Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/393

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ii s. XL MAY 15, 1915.3 NOTES AND QUERIES.


CROMWELL'S IRONSIDES. (11 S. xi. 181, 257, 304, 342.)


1 HAVE been unable to discover any instance of the use of the nickname " Ironsides " after Cromwell's expedition to Ireland in 1649 h ad ended . I be! ieve that, so far from coming into " general use," as Gardiner asserts, the term then died out, and was only recalled at the Restoration in 1660. Three instances of the term used in 1649 in two Royalist satires and a newsbook, all published directly after Cromwell departed for Ireland have never before been quoted, arid are important. All were in extremely abusive tracts.

On 24 July, 1649 (Thomason's date), ' A Hue and Crie after Cromwell ; or, The Cities Lamentation for the loss of their Coyne and Conscience,' appeared [E 565 (24)]. It commences:

" O yes. O yes. O yes. If any manner of man or woman in City or Countrey can tell any tale or tidings of a certain Beast, like a town Bull, with a triangular Jesuiticall head, a, toting red nose, a long meagre face, red fiery eyes, Iron ftreaked on the sides," &c. (Italics mine'.)

Once more armour is referred to, and the plural used.

The second appeared on 7 Aug., 1649, and was entitled :

" A New Bull Bayting ; or, A Match play'd at the Town Bull of Ely.* By twelve mungrills, viz. 4 English, 4 Irish, 4 Scotch doggs .... Nod- Nol. Printed at the sign of the y, by the Hill -on the whim-wham side of the Beare garden, for the good of the State. 1649." [E 568 (6).]

The last page contains Cromwell's epitaph, as follows :

Here lies (the Devil take his soul)

One for whom no bell would towl ;

He liv'd a Murderer, dy'd a knave,

Deserv'd a Halter, not a Grave.

Some call him Noll, some the Town Bull

Or Iron-sides, that the land ftll'd full

Of Atheists, Schismaticks, and Hereticks, c.

The third is in The Man in the Moon, No. 15, for 25 July-2 Aug., 1649 [E. 566 (28)]. There was a report that Cromwell's son-in-law, Ireton, had been captured by Lord Derby, Governor of the Isle of Man, and this newsbook says that the " Juncto " on 25 July " fell into a deep debate among

  • The author of this tract seems to have been

John Crouch of The Man in the Moon. "Town Bull of Ely " is not of Royalist origin. The nick- name was coined by the Levellers in this year.

themselves, what prisoners they had taken at sea to exchange for their dearly beloved Impe," and ordered that Col. Leg and Sir Hugh Windham should be imprisoned " in hope that they might be accepted in exchange for their Parliament worthy, young Iron- sides."

Thus all the later instances of the term, as applied to Cromwell, are in the plural, and used by the Royalists. It cannot for a moment be supposed that these writers would ever employ a term used to praise Cromwell. They simply referred to the iron armour in which, at the time, Cromwell was invariably depicted.

Payne Fisher, Cromwell's " laureat," seems to have no mention of " ironsides " in the whole mass of his turgid Latin poems. Only in his " oration " at the Middle Temple, on 10 Sept., 1655, does he couple this with one other nickname, as if both had gone out of use. In an obvious attempt to put the most inflated construction upon both, he states of Cromwell :

"Sic undiquaque, per suorum eastra colendus, sed per inimicorum Terribilis ubique progreditur. Ideo formidandus omnibus quod formidabat nemi- nem. Carplides quidem toties ab Illo profligati Ferrilateris fatale nomen indiderunt. Scotigense nee fato dispares, milites ejus rubris sagulis emicantes Murum - Lateritium nuncuparunt." 'Poemata,' &c., 1656.

Has the nickname " Brick- wall " been remembered in Scotland? and if so, has it been corrupted in similar fashion _io " Iron- sides " ? The explanation given here proves that Cromwell earned his Scotch nickname (presumably at Dunbar) for analogous reasons to those which gave rise to the appellation of " ironsides " at Marston Moor.

The best proof of the fact that " Iron- sides " was in no sense a complimentary term lies in the contemporary chronicles and biographies of Cromwell's own time, written by his own side. It is a negative proof, for none of them (as far as I am aware ) mentions the term at all.

S. Carrington's ' History of the Life and Death,' &c., of Cromwell was published in April, 1659, and is the earliest and most valuable of the Cromwellian biographies. It does not mention the term. Nor can I find it in John Vicars's ' Parliamentary Chronicle,' published under various sub- titles at intervals up to 1648. Vicars is lavish in abuse of Prince Rupert, and in praise of Cromwell. In a lengthy and detailed account of Marston Moor he even relates with gusto that Prince Rupert's dog