John Lambert, an English general, born in Kirkby-Malhamdale, in the West riding of Yorkshire, Sept. 7, 1619, died in the island of Guernsey in 1692. He was educated for the bar, but at the outbreak of the civil war entered the parliamentary army as a captain under Fairfax, and at the battle of Worcester, Sept. 3, 1651, was a major general. He was instrumental in procuring the recognition of Cromwell as protector, and was a member of the first parliament called by him. But upon the assumption by Cromwell in 1657 of sovereign power, and his inauguration with the solemnities applicable to monarchs, he refused to take the required oath of allegiance and retired from public life. After the death of Cromwell he associated himself with the general council of officers of the army, and aided in deposing Richard Cromwell, even venturing, on the credit of his military reputation, to aspire to the position of protector. As a leader of the fifth monarchy men and extreme republicans, he was prominent in procuring the return in May, 1659, of the remnant of the long parliament called the "rump;" and upon the rising of the royalists in Chester in August of the same year he promptly marched thither and defeated them.

This success excited the jealousy of parliament, and on a flimsy pretext Lambert with other officers was cashiered; whereupon with a body of soldiers he dispersed the members, Oct. 13, and a committee of safety appointed by the army, of which Lambert was the controlling spirit, began to exercise the functions of government. His position at this time was so important that it was considered not unlikely, in the event of his own schemes of sovereignty proving impracticable, that he might make terms with Charles II.; and some of the adherents of the latter went so far as to recommend him to secure the services of Lambert by marrying his daughter. Meanwhile Monk commenced his march from Scotland for the purpose of restoring parliament. Lambert at the head of 7,000 men started to oppose him; but his troops deserted in great numbers, and in January, 1660, he was seized by order of parliament, which had reassembled during his absence, and committed to the tower. Monk's design to restore the monarchy being now manifest, the hopes of the republicans began again to centre in Lambert, who, escaping from the tower in April, put himself at the head of a body of troops in Warwickshire. His men again deserted him, and he was recaptured by Col. Ingoldsby and conveyed to the tower.

Having been excepted from the bill of indemnity after the restoration, he was tried in 1662 in the court of king's bench with Sir Harry Vane, and convicted, but was reprieved at the bar and banished to Guernsey, where he devoted the rest of his life to botany and flower painting. He is said to have died a Roman Catholic.