Last term, our Year 8 went to Oliver Cromwell’s house in two separate groups. We took the train from Cambridge rail station and arrived in Ely after a short journey. The house itself was small, but it was full of the secrets and mysteries about Oliver Cromwell. A wonderful staff member, dressed up as if she was truly in the 17th century, showed us around and explained how life back then was so different compared to now.
We were given a sheet of paper, describing the things that Oliver had disallowed during Christmas and in each room, we found those things, for example a Christmas tree in the parlour. Cromwell had said that, “Who on earth would bring a tree indoors? It’s not for eating so it has no place here.” We learned that the Puritans were very strict Christians who didn’t believe that there should be so many decorations around as it would distract you from God, so Oliver essentially “banned” Christmas.
After watching a video which summarised Oliver Cromwell, we went from room to room exploring and finding out things we might not have known before. The kitchen was interesting, because they didn’t have a proper electric oven back then so they had a pot which sat on top of the fire and small stone ovens at the side. An interesting fact that we learned was that people ate eels for protein and also whenever someone of high status came to dine at your house, you would give them the top part of the bread- hence the term ‘upper crust’- and you would eat the burnt bottom part.
We found out about the various weapons used during battles and how people’s style of writing has evolved so much since then and how people gave a nosegay (small bouquet) with certain flowers to express your feelings for others. Overall, it was a wonderful experience, learning about the life of Oliver Cromwell and I would love to go again!