Cromwell's Other House

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The Other House (also referred to as the Upper House, House of Peers and House of Lords), established by the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell under the terms of the Humble Petition and Advice, was one of the two chambers of the parliaments that legislated for England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland, in 1658 and 1659, the final years of the Protectorate. [lower-alpha 1]

Oliver Cromwell 17th-century English military and political leader

Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader. He served as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1653 until his death, acting simultaneously as head of state and head of government of the new republic.

Humble Petition and Advice

The Humble Petition and Advice was the second, and last, codified constitution of England after the Instrument of Government.

The Protectorate Period during the Commonwealth under the rule of the Lord Protector

The Protectorate was the period during the Commonwealth when England and Wales, Ireland and Scotland were governed by a Lord Protector as a republic. The Protectorate began in 1653 when, following the dissolution of the Rump Parliament and then Barebone's Parliament, Oliver Cromwell was appointed Lord Protector of the Commonwealth under the terms of the Instrument of Government. In 1659 the Protectorate Parliament was dissolved by the Committee of Safety as Richard Cromwell, who had succeeded his father as Lord Protector, was unable to keep control of the Parliament and the Army. This marked the end of the Protectorate and the start of a second period of rule by the Rump Parliament as the legislature and the Council of State as the executive.



During the Rule of the Major-Generals and the selection of members for the Second Protectorate Parliament there was a firming of opinion that a second chamber was needed. [1]

The Rule of the Major-Generals from August 1655 – January 1657, was a period of direct military government during Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate. England and Wales were divided into ten regions; each governed by a major-general who answered to the Lord Protector.

Second Protectorate Parliament

The Second Protectorate Parliament in England sat for two sessions from 17 September 1656 until 4 February 1658, with Thomas Widdrington as the Speaker of the House of Commons. In its first session, the House of Commons was its only chamber; in the second session an Other House with a power of veto over the decisions of the Commons was added.

During the debate over the Humble Petition and Advice, the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell and others wanted an upper chamber as a check on the power of the Lower House because he had found it difficult to control over the Naylor case. He pushed for a second chamber which would consist of nominated members who, in Thurloe's words, would be "a great security and a bulwark to the common interest". [2] On 11 March 1656 the House of Commons passed a bill creating a second house which would consist of up to 70 members nominated by the Lord Protector. [2]

John Thurloe English barrister

John Thurloe of Great Milton in Oxfordshire and of Lincoln's Inn, was a secretary to the council of state in Protectorate England and spymaster for Oliver Cromwell.

On 6 May 1656 Cromwell rejected the title of King as proposed in the draft version of the Humble Petition, but accepted a reworded Humble Petition on 25 May. It included provisions for him as Lord Protector, tri-annual parliaments and an Other House of 40 to 70 members nominated for life by the Lord Protector, with a quorum of 21. Thus the second house became a fixture of the Protectorate cemented in place by the Humble Petition and Advice, a new written constitution. [lower-alpha 1] [3]

The Judges of the Upper Bench, who at this time were Warburton and Newdigate; of the Common Bench, Atkins, Hale, and Wyndham; with Barons of the Exchequer, Nicholas, Parker and Hill, were summoned as assistants to the second chamber. [4] [lower-alpha 2]

Sir Richard Newdigate, 1st Baronet was an English judge, landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1660.

Court of Common Pleas (England) common law court in the English legal system

The Court of Common Pleas, or Common Bench, was a common law court in the English legal system that covered "common pleas"; actions between subject and subject, which did not concern the king. Created in the late 12th to early 13th century after splitting from the Exchequer of Pleas, the Common Pleas served as one of the central English courts for around 600 years. Authorised by Magna Carta to sit in a fixed location, the Common Pleas sat in Westminster Hall for its entire existence, joined by the Exchequer of Pleas and Court of King's Bench.

Matthew Hale (jurist) English barrister, judge and lawyer noted for his treatise Historia Placitorum Coronæ

Sir Matthew Hale was an influential English barrister, judge and lawyer most noted for his treatise Historia Placitorum Coronæ, or The History of the Pleas of the Crown. Born to a barrister and his wife, who had both died by the time he was 5, Hale was raised by his father's relative, a strict Puritan, and inherited his faith. In 1626 he matriculated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, intending to become a priest, but after a series of distractions was persuaded to become a barrister like his father thanks to an encounter with a Serjeant-at-Law in a dispute over his estate. On 8 November 1628 he joined Lincoln's Inn, where he was called to the Bar on 17 May 1636. As a barrister, Hale represented a variety of Royalist figures during the prelude and duration of the English Civil War, including Thomas Wentworth and William Laud; it has been hypothesised that Hale was to represent Charles I at his state trial, and conceived the defence Charles used. Despite the Royalist loss, Hale's reputation for integrity and his political neutrality saved him from any repercussions, and under the Commonwealth of England he was made Chairman of the Hale Commission, which investigated law reform. Following the Commission's dissolution, Oliver Cromwell made him a Justice of the Common Pleas.

All the peers but one (Lord Eure) summoned to attend this second chamber declined to sit, and to show his contempt for them, Sir Arthur Hesilrige, took his seat in the Commons as member for Leicester. [4] So filling the second house proved more difficult than creating it. Of the 63 nominees only 42 accepted and only 37 came to the first meeting. [5]

George Eure, 7th Baron Eure (–1672) was a Parliamentary supporter during the English Civil War and was the only peer created before the Interregnum to sit in Cromwell's Upper House.

Leicester was a parliamentary borough in Leicestershire, which elected two members of parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons from 1295 until 1918, when it was split into three single-member divisions.

Matters were made worse when Parliament reconvened on 20 January 1658, republicans in the lower house attempted to kill off the second house before a name for the chamber had been decided upon, after five days of debate with no agreement on whether it should be called the House of Lords or the Other House, Cromwell addressed both houses warning them that such disagreements encouraged Royalists and threatened the country with a new civil war. Parliament was in no mood to heed his warning and continued to disagree among themselves, so on 4 February 1658 Cromwell dissolved Parliament. [6]

After Oliver Cromwell's death in September 1658, those in the funeral procession who had noble titles under the ancient regime were so called (for example Edward, Earl of Manchester), those who had sat in Cromwell's Other House were called lord (for example Philip, Lord Skipton), but those such as "George Monck, General in Scotland", who had not taken up their seats in the Other House, were not referred to as lord. [7] [8]

The Third Protectorate Parliament (27 January 1659 – 22 April 1659) included a second chamber, but republicans in the House of Commons treated it with suspicion as they considered some of the members to be Presbyterians and closet Royalists, Parliament was soon deadlocked and was dissolved by Richard Cromwell the new Lord Protector on the advice of the Army when it became clear that the Commons was seeking ways to disband the Army. [9] With that dissolution the Other House that had come into existence in 1656 never reconvened.

List of those nominated by Cromwell

Oliver, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the Domynions and Territories thereunto belonging. To our trusty and wellbeloved Sonne Lord Richard Cromwell, Greeting.—— Whereas by the advise and assent of our Councell for certain greate and weighty affaires concerning toe the state and defence of the saide Comonwealth, We ordayned our present parliament to be held at our City of Westminster, the seventeenth day of September, in the yeare of our Lorde one thousand six hundred fiftie and six, and there to consult and advise with the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses of our said comonwealth, which Parliament was then and there held, and continued until the six and twentieth day of June last past, and then Adjourned until the twentieth day of January now next coming: Therefore we command and firmely enjoyne you, that considering the difficultie of the said affaires and eminent dangers, all excuses being left aside, you be personally present att Weftminster aforesaid the said twentieth day of January next comeinge, there to treate, conferr, and give your advise with us and with the Greate Men and Nobles in and concerninge the affaires aforesaid. And this as you Love and Honor our safety and the defence of the commonwealth aforefaid, you shall in noe wise omitt. Witness ourselfe at Westminster, the nynth day of December, in the yeare of our Lord one thousand six hundred fifty and seaven.

Lett the like writts be directed to the respective persons under written, dated as aforefaid (to wit) [10] [lower-alpha 3]

sigordernametitlecomments [lower-alpha 4]
1The lord Richard Cromwell The eldest surviving son of the Lord Protector Oliver.
2Lord Henry Cromwell our deputy of Ireland.The other surviving son of the Lord Protector.
§3 Nathaniel Fiennes one of the commissioners of our great-seal.
§4 John Lisle one of the lords commissioners of our great-seal
§5 Henry Lawrence president of our privy council
§6 Charles Fleetwood lieutenant-general of our armySon in-law to the Lord Protector.
7 Robert Earl of Warwick He refused to sit in this house with Pride and Hewson, one of whom had been a drayman and the other a cobbler.
8 Edward earl of Manchester
9 Edmund earl of Mulgrave
10 John [lower-alpha 5] earl of Cassilis A Scottish earl and Lord Justice General of Scotland. [11] One of three Scots.
11 William lord viscount Saye and Sele
§12 Thomas lord Fauconberg In 1657 he was a viscount, and married to Mary younger daughter of Oliver Cromwell.
§13 Charles lord visc. 1657 Cromwell bestowed upon him the title Baron Gilsland and Viscount Howard of Morpeth.
§14 Philip lord viscount Lisle
§15Sir Gilbert Pickering bart, chamberlain of our household
§16 George lord Evres (or Eure)He was the only peer created before the Interregnum to sit in the Other House. [12]
§17 Philip lord Wharton
§18 Roger lord Broghill One of the Irish members, he was fifth son of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork.
19 William Pierpoint, esq.
§20 John lord Claypoole master of our horseMarried to Elizabeth Claypole, Oliver Cromwell's second and favourite daughter.
§21Sir Bulstrode Whitlock one of the lord commissioners of our Treasury
§22 John Disbrowe one of the generals of our fleetMarried Eltisley Jane Cromwell, sister to the Lord Protector.
§23 Edward Montagu one of the generals of our fleet, and one of the lords commissioners of our Treasury
24 George Monk commander in chief of our forces in Scotland
§25 John Glynn,chief-justice assigned to hold pleas before us in the Upper BenchOne of four Welsh members
26 William Lenthall, master of the rolls in Chancery
27 Oliver St. John,chief justice of our court of Common-PleasMarried to Elizabeth Cromwell, a cousin of the Lord Protector
28 William Steel, chancellor of Ireland
§29Sir Charles Wolseley, bart.
§30 William Sydenham one of the lords commissioners of our Treasury
§31 Philip Skippon,esq.
§32 Walter Strickland,esq.
§33 Francis Rouse,esq.
§34 Philip Jones,esq. comptroller of our householdOne of four Welsh members. [13]
§35 John Fiennes,esq.Third son of the William, Lord Viscount Saye and Sele
§36Sir John Hobart, bart.
37Sir Gilbert Gerrard, bart.
38Sir Arthur Hasilrigge, bart.
§39Sir Francis Russell, bart.A near relation to the protector by the marriage of Russell's daughter Elizabeth to Henry Cromwell.
§40Sir William Strickland, knt. and bart.
§41Sir Richard Onslow,knt.
§42 Edward Whalley,commissary-general of the horse
43 Alexander Popham,esq.
44 John Crewe,esq.Raised to a peerage by Charles II after the restoration of the monarchy.
45Sir William Lockhart,knt.Nephew by marriage to Oliver Cromwell. One of three Scots.
§46 Richard Hampden,esq.Eldest son and heir of John Hampden
§47Sir Thomas Honywood,knt.Brother-in-law to Henry Vane the Younger. [14]
48Sir Archibald Johnston,Laird of Wareston. One of three Scots. [15]
§49 Richard Ingoldsby,esq.A near relation to the protector.
§50Sir Christopher Packe knt.
§51Sir Robert Tichborne, [lower-alpha 6] knt.was an alderman of London
§52 John Jones, to the protector, and one of four Welsh members.
§53Sir Thomas Pride,knt.Famous for his leading part in Pride's Purge. He was foundling in a church porch. He was at first a drayman, and before the start of the Civil War he had established a brewery.
§54Sir John Barkstead,lieutenant of our Tower of London
§55Sir George Fleetwood,knt.
56Sir Matthew Tomlinson,knt.
§57Sir John Hewson,knt. A cobbler by trade before the Civil War.
§58 Edmund Thomas,esq.One of four Welsh members.
§59 James Berry,esq.
§60 William Goffe,esq.
§61 Thomas Cooper,esq.
62 [lower-alpha 7] Sir William Roberts,knt.
63 [lower-alpha 7] John Clarke,esq.

See also


  1. 1 2 The Humble Partition states "to create the 'Other House,' the members to be such as should be nominated by his highness and approved by the commons". George Craik notes "The commonwealth-men, it appears, would tolerate neither the designation 'House of Lords.' nor that of 'Upper House.' The thing was, therefore, termed 'the Other House;' that branch of the legislature losing not less in real power than it lost in name or dignity: they were not to exceed seventy in number, nor to be less than forty, whereof one-and-twenty were to form a quorum; they were not to give any vote by proxy; on death or removal no new members were to be admitted to sit and vote but by consent of the House of Commons, &c." ( Craik, MacFarlane & Knight 1856 )
  2. For more details of these men see Noble Volume 1. Judges of the Upper Bench ( Noble 1787 , pp.  430 –431); Judges of the Common Bench ( Noble 1787 , pp. 431–433); Barons of Exchequer ( Noble 1787 , pp. 433–435)
  3. Then follow the names of the other lords, with the words "sworne" added to them, written with a different ink, a proof that it was put in after the names had been written; to prevent a needless repetition of the same word, this mark (§) is placed against such who had that word placed to their names, as it shows they complied with the writ of summons. At the end of the names is added, "This agreeth with the originall remayning in the Pettie Bag, John Thompſon:" there seems to have been a Seal appendant to it, and that it has been torn off. The persons are given the style of the person as in the original but Noble changed the orthography of both that and the names. (Noble 1787, p. 371 Citing: The Rev. Mr. Ayscough's catalogue of M.S.S. in the British Museum, no. 3246.)
  4. The text in the first three columns (although not headings) is taken from Cobbett 1808 , pp.  1518,1519 and Noble 1787 , pp.  371 –427 Citing: The Rev. Mr. Ayscough's catalogue of M.S.S. in the British Museum, no. 3246. The fourth and last column is an editorial comment and is not part of the original source.
  5. Noble and Cobbett name him David (Noble 1787 , p. 376; Cobbett 1808 , p. 1581).
  6. Noble names the man as Richard ( Noble 1787 , p. 416), but Cobbett names him Robert ( Cobbett 1808 , p. 1518).
  7. 1 2 Besides the 61 Protectorate lords of the other house listed above, two more gentlemen were given as Protectorate lords by Thurloe, but if so Mark Noble surmises they must have been invited to join the house after the year 1657 ( Noble 1787 , p. 426).
  1. Royle 2006, p. 723.
  2. 1 2 Royle 2006, p. 729.
  3. Royle 2006, p. 733.
  4. 1 2 Cobbett 1808 , p.  1519
  5. Royle 2006, p. 735.
  6. Royle 2006, pp. 735,736.
  7. Rutt 1828, p.  527.
  8. Forster 1846, p.  641.
  9. Royle 2006, pp. 743-746.
  10. Noble 1787, pp.  370 371.
  11. Lundy 2011 cites Cokayne 2000 , p. 76
  12. Walford 1860, p.  222.
  13. Jenkins2002, p.  112.
  14. Noble 1787, p. 415.
  15. Noble 1787, p. 415, entry 48.

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Further reading