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Schools’ History Conference 2022 audio lectures

Debated by Professor Peter Gaunt and Dr Kate Peters, chaired by Dr Jon Fitzgibbons. In terms of the first civil war did Parliament win because
of superior resources, or did the Royalists lose because
of operational blunders?

Debated by Dr Jon Fitzgibbons and Dr Kate Peters, chaired by Dr Joel Halcomb. When and why did the Parliamentarians commit to regicide,
and was Charles I or Oliver Cromwell more responsible for
the king’s execution?

Debated by Dr Joel Halcomb and Professor Peter Gaunt, chaired by Dr Jon Fitzgibbons. Was the main civil war of 1642-1646 a national war
or a series of interlocking county wars?

The Cromwell Association Study Day 2021

Can we take Cromwell at his word?  Play

Left to right, Professors Ronald Hutton, Peter Gaunt and John Morrill, Oxford, October 2021.

In August 2021 Professor Hutton published the first part of a new biography The making of Oliver Cromwell, a fresh look at Cromwell’s early career, and presents him as devious and self-serving. Professor Morrill has a more generous view of Cromwell. The protagonists are long-time friends who deeply respect each other’s work, but the debate brings out their differences of interpretation. Two leading scholars, both with total command of the subject, provide deep and fascinating insights into Cromwell’s complex character.

The debate was chaired by Professor Peter Gaunt (University of Chester), the President of the Association.

Schools’ History Conference 2019 audio lectures…

Debated by Professor Hopper and Professor Gaunt, chaired by Dr Fitzgibbons.
How far did Leveller ideology really contribute
to a radical change in policy in either the army
or the country at large?

Debated by Dr Fitzgibbons and Dr Redmond, chaired by Professor Gaunt.
Given that Charles was called:
'This man against whom the Lord hath witnessed',
was his fate already decided before he was put on
trial in January 1649?

Debated by Professor Gaunt and Professor Hopper, chaired by Dr Redmond.
Can we legitimately call the years of the mid-17th century
a period of revolution?

Cromwell: myth and reality
A lecture by Professor John Morrill, December 2018

This lecture was one of a series given in Huntingdon to promote the Cromwell Museum, and was organised jointly by the Museum and the Friends organisation, by whose kind permission, along with that of Professor Morrill, it is published here. The speaker challenges a number of widely held opinions about Cromwell and effectively dismisses them as myths. Professor Morrill is a Vice-President of the Association and is currently working on a comprehensive revised edition of Cromwell’s Letters and Speeches, which he refers to at the beginning of his lecture. The sound is not broadcast quality but the content makes it worth listening to.

Dr Morrill’s PowerPoint presentation, to accompany this lecture, can be downloaded here.

The following debates were held at The Cromwell Association’s Schools’ History Conference at St Paul’s School, London on 27th June 2018.

Professor Peter Gaunt and Dr David Smith, chaired by Professor Jason Peacey, debate,
In terms of the main civil war of 1642-46, did parliament win because
of superior resources (broadly defined) or did the royalists lose it
because of operational blunders?

Dr Joan Redmond and Professor Jason Peacey, chaired by Dr David Smith, debate,
When and why did the parliamentarians commit to regicide?
Was Charles I or Cromwell more responsible for the
king's execution?

Professor Peter Gaunt and Professor Jason Peacey, chaired by Dr Joan Redmond, debate,
Was the main civil war of 1642-46 a national war and a national
campaign waged throughout England and Wales, or is it better seen
as a series of interlocking regional and county wars?


Professor Peter Gaunt

Peter Gaunt is professor of early modern history at the University of Chester. He has researched and written widely on the civil wars of the 1640s and on the post-war political settlement of the 1650s in general and on the Cromwellian Protectorate in particular. He is the author or editor of fourteen books, including studies of the civil war in Britain and Ireland, in England and Wales and in Wales alone and two (different) biographies of Oliver Cromwell. His most recent publications are The English Civil War: A Military History (I B Tauris, 2014) and a new edition of the late Barry Coward’s The Stuart Age (Routledge, 2017). He is currently working on a new edition of the late Roger Lockyer’s Tudor and Stuart Britain and on a study of the personal experience and surviving first person accounts of the civil war entitled The Metamorphosis of War, to be published by Routledge and Helion respectively. Currently president and a past chairman of The Cromwell Association, Peter lives in north Cheshire.

Professor Jason Peacey

Jason Peacey is Professor of Early Modern British History at UCL. He edited The Regicides and the Execution of Charles I (2001) and The Print Culture of Parliament, 1600-1800 (2007), and co-edited Parliament at Work (2002), and is the author of Politicians and Pamphleteers. Propaganda in the Civil Wars and Interregnum (2004), and Print and Public Politics in the English Revolution (2013). Recent articles include ‘Print culture, state formation, and an Anglo-Scottish public, 1640-1648’, Journal of British Studies (2017) and ‘Print, publicity and popularity: the projecting of Sir Balthazar Gerbier, 1640-1662’, Journal of British Studies (2012). He is currently working on a project relating to overlapping and interlocking publics in seventeenth century Europe, as well as on a micro-history relating to the politics and religion of a long-running legal feud in seventeenth century Gloucestershire.

Dr David Smith

Dr David L Smith is Fellow and Director of Studies in History at Selwyn College, Cambridge. His books include Constitutional Royalism and the Search for Settlement, c. 1640-1649 (1994), A History of the Modern British Isles, 1603-1707: The Double Crown (1998), The Stuart Parliaments, 1603-1689 (1999), and (with Patrick Little) Parliament and Politics during the Cromwellian Protectorate (2007). He is a former Trustee of the Cromwell Association.

Dr Joan Redmond

Dr Redmond is a lecturer in Early Modern British History at Kings College, London. She studied at Trinity College Dublin and St Johns College Cambridge. Her PhD research, supervised by Professor John Morrill, addressed religious violence in Ireland between 1641-1660, investigating the phenomenon of sectarian violence and its relationships to religious and ethnic identities in early modern Britain and Ireland. Her publications include ‘Memories of violence and New English identities in early modern Ireland’ in Historical Research, Vol. 89, No. 246 (November 2016), pp. 708-729 and ‘Religious violence and the 1641 Rebellion: divided communities in seventeenth-century Cavan’ in The Undergraduate Journal of Ireland and Northern Ireland, Vol. 3 (2013), pp. 216-228.

The following debates were held at The Cromwell Association’s Teachers Day at St Anne’s College, Oxford on 27 June 2017.

Professor Ronald Hutton and Professor Edward Vallance debate, chaired by Professor Ann Hughes.
Did Cromwell become Lord Protector in 1653 in order to return
England to political stability?

Professor Ann Hughes and Professor Ronald Hutton debate, chaired by Dr Elaine Murphy.
Many modern historians consider Cromwell’s religious views
to be sincere, so why did several contemporaries consider
him a hypocrite?

Dr Elaine Murphy and Professor Edward Vallance debate, chaired by Professor Ann Hughes.
In the light of events in Ireland, can Cromwell be said
to be a war criminal?


Professor Ronald Hutton

Ronald Hutton is Professor of History in the University of Bristol and Associate Dean of its Faculty of Arts, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Society of Antiquaries, the Learned Society of Wales, and the British Academy. He is the historian on the board of trustees which runs English Heritage, and chair of the Blue Plaques panel which awards commemorative plaques to historic buildings. He has published fifteen books and seventy-five essays on a wide range of subjects including British history between 1400 and 1700, ancient and modern paganism in Britain, the British ritual year, and Siberian shamanism.

Dr Elaine Murphy

Dr Elaine Murphy is a Lecturer in Maritime History at the University of Plymouth. Her research focuses on naval history in the 17th century with a focus on the period of the Civil Wars. Elaine’s new research examines the role of women and the navy in the 17th century. She has previously worked on the 1641 Depositions Project in Trinity College Dublin and the New Edition of Oliver Cromwell’s Writings and Speeches Project at the University of Cambridge. She is a co-editor of Volume II of this new edition which covers the period from 1649 to 1653 and includes Cromwell’s campaigns in Ireland and Scotland. Her publications include Ireland and the War at Sea, 1641-1653 (2012), The 1641 Depositions and the Irish Rebellion (edited collection, 2012). She is the co-author of a forthcoming book on the navy during the 1640s entitled The British Civil Wars at Sea (Boydell and Brewer. November 2017 with Richard Blakemore).

Professor Edward Vallance

Edward (Ted) Vallance is Professor of early modern British political culture at the University of Roehampton and has previously taught at the universities of Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool. He is the author of A Radical History of Britain (Little, Brown and Co, 2009), The Glorious Revolution (Little, Brown and Co., 2006) and Revolutionary England and the National Covenant (Boydell, 2005). With Harald Braun he has edited two volumes on conscience and casuistry in early modern Europe: Contexts of Conscience (Palgrave, 2004) and The Renaissance Conscience (Wiley Blackwell, 2011). His articles have featured in Albion, English Historical Review, Historical Journal, Historical Research, History Workshop Journal, The Huntington Library Quarterly, Journal of British Studies, Renaissance Studies, and The Seventeenth Century. Aside from academic journals, he has also written for the Guardian, History Today, Literary Review, New Statesman, Al Jazeera (Eng.), BBC History Magazine, and Teaching History, and contributed to documentaries on British, Dutch and French television and radio. He is currently completing a monograph on loyalty and the emergence of a political public – working title Cromwell’s Trunks – to be published by Manchester University Press.

Professor Ann Hughes

Ann Hughes has recently retired from Keele University, where she was Professor of Early Modern History for almost twenty years. Her research focuses on the religious and political implications of the revolutionary crisis in mid-seventeenth century Britain, with particular recent interests in print culture and modes of communication, in preaching and in gender. She is the author many essays and articles, and of four books: Politics, Society and Civil War in Warwickshire (Cambridge University Press, 1987); The Causes of the English Civil War (Palgrave Macmillan, 2nd edition, 1998); Gangraena and the Struggle for the English Revolution (Oxford University Press, 2004), and Gender and the English Revolution (Routledge, 2011), and co-edited, with Thomas Corns and David Loewenstein, The Complete Works of the radical visionary, Gerrard Winstanley (Oxford University Press, 2009). She is currently working on parliamentarian preaching in the 1640s, supported by a Leverhulme Trust Emeritus Fellowship.

The following debates were held at The Cromwell Association’s Teachers Day at Newnham College, Cambridge on 28 June 2016.

Dr David Smith and Professor Jason Peacey debate, chaired by Dr Patrick Little.
Did parliament win the civil war or did the royalists lose it?  Play

Professor Jason Peacey and Dr Laura Stewart debate, chaired by Dr David Smith.
To what extent was parliament more to blame than Charles I
for the failure of settlement 1646-9?

The following lectures were given to The Cromwell Association’s Study Day at The City Temple, London on 3 October 2015.

Professor John Morrill, Vice-President of the Associatiom
Welcome and introduction  Play

Dr Elliott Vernon, London
Oliver Cromwell, Presbyterians and Presbyterianism  Play

Anne Hughes, Emeritus Professor, University of Keele
The public profession of the nation: religious liberty and the
English church under Oliver Cromwell

Dr Kate Peters, University of Cambridge
The Quakers and the politics of the army, 1647-59  Play

Dr John Halcombe, University of East Anglia
Cromwell, Independency and Public Reputation  Play

The following three lectures were given to The Cromwell Association’s Teacher’s Day at Selwyn College, Cambridge on 30 June 2015.

Professor Ronald Hutton and Professor John Morrill debate. Chaired by Dr Patrick Little.
Cromwell and Military Dictatorship: to what extent did the
government of the Protectorate rest solely on bayonets?

Professor John Morrill and Dr Patrick Little debate. Chaired by Dr David Smith.
Cromwell and the Crown: what does Cromwell's eventual rejection
of the Crown tell us about his motives and aspirations?

Dr David Smith and Professor Ronald Hutton debate. Chaired by Dr Patrick Little.
1658-60: was Richard Cromwell's failure inevitable given the tensions
following his father's death?

We are grateful to the Princes Trust for the following three lectures from eminent historians, Jason Peacey, David Smith and Peter Gaunt.

(PDF to accompany lecture)
Healing and settling in Cromwellian England; the view from the

Dr David Smith of Cambridge University,
Oliver Cromwell and the People of God  Play

Professor Peter Gaunt, University of Chester,
Secular sources of Oliver Cromwell's power during the 1650s  Play

The late, great Barry Coward,
Was the Protectorate a military dictatorship?  Play

Professor John Morrill,
The religious context of the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland  Play

Debate chaired by Dr David Smith between Dr.Micheal O Siochru (Trinity College Dublin) and
Dr Jason Peacey (University College London) to the Cromwell Association 19 October,

Drogheda and Wexford: what did happen?  Play

Professor Peter Gaunt, University of Chester
Cromwell's contribution to Parliament's military
victories 1642-1651

Doctor David Applepby, University of Nottingham
Cromwell's whelps and rebels, disbanding the Old Army  Play

The following audio lectures can be found on The Historical Association website.
  • Dr Jason Peacey, UCL, The Trial of Charles I
  • Professor Peter Gaunt, Chair of the Cromwell Association, Oliver Cromwell
  • Professor Peter Gaunt, The Commonwealth, Protectorate and Radicalism