Cromwell has been the only commoner ever to become supreme head of a British state, and as such has a unique place in history; but has also long been a deeply controversial figure, dividing those who see him as one of the greatest of Britons from those who view him as a usurper, tyrant and fanatic. This lecture, based on new research, is designed to show why he is such a complex figure and to provide its own assessment of his character.

Ronald Hutton is the senior Professor of History at the University of Bristol, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Society of Antiquaries, the Learned Society of Wales, and the British Academy. He is the historian on the board of trustees which runs English Heritage, and chair of the Blue Plaques panel which awards commemorative plaques to historic buildings. He has published 17 books and 81 essays on a wide range of subjects including British history between 1400 and 1700, ancient and modern paganism in Britain, the British ritual year, and Siberian shamanism