Cromwell’s Chests

The school room where Cromwell attended school in 16th Century England.

Recently, I was fortunate to visit the Cromwell Museum in the heart of the city of Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. The Museum is situated alongside Pizza Express – actually quite handy. It was upon leaving the eatery that we spotted the Museum – talk about ‘going there and figuring out what to see’ approach – it works sometimes. This was an exciting discovery for me.

My knowledge of English history is rather sketchy but Oliver Cromwell was one character in English history that featured in my history classes. Back to the present. As I walked around the exhibits in the rather confined space, my eyes were drawn to the ornate chests. Cromwell’s medicine chest was one – the most famous one. I took the photo through the glass display stand so the image is not sharp. Anyway, the chest and its contents were most impressive. Must have been an expensive chest to make not to mention the containers – all very precise, decorative and of the same size. Such a beautiful piece of work. Cromwell must have been proud to own this set.


Below are some of the items in Cromwell’s medicine chest. The scissors and the syringe stood out for me. Firstly, the scissors was ornate and gorgeous. I bet it’s one of a kind in the world. The second item was the syringe. I shuddered mentally to imagine who would voluntarily offer their arm up for a shot from this syringe! The needle part was enormous and I wondered whether Cromwell had occasion to use it and whether he flinched – even quietly. Ouch! How we have progressed, syringe-wise!

The scissors and syringe stood out...

I moved around looking at more items especially the costumes and a whole bunch of other interestng Cromwell memorabilia. Then I saw this chest…it was different from the medicine chest. This one was very beautifully decorated on the outside with stones of various colours and I think bone or ivory or mother-of-pearl.  The craftsmanship and decorations were amazing. A lot of work must have gone into making this chest too.

Another ornate chest...

I was thankful to have come across this exhibition of some of Cromwell’s belongings, especially the chests. I left the Museum grateful for the opportunity to have seen this exhibition. If you happen to be in Huntingdon, pay a visit to the Cromwell Museum – it’s worth the time. I learnt quite a bit about the man and some of his priced possessions.

A Wells Bombadier And Whitebait…

Takes pride of place, at least for me, in the dining room. Fascinated by the date on the clock

Good Friday evening saw us at dinner at the Black Horse Inn in Swaffham Bulbeck near Ely in Cambridgeshire, East Anglia. Was known as the Horse and Groom established in 1765 and renamed The Black Horse Inn in the 1870s.

That was our last evening at the Inn. The place was buzzing and it seems that the whole town gathered there for the evening! A healthy sign. Well it was warm and welcoming so we were not surprised that we had to wait at the bar while a table was found and cleared for us. While waiting, one glass of  Wells Bombadier ale, an English premium bitter ale was ordered, and oh how it hit the spot!

Tasty even on a cold Spring evening...

Some information on Wells Bomabadier at and a video review of Wells Bomabadier ale.

Whitebait are young herring or sprats as they call them here in Britain and Europe and in many parts of the world including New Zealand and Australia. There is nothing on whitebait in other Pacific Islands but I think there are but known as other species of fish not necessarily herring or sprats. Anyway, I like whitebait because I could eat the whole fish – bones and all. They are small enough to eat one whole. When cooked well done one shouldn’t encounter any bones when eating it.

Pleasant surprise...made my night!

I must say dining at the Black Horse Inn took on a different meaning for me once I saw whitebait on the dinner menu. Yeah, you guessed it – I ordered it and of course enjoyed it immensely.

The Black Horse Inn has comfy and modern rooms. Clean, cosy and well-heated! Now that’s important for a Pacific Islander and a tropical islandmeri like me – need the heat. The bathroom was modern – extremely clean. If you are lucky you can pick up the wireless connection in the bedrooms but the signal in our room was very weak so unfortunately that was why I wasn’t able to blog until I returned to Middlesex. The Inn is quite near to Cambridge city centre, Soham and Stow-cum-quy (pronounced kai). I’d stay there again if in the vicinity of Swaffham Bulbeck. So much history around this region – dates back several hundred years.

We spent two nights at the Inn. Arrived on Maundy Thursday evening and departed on Easter Saturday. The Inn is centrally located and close to Cambridge city centre, Stow-cum-quy (kai) and even Huntingdon.

Couldn't find any information on this memorial...

I searched the web for more information on this memorial but no luck. Too bad. The memorial is situated opposite the Inn on the green.

We checked out the next day on Easter Saturday headed for Huntingdon and a busy Saturday afternoon.

Good Friday At St Andrew The Great Church

Woke up to the sound of singing birds. This was what I wanted to hear first thing in the morning and there it was. Birdsong – a great mood and day setter. It was a sunny morning too. The plan for Good Friday was to attend the morning service at the St Andrew The Great Church in Cambridge and the afternoon service at the Church of St Andrew in Soham about 30 minutes northeast of Cambridge.

Another church in a city centre

Headed first into the city centre located the Church,  found a parking space at the public parking lot and made it to the service just when it started. Here, the worshippers were mainly university students, the service conducted by students which was very interesting and invigorating and, very interactive. There was a live band which added to the spirit of the worship which was a celebration of salvation through the death of Jesus Christ. The Church was also a big  multicultural gathering which reminded me of my own local Church in Middlesex and All Souls in Oxford Circus, London.

The message was taken from Timothy I Chapter 1: 15. “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”

For the children, there was a demonstration of what SIN means and how sin was conquered by Christ through His death. I was particularly moved at this message. I did not know any of the songs we sang at the service except a couple which were than sung in a totally different tune that left one which was sung in the tune I knew. After we left the Church as the end of the service I began humming the new tune I learnt at that service: “My song is love unknown…”

Vibrant, multicultural Good Friday service

I was curious as to where and why the name  ‘Round Church’. This is what I dug up through a couple of hours surfing the net. The Round Church is situated clos to St Andrew the Great. The Round Church was built in 1061 as a stopover chapel for crusader. Some place the date of construction as 1130. In any case I did not know such a church existed in the same spot of St Andrew The Great Church.  Next time I go to Cambridge I’ll make it my mission to find the Round Chruch which is supposed to be modelled along a similar shaped church in Jerusalem – The Holy Sepulchre.

A view through the fence that bordered the Church yard and public walkway

It was a great service. Upbeat warm and vibrant. We did not stay for tea and hot cross buns which were brought to the pews. That is service! It was another Good Friday in England I’ll not forget in a hurry.

Nowhere near 9 million bicycles...

I couldn’t help noticing the many bicycles outside the Church. I couldn’t help thinking that this is probably a very environmentally-friendly University and also that it could be people who are very health and sport-conscious.

Easter Break In A Nutshell

Rucksack packed and ready to roll...

Have been in the English countryside for the past four days. Had internet but no connectivity in the first place we stayed. At the next place I was just too tired to do any blogging about the happenings and events since I headed towards East Anglia. Must be the great outdoors that’s just making me feel so relaxed to do anything like sitting at a computer.

Drove up to Cambridgeshire on Thursday night – 1 April, 2010 – no April Fools Day joke! Left home at about 9.00pm arriving at Swaffham Bulbeck at about 10.30pm. Room was great – warm, inviting and very clean. The best in my opinion, which welcomed us to Cambridgeshire.

Our Easter programme began on Good Friday with two Church services at two different parts of Cambridgeshire. Then Saturday was spent at two different places too. We criss-crossed from Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire to Stowmarket in Suffolk. Then we had dinner and spent the night in Stow-cum-Quy (pronounced kai).

Today, Church service in the morning at Chesterton then lunch at Lode and headed towards Essex.

So far so good. The weather has been kind to us and we know what a truly blessed Easter break we are having thus far.   Eventful, happy, exciting and restful days.

Watch this space for more stories on the way…I’m back online! Yippeee!

Daffodils in the yard on a sunny Good Friday morning.

Wishing you a Happy Easter. When hunting for Easter eggs don’t forget the Easter story. The greatest story ever told.