John Lambert - Parliamentarian Major-General and outstanding cavalry commander in the British Civil Wars 1642 to 1650.
Leading architect of the Protectorate and second only to Cromwell during this period.
Born in Kirkby Malhamdale in the Yorkshire Dales in 1619 John Lambert made his name in the First British Civil War as a cavalry officer of great determination and skill. He learnt his trade under Sir Thomas Fairfax in the early days of the war and quickly made a name for himself in his own right.
He fought with distinction in the North of England at the Siege of Hull, the Battle of Nantwich, the retaking and defence of Bradford, the Battle of Selby and the Battle of Marston Moor. During the closing stages of the war he was active in the South West of England with the New Model Army and in the final stages was made Governor of Oxford.
In the years after he was a prominent leader of the army in the expression of their grievances with Parliament and assisted Henry Ireton in drawing up the Heads of the Proposals in 1647. He was later appointed Governor of the Northern Counties.
In the Second Civil war he was immediately involved against the Royalist rebels in the north and harassing the invading Scots. With Oliver Cromwell he defeated the Scots at Preston which effectively ended the second British Civil War.
He continued his duties as Governor of the Northern Counties, a task he undertook with great common-sense, skill and even-handedness.
During the Third Civil War he was Cromwell’s second in command and distinguished himself at the Battles on Dunbar, Hamilton and Inverkeithing. He pursued and harried the invading Scots and Royalists south into England and was prominent in the final Royalist defeat at Worcester which ended the Civil Wars and led to the establishment of the Protectorate.
Post war he played the leading role in drafting the Instrument of Government (1653), by which Oliver Cromwell became Protector, but broke with Cromwell over the his acceptance of the Humble Petition and Advice. At the fall of Richard Cromwell (1659) Lambert defeated a Royalist uprising in Cheshire and assisted in dissolving the Rump Parliament. When General George Monck marched south to restore Parliament, Lambert marched north in an attempt to negotiate or stop him by force, but was abandoned by many of his soldiers.
After the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, he was tried for treason and banished to the island of Guernsey. Lambert was later imprisoned at Drake’s Island in Plymouth Sound and died there in 1683.
David William Fell.