Oliver Cromwell – Did you desecrate churches, and the Statues in Ely Cathedral?

Oliver Cromwell

No I did not. I am a Man of God and I would not wantingly desecrate his holy places. On saying that, where God’s name was being brought into disrepute, it was necessary for me to act.

Tis true some Churches were damaged because they were strong-holds for dissidents and rebels. Others were infested with Catholic and Royalist supporters. Example had to be made in these circumstances.

On the matter of the statues of Ely Cathedral. It is a common mistake to blame me for the actions of Chancellor of England, Thomas Cromwell, who decapitated Catholic idols of Saints and Angels, destroying many Papal images and artwork under the direct orders of Henry VIII . He lived in the previous century.

I was, as Collector of the Tithes, the paymaster of the Cathedral. Bishop Wren of Ely was pro-Catholic and supporter of the Royal cause. I lived with this for a while but the man would annoy and provoke me with constant Catholic Hymn singing and organ music. With the advent of Civil War I made the decision to close the Cathedral and use it as a Head Quarters for my Battalion. The Cathedral was used as barracks for the Troops and Horses. The men were trained in the local vicinity and became World Famous as The Ironsides and in turn, The New Model Army.

It might be the case that an amount of damage was done at this time, but it was not at my instruction although Catholic images were often removed and destroyed as part of the continuing Reformation. But I loved the Cathedral. It is my Castle and would not have wilfully have damaged it. It was at later times the Royalists interest to posthumously assassinate my character by attributing to me these, and many other acts of desecration.

Next question: How would you like to be remembered?