Of all the figures from previous ages that I admire, Oliver Cromwell must be the one that comes to my mind most regularly, almost certainly because of what is to me his unforgettable date of death. This man died on September 3rd 1658 in the midst of a terrible thunderstorm, a meteorological phenomenon that was long believed to mark the passing of a warlock, so this is a curious and noteworthy event in and of itself.
However, as many others have remarked before me, the strangeness of his passing is notably enhanced by the fact that Cromwell had previously won the Battle of Dunbar on September 3rd 1650, while he also won what was to be the final engagement of the English Civil Wars when he beat a Royalist army at the Battle of Worcester on September 3rd 1651.
There were lurid, highly detailed rumours that Cromwell had been in league with the Devil Himself, so for these reasons alone, it’s inevitable that I would have taken more than a passing interest in him, as I’ve been fascinated by such matters for as long as I can remember. However, there are other reasons why Cromwell fired my imagination and continues to loom large in my thinking all these years after I first became aware of him, but I do not write this out of perversity, as I’ve long recognised that opinion is sharply divided as far as Cromwell’s concerned.
I do not consider myself to be any kind of expert on the man, so I’m not in a position to pass an impartial, informed verdict, one way or other, on the sum total of his deeds, nor do I suppose that I will ever be. Nonetheless, it is simply a fact that I’ve been in awe of a few of Cromwell’s accomplishments for decades, so as these things have haunted my imagination in a positive way for so long, I’ve decided that I should compose my thoughts and present them in the form of an essay, of the kind that I’ve sometimes presented on this site and which used to form the main part of the reading material on Eternal Idol.
Oliver Cromwell is not the only person from previous ages that I admire, so I intend to collect together my thoughts on other figures who have made a lasting impression on me, while it doesn’t matter to me that my knowledge of them is incomplete. Something of their words and deeds long ago made me sit up and take notice, so now that I find myself with more time on my hands than before, due to my two children leaving home to attend university, I intend to fill some hours that otherwise might not have been my own by writing about those who have gone before me and who have helped in some way to make me the person I am today.