Sir William Waller

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Waller, Sir William (1598–1668). MP and parliamentary general during the Civil War. Educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, and Gray's Inn, Waller saw military service on the continent during the Thirty Years War. He was elected to the Long Parliament, commissioned colonel under Essex, and later major-general for the region around Gloucester. Emboldened by early military successes, he became a critic of Essex's leadership, but his own reputation suffered with his defeats at Roundway Down (July 1643) and Cropredy Bridge (June 1644). His nickname ‘William the Conqueror’ was turned against him. Forced to resign his commission by the self-denying ordinance in 1645, Waller turned into a supporter of the Essex–Holles faction in parliament, and an opponent of the religious toleration advocated by the New Model Army. He was one of eleven MPs whose impeachment the army advocated. Arrested in 1648, he suffered three years' imprisonment. With the restoration of the Long Parliament in 1660 he resumed his seat, and was elected to the Convention Parliament the same year.

Ian Gentles

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Sir William Waller, 1597–1668, English parliamentary general. He fought (1620–22) in the Thirty Years War and was knighted in 1622. A zealous Puritan, he sat in the Long Parliament (see English civil war), became a colonel in the parliamentary army, and achieved a series of victories that gained him the popular title of William the Conqueror. In 1643, however, he was defeated by the royalists at Roundway Down. He received fresh troops and continued campaigning with mixed results until the creation of the New Model Army (which he had originally proposed). The Self-Denying Ordinance (1645) prohibited his serving in that army because he was a member of Parliament. A leader of the Presbyterian party in Parliament, he was imprisoned (1648–51) by the army and again under the Protectorate. He promoted the return of Charles II and was returned (1660) to Parliament by General Monck's influence, but after the Restoration he retired.