Oliver Cromwell - the man who died twice? - Cambridge River Tours

Oliver Cromwell – the man who died twice?

Oliver Cromwell – the man who died twice?

On this day in 1661 Oliver Cromwell was executed. Whilst that in itself might not seem that remarkable, given his role in the English Civil War and the fact that Charles II was now on the throne, what made it more unusual was that he had died two years earlier.

12 years after the execution of Charles I, Cromwell was exhumed and subjected to a ritual (drawn and quartered – all the delightful things they used to like to do to people in those days), posthumous execution as a form of punishment (not sure how you’re meant to punish someone who’s already dead but we’ll leave that one to the historians!).

Following Cromwell’s execution, his severed head was put on a spike outside Westminster Hall, as a warning to any other traitors.

It remained there until 1685 when it became dislodged during a storm, after which it was passed amongst private collectors and museums until 1960, when it was finally laid to rest under the chapel of Sydney Sussex college.

Cromwell had strong links to Cambridgeshire, hailing from Huntingdon originally, he studied at Sydney Sussex and is said to have garrisoned his troops for a while at King’s College in Cambridge, resulting in the demolition of all but Clare College bridge (now the oldest bridge in Cambridge) in order to make it easier to defend the city.

Clare bridge, Cambridge's oldest surviving bridge

Clare bridge, Cambridge’s oldest surviving bridge


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