The battle of the Dunes— the capture of Dunkirk— the death of Oliver Cromwell— Richard Cromwell proclaimed Oliver's successor


  (January) Captain John Stoakes' squadron stationed at Leghorn in Tuscany from where he begins operations against pirates and corsairs in the Mediterranean. Source: RN2
13 The conspirator Edward Sexby dies of a fever in the Tower of London. LYP1
20 Cromwell opens the second session of the Second Protectorate Parliament. LYP2
22 The House of Commons debates whether the new Upper House should be addressed as the "Other House" or the "House of Lords". LYP2
25 Oliver Cromwell urges Parliament to look beyond constitutional disputes and to consider matters of domestic and foreign policy. LYP2
  Sir Arthur Hesilrige returns to the House of Commons. LYP2
28 Captain Stoakes at Tunis, where he secures the release of seventy-two English slaves as part of a treaty with the Dey of Tunis. ODNB
29 Intense debates continue in the Commons over the titles and legitimacy of the Upper House. LYP2
30 The Marquis of Ormond and Daniel O'Neill arrive secretly in England to assess the activities of Royalist conspirators and the likelihood of an uprising in support of a Spanish invasion. RCE
  King Charles X of Sweden defeats a Danish army and seizes the island of Funen. Frederick III of Denmark appeals to England and France to mediate a treaty with the Swedes. LYP2
  (End of January) Republican leaders negotiate with religious radicals and disaffected officers to draw up a petition demanding the abolition of the Protectorate and the restoration of the Commonwealth. Fifty copies of the petition circulated in London, gaining thousands of signatures. The petition to be presented to Parliament on 4 February. LYP2


  (February) Discussions between Cromwell and the Swedish ambassador continue regarding the creation of a Protestant League in Europe to oppose the Catholic powers Austria and Spain. Source: LYP2
3 Amid rumours of an imminent Royalist uprising, the Upper House calls upon the Commons to join in an address to the Protector to banish all papists and cavaliers from London. LYP2
  Cromwell signs a warrant for the arrest of three leading Fifth Monarchists suspected of seditious activities in London. LYP2
  Charles X of Sweden accepts the proposal of the English ambassador to Denmark Philip Meadowe for treaty negotiations under English and French mediation, but refuses an immediate cessation of hostilities against Denmark. LYP2
4 Cromwell unexpectedly dissolves the Second Protectorate Parliament. LYP2
6 Cromwell summons 200 army officers serving in and around London to hear their grievances against the government. This is followed by a series of personal interviews with disaffected officers. LYP2
8 The Marquis of Ormond leaves London for France after his presence in London is betrayed by Sir Richard Willys. He reports that a general Royalist uprising is likely if the Spanish invasion force can first establish a bridgehead in England. Charles II, Sir Edward Hyde and the Earl of Bristol urge the Spanish to take the initiative. RCE
11 Major-General William Packer and five junior officers from Cromwell's own regiment of horse cashiered because of their uncompromising hostility to the Protectorate régime. LYP2
  The Swedish army invades Danish territory in Zeeland and advances towards Copenhagen. Philip Meadowe's personal appeal to Charles X to suspend hostilities is refused. LYP2
12 Opening of treaty negotiations between Sweden and Denmark, mediated by the English envoy Philip Meadowe and the French ambassador to Sweden the Chevalier de Terlon. LYP2
  (Mid February) Testimonials of loyalty to the Protectorate begin to be issued by regiments serving under General Monck in Scotland. LYP2
15 The Swedish army within two miles of Copenhagen. LYP2
19 Death of the Earl of Rochester at Sluys in the Spanish Netherlands. ODNB
27 Vice-Admiral William Goodson's squadron of twelve frigates resumes the blockade of Ostend. Transport ships intended to convey Spanish and Royalist troops on an invasion of England captured or destroyed, thus ending the possibility of a simultaneous uprising and invasion. LYP2, RCE
  The Treaty of Roeskilde signed between Sweden and Denmark; control of the Sound and the entrance to the Baltic balanced between the two nations, thus safeguarding English trade with the Baltic. LYP2


  (March) Sir William Lockhart reports to Thurloe that 4,000 troops will be needed to bring the English contingent in Flanders up to strength. Source: LYP2
  (First week of March) Further arrests of Royalist suspects in the provinces. RCE
3 All Catholics and Royalists ordered to leave London and to remain within five miles of their usual place of abode. LYP2
6 Sir William Lockhart discusses with Cardinal Mazarin the renewal of the Anglo-French alliance. LYP2
11 The city authorities at Bristol and Gloucester once again warned to be on their guard against the possibility of a Royalist uprising. RCE
12 Cromwell addresses the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London at Whitehall, warning them of the dangers from Royalist conspiracies at home and abroad and appealing for their loyalty. LYP2
  (Mid March) Senior officers in Dublin prepare a loyal address to the Protector to be circulated and signed by officers and men serving in the army in Ireland. LYP2
17 The City of London presents its loyal address to Cromwell. The City militia re-organised and strengthened. LYP2
18 The Anglo-French alliance renewed. LYP2
20 Royalist conspirators of the Sealed Knot and the Action Party informed from Bruges that the Spanish invasion of England will not go ahead. RCE
21 Sir William Waller and Major Robert Harley ordered to appear before the Council of State under suspicion of being intermediaries between the Presbyterians and the Royalists. Waller is subsequently dismissed, but Harley is committed to the Tower of London. LYP2
22 Arrest in London of all Royalists who have defied the order of 3 March to leave the city. Among those arrested is the conspirator John Stapley (son of the regicide Anthony Stapley). After being personally interviewed by Cromwell, Stapley confesses all he knows and further arrests follow. Details of the Royalist plot for a general uprising and the seizure of Yarmouth as a port for a Spanish-Royalist invasion laid bare to Cromwell's agents. LYP2, RCE
24 Major-General Charles Fleetwood summons senior officers serving around London to a meeting at Whitehall where a loyal address to the Protector is prepared and signed. LYP2
27 Fleetwood's loyal address presented to Cromwell. LYP2


1 Major-General Thomas Morgan leads a combined Anglo-French force to seize and destroy Spanish forts near Gravelines. Source: LYP2
  A number of Fifth Monarchists arrested at their meeting-house at Coleman Street in London after preaching against Cromwell. They are sentenced to pay a £500 fine or be imprisoned for a year. LYP2
  Arrest of the Royalist conspirator John Mordaunt on the evidence of John Stapley. Mordaunt is released after being questioned by Cromwell himself. ODNB
2 Daniel O'Neill and other Royalist agents in London recalled to Bruges. RCE
8 The Royalist divine Dr. John Hewitt arrested and imprisoned in the Tower for conspiracy. LYP2
9 William Jephson, English ambassador to Sweden, sent to Brandenburg to encourage a reconciliation between Brandenburg and Sweden in the interests of Protestant unity. LYP2
  (Mid April) Two leading members of the Sealed Knot, Colonel John Russell and Sir William Compton, arrested and committed to the Tower. LYP2
13 The Council of State advises Cromwell to revive the High Court of Justice for the trial of the Royalist conspirators. LYP2
15 The Royalist conspirator John Mordaunt re-arrested and charged with treason. ODNB
17 Commissioners and officers of the London militia present a loyal address to Cromwell. LYP2
19 Death of the Earl of Warwick. ODNB


  (May) Fifth Monarchists attend a conference of western Baptists at Dorchester and propose that the two sects should combine, but the proposal is rejected by William Kiffin and other Baptist leaders. Source: FMM
  (Early May) Marshal Turenne assembles the French army at Amiens. LYP2
3 Accompanied by King Louis XIV, Marshal Turenne crosses the River Somme and marches north-east, hoping to intimidate the garrison at Hesdin, which has defected to the Spaniards. LYP2
4 Marshal d'Aumont trapped and defeated near Ostend after believing a false rumour that the garrison had defected to France. LYP2
  A proclamation issued summoning 140 commissioners for the High Court of Justice to judge the arrested Royalist conspirators. LYP2
  Cromwell authorises a grant of £1,200 a year for the maintenance of godly ministers and schoolmasters in the Scottish Highlands. LYP2
8 Don Cristobal de Ysassi lands at Rio Nuevo in northern Jamaica with thirty companies of Spanish foot from Cuba. TSP
12 Preliminary meeting of the High Court of Justice in the Painted Chamber at Westminster. LYP2
13 Marshal Turenne's army at Soex, ten miles from Dunkirk. LYP2
14 Vice-Admiral Goodson ordered to leave two or three ships to continue the blockade of Ostend and sail with the rest of his squadron to Dunkirk. LYP2
  (Mid-May) 4,000 English reinforcements land in Flanders, including 1,000 veterans of the New Model Army. The Channel fleet puts to sea to support operations against Dunkirk. LYP2
15 Turenne's forces approach Dunkirk from the east and join forces with Marshal Castelnau and the English contingent under Sir William Lockhart approaching from the west. The siege of Dunkirk begins. LYP2
  Doubling of the guard at Whitehall and all other posts about London to thwart the plot for a Royalist uprising discovered by government agents. Major-General Barkstead arrests around fifty suspected conspirators. LYP2
18 Cromwell issues a declaration inviting merchants to send provisions to Calais for sale to the forces besieging Dunkirk. LYP2
21 The Trained Bands of London pledge their continuing loyalty to the Protectorate. LYP2
22 Don Juan-José musters an army at Ypres for the relief of Dunkirk. LYP2
25 General-at-Sea Edward Montagu joins Goodson's squadron off Dunkirk with the Naseby and twenty men-of-war. LYP2
  Sir Henry Slingsby brought before the High Court of Justice. LYP2
30 Don Juan-José advances to Nieuport. LYP2


1 Dr John Hewitt brought before the High Court of Justice; he refuses to plead and is found guilty by default. The trial of John Mordaunt begins. Source: LYP2
2 Sir Henry Slingsby found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. John Mordaunt acquitted. LYP2
  Advance guard of Spanish cavalry skirmishes with Anglo-French forces outside Dunkirk. LYP2
3 The main Spanish army takes up its position on the sand-hills to the north-east of Dunkirk. LYP2
4 Battle of the Dunes: the Anglo-French army under Marshal Turenne defeats the Spanish force attempting to raise the siege of Dunkirk. LYP2
8 Sir Henry Slingsby and Dr Hewitt beheaded on Tower Hill. LYP2
10 Sir Humphrey Bennett, Captain Woodcock and Henry Mallory brought before the High Court of Justice. LYP2
11 Colonel Doyley sails with 750 men to attack the Spanish fort at Rio Nuevo on Jamaica. TSP
14 Dunkirk surrenders to Turenne after the death of its governor the Marquis de Lede. LYP2
15 Louis XIV personally hands the keys of Dunkirk to Sir William Lockhart. LYP2
  The case against Sir Humphrey Bennett dropped; Captain Woodcock acquitted, Henry Mallory imprisoned. LYP2
19 The Anglo-French army captures Bergues. LYP2
22 Colonel Doyley's troops land near the Spanish fortifications at Rio Nuevo. TSP
23 The Anglo-French army captures Furnes. LYP2
24 Colonel Doyley defeats the Spaniards under Don Cristobal de Ysassi and captures the fort at Rio Nuevo. TSP
29 The Anglo-French army captures Dixmunde. LYP2
  (End of June) A nine-man committee headed by Thurloe and Fleetwood meets to discuss arrangements for a new Parliament. LYP2


1 Seven of the chief conspirators for the Royalist uprising in London brought before the High Court of Justice. Six are condemned to death, though three receive last-minute reprieves. A number of minor offenders are allowed to save themselves by giving evidence against the ringleaders. Source: LYP2
7 Conspirators Colonel Edward Ashton and John Betteley hanged and quartered. LYP2
9 Lieutenant-Colonel Edmund Stacy hanged and quartered on Cornhill. LYP2
15 King Charles X of Sweden declares the Treaty of Roeskilde null and void and resumes the war against Denmark, thus wrecking Cromwell's policy of reconciling the European Protestant powers. LYP2
21 Day of thanksgiving held throughout England for the victory of the Dunes and the capture of Dunkirk. LYP2
  General-at-Sea Montagu complains in a letter to Thurloe at the covert assistance given to the Spaniards by the Dutch. LYP2
  (Late July) The Anglo-French army under Marshal Turenne besieges Gravelines. LYP2


6 Death of Elizabeth Claypool, Cromwell's favourite daughter. Cromwell's health goes into decline. Source: LYP2
10 Elizabeth Claypool buried in Henry VIII's chapel at Westminster Abbey. LYP2
17 Cromwell's health improves enough for him to go riding in Hampton Court Park where he meets George Fox, who comments that he looks "like a dead man". LYP2
  Surrender of Gravelines to the Anglo-French army. LYP2
21 Cromwell falls sick again with the ague. LYP2
24 Cromwell's physicians order him to remove from Hampton Court to Whitehall for a change of air, but his condition worsens. LYP2
29 Major-General Fleetwood summons a meeting of army officers to ensure solidarity in maintaining the Army's dominant position in the state. RCII
30 As authorised in the Humble Petition and Advice, Cromwell nominates his son Richard as his successor in the presence of John Thurloe and Thomas Goodwin. LYP2
31 An improvement in Cromwell's condition raises hopes that he will recover. LYP2


2 Cromwell's condition deteriorates. He re-affirms his nomination of Richard to succeed him in the presence of Thurloe and Goodwin and other members of the Council: Fiennes, Whalley and Goffe. Source: LYP2
3 Death of Oliver Cromwell at the Palace of Whitehall at four o'clock in the afternoon. Eleven members of the Protector's Council meet to verify the succession and to prepare the proclamation of Richard Cromwell, which is signed by the Council, the Lord Mayor of London and members of the Council of Officers. LYP2
4 Richard Cromwell proclaimed Oliver's successor in London and throughout England. RCII
9 Richard proclaimed in Edinburgh and throughout Scotland. RCII
  The Dutch ambassador in London offers condolences to Richard on his father's death and congratulations on his succession. RCII
10 Richard proclaimed in Dublin. RCII
  Cardinal Mazarin of France congratulates Henrietta Maria on Cromwell's death and hints that something may soon be done to restore the Stuart monarchy. RCII
12 Mazarin instructs the French ambassador in London to assure Richard of the friendship of France. RCII
16 The Protector's Council approves Richard's request that Edward Montagu should be commissioned a colonel of horse, though this is unpopular with most leading army officers. RCII
  The Council debates whether a Parliament should be called. RCII
  Surrender of Ypres to the Anglo-French army. LYP2
20 Two hundred army officers stationed around London sign a loyal address to the new Protector. RCII
  Richard receives a letter from General Monck in Scotland offering advice on the management of the Church, Parliament and Army. RCII
  Oliver Cromwell's embalmed body conveyed at night from Whitehall to Somerset House for its lying-in-state. His effigy is dressed in royal robes. RCII
27 The Council recommends that Henry Cromwell's commission be renewed with the title of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. RCII


  (Early October) Discontented Army officers prepare a petition calling for Major-General Fleetwood to be appointed commander-in-chief of the Army with authority to appoint all officers. Source: RCII
8 Major-General Fleetwood addresses a meeting of 300 Army officers at St. James's. He calls for unity and advises against any further petitioning. RCII
12 The Savoy Conference: six leading Independent clergymen (Goodwin, Owen, Nye, Bridge, Caryl and Greenhill) draw up a Declaration of Faith explaining the advantages of a national church and confession of faith. RCII
18 Richard meets with leading Army officers. Charles Fleetwood appointed lieutenant-general, but Richard insists upon retaining the position and full power of commander-in-chief. RCII
  Formal reception for the French ambassador at Whitehall. RCII
20 Richard receives the special envoy of King Charles X of Sweden. RCII
29 Sir William Lockhart writes to John Thurloe reporting the suppression of a mutiny over pay among the troops stationed at Dunkirk. RCII


2 John Thurloe offers his resignation from the Protector's Council after the military faction complains about his excessive influence over Richard. The offer is not accepted but the officers continue to agitate for a change in the membership of the Council. Source: RCII
6 Henry Cromwell appointed lord lieutenant of Ireland. RCII
9 Oliver Cromwell's funeral postponed because the elaborate preparations are incomplete. RCII
10 Oliver Cromwell's body privately interred in Henry VIII's chapel at Westminster Abbey. His effigy at Somerset House is stood upright and a crown placed on its head. RCII
11 The Protector's Council agrees that a fleet under Vice-Admiral Goodson should be sent to the Baltic in an attempt to mediate between Sweden and Denmark and to counterbalance Dutch support for Denmark. Cardinal Mazarin of France promises to intervene against the Dutch if the sending of the fleet should result in hostilities with the Netherlands. RCII
18 Vice Admiral Goodson sails from Aldborough Bay for the Baltic with twenty ships. RCII
19 Richard summons officers attending their weekly meeting at St James's to Whitehall. He assures them of his intention to govern according to the Humble Petition and Advice and appeals for their loyalty and unity. RCII
20 English envoy George Downing and French envoy Jacques Auguste de Thou jointly urge the Dutch to join them in mediating for peace between Sweden and Denmark. RCII
22 Goodson's fleet driven back by storms. RCII
23 State funeral of Oliver Cromwell. His effigy is placed in Westminster Abbey, where it remains until the Restoration. George Fox, Edmund Ludlow and others complain at the idolatrous nature of the funeral rites. RCII
25 John Mordaunt writes to Charles announcing that he is ready to resume his activities in conspiring against the Protectorate. RCE


3 The Protector's Council announces a general election for a new Parliament to meet on 27 January. Source: RCII
  After repairs, Vice Admiral Goodson's fleet sets out for the Baltic a second time. RCII
6 Major-General Disbrowe accuses Edward Montagu of conspiring to kidnap him and Fleetwood, but is unable to provide any proof. RCII
15 Goodson's fleet battered by storms off Jutland and forced to return to England. RCII


FMM: The Fifth Monarchy Men, Bernard Capp (London 1972)

LYP1: Last Years of the Protectorate vol. i, C.H. Firth (London 1909)

LYP2: Last Years of the Protectorate vol. ii, C.H. Firth (London 1909)

ODNB: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

RCE: Royalist Conspiracy in England 1649-60, David Underdown (New Haven 1960)

RCII: The Restoration of Charles II 1658-60, Godfrey Davies (San Marino 1955)

RN2: The Royal Navy: a history from the earliest times to the present, vol.ii Sir William Laird Clowes (London 1898)

TSP: Thurloe State Papers

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