DCS1102CromwellDay



DCS: Local Heritage Event:
Cromwell Day

Saturday 19th February 2011 Return to Alumni Events


This was a totally miserable day weatherwise and it was lucky that our event had no outside visit and that the venues were close together. It was raining when we left in the morning, continued during the day and settled into a damp evening as we left. However the event was made most stimulating by our guides. We arrived in dribs and drabs at Huntingdon Library from 11.15 to find coffee and tea awaiting us in the meeting room, thoughtfully provided by our guide, John Goldsmith the curator of the Cromwell Museum. We were a little low on numbers as there had been a few unavoidable cancellations. Eventually, and not too late, we embarked on our day as John Goldsmith related the history of Cromwell and his family with special reference to the local connections. There are some people who have a gift of making history feel like an adventure story and John is certainly one of these. It was obvious that all of us found many much that we did not know and looking around the room the rapt attention was plain to see. I was most interested to know that there was more than one Oliver in the Cromwell family and that the beheading of statues and statuettes in churches and cathedrals was probably more the fault of Thomas Cromwell than Oliver Cromwell.

Having started the day by satisfying the mind we left to make the short journey to The George for lunch and bodily satisfaction now knowing that The George had an important part to play in Charles II's aspirations. However on this day it provided good and fulsome meals, wamth, comfort, good service and from John Goldsmith's point of view, many more questions to answer before we left to take the few steps to the Cromwell Museum.

The Cromwell Museum is housed in the remains of the grammar school that Oliver Cromwell attended for a while and it is obvious from the outside that it is a small museum but we were not prepared for the quality of some of the collection within. John Goldsmith again introduced the collection and talked to different groups as we made our way around. It is certainly a place to visit again (see http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/leisure/museums/cromwell/). The afternoon was progressing as we said our thanks to John and moved across the path to All Saints church, Huntingdon.


The DCS party in All Saints

Originally this was to have been a short visit to see the plaque indicating the Cromwell family tomb and the font which was most probably used to baptise Oliver Cromwell, having been moved from St John's church. However the bonus was some rather fine stained glass windows and the recently completed and exhaustively researched NADFAS report on this old church. As a result, not only had the church been opened for us but we also had Sue Milton, the wife of the vicar, as a guide and a bonus that the church had arranged tea,coffee and cakes for our stay. Sue even took the group picture for us.

It had been a long day but we were all more aware of the importance and consequences of Cromwell's life as well as both the attractiveness of the old part of Huntingdon and it's place in history. Looking back on the day and to others that we have had for our DCS events, we seem to have been very lucky in having people around us who have been very kind, knowledgeable and have made our days very pleasant. Today was no exception and on behalf of our college we would like to thank John Goldsmith, the staff at the George, Sue Milton and her volunteers.

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