Select Cromwell Miscellany

Here are some Cromwell stories and accounts over the years:

The Cromwells of Cromwell in Nottinghamshire

The Cromwells were first recorded as lords of the manor of Cromwell in 1177.  It was said that they were descended from Healfdene, the main landowner in Cromwell at the time of the 1086 Domesday Book. 

It was Ralph de Cromwell who was summoned to the House of Lords as the 1st Baron Cromwell in 1375.  He made his home at Tattershall Castle in Lincolnshire.  This home was made quite splendid by Ralph, the 3rd Lord Cromwell, who served as Treasurer of England from 1433 to 1443. 

When Lord Ralph died in 1456, he left no male heirs.  The Cromwell estates passed
to one of two joint-heiresses, his niece Lady Maud Willoughby.

Thomas Cromwell's Birthplace

It is believed that Thomas Cromwell was born at the top of Putney Hill, on the edge of Putney Heath.  In 1878 his birthplace was still of note: 

“The site of Cromwell's birthplace is still pointed out by tradition and is in some measure confirmed by the survey of Wimbledon Manor for it describes on that spot 'an ancient cottage called the smith's shop, lying west of the highway from Richmond to Wandsworth, being the sign of the Anchor. The plot of ground here referred to is now covered by the Green Man public house. 

Cromwell was born there to Walter Cromwell, a blacksmith and brewery-owner, and his wife Katherine
.  Some reports have his father as Walter Smith who changed his name to Walter Cromwell.

Sir Richard Cromwell, a King's Favorite

On May Day 1540 Sir Richard Cromwell eminently distinguished himself by his military skill and gallantry during a day of jousting at Westminster.  

He and five other challengers had each of them, as a reward for their valor, 100 marks annually with a house to live in for them and their heirs forever,.  This house had been granted out of the monastery of the Friary of St. Francis at Stamford which had been dissolved two years prior. 

It was said that when the King saw Sir Richard's prowess he exclaimed:   "Formerly thou wast my Dick, but hereafter thou shalt be my diamond.”  He dropped a diamond ring from his finger, bidding him afterwards bear such a one in the fore gamb of the demy lion in his crest.

Oliver Cromwell's Reputation

Oliver Cromwell is one of the most controversial figures in the history of the British Isles, considered a regicidal dictator by historians such as David Sharp, a military dictator by Winston Churchill, but a hero of liberty by John Milton and Samuel Carlyle, and a class revolutionary by Leon Trotsky.  

In a 2002 BBC poll in Britain, Cromwell was selected as one of the ten greatest Britons of all time.  However, his measures against Catholics in Scotland and Ireland have been characterized as genocidal or near-genocidal, and in Ireland his record is harshly criticized.

John Cromwell's Patriotism During the Revolutionary War

John Cromwell's name cropped up in 1777 when he suffered severely from the maltreatment of the British troops and their allies the Cow Boys because of  his well-known attachment to the American cause.  

At one time then, it was said, a party of Cow Boys entered his house and demanded that he should tell them where he kept his money concealed.  Upon Mr. Cromwell's refusal, they seized him and, heating a shovel red-hot in the kitchen fire, applied it to his naked person. 

John Cromwell lived to relate this and other incidents he experienced during the war, telling them with much relish at a good old age.  He died in 1805 at the age of seventy eight

James Cromwell and His Four Wives

Jimmy Cromwell was the son of the Palm Beach society doyenne Eva Stotesbury. 

His first wife was the automotive company heiress Delphine Dodge.  She was the only daughter of Horace Dodge of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, co-founder of the Dodge Motor Company.  They had one daughter Christine in 1922 and divorced in 1928.  

He married the 22-year-old
tobacco heiress Doris Duke in 1935.  After their marriage in New York they undertook a six month honeymoon cruise of the world.  The couple were both supporters of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal.  Jimmy published books to present his economic ideas and used her fortune in finance his political career. In 1940 he entered the election for U.S. Senator from New Jersey, but lost the race. 

Three years later they entered into bitter and protracted divorce proceedings. 
Doris Duke, asserting that her husband wanted a $7 million ''endowment,'' won a decree in Reno but that was voided by a court in New Jersey. Cromwell then obtained a divorce that became final in 1948.

Jimmy Cromwell was married to his third wife, Maxine MacFetridge, from 1948 until her death in 1968.  Germaine Benjamin was Cromwell's fourth wife, from 1971 until her death in 1987.  Cromwell himself died in California in 1990 at the age of 93

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