Background information about 10 objects linked to the civil wars in England. Includes the Oxford Crown, a Van Dyck portrait of Charles I and Oliver Cromwell's death mask. With teaching ideas for Key Stage 3, 4 and 5.
Why might this watch have found its way into a museum collection?
This oval shaped watch with a gold dial is said to have belonged to Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell (1599-1658) played an important part in the Civil War and the downfall of Charles I. He signed Charles I's death warrant in 1649 and was made Lord Protector of England from 1653 to 1658.
This shoe belonged to John Biggs who probably executed Charles I. The shoe is very big and is made of hundreds of little scraps of leather all nailed together. Biggs made it himself. When a bit of leather wore out, he would simply nail another piece over the top, so it got bigger and bigger. Biggs spent the later part of his life as a hermit, living alone in a cave. He made his own clothes using bits of leather given to him by people in the local village of Dinton.
This hat belonged to Lord John Bradshaw, a judge at the trial of Charles I. At his trial the King was found guilty of treason, and executed soon afterwards. Bradshaw's hat has a wide leather brim, but the leather has peeled off the top part of the hat to reveal armour plating with bands of metal bars under the leather.
Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) played an important part in the Civil War and the downfall of Charles I. He signed Charles I's death warrant in 1649 and was made Lord Protector of England from 1653 to 1658. When Cromwell died on 3 September 1658 a wax mould was made of his features and was most probably kept by its maker, Thomas Simon. Seven weeks after his death a wooden effigy and wax replica of his face (made from the cast) were laid in state at Somerset House. This plaster mask was cast much later - between 1800 and 1900 - from the wax original.
The Oxford crown is a rare surviving example of the coins that Charles I minted in Oxford when he established his headquarters in Oxford during the English Civil War. A mint was set up in Oxford in New Inn Hall from 1643 to 1646, (the present site of St Peter's College) and college silver was melted down for coinage.