Cromwell’s house in Ely is re-opened by Earl Spencer
One of Ely’s top visitor attractions was re-opened on Tuesday after a £30,000 refurbishment.
Charles, Earl Spencer, who was in Ely about four years ago to launch his best-selling book Killers Of The King, about the men who signed the death warrant for Charles I, returned there this week to officially declare open the former home of one of the King’s most fanatical enemies.
Oliver Cromwell’s House, in St Mary’s Street, can now boast a completely re-vamped Civil War exhibition with impressive new
interactive elements. There is also a new timeline and family tree to illustrate more about the man who killed a king but refused the crown.
Visitors can also experience domestic life in the house which Cromwell inherited in 1636 from his uncle along with the job of Tithe collector for Ely Cathedral. It is thought he lived there with his family until moving to London on the eve of the Civil War in 1640.
There are opportunities to try on 17th century costumes and try out games of the time as well as experiencing what life was like on the battlefields in the new mini encampment.
At the end of the tour, visitors will be asked to make up their minds whether Cromwell was a hero or a villain and to use the newly-installed voting system to record their decisions.
Earl Spencer may not have recorded a vote, but his 17th century ancestors were fervent royalists who fought on the King’s side against Cromwell’s roundheads. One of his ancestors is believed to have made a gift of £10,000 (worth nearly £2 million today) to the King’s coffers just before the war broke out.
Also taking part in Tuesday’s ceremony, after which guests including the county’s Lord Lieutenant Julie Spence enjoyed a guided tour of the house and Earl Spencer signed copies of his book, were Ely’s Mayor Cllr Michael Rouse, and Tracey Harding, the city’s Tourism, Town Centre and Events Manager.