Key Collections

The Cromwell Museum is home to the best collection in the world of items relating to Oliver Cromwell. We have a collection of nearly a thousand objects including paintings and works of art, arms and armour, personal items, written and printed documents, coins and medals and commemorative items relating to Cromwell’s life and times.

Around 70% of our collection belongs to the Museum; 10% is kindly loaned to us by other museums and institutions including the Royal Armouries, Cambridgeshire Archives and the Museum of London.

Just under 20% of our collection is on long term loan to us from the Bush family, Cromwell’s immediate descendants. We are very grateful for their ongoing support and kindness in sharing their incredible collection of items which have been handed down through the family over the last 370 years.

This section provides more information about just some of the highlights of the collection; most of the items here are part of our regular displays. We aim to be able to have a comprehensive searchable database of the entire collection accessible via this website over the next couple of years.

About a third of the Museum’s collection is on display at any one time; we welcome enquiries to view other items not currently on show by appointment. Please contact us for more details.

Powder Flask, c. 1655.

A 17th century ivory gunpowder or priming flask with a silver nozzle, inlaid with mother of pearl and amber, which is believed to have belonged to Oliver Cromwell. It has the monogrammed initials O.C. in the shape of sun and moon which appears in several pieces of Protectorate iconography. It may have been given to Cromwell as a gift whilst he was Lord Protector. Long Term Private Loan.

Leather Gaiters, c. 1650.

Pair of 17th century black leather gaiters with a cut out and embossed decoration. Said to have belonged to Oliver Cromwell. Long Term Private Loan.

Spurs, c. 1640.

Pair of brass spurs decorated in relief with fleur-de-lys style decoration, dating c.1640-1650. Believed to have belonged to Oliver Cromwell. Long Term Private Loan.

Travelling Apothecary’s Cabinet, c. 1600.

German-made apothecary’s chest made by Nicholaus Kolb of Augsburg (1555-1621) and containing instruments for making up and dispensing medicines as well as for bloodletting. It has silver gilt containers that would have held unguents, medicines and ingredients. It is designed to be locked shut for easy transport. This cabinet belonged to Oliver Cromwell. Long Term Private Loan.

Pomade Chest, c. 1656.

An Italian pomade chest of a casket style made of walnut with inlaid decorations of ebony mosaic and hardstone inlay of a type known a ‘Pietra Dure’. The chest has three drawers which contain over 50 glass pomade jars. These would have contained a variety of soaps and suchlike; chemical analysis on surviving fragments of the contents show that they were olive oil-based soaps.

The chest was presented to Oliver Cromwell as a diplomatic gift on behalf of Ferdinand de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, in 1656. Long Term Private Loan.

Felt Hat, c. 1653.

A large circular black felt hat, believed to have been owned by Oliver Cromwell and worn by him at the dissolution of the Rump Parliament in 1653. Long Term Private Loan.

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