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Hello, I'm Mr Olivey.

And this is the fifth lesson in our inquiry into 17th century Britain, a world which was turned upside down.

And before we start the lesson, I'd just like you to do two things, could you go and get a pen and some paper to write with.

Pause the video now, if you haven't got those.

Good, you now have a pen and some paper.

Second thing, is could you please try and find a relatively quiet place to work in so you can focus and do some brilliant stuff, so you help us answer our inquiry question.

So this is Lesson 5 of a 6 lesson inquiry.

And our title today is Oliver Cromwell.

And our inquiry question remains, in what ways was Britain turned upside down in the 17th century? But first I'd like to come back to this image.

I'm just going to give you five seconds to try and spot two more things upside down in this picture.

Okay, five, four, three, two, one.

What did you pick? Okay, so the ones I have gone forward today are the man in the middle, because he's got boots where his gloves should be and gloves where his boots should be.

He is upside down, because in the 17th century, the whole world it seemed, was turned upside down, and that's what our inquiry question is.

In what ways was Britain turned upside down in the 17th century? And so far, we've already seen lots of different ways that Britain was turned upside down.

So I'd just like you to listen to this really quick summary of that.

And while you're listening, just note down the three main ways that you think we've seen Britain be turned upside down.

So to begin with then, we had Charles I who believed that he was given a divine right to rule from God.

But his Parliament didn't really believe this.

And they wanted Charles to obey some of their rules.

And this led to The First English Civil War.

Now Parliament won that Civil War.

And afterwards, some of the people from their New Model Army started to make demands, they wanted to be involved in politics.

Now they didn't actually get what they wanted because Charles escaped from prison and he started a Second English Civil War.

But he lost that one as well.

And by this point, Parliament were very angry.

So they put Charles on trial.

They accused him of being a tyrant and a traitor and a murderer.

And unbelievably, Charles was found guilty and he was beheaded, he was executed in January, 1649.

And out of the chaos, all kinds of new groups emerged.

One of them was the Quakers who believe that anyone could preach the gospel and that you don't need the established hierarchy of the church.

Another was the Diggers who saw the world as a common treasury and who terrified the English ruling elites.

And another may have been the Ranters who historians can't actually be sure existed, but it is claimed that the Ranters saw sinning as something that brought them closer to God, because they would fight, they would drink, they would run around the town naked swearing.

So, come back to our inquiry.

What are the three things you've put down? The ones that jump out to me would be the fact that we've got a king being put on trial and executed.

We've got a king going to war with his own people.

And we've got all kinds of new religious ideas emerging that challenged the established hierarchies in English society.

But today this lesson to answer our inquiry, we're going to be looking at just the story of one man.

And that man was Oliver Cromwell.

This is a Victorian statue of Cromwell outside the Houses of Parliament, because Cromwell nowadays is remembered in different ways.

He's interpreted in very different ways, by different people.

Some see him as an awful butcherer, whereas, others saw him as someone who was trying to lead a good government against a sort of tyrannical king.

But to understand Cromwell.

We need to go back to the beginning of our period and think about Cromwell's time in The New Model Army.

So please could write that heading down, pause the video to write it down.

Okay, let's find out about Cromwell the soldier.

So at the beginning of the English Civil War, Cromwell was a member of Parliament for Cambridge and he came from a very strict Puritan background.

He hated Catholics and he wanted religion to just be more strict in the country as a whole.

But he had to stop being an MP because he was needed in The First Civil War.

And he had a very important role in setting up the New Model Army that helped defeat Charles I and the Cavaliers.

And he was so important that he became known as the Lieutenant General of the New Model Army in 1647.

Now, at this time in 1647, Cromwell didn't want to execute Charles I, instead, he wanted to negotiate with him and reduce his powers.

But when Charles started a second English Civil War Cromwell changed his mind and decided that the only solution was to put Charles on trial and to have him executed.

And once Charles was executed, Cromwell's position as the most powerful man in England was confirmed.

Okay, let's sort these statements into whether they are true or false.

Pause the video now and do that.


Question 1, is false.

Cromwell was actually from a very strict Puritan household and he hated Catholics.

But it is true that Cromwell was a member of Parliament for Cambridge.

It's false that Cromwell always wanted Charles I to be executed.

It was only after the second English Civil War that Cromwell decided Charles should die.

It's true though, that Cromwell became the Lieutenant General of the army in 1647.

And it's also true, that Cromwell signed Charles I death warrant in 1650.

Okay, the next thing that we need to look at is the story of what Cromwell did after Charles was dead.

Cromwell led a brutal military campaign in Scotland and in Ireland.

So this is a map of the British Isles in the 1640s and 1650s.

And here I've just circled the three main places Cromwell is involved in.

I haven't circled Wales because Cromwell doesn't really have a great deal to do in Wales compared to England, which is in the green circle, Scotland, which is in the pink circle, and Ireland, which is in the blue circle.

So at first, after Charles was executed, Cromwell went to Ireland, and he went there because he'd heard rumours years earlier, the Irish Catholics had been mistreating Protestants.

So Cromwell went to Ireland to try and punish the Catholics.

And he did some incredibly cruel things.

He massacred thousands of people in the town of Drogheda and in the town of Wexford.

What Cromwell did is he had his soldiers club Catholic priests to death, and it is claimed that they also attacked innocent women and children.

This is an incredibly cruel campaign.

That means today in parts of the Republic of Ireland, Cromwell is referred to as, The Butcher of Drogheda.

But once Cromwell felt that the Irish Catholics had been sufficiently punished, he then went to Scotland, because in Scotland there was a problem.

And that problem came in the form of Charles I's son, he was also called Charles.

Now Charles I's son was trying to restart the English Civil Wars.

So Cromwell took the New Model Army to Scotland, and very quickly defeated Charles I's son, Charles.

And Charles I's son Charles, had to flee to France.

And with that, Cromwell was able to return to England triumphantly in September, 1651.

And it said that he returned to the city of London, like a Roman emperor coming back into Rome after leading a legion to conquer part of Gaul.

But when Cromwell got back to London, he realised he had a lot of problems that he had to try and sort out.

So, let's see whether these statements are true or false.

Pause the video now and sort them into whether they are true or false.


Question 1, is false.

Cromwell did not become king of Ireland in 1650, instead he went to Ireland to try and punish the Irish Catholics and he committed some really cruel massacres there.

And that was because he hated Irish Catholics.

and he'd hated them from a very young age.

It is also false that Cromwell's army lost to Charles I's son in 1651.

In fact, they beat Charles I's son, and Charles I's son also called Charles slightly confusingly, had to flee Scotland to France, where he stayed for nine years.

And it's true that Cromwell returned to London in September 1651, triumphantly.

So once again, just pause the video now, and write down a couple of ways that you think England was, Britain was turned upside down in the 17th century.


You might have said that Cromwell and the New Model Army massacred people in Ireland, which is certainly true.

You might have noted that there was a potential for a third English Civil War in Scotland.

And you might have noted that Cromwell was now one of the most powerful men in England.

Finally then, we need to look at what Cromwell did once he had power.

So, could you write down the title of Cromwell the statesman.

Just pause the video now, while you do that.

Now, you might remember from an earlier lesson, this group of people, The Rump Parliament.

It was the Rump Parliament after all that put Charles I on trial and found him guilty.

And Cromwell was not very impressed when he got back to London.

And found that the Rump Parliament had not been ruling in a Godly way.

He thought that these MPs should be really religious and strict and not corrupt.

But actually, he thought this Parliament has been doing a pretty terrible job of this.

So eventually Cromwell dissolved Parliament and gave them a very long lecture about God before he did so.

And he instead became the Lord Protector of England.

Now, Lord Protector is not the same thing as a king.

Lots of people tried to convince Cromwell to become king, but he always refused.

And instead he became a Lord Protector, which meant that England was a Republic, it was a country without a King.

And when he was in power, Cromwell and his supporters, the Puritans, passed lots of laws, banning things that were very popular.

They banned theatre, they banned football, they banned drinking excessively.

They even banned celebrating Christmas.

They said it should instead be a time of fasting, which is when you don't eat.

And they did this because they were very, very strict Christians and they wanted to avoid any kind of sinning.

Now, this didn't make Cromwell particularly popular.

And after he died, a few years later, his body was actually dug up and his head was stuck on a pike in London, so people could look at it and kind of laugh at him.

So, finally then, let's sort these statements into whether they are true or false.

Pause the video now and do that.

Okay, time for the answers.

Number 1, is false.

Cromwell actually hated the Rump Parliament because he thought they were corrupt and were working in an ungodly way.

And he wanted Parliament to work in a Godly way.

Still say false that Cromwell was crowned king.

In fact, he was made Lord Protector, he refused to become king.

And of course it's false that the Puritans loved theatre, dance and drinking and football.

They hated all these things.

In fact, they hated them so much that they banned them.

They thought they were sinful.

And it's true that after he died, Cromwell's body was dug up and his head was stuck on a pipe in 1660.

So we've seen some other ways then, that Britain was turned upside down in the 17th century.

So many things that were popular were banned.

Parliament was dissolved.

Cromwell was not king, but Lord Protector.

Truly, these were strange times for people to live through.

Okay, could you pause the video, read the slides on the next page and answer the comprehension questions, and resume the video once you're finished.

Right, let's go through those answers.

Question 1: When did Cromwell become the most powerful man in England? Now the correct answer would be during the English Civil War.

But a better answer would be Cromwell became the most powerful man in England during the English Civil War.

Cromwell led the New Model Army from 1647.

Question 2: What did Cromwell's forces do in Ireland in 1649? The correct answer would be they massacred Irish Catholics.

But a better answer would be Cromwell's forces massacred thousands of Irish Catholics in Drogheda and Wexford in 1649.

Cromwell did this because years earlier, he had heard rumours about atrocities against Protestants in Ireland.

Question 3: What did Cromwell do when he dismissed Parliament in 1653? The correct answer is he gave them a long lecture about God.

But a better answer would be Cromwell gave his Parliament of Saints a lecture about God, when he dismissed them in 1653.

He did not become king of England.

Instead, he took the title of Lord Protector.

Question 4: What was the Interregnum? The correct answer is, the period when England was ruled without a king from 1649 to 1660.

But a better answer is the Interregnum was the period when England was ruled without a king from 1649 to 1660.

England was a Republic during this time.

Cromwell ruled as Lord Protector.

Question 5: How was Cromwell being remembered since the 1650s? The correct answer is both as The Butcher of Drogheda and as a good leader.

But a better answer would be different ages have emphasised different aspects of Cromwell.

His 1650 massacres led Cromwell to be labelled as a butcher by many Irish Catholics.

Victorian historians however, admired Cromwell's Puritan beliefs.

Okay, well done for answering those comprehension questions really well.

Finally then, I've come back to this image of a world turned upside down, because we've now seen even more ways that during the 1650s Britain was turned upside down.

So could you please just add a few more bullet points to your list.

In what ways was Britain turned upside down in the 17th century? Pause the video now and write a little bit about that.


You may have written about the Puritans banning drinking, banning football, banning partying, banning Christmas.

You may have written about Cromwell ruling, not as a king, but as Lord Protector.

You may have written about the massacres in Ireland.

There's so many things that turned Britain upside down in the 17th century we could focus on.

And if you'd like to, please ask your parent or carer to share your work on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, tagging @OakNational and #LearnwithOak.

Well done for your hard work today.

We've now finished all of the content for our inquiry and next lesson, we're going to be showing the ways that Britain was turned upside down.

And what I hope you'll find an interesting and creative way.

I can't wait to finish our inquiry next time.

Bye for now.