The #ECWtravelogue took the opportunity to have a sneaky look at places of interest in Cambridge under the pretence of taking offspring #3 to look around the University. August update: proud dad moment - he got in!

Charles I Dominion of The Seas medal, Fitzwilliam Museum

Cambridge was very firmly in the area loyal to Parliament, it was in fact the heartland, and headquarters of the Eastern Association.  In 1643, Oliver Cromwell was made governor of the town. The town's existing castle was fortified and earthworks were thrown up around the town.

The King's men came within a few miles but never threatened Cambridge. Other than being a garrison, and the inevitable rambunctious behaviour of the soldiers, the Wars passed the town peacefully by. 

On 3 January, 1644 the iconoclast William Dowsing and his troops destroy fourteen ‘superstitious pictures’ in the Round Church. However, the carved wooden angels on the ceiling survive the ordeal intact.

What's There Now?

The medieval castle is long gone, but the castle mound still exists, and is believed to show some of the earthworks. A longer section of earthworks is believed to still exist, and is noted by English Heritage (located to the side of the car park at the council offices, adjacent to Castle Mound).

A very tired information board

The castle mound

The remnants of the defensive earthworks are covered by the trees, and stretch down the side of the council offices

The city centre is chock full of medieval and Tudor colleges: Queen's gives a good impression of how the city would have looked when it was the headquarters of the Eastern Association.

No visit to Cambridge is complete without a visit to Sidney Sussex College: the college attended by Cromwell, and where his head* was buried in a secret location near the antechapel in 1960.

But before you venture into our next stop, it is worth pausing awhile. Settle yourself down on one of the benches outside the Fitzwilliam Museum on Trumpington Street. The strange channels on either side of the road are not gutters or something to do with the drainage system. They are culverts bringing fresh drinking water into the city and date from 1614.

The Fitzwilliam has amongst it's collection a strange portrait of Queen Henrietta-Maria, resplendent with real pearls and human hair. Sadly, this wasn't on view when I visited. However, in amongst the eclectic collections are a number of gems. The arms and armour gallery has a number of relevant objects.

Pikeman's armour, London 1640s

Flemish half armour c1620

Half armour 1550-1620

Pieter Nason "Man in Armour With Yellow Flowing Hair"

Armoured ridding gauntlet

The obligatory 'lobster pot' - in this case an example of the rare First Civil War pattern helmet (almost all lobster pots on display are post 1650ish)

A selection of stirrups and spurs 

German or Polish cavalryman's hammer 1640s

Powder flask 1640s

There is an extensive collection of seventeenth century British pottery. Including this Staffordshireware plate depicting Charles II and Catherine of  Braganza (there are identical plates in the collection, and on display at the Ashmolean, and the British Museum).

Upstairs in the galleries are a number of interesting portraits.

Sir Peter Lily "Portrait of a Lady" 1665

Van Dyck: "Archbishop Laud"

There are is an extensive collection of medals and coins


Dutch pendant: execution of Charles I

The site of the Black Bear Inn is commemorated with a plaque

Four Lamps Fort roundabout was the site of a small bastioned earthwork.

Peterhouse College Chapel was desecrated by Parliamentary warrant in April 1644. Designed by Christopher Wren’s uncle, all of the original stained glass was destroyed with only the east window's crucifixion scene surviving.

Postcodes for SatNavs
Castle Mound, Castle Street CB3 0RG
Sidney Sussex College, Sidney Street CB2 3HU
Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street CB2 1RB
Black Bear Inn, Market Passage CB2 3PF
The Round Church, Bridge Street CB2 1UB
Four Lamps roundabout, Jesus Lane CB5 8BS
Peterhouse College Chapel, Trumpington Street CB2 1RD

* we don't actually know if it is Cromwell's head, it might even be the head of a king...

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  1. Another interesting episode of the travelogue. That hammer looks gruesome.

    1. You'd certainly know about it, if you got a wallop from it.

  2. Excellent as ever. And thanks for putting the Fitzwilliam Museum on the radar. I had not been aware of it previously.

  3. Fantastic pictures, thanks for this entry Radar.


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