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Key Figures

Edward Montagu (1625 – 1672)

Montagu was educated at Huntingdon Grammar School (today the Cromwell Museum). He served in Parliament’s army during the First Civil War and his regiment was incorporated into the New Modelled Army. When he was elected as an MP in late 1645 he stood down from his military rank. He was a key member of Cromwell’s Protectorate, serving as a member of the Council of State and as a diplomat, and pressing Cromwell to accept the crown. In 1656 he was made a ‘General at Sea’ and thereafter became most famous as an admiral. His patronage allowed his cousin Samuel Pepys to advance in the Civil Service. At the Restoration he co-operated with George Monck and took his flagship ‘Naseby’ (hastily renamed ‘Royal Charles’) to transport Charles II to England. He was rewarded by being made the first Earl of Sandwich and continued to serve as an admiral and diplomat. He was killed at the Battle of Solebay in the Third Anglo-Dutch War in 1672.

Painted portrait of Edward Montagu
Edward Montagu

George Monck (1608 – 1670)

Monck was a professional soldier who fought in the Thirty Years’ War, the Bishop’s Wars and in Ireland. He fought for both sides during the Civil Wars: for the King during the First Civil War until he was captured at Nantwich, then for Parliament from 1646. He served in Scotland under Cromwell, then at sea as an admiral during the First Anglo Dutch War, before being made military governor of Scotland under Cromwell's Protectorate. In 1660 he marched from Scotland to restore order in London and was instrumental in securing the Restoration of Charles II, for which he was made a Duke.

Painted portrait of George Monck
George Monck

David Leslie (1601 - 1682)

Leslie was a Scottish professional soldier, who served in the Thirty Years’ War in the Swedish army. He returned to Scotland in 1640, and served as Lieutenant General (second in command) of the Scots Covenanter army sent to England to aid Parliament, playing a key role in the victory of the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644. He was appointed to command the Scots Covenanter forces during the Second Civil War, but was defeated by Cromwell at the battle of Dunbar in 1650. He commanded troops at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, after which he was captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London. After his release in 1660 he was made a peer by Charles II.

Engraved portrait of David Leslie with inscription 'General of the Scotch Army'
David Leslie

John Hampden (1595 – 1643)

Hampden was a Buckinghamshire landowner. He became famous for his stand against King Charles I’s forced loans and Ship-Money, for which he was acclaimed as standing up for the nation’s liberty. He continued his opposition to Charles’ policies as an MP from 1640, and was one of the five Members of Parliament who Charles attempted to arrest in January 1642. Hampden raised a regiment to fight for Parliament in the First Civil War but was killed at the Battle of Chalgrove in June 1643. His death was a great blow to the Parliamentarian cause.

Engraved portrait of John Hampden
John Hampden

Sir Thomas Fairfax (1612 – 1671)

Fairfax was an experienced soldier who fought in the Thirty Years’ War and the Bishop’s Wars. Heavily outnumbered, he kept the Parliamentarian war effort going in Yorkshire until the decisive victory at Marston Moor in 1644. After that he became Lord-General of the New Model Army and more than anyone else was responsible for Parliament’s victory in the Civil Wars. He refused to fight against the Scots – a fellow Protestant power - in the Third Civil War and retired, although he did much behind the scenes to support the Restoration.

Painted portrait of Thomas Fairfax
Thomas Fairfax

Oliver Cromwell (1599 – 1658)

Cromwell was born in Huntingdon and went to school in the Grammar School there (today the Cromwell Museum). He became a soldier at the age of 43 in 1642, when he raised his first troop of cavalry to support the Parliamentarian cause, rising to second in command of the Eastern Association Army. He played a prominent role in the battles at Marston Moor and Naseby, led the army into Ireland in 1649, and won the war against the Scots in 1652. He was one of the men who signed the death warrant of Charles I in 1649. Cromwell became Lord Protector in 1653 and died in 1658.

Painted portrait of Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell

Prince Rupert (1619 – 1682)

Rupert was Charles I’s nephew, and had gained military experience in the Thirty Years’ War. He was one of the most capable and feared commanders of the Civil War, earning a reputation as a dashing cavalry commander. He became estranged from his uncle after surrendering Bristol in September 1645 and went into exile the following year. He commanded the Royalist fleet during the Second and Third Civil Wars, and served as an admiral under Charles II.

Engraved portrait of Prince Rupert
Prince Rupert

Queen Henrietta Maria (1609 – 1669)

Henrietta Maria was a French princess who married Charles I in May 1625. Her marriage alarmed many in England, who were distrustful of having a French Catholic as queen. During the Civil War she raised funds, supplies and men for the Royalist cause. She led troops and styled herself ‘She-majesty, Generalissima’. She last saw Charles in April 1644, when she went into the West Country to be confined with a pregnancy. She was then forced to head into exile, where she remained until after the Restoration in 1660, going into deep mourning after her husband’s execution.