Attenborough, the Cromwell connection and St Mary the Virgin church

Monday August 11

Attenborough, the Cromwell connection and St Mary the Virgin church

Last night we reacquainted ourselves with the Rotarians of the Nottingham Rotary Club. We will do more with the Club and have already volunteered to do some fund raising next week.

The following day we took it pretty easy. I said earlier that I had something about Oliver Cromwell and his connection to Long Eaton. Well his son-in-law Henry Ireton was born at Attenborough in 1611 and the place of his birth (much renovated) still stands there today. Attenborough is the next to Long Eaton between Toton and Chillwell.

Ireton ended up a general in the English Parliamentary Army during the English Civil War and died of fever in Ireland in November 1651. He was baptized at St Mary the Virgin Church (more about the church shortly) graduated BA in 1629 from Trinity College Oxford in 1629 and entered the Middle Temple (one of the exclusive inns of barristers in London). Ireton joined the parliamentary army and engaged in his first battle in 1642 and fought in 5 campaigns until being wounded at the Battle of Naseby whilst commanding the left wing of the attacking force before being freed by Cromwell’s right wing of the force in September 1645 and thereafter entered parliament in October as the member for Appleby and after fighting in the siege of Oxford married Cromwell’s daughter (and step daughter of General Fleetwood) Bridget Fleetwood (who after being widowed from Ireton married her step-father the General).

Unlike Cromwell, Ireton supported the idea of a constitutional Monarchy and conducted lengthy negotiations with the Army and the King (Charles I) to try and achieve this outcome for the Civil War but he became convinced of the hopelessness of dealing with Charles after the King’s flight to the Isle of Wight. He was to later sit on the King’s trial and was one of the commissioners to sign the death warrant for Charles.

He accompanied Cromwell to Ireland for his Irish campaign in August 1649 and was elevated to the rank of Major General and placed in charge of the New Model Army in Ireland when Cromwell returned to England to invade Scotland. He died of fever after the successful siege of Limmerick and was buried at Westminster Abbey under the Arms of the Commonwealth of England Scotland Wales and Ireland (the Kingdom having ceased with the beheading of Charles I). However following the restoration of the King in 1660 Charles II exhumed the corpse from Westminster along with Cromwell and John Bradshaw (all of whom signed the death warrant for Charles I) on January 30 1660 (the anniversary of the beheading of Charles I) and mutilated the corpses.

Now as to St Mary the Virgin church it still stands in Attenborough having stood in one form or another for 1000 years (they have found evidence of a wooden Saxon Church and remnants of a Norman Church in the grounds and todays building). We have volunteered to attend a working bee at the church and are interested in doing further activities for the community through the church.

I have attached the photos showing:

  • The Ireton memorial and todays house
  • The St Mary the Virgin Church and graveyard.

Since I first wrote this article Kerry and I have joined the maintenance crew at the church to do a spot of cleaning up.Kerry trimmed bushes whilst I cleaned storm water drains and mowed amongst the tombstones. Here is the photographic evidence.

First Working Bee
First Working Bee

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Retired Australian Lawyer having worked representing the innocent and the not so innocent in Australia and some of the remote parts of the world and having travelled widely through Europe, Western Russia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Thailand Malaysia Solomon Islands northern China, Hong Kong and the UAE So now that I have the time I am writing about my travels present and past. Hope you enjoy exploring off the beaten track.