledge.37 Cromwell is conspicuous by his absence from friendly press accounts of events that must have occupied him in August. Yet, by May 1643 he was already connected to Parliamentary propaganda which broadcast his successes beyond their locality in newsbooks and helped shape his reputation as valiant Colonel Cromwell, transforming intractable situations by his presence.38 Writing between Parliament’s licensing of newsbooks (April 1642), the introduction of the royalist Mercurius Aulicus (January 1643) and Parliamentary responses, local news in 1642 filtered through the press appears different to that of 1643, and later Cromwell histories. It was unlikely to have been completely disingenuous, though probably not amongst the blatant malpractices of some publishers.39

We know news of Cromwell in Cambridgeshire was recorded in the Parliamentary arena on the 15th of August. Sir Simond’s D’Ewes was in the Commons and noted in his diary:

That Mr. Cromwell, one of the burgesses [for] the town of Cambridge, had gotten together divers of the trained bands of that county, had seized upon the magazine of powder in the castle there, and had stopped the plate from going to York which the colleges were sending thither.40

That D’Ewes noted who Cromwell was reminds us of his relative obscurity and the pressure on retrospective accounts. George Thomason (c.1602– 1666), stationer, bookseller, archivist and collector of tracts, may be particularly significant for our purposes as he was known for supplying books to Cambridge.41 Thomason often annotated his collection with the works first appearance. This included His Majesties Answer to the Declaration of both Houses of Parliament Concerning the Commission of Array of the First of July 1642 on which he wrote ‘printed first at yorke reprinted at Camb ye 15 Aug prohibited to be printed at London’. The title page announced that this was ‘Printed by his Majesties speciall command, At Cambridge, By Roger Daniel, Printer to the Famous University 1642’.42 Clearly, what had happened since Cromwell’s arrival had not cowed all local royalists.

We see communication between Westminster and the locality recorded in Parliamentary journals in the aftermath of Cromwell and Daniel’s actions.43 Our focus is the time-lapse before that news appeared in the press. Why was so little that interests us reported between Stapleton’s document on the 15th and late August? Undoubtedly, famous Wren, Bishop of Ely, was more newsworthy than unknown Cromwell to London publishers needing profits. However, the university was famous and had already proved newsworthy for the scrupulous editor Samuel Pecke.44 Possibly journalists needed to adjust to the escalating pace of events. Did the outbreak of war eclipse events in Cambridge for journalists juggling word-limits? Alternatively, was Cromwell’s intervention mentioned on the 15th insufficiently effective to broadcast as success? Parliament had already grasped the potential of printing.45 August was punctuated by the release of ‘Joyfull newes’ pamphlets from various printers such as ‘… from Norwich’ published 17th August, reporting scotched royalist recruitment in late July (referred by the Commons on 3rd August) travelling just over a fortnight from Parliamentary to public arenas.46 Printed news of successes in Cambridgeshire waited until early September. If Cromwell decisively seized control around the 10th, this seems a lengthy time-lapse. Using the lens of press stories without reference to the usual accounts of Cromwell’s activities suggests the newsworthy turning point in Cambridge might be no earlier than 23rd–29th of August.

What was published on 2nd September was the search for Bishop Wren, in Joyfull Newes From the Isle of Ely printed for W.B. which described how on 29th August a troop of well-effected Horsemen met near Cherry-Hinton. This was the day Cromwell mustered his troop of 60 men.47 The focus in The Joyfull Newes was Wren’s capture, his considerable local influence, and the hope that fenlanders ‘will stande firme to Parliament’ in anticipation of Parliament returning ‘their fennes’ attested by George Hubbard of Downham. The pamphlet announced Wrens arrival in London. There was no suggestion that Cromwell’s ‘strong hand’ had already secured that locality. Everything was still to play for, explaining ‘The Isle is furnished with store of good horses, and able men, but in their discipline very rude for want of expert Commanders.’48

Remarkable Passages from Nottingham, Lichfield Leicester and Cambridge printed for T. Underhill and A True Relation of the late Expedition into Kent … printed 2 September quickly picked up where Joyful Newes left off, reporting events between 29th August and the afternoon of 1st September: stifling of the attempt to read the Commission of Array in Cambridgeshire, the arrival of London troops as re-enforcements, the surrounding of many colleges and arrest of some of their heads, Wren’s capture and the armed escort to London. This time the turnaround from event, to message in Parliament (1st September), to release in the press, was swift.49 This speed begs questions about the silence in the press regarding Cromwell’s earlier activities. ’A True Relation …’ explained how its information was received. A Cambridge minister set out from Cambridge on Wednesday 30th August arriving in London and by early morning on 31st had delivered the news it printed on the 2nd September.50 Remarkable Passages printed for T. Underhill also published swiftly, claiming that the information came from a Cambridge scholar’s letter written to another in London, dated 30th August. In this account, 400 hundred volunteer soldiers (London citizens) arrived the previous night, Monday 29th, taking others prisoner and beset most of the colleges.51

Cromwell’s fame creates its own gravitational pull on the retelling of events. It is worth remembering that as well as scholars representing confident opponents, Cromwell’s cousin Henry raised approximately 50 men as early as 6th August, rumoured to help conduct plate against Walton. Retrospective knowledge may push us towards assumptions about Cromwell’s effectiveness without giving equal attention to his opponents. T.W published in The Oxford Magazine 1769 some private family memoirs, an oral account passed to Owen Fann, aged 87, from his father, regarding Henry Cromwell/William’s death in 1673:

‘the same old gentleman further informs me, that he has heard his father speak of these Cromwells here as men of the greatest military bravery, and of the most robust make and constitution. He remembers himself the chancel hung round with the spoils taken from the enemy during the civil war. But the genius of Oliver prevailed …52

Retrospective weighting applies here too, but if the Oxford talks had succeeded would Cromwell’s actions still overshadow royalists’ activities or those of other local activists? Did Cromwell’s arrival tip the balance? Remarkable Passages published the Cambridge correspondent’s comments on the arrival of the London troops, ‘for now they begin to shake and quiver, that not long since were a terror to others’.53 If Cromwell’s actions earlier in August were decisive, such comments would be redundant. An exact and True Diurnal … 29 Aug – 5 September, printed for William Cooke, briefly noted the arrests in Cambridge, the protagonists’ presence in London on 1st September, and announced that letters from Cambridge were received in the House on the 2nd, revealing that the London volunteers ‘had beset all the Colledges and are resolved to apprehend divers students which favoured and gave entertainment to the Earle of Carlisle and his complices’ from the arrests of ‘Thursday last’.54 A True and perfect Diurnall of the passages, from Nottingham Ashby and Leicester and other parts, printed for Henry Blundell, repeated this news.55 Perhaps our hazy chronology of Cromwell’s activities needs to be set against a newsworthy agenda. Does the motif swell to a dissonant harmony?

The transmission of newsworthy events in the press suggests that a story about Bishop Wren and the University, not Cromwell, was the main focus of attention. It represents control of the locality as being in the balance throughout August. This may not damage our view of Cromwell’s committed activism, but does suggest that his early actions were not portrayed by friendly journalists to be as central nor effective as some historians later depicted. The dissonance is interesting. Was that through lack of standing, of success, or something else? Given his absence from their story, we might speculate that Parliament’s need to counter Mercurius Aulicus’s popular message, as well as Cromwell’s undoubted achievements, connects with his presence as a hero in the press after 1642. He was probably already alive to the possibilities. We know Cromwell was in London by 6th September, but his whereabouts for 27th–28th August and 30th August–5th September are unknown.56 It is suggestive that the previous day the Commons addressed the lack of captains ‘Joyfull Newes …’ had warned its readers about. So is the wording.57 Soon, friend and foe would hear Cromwell’s name in the forefront of their stories.

Words and Priorities

Conventional evidence is sparse for our purposes. Cromwell’s own words speak to 1657 more than 1642. Words about Cromwell are patchy, from discordant voices yet to be reconciled, and silences, while potentially fruitful, remain relatively unexplored. We analyse absences, silences, as well as voices, try to comprehend the shape and potential impact of the void on those traces of the past we can discern. The gaps in the tale are significant, and so is the dissonance. Historians recount stories to make sense of Cromwell’s past, reverberating with the stories that have gone before, while journalists told new tales to the people. The dissonance between the two gives us something to work with when facing black holes in the records. Comparing the retrospective retelling of events with what was newsworthy from the locality in 1642 is suggestive enough to justify revisiting Cromwell’s transition from civilian to soldier.

We have seen that practitioners have long known that this episode is difficult to handle; historians frequently filled in gaps in the narrative, and, despite Varley’s assertions, the existence of two convoys is not explained away. There may have been repeated confrontations. Henry Cromwell’s men gathered on 6th August, reputedly to oppose Walton, who left Cromwell’s side for Huntingdon, and reported opposition which was read to the Commons on the 12th and Swathe gave thanks on the 13th. There was possibly another cluster of activity around 15th–23rd August while Stapleton was reporting that Cromwell had hindered (not stopped) plate and seized the magazine, Swathe possibly prayed, and the University printed royalist tracts, ending in Commons orders, that do not square with Cromwell acting decisively on the 10th.58 Wren, the Earl of Carlisle, John Russell and members of the University were able to gather to unsuccessfully implement the Commission of Array. We may learn from separating the sources and their perspectives instead of melding them. Friendly news reports passed over much of what happened, still depicting an unsettled situation when London reinforcements arrived in Cambridge, the night of the 29th, occupying it by 1st September, arresting royalists and sending news to London (without naming Cromwell). My next step will be to compare the perspective emerging from Parliamentary investigations. Docrwa had nothing to gain in 1645 when he told Parliamentarians he acted ‘about the time when the Plate was carried from Cambridge to the King’. But, Cromwell had everything to gain in 1642 if people knew of recent arrests and the need for captains.59 Were his priorities why journalists’ tales to the people look different from historians’ stories? For Cromwell in Cambridge in 1642 we might gain from listening to the sound of silence.

1 Zachary Grey, Schismatics Delineated, (1739), Gale ECCO Print Editions, App. I, p. 34.
2 John Morrill, ‘The Making of Oliver Cromwell’ in John Morrill, ed. Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution (1990), pp. 19-48; Simon Healy ‘1636: The Unmaking of Oliver Cromwell’ in Patrick Little ed. Oliver Cromwell: New Perspectives (2009), pp. 20-37; Stephen K. Roberts ‘One that Would sit Well at the Mark’: The Early Parliamentary Career of Oliver Cromwell, 1640-42’ in Little ed. Perspectives, pp. 38-63; S.L. Sadler ‘”Lord of the Fens”: Oliver Cromwell’s Reputation in the First Civil War’ in Little ed. Perspectives, pp. 64-89; Andrew Barclay, Electing Cromwell (2011).
3 John. H. Arnold, A Very Short Introduction To History (2000), pp. 1-14, 58- 79; G. Kitson Clark, The Critical Historian (1968), p. 1-18; John Tosh, The Pursuit of History, fifth edition (2010), pp.1-53, 119-142, 175-208.
4 Anthony Fletcher, ‘The Coming of War’ in John Morrill ed., Reactions To The English Civil War 1642-1649 (1982), pp. 29-49; C. Carlton, Going To The Wars (1992), passim ; Morrill, Revolt in the Provinces (1999), pp. 75-118, 190-200 ; Michael Braddick, State Formation in Early Modern England (2000), pp. 213-221.
5 Arnold, History, p. 62-68.
6 John Morley, Oliver Cromwell (1900), p. 123; John Buchan, Oliver Cromwell
(1941), p. 103.
7 J.C. Davis, Oliver Cromwell(2001), p. 89-90; Sadler, Reputation, p. 66.
8 Davis, Cromwell, p. 90; Frank Kitson, Old Ironsides (2007), p. 30.
9 W.C. Abbott, The Writings and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell (1988), I, 189.
10 Thomas Carlyle & C.S. Lomas, The Letters And Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, (1904) I, 111 n 8 113.n.3; Abbott, Cromwell, I, 186, 201; John Morrill, ‘Textualizing and Contextualising Cromwell’ Historical Journal, 33 (1990), pp. 629-639.
11 Ivan Roots ed., Speeches of Oliver Cromwell (2002), p. 134.
12 Patrick Little, ‘Farmer Oliver: Cromwell’s rural image explored’ The Cromwell Association, 22.10.2011; Blair Worden, ’Oliver Cromwell and the Sin of Achan’ in David L. Smith ed. Cromwell and the Interregnum
(2003), pp. 37-59, Davis, Cromwell, pp. 44-48 .
13 Clive Holmes, The Eastern Association in the English Civil War (1974), pp. 54-5, 252, ns..97-102.
14 Thomas Kitson Cromwell, Oliver Cromwell and his Times, second edn. (1822), appendix F, note; Alfred Kingston, East Anglia and the Great Civil War (1902), pp. 56-61; J.B. Mullinger, The University of Cambridge, vol. III (1911), pp. 233-39, 244, n. 5; F.J. Varley, Cambridge During The Civil Wars
(1935), pp. 72-85; Holmes , Eastern Association, p. 252, n. 99; Oxford DNB, John Barwick, John Ferrar, Barnabus Oley, Valentine Walton.
15 Abbott, Cromwell, I, 186, n.9.
16 C.J., II, 720.
17 Varley, Cambridge), p. 79, n. 2; Oxford DNB, Peter Barwick.
18 Barwick, Life (1724), pp. 22-27; Varley, Cambridge, pp.79-80.
19 Andrew Barcley identifies Cromwell’s faction in Barclay, Electing Cromwell, pp. 17-19, 20, 34-5, 125, 137, 177.
20 R.C. Richardson, The Debate on The English Revolution Revised (1991), p. 134.
21 John Barwick, Querela Cantabrigiensis (1647), p. 2-5; Peter Barwick, Life (1724), p. 26, fn. Varley, Cambridge, p. 80.
22 Varley, Cambridge, p. 81.
23 Holmes, Eastern Association, p. 54; Kitson, Old Ironsides, p. 30 ; Morrill, Cromwell, (2007), p. 13.
24 John Twigg, The University of Cambridge (1990) p. 73; Barry Coward, Oliver Cromwell (1991), p. 20; Simon Robbins, God’s General: Cromwell the Soldier (2003), p. 30.
25 Peter Gaunt, Oliver Cromwell (1997) p. 41
26 Buchan, Cromwell, p. 103; Sir Charles Firth, Oliver Cromwell and the Rule of the Puritans In England (1958), p. 74; Christopher Hill, God’s Englishman, p. 61 (1990); Antonia Fraser, Cromwell Our Chief of Men (1973), p. 84; Pauline Gregg, Oliver Cromwell (1988), p. 72; Austin Woolrych, ‘Cromwell as a Soldier’, in Morrill ed. Cromwell ad the English Revolution (1990), p. 94; Davis, Cromwell, p. 90; Martyn Bennett, Oliver Cromwell (2006), p. 55; Ian Gentles, Oliver Cromwell (2011) p. 23.
27 Venn, Alumni Cantabrigiensis (1976), Part I, vol. IV, 191; Denham Parish Register, 1539-1850 with Historical Notes and Notices (1904), IV., 1637; personal communication with Trevor Cooper and Dr John Blatchley;
Oxford DNB, Zachery Grey; Trevor Cooper ed., The Journal of William Dowsing (2001), p. 138-140; Grey, Schismatics dilneated, titlepage.
28 Oxford DNB, Thomas Baker; Trevor Cooper , Dowsing, p. 140.
29 Barwick, Querela, p. 5; R.C. Richardson, The Debate on The English Revolution Revisited (1991), p.21-36; John Morrill, Oliver Cromwell (2007), p. 108-113; Gaunt, Cromwell, p. 11; Laura Lunger Knoppers, Constructing Cromwell (2000), pp. 10-30, 167-193.
30 Varley, Cambridge, pp. 121-2; Barclay, Electing Cromwell, p.78
31 Snow & Young,. Private Journals, pp. 213.
32 Grey, Schismatics…, App. I, p. 34.
33 M.A.E. Green ed., Calendar of the Committee for Compounding (1967), II, 895; P.R.O., SP23/80/649, 653, 655; C.J., II, 726.
34 J.B. Mullinger, The University of Cambridge (1873), II, pp., 324, n. 3 on p. 323, 326, ns. 1-3; Barclay, Electing Cromwell, pp. 20-21; Venn, Alumni Cantabrigiensis (1951), Part II, Vol. IV, 495; Samuel R. Gardiner Hon LLD & J. Bass Mullinger, Introduction to the Study of English History (London: Regan Paul & Com 1881), pp. xxi.
35 Nicholas Tyacke, Seventeenth Century Oxford (1997), p. 81, n. 91; Ashmolean Museum, Collections online, silver collection, accession number WA 1948.200 and 201 (accessed 1.11.2011).
36 Arnold, History, pp. 65-66.
37 Raymond, Making the News (1993), p 5-25; C. John Sommerville, News Revolution in England (1996), p. 37.
38 S.L. Sadler, ‘Reputation’, pp. 73-79.
39 Sommerville, News Revolution, pp.35-40; Raymond, Making the Newes, p. 15.
40 Snow & Young, Private Diary’s, p. 299.
41 Oxford, DNB, George Thomason (c.1602-1666); S.J., Wiseman ‘Pamphlet Plays in the Civil War News Market: Genre, Politics and “Context”’ in Joad Raymond ed. News, Newspapers and Society in Early Modern Britain (2002) pp. 66-67’ Joad Raymond, ed. Making the News, pp. 1-25; Nigel Smith, Literature and Revolution in England, 1640-1660 (1994), pp. 54-70.
42 B.L., T.T,. E114 (20) His Majesties Answer (microfilm); Peacy, .Politicians And Pamphlets, pp. 44, 123.
43 C.J., II, 729, 733, 744, 751; L.J., V, 299, 307.
44 E. 202 (17), p.7 A Perfect Diurnall of the Passages in Parliament 11-18 July 1642; E. 202(24), p. 3, A Perfect Diurnall… 18-24 July 1642; Sommerville, News Revolution, pp. 4-5, 35-36; Smith, Literature and Revolution, pp. 23-24.
45 C.J., II, 698; Peacy, Politicians and Pamphleteers, pp. 49-50, 121.
46 Smith, Literature & Revolution; Sommerville, pp. 34; C.J., II, 701; E112 (16), p. 5, Joyfull Newes from Norwich, 17 August 1642.
47E. 119 (9), p. 3. Joyful news from Ely…; Charles.Firth & Godfrey Davies, Regimental History of Cromwell’s Army (1940), p. 1.
48 E. 119 (9), p. 3. Joyful news…; Fraser, Our Chief of Men, pp. 84-5.
49 B.L., TT. 669.f.6.75 Remarkable Passages from Nottingham, Lichfield, Leicester & Cambridge; B.L. T.T., E115 (10), pp. 5-6 A True Relation of the late Expedition into Kent….’; .L.J., V, 334.
50 E115 (10), p. 5 A True Relation.
51 669.f.6.75.
52 T.W., Letter to the Editors some private memoires of the Cromwell family…The Oxford Magazine for May 1769; Huntingdon Record Office, DDM 80/3646/503.
53 669,f.6.75 30 Remarkable passages from Nottingham, Lichfield, Leicester & Cambridge… Holmes, Eastern Association, p. 55.
54 E. 202 (42), pp. 2, 5, 8, An exact and True Diurnall, 29 – 5 September 1642.
55 E 202 (43), pp. 5-6. A True and perfect Diurnall of the passages in Parliament. For Nottingham, Ashby and Leicester, and other parts, 6 September 1642.
56 C.J., II, 754; Gaunt, Gazeteer, p. 224; Roberts, ‘Sit Well At The Mark’ , p. 58.
57 C.J., II, 753.
58 C.J., II, 732.
59 SP23/80/649.

Dr Sue Sadler was formerly a part-time Lecturer in History for Anglia Ruskin University, principally at Huntingdonshire Regional College, and is currently researching Cromwell’s early military career.

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