Who were Cromwell's soldiers?

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,108
#21
Along the lines of my previous post, from the time of Elizabeth I until the English Civil War, all the churches were Anglican, and any other services were carried out in private homes or whatever. By law, you had to attend Anglican church at least once a month. Denying the monarch was head of the Church was considered treason.

Oxford was training clergy along Catholic lines and Cambridge along protestant lines, but officially they were all trained to be Anglicans who would serve under the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was appointed by the monarch.

The term Puritan originally meant those who sought to purify the Anglican Church by removing papist and pagan elements. In fact they were generally more extreme protestants than Lutherans. Charles I had a Roman Catholic wife, who was raising her sons as Roman Catholics, which had implications for the future of England. He appointed high church bishops, who made the service and so on closer to the Roman Catholic. The Civil War started when Charles I tried to force the Calvinist Scots to use the Anglican Prayer Book, which was close to a translation of the mass to English.

So yes, Roman Catholics were pretty much all royalists and it was between Catholics and Protestants in a way, but most on both sides claimed to be Anglicans. It was sort of between high church and low church Anglican rather than Catholic and Protestant. However, Charles I was suspected of trying to restore Roman Catholicism and the Puritans took an extreme approach when they were in control, for example banning Christmas as a pagan and papist holiday.
 
May 2017
924
France
#22
Thank you very much.In France,the huguenots considered that the Scots were Calvinists because the Church of John Knox had accepted the theories of the "Institutions Chrétiennes" ,and that the Anglicans were catholics not romans who had accepted the big "schisme" of 1534,which refused the absolute power of Roma,and supported the position of the king of England as the chief of the British Church.A question,did the Anglicans persecuted the Calvinists,Anabaptists and others ? Thank you very much.
 
Jan 2012
421
South Midlands in Britain
#23
There wasn't a clear line between Catholics and Anglicans. It was difficult to be openly Roman Catholic in England, but fine to be "high church". There was a wide range of theology and ritual acceptable as long as you recognized the monarch as head of the Church. There were secret Catholics and those who would prefer to be Roman Catholic who went along with Anglicanism. There were also some who didn't care who was head of the Church, but preferred close to the traditional mass and so on.

Cambridge trained clergymen as protestants, but Oxford trained more Catholic high church clergy. There were also Puritan clergymen who were ordained Anglican priests. It wasn't that clear cut the distinction between Anglican and Puritan either. There was an attempt to get everyone to accept Anglicanism by being very flexible about what was acceptable.

I would think that the protestant royalists were mostly Anglicans. However, there were political as well as religious issues involved. Many also joined whichever force controlled their area, or were more or less forced into the armies.
The word `puritan' was attributed to the views of those Protestants who did not consider the reforms of the Anglican church instituted under Elizabeth I went far enough. The Anglican church had been created under the Reformation and had become very austere in its observance under the reign of Edward VI. The reversion to Roman Catholicism under Mary complicated the issue considerably. Elizabeth sought a Protestant church that could unite the country. A problem developed during her reign in that some 20% of the supposedly conforming Anglican priests were deemed heretical in one way or another.

There was an expectation among Roman Catholics that accession of James I (also James VI of Scotland) would pressage a greater tolerance for them as his mother had been a Catholic. They were quickly disabused of this view by James. The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 was the consequence of their disappointment. After the Gunpowder Plot the Roman Catholic minority was deemed to be potentially treasonous and classified as `recusants' as they recused themselves from attending worship at the Established Anglican church. The Anglican church also conducted quite fierce persecution of some puritan sects. In 1606 two English Anabaptists were burned at the stake as heretics - the last people in Britain to suffer this ordeal.

During the period leading up to the Civil War the Anglican church and the King's court was fundamentally divided between High Church Anglicans who favoured a more traditional Catholic style of service and those who sought different interpretations of puritan theology. For example, the fourth Earl of Bedford was deemed leader of the Calvinist faction in the court of Charles I. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Laud preferred a more traditional pattern of service and church furnishing. This was not deemed acceptable by puritans. In many cases the form and nature of Anglican worship was determined by whoever held the advowson for the local church. This was often the Lord of the Manor who would appoint a vicar or rector that suited his own religious tastes.

The religious divisions in both England and Scotland at this time were fundamental and, sadly, an obdurate king - Charles I, who was utterly unsuited to his office - just made matters worse, particularly when he was egged on by courtiers who took the view that robust violence was the way to deal with people with whom they did not agree (a common failing among the English). The outbreak of Civil War divided the country but whilst Roman Catholics and High Church Anglicans invariably took the side of the King, there were still Calvinists who supported him. The Parliamentary armies had at their core the trained bands of the largely puritan metropolitan areas but were padded out by both volunteers and conscripts recruited by County Commissioners from the more puritan areas of the country. These volunteers and conscripts were a mixture of puritan Presbyterians, Independents, Calvinists, and all sorts of varieties of anabaptist. Over the years I have been trying to validate if men from specific conventicles - unregistered churches - volunteered for military service. I have not so far been successful in that, although a pattern of sorts seems to apply.

The Anglican church disappeared during the Commonwealth period. The bishops and priests were dispersed from their livings and more than one took up as swineherds to make ends meet. The best description is to say that the church went underground. I found a particular example of this at Maids Moreton in Buckinghamshire, where George Bate, who had been instituted as rector in 1603, died suddenly in 1643 of what looks like a heart attack when some anabaptists from Banbury - a strong puritan town not far away - serving in a Parliamentary regiment vandalised his church. George Bate's son, Matthew by then an ordained Anglican priest without a living took on the task of acting as his late father's deputy throughout the next twenty years or so. When the monarchy and the Anglican church was restored in 1660, Matthew Bate triumphantly declared that not one Maids Moreton person was baptised, married or buried outside of the Anglican communion. As someone whose family at the time and later was distinctly puritan I am very moved by Matthew Bate's dedication. If I am in the church I am always happy to give his grave an appreciative bow.

Another example is the case of the fifth Earl of Bedford. Like his father he was a Calvinist so he initially sided with Parliament. He commanded an echelon of troops at the Battle of Edgehill in 1642 with the commander of his cavalry as one Captain Oliver Cromwell. Yet he disliked the religious extremism of the Presbyterians and was encouraged by a Royalist faction within his extended family to change sides and take up arms for the King. He then spent two years bumbling around the countryside confused by his orders. In the end in 1644 he returned to his estates and set about trying to negotiate an end to the entire war, this proved to be the most useful thing he did at the time.

It took the Anglican church until the middle of the eighteenth century to accept that the best way of promoting church attendance was through sound parochial care rather than forcing attendance through the levying of fines. They got there in the end.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,108
#25
Thank you very much.In France were created "Jacobites régiments" with a veritable mixed salad between English soldiers and Irish refugees.But the English were all Catholics or mixed Anglicans and Catholics ?
I explained denying the king was head of the Church was considered treason, so there weren't many open English Roman Catholics. There wasn't a clear line between Catholics and high church Anglican. My understanding was that some were Anglicans.

As far as persecution of protestant dissenters, there were many times as many executions of Roman Catholics for treason under Elizabeth I and James I as of protestants for heresy. Also, if you claimed to be Anglican and accepted church hierarchy and the monarch as head of the Church almost any theology was acceptable.
 
Last edited:
Jan 2012
421
South Midlands in Britain
#26
Thank you very much.In France were created "Jacobites régiments" with a veritable mixed salad between English soldiers and Irish refugees.But the English were all Catholics or mixed Anglicans and Catholics ?
The Jacobites came later following the Glorious Revolution of 1688 when the Roman Catholic King James II (James VII in Scotland) was deposed and the throne offered to his daughter Mary's husband, the Dutch king William of Orange. There were many in the Anglican church who refused to take the oath of allegiance to William as, in their view, the person to whom they had already sworn allegiance was still alive. Such people were called `non-jurors' and are presumed to be the start of the Tory party. Non-jurors were not necessarily Jacobites in the sense that they supported King James II and his descendants against William & Mary, their daughter Anne and her Hanoverian successors, but they were grit in the smooth running of the state and normally excluded from holding public offices.

The Jacobite regiments in both France and Spain tended to be maintained by Roman Catholic recruits from Britain and Ireland. The Spanish Jacobite regiments were more Irish than the French regiments as many exiled Irish aristocrats took commissions under the Spanish king. Roman Catholics in England suffered persecution even after 1685 when a form of religious toleration was established with the non-conforming Protestants. It also has to be said that when James II was Duke of York under his brother, Charles II he endeavoured to support non-conforming Protestants and the Quakers in particular, hence the founding of Pennsylvania. The persecutions of English Roman Catholics after the Jacobite risings of 1715 and 1745 were horrendous. Executions were common.

It was unlikely that many Anglicans would join an overseas Jacobite regiment as their families would be best able to arrange a satisfactory compromise with the English authorities. It took until the French Revolution before the British Crown would tolerate Roman Catholic institutions within the country. Old divisions with the Papacy were cleared up diplomatically after Napoleon leading directly to Catholic emancipation in 1828.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,108
#27
There were many English royalist who fled to Ireland. When Cromwell conquered Ireland, they had to flee to the continent. I would think many of them were high church Anglicans.

Wouldn't the Jacobites fighting for France or Spain include many Scotish, as well as Irish and English? There was resistance to William's usurpation in Scotland, but not in England. Also there were later Jacobite rebellions in Scotland.

Any Anglicans in Jacobite regiments would be fighting for France rather than Spain, because Spain allowed only Roman Catholics.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,108
#29
Thank you very much.There is in Salamanca (Spain) a splendid building,ancient irish quarter,called today the "Irish College".
There were several Irish colleges in Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, and Italy, most attached to universities. Catholic schools were closed in Ireland, and Irish Catholics were not allowed in the school that did exist, so Irish went to study on the continent.

There is an Irish and an English seminary in Rome and an English seminary in Lisbon. There was an English seminary in France that was closed during the French Revolution. Many of the early graduates of those became martyrs.