Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

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Dec 2010

Thu 02 Dec 2010
Lizzie Jones and the 'Reluctant Majesty', the life of Elizabeth Cromwell

Thursday evening 2nd Dec 2010 saw the welcome return of Lizzie Jones to Astley Hall to give her presentation ‘Reluctant Majesty’, the life of Elizabeth Cromwell. Elizabeth was the wife of Oliver Cromwell who was called the ‘Lord Protector’ after his success in the English Civil Wars during the 1640s and 50s.
Lizzie’s presentation was to dress and act out the part to give an in depth and personal view of historical events that the official history books tend to overlook. The Great Hall at Astley was full to capacity and the audience were treated to a wonderful insight into English history.

the audience begins to arrive

Lizzie Jones acting the part of Elizabeth Cromwell

a contemporary painting of Elizabeth Cromwell

At the start of the Civil War hostilities in 1642 Elizabeth and Oliver had already been married for 22 years. At the time Elizabeth was classed as a farmer’s wife but by the end of hostilities in 1651 she was the wife of the ‘Lord Protector’ and the first lady. The modern day equivalent of wife of the Prime Minister.
Oliver had been brought up in a household mostly occupied by women. His father died young and so his mother and seven sisters relied on him. This gave him a very strong sense of family values and he was a keen family man all his life. His marriage to Elizabeth last 38 years until his death in 1658. Elizabeth survived him and died in 1665 at the age of 67. They had nine children.
It was interesting to note that Lizzie’s presentation was held beneath the portrait of Oliver Cromwell that hangs in Astley Hall.

Lizzie/Elizabeth on the staircase at Astley Hall

the painting of Oliver Cromwell
hanging in Astley Hall