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Cromwell, Henry

Cromwell, Henry (1628–74). Oliver's fourth son. Captain of horse at 19, he rose to command his own cavalry regiment in his father's expeditionary force to Ireland in 1650. He stayed on there, returning to sit for Ireland in Barebone's Parliament. On becoming protector, Oliver sent him back there to investigate the loyalty of the army, whose commander he became. Charles Fleetwood, the lord deputy, returned home, and Henry inherited his authority, though not until 1657 his title. His rule was bedevilled by constant friction with a well-entrenched ‘anabaptist’ faction, which his thin-skinned, slightly paranoid nature made him too prickly in handling. But he showed real ability in a very difficult task, and gave every support in 1658–9 to his brother Richard Cromwell, who promoted him to lord-lieutenant and governor-general. Thanks to his fairness to Irish royalists, which Ormond and Clarendon attested, he survived the Restoration to live quietly in Cambridgeshire until his early death.

Austin Woolrych

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