The Name “Cromwell”

Cromwell was named Cromwell College in honour of Oliver Cromwell, sometime Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.

A tentative list of names was drawn up from historical figures with both Congregational and academic associations.  As many of the names had already been used by other institutions, the list was soon shortened. Oliver Cromwell was finally chosen as the one who best met the criteria.

On the academic side, he had studied at Sidney Sussex College at the University of Cambridge and his reforming of the ancient universities, and his role in the founding of the University of Durham, were well attested. He met the church affiliation criterion, because he was a Congregational churchman for whom Faith meant a personal religious commitment involving social responsibility in shire and nation. The evidence suggests that he accepted leadership reluctantly, and only under a sense of divine compulsion.

In extraordinarily complex military and political conditions, Cromwell came to possess great personal power, which he sought to use for the good of all people, including persecuted people abroad.  He made serious mistakes, some of which remain as blemishes on his career, but under his leadership, people gained much that is taken for granted today.

The name ‘Cromwell’ is a reminder that a person of quite modest origins, motivated by Faith and commitment to service, can achieve a great deal during the course of their life.

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