Cromwell’s Major Generals

During 1655-6, Oliver Cromwell ruled England and Wales with 19 Major Generals. It was essentially martial law, but also ‘rule of the saints’ as they tried to impose their puritan beliefs and values onto a weary nation. Knowing Oliver was a Congregationalist, I looked into the churchmanship of his Major Generals. Here they are:


Hezekiah Haynes, Phillip Skippon, Phillip Jenkins (possibly also a Baptist)


John Desborough, William Packer (probably), Robert Lillburne (later a Quaker).

Fifth Monarchist

Thomas Kelsey


Tobias Bridge, George Fleetwood, John Nicholas. Charles Howard

(Howard may have altered his religious beliefs as the political wind directed- he was raised Roman Catholic, became a Congregationalist during the civil war, a Fifth Monarchist during the Commonwealth, and an Anglican at the Restoration).


James Berry, William Goffe, William Boteler, Edward Whalley, Charles Worsley, John Barkstead, John Lambert.


Suffice to say, the rule of the saints was a failure. We Christians are not called to rule the world, nor impose our will upon it, but to seek Christ and His return.