Lambert, John

views updated Jun 27 2018

Lambert, John (1619–83). Lambert had a strange life, missing his footing on the steps of power. He was a good cavalry commander under the Fairfaxes in the first civil war, and a leading general in the second, serving with Cromwell at Preston. He added to his military reputation at Dunbar in 1650 and at Worcester in 1651, becoming, in Clarendon's phrase, ‘first in the affection of the army’. He was largely responsible for the Instrument of Government setting up the Protectorate in 1653, became a major-general for the northern counties, and was widely tipped as Cromwell's successor. In 1657 however he went too far in opposing the Humble Petition and Advice and was stripped of his military and civil appointments. Triumphantly reinstated when the army overturned Richard Cromwell in 1659, he helped to restore the Rump Parliament. But he soon quarrelled with the Rump and defied its attempt to cashier him by leading a military coup in October. At this stage he looked like a Monck in the making and there were rumours that Charles II would marry his daughter. But his position collapsed speedily. When Monck in Scotland threatened to intervene on the Rump's behalf, Lambert marched north to face him, but his troops melted away. He was captured and put in the Tower. He escaped in April 1660 to lead a last desperate rising for the Commonwealth, but few supporters came in to his rendezvous at Edgehill. Lambert spent the remaining 23 years of his life in captivity, mainly in the Channel Islands, watched by the government as a dangerous man. As late as the Popish plot in 1678, Charles's ministers were worried what Lambert might do, though his mind had long been clouded over.

Austin Woolrych; and Professor J. A. Cannon

Lambert, John

views updated May 11 2018

Lambert, John (1619–84) Parliamentary commander in the English Civil War. He led the cavalry at Marston Moor and, as commander of the northern counties, fought with Cromwell at Preston (1648) and Worcester (1651). As a leader of the republic, he opposed the Restoration (1660) and spent the rest of his life in captivity.

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John Lambert

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