Elizabeth Bourchier – Mrs Oliver Cromwell

I do love Elizabeth…

Good Gentlewoman

Most of what we know about Elizabeth Cromwell is based on propaganda written either by disaffected Parliamentarians or triumphant Royalists.  During her lifetime she received an inordinate amount of bad press, criticised and lampooned, accused of being both parochial and immoral.

In Newes From the New Exchange published in January 1650 she was said to have “run through most of the Regiment, both Officers and Souldiers.”  

Yet following her husband’s elevation to Lord Protector Elizabeth was berated for using her husband’s position to acquire ill-gotten gains, often reselling gifts, accepting bribes and cash for honours whilst allegedly running the protectoral court in a mean and parsimonious way, keeping cows in St James’s Park to cut the household cheese and butter bill.

Lucy Hutchinson, wife of the regicide judge Colonel John Hutchinson, said Elizabeth was ill suited to the socially elevated position she held – and apparently her dress sense…

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