Tag Archives: Cromwell Museum

Finale to amazing week: Civil War artillery to roll through Huntingdon tomorrow!

This has been an extraordinary week in the campaign to Save the Cromwell Museum: on Monday, the Friends of the Museum handed over the Council petition to the Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, Martin Curtis and the Cabinet member with responsibility for the relevant area of service, Councillor David Harty.

The petition – with almost 4,000 signatures from people living or working in Cambridgeshire – is the first since the Council established its petitions facility to successfully lead to a debate at full Council.  This is scheduled to take place next Tuesday, 18 February.

You can watch the petition handover, an interview with Bob Pugh, spokesperson for the Friends and footage shot in the Museum itself here:

The first objective of the campaign, to achieve the debate at full Council over the budget proposals, has been met in resounding fashion.  Cambridgeshire County Council is aware of the strength of support for the Museum both within and beyond the County, thanks to the Council petition and the online SurveyMonkey petition which has been signed by people not just from around the UK but from around the world.  Thank you all for your support.

This Saturday, the Museum will be running an event, as part of the programme of activities the Museum organises throughout the year.  The Sealed Knot reenactment charity are sending Lord Robartes’ Regiment of the Army of Parliament, who will bring a cannon to the Museum and pull it through the town, demonstrating how artillery pieces were used during the English Civil Wars.  This event is free and open to all.

The fun will start at 10:30am so if you are in the area, please come and say hello!

Information about this event and the full programme of activities for 2014 are accessible on the County Council’s website here:






Huntingdon townspeople show their support for the Museum

Lindsay Cassedy and Bob Pugh collecting signatures in Huntingdon on Saturday 18 January.

Lindsay Cassedy and Bob Pugh collecting signatures. Photo courtesy of Helen Drake, Hunts Post.

On Saturday (18 January) the Friends of the Cromwell Museum gathered in Huntingdon town centre with hard copies of the Cambridgeshire County Council petition and spoke to people about the threat to the Museum.  The response was fantastic, with over 350 signatures received in two hours.

The Friends will be gathering signatures again on Saturday 25 January.  Currently the ePetition stands at 915 signatures; with the addition of signatures received in hard copy, we are approaching the 1,500 mark.  We need a really big push between now and the closing date of 5 February to get to the 3,000 signatures needed to force a debate of full Council.

If you live/own a business/work/attend a school or college in Cambridgeshire….

…then please sign the CCC ePetition here:
…and the SurveyMonkey petition here:

If you do not live/own a business/work/attend a school or college in Cambridgeshire but do want to express your concern about the proposed closure of the Museum…

…please add your name here:

At the last count, the SurveyMonkey petition stood at over 2,300 signatures which is a fantastic achievement.  It will really demonstrate to the Council that the Museum is valued by people within and beyond the county, and even the country.

Thank you to Helen Drake at the Hunts Post for her permission to reproduce the photograph above.

Huntingdon MP lends his support to campaign

Jonathan Djanogly MPThe Friends of the Cromwell Museum are delighted to report that Jonathan Djanogly MP, the Member of Parliament for the Huntingdon Constituency, has today lent his support to the campaign.

Mr Djanogly said:

“Given the importance of the legacy of Oliver Cromwell to Huntingdonshire, it is unconscionable that we lose Huntingdon’s Cromwell Museum.  I am absolutely committed to retaining this historical gem that is so important for recognition of past history and future tourism and education and I would urge you to sign the relevant petition(s) as soon as possible.”

Thank you to everyone who has signed the petition(s) so far.  The SurveyMonkey petition, launched in early December, is now very close to 1,000 signatures and in the four days since the launch of the Cambridgeshire County Council ePetition, 165 people have already signed.  If you haven’t already done so, here are those all-important petition links again. 

Do you live/own a business/work/attend a school or college in Cambridgeshire?
Then please sign the CCC ePetition here:
And the second petition here:

I do not live/own a business/work/attend a school or college in Cambridgeshire but I do want to
express my concern about the proposed closure of the Museum:
Please add your name here:

You can visit Jonathan Djanogly’s constituency website here:


That old (roast) chestnut about Cromwell and Christmas

Any news story that mentions Cromwell at this time of the year almost inevitably reports that Oliver Cromwell singlehandedly banned Christmas when he was Lord Protector. It has been said so many times that many people believe it to be true, but like so many things to do with Cromwell, it is a myth that, deliberately or not, helps perpetuate a negative image.

Today it is impossible to comprehend just how significant religion (and exclusively Christianity) was in this country in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. People died for their beliefs, persecuted and burnt at the stake, sometimes for holding Protestant views and sometimes for holding Catholic ones.

The church in Scotland banned Christmas as early as the 1560s. The argument was that there was no scriptural basis for the celebration of Christmas, and therefore it was pagan, Popish and profane. Protestants, who could now read the Bible for the first time in English, were often literal and fundamentalist in their interpretation of the text.

Against this background, it was hardly surprising that Parliament in the 1640s, as the representatives of a Protestant and Godly nation, should decide that Christmas should not be celebrated. The Directory of Public Worship of 1645, which set out all the new forms of worship, made no reference to Christmas.

Parliament had to confront three issues: it had to convince people that the celebration was irreligious. In this they largely failed, as many wanted to stick to the old ways. There were significant pro-Christmas riots in places like Bury St Edmunds, Norwich and Ipswich in the later 1640s.

Secondly, Parliament tried to suppress religious services on Christmas Day. In this they were more successful, with few services being held to mark the day throughout the 1640s and 1650s.

Thirdly, 25th December was declared a normal working day. Parliament sat on Christmas Day, and many others treated it as a normal day.  However, many others did not and continued to want to celebrate with feasting and dancing.

Why does Cromwell get the blame for all of this?  Cromwell would almost certainly have supported the Parliament’s line, of which he was a part, but so would thousands of other devout Protestants. Cromwell neither proposed nor initiated the end of Christmas.  His image as a dour Puritan is a creation of the 19th century, just as much as a ‘traditional’ Christmas is a creation of Dickens. As with so many things to do with Cromwell, you cannot see the issue outside of the context of the times in which it happened.

Please support the campaign to keep the Cromwell Museum in Huntingdon open. Sign our e-petition here. 

Please watch (and share) our short campaign film

We are pleased to present this short campaign film, in which Victor Lucas and Bob Pugh, members of the Friends of the Cromwell Museum, discuss the significance of Cromwell the man, as well as the importance of the Cromwell Museum to the town of Huntingdon and the wider county of Cambridgeshire.

Please watch the film and share it with your friends.  Don’t forget to ask them to sign the petition against the Museum’s closure here.

With warm thanks to filmmaker Simon Kennedy (Firewater Partnership) for his support.


A tale of two petitions

The Friends of the Cromwell Museum have today launched a new petition in their efforts to prevent the closure of the Cromwell Museum.

The petition, at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CromwellMuseum, takes just moments to complete.  It simply requires you to input your name, email address and postcode.  We have asked for your postcode so we can demonstrate that people both in Cambridgeshire and around the country oppose the Museum’s closure. Please do spare the time to add your name.

The Friends are in the process of setting up a second petition, on the Cambridgeshire County Council e-petition site.  We are unsure when this will be launched – the matter is now beyond our control – but we hope it will be soon.  Once live, this petition will be open to Cambridgeshire residents only.  If it should reach 3,000 signatures, there is an opportunity for the issue to be debated at a meeting of full Council.  We will let you know as soon as this petition is open.

Thank you for your ongoing support.