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Cromwell House, Ely
Did the voice of Oliver Cromwell reach out to us across time?
The son of a country gentleman, Oliver Cromwell was born on 25th April 1599 at Huntingdon. After his marriage in London in 1620 he and his family lived first in Huntingdon and then at St Ives. In 1636 Oliver and his Family moved to Ely to the house which is now the home of the Ely tourist information centre.
The House, which was originally built in the 13th century, has incorporated many changes over its history and now houses the museum. The Parlour recreates the scene of Mrs Cromwell working at her embroidery while rocking the baby in a cradle in this peaceful and dimly candle lit room as the clock ticks and the smoke rises from the fire. The kitchen is dominated by a huge fireplace and has a peaceful view of St Mary's church from the window from which Oliver Cromwell would have once stood and watched the residents of Ely going about their daily business. Upstairs in the study the figure of Cromwell can be seen writing at his desk as he reflects on his responsibilities as Lord Protector. Take the door to the next room and you find yourself at the deathbed scene of Cromwell in the haunted bedroom.
The team from the Cambridge Paranormal Society had heard reports that in the past a couple of journalist had tired to stay at the house overnight in attempt to witness first hand the reputed stories of the ghost that are said to haunt the museum. Reportedly they had fled the house before the night had ended. The C.P.S is always up for a challenge so after our application to conduct some research was accepted we began our overnight investigation.
The investigations began with the arrival of the team and a walk around the building. After the initial walk around it was decided that recording and monitoring stations were to be set up in three locations. Readings were taken for temperature, humidity, air pressure and electro magnetic fields to act as baseline readings for any possible environmental changes that may occur during the night.
Infra red c.c.t.v cameras where set up in the haunted bedroom and the study and linked up to motion sensing and recording equipment. Infra red c.c.t.v was set up in the parlour and linked to recording equipment. Trigger objects had been placed in various positions throughout the building to attempt to observe any possible movement.
The team was split into two observation groups to observe, record data and any possible activity in the rooms of the house. Group A : Martin and Elaine Group B : Paul, Dave and Angela
We had all entered the house that night with high expectations that we would have some type of evidence of the reputed haunting by the morning as the house has such a wonderful atmosphere and character. Unfortunately as the night and our observations progressed no substantial paranormal activity took place. In fact the atmosphere of the house felt strangely calm and peaceful. With all our high tech equipment set up all over the house the residence ghosts of Cromwell house had decided to remain elusive and were obviously camera shy.
As is usual by the team notes where taken in every room being observed during the night. As well as using photographic, video, audio and data recording equipment during an investigation the team write down any information they may observe or sense during an investigation.
The following information was noted.
Impression of a male servant figure by the fireplace
Feeling of a presence here during the base line readings by 3.00 am it was noted that the atmosphere of the room had changed to normal.
One of the cameras batteries went dead despite being fully charged.
Impression of a woman in a long dress
Most of the team felt drawn to the passage that leads off to the kitchen.
Several points of light noticed visually by one of the team in the room
One of the team felt as if a hand had been placed lightly on the back of the neck.
Impression of a male figure and a sweet smell noticed by one of the team
Impression of the name Joshua noted
Impression of the date 1578 noted
Significant cold spot felt by two of the team,
Point of light noted visually moving from between mirror on one side of the room and the drum in the glass cabinet on the other side of room
Thermal temperature gauge acted very erratically, malfunctioned
One of the team felt a pressure on her collarbone
With activity being very quiet on the investigation we decided to conduct a further short investigation the following Friday. This time we would bring along Spiritualist medium Marjory Kite to see if she could locate any active areas in the house.
When we enlist the help of a medium we always try to ensure they have no prior knowledge of the location they will be visiting. This helps to rule out any possibility of them conducting any prior research on the place they are going to. To keep the location secret we arranged to pick up Marjory and take to the location. When she arrived she immediately felt that there was some activity in the house. She asked if the building had ever been used as a hotel as she felt that there would have been many people here at one time.Note
The house had been used as an inn the "Cromwell Arms" between 1843 and 1869Kitchen area.
Marjory was then taken down to the kitchen. She felt as if the room would have at one time been much larger and would have extended back further She had the feeling of someone jumping from the window and that there was a room of some type underneath the fireplace void (priest hole?). The medium then had the feeling as if there was a man there with us. She described the man as a priest, monk and that he was wearing a long heavy grey woollen habit. She felt that there would have been many monks in that area at one time before the reformation and that they where Benedictine monks .Also at this point she had the name Robert or Robert's which she felt would have been a surname. Marjory felt that the spirit that she was picking up on here was not being very helpful and at one point he told her she was a nosey parker for asking so many questions.
The Kitchen as it is today would have originally extended further back towards the rear car park area. There is no evidence of a room under the fireplace at this time There were Benedictines monks in Ely and they would have typically worn heavy woollen robes.Parlour
Moving from the kitchen into the parlour Marjory walked towards a chest in the far corner and rested her hands over it. She said she had the impression that there should have been linen in it but felt that instead there were weapons. She then had the impression in the room of a stocky built man with a red coloured beard, this man was different to the one in the kitchen. She said he was wearing a long robe like a monk but that he was not a monk, it was if he was in disguise as he had a uniform underneath the robes. She felt as if someone had been hiding here and that he was afraid. She almost felt as if she had wanted to say a prayer. A name came to her of John Deacon .The parlour is displayed as the family room but the feeling she had was not one of family. She could feel a lady there by the name of Florrie and felt as if she had worked there for many years she had the impression of a baby crying that then stopped and she felt that maybe it had not survived more than a year. The medium felt as if the house had been rebuilt and that it must have gone back to the 14th Century.
She now had the impression of a large table with eight men sitting around and that much planning would have taken place here in Cromwell's time. The name of John Spencer came to her (6) and that he was one of Cromwell's men, the organiser.Note
The names of John Deacon and John Spencer at this point of our research have not been found in connection with the house or Oliver Cromwell. The House was originally built in the 13th Century and had undergone various changes and additions over the years.Back to the kitchen
Marjory felt as if the man she felt here previously was blocking her again. She said she thought there was a churchyard outside and that the back wall would have been further back and beyond it she could see graves and had the feeling that there would have been animals there also towards the back right hand side. (7) The spirit of the man in the room was very disgruntled as he was not part of the crowd in the parlour he had felt pushed out by not being asked to join inNote
There is a churchyard outside and graves as Marjory had described this would have been self-evident though. The back wall would have been further back making the room larger and animals would have been kept at the back also.Tithe office
The medium asked if there had been an alter in the room at some time as she felt that prayers where often said here. In contrast she also felt that at some time somebody had died here maybe from hanging. The room had in the past a lot of activityNote
No evidence for an altar or a place of prayer or a hanging is known at present.Shop area
The medium had a very pleasant feeling in here and again that this area would have once been very active with many people as a meeting point. She then felt as if she was standing before a large crowd of people sitting in aisles listening to someone. She felt as if the man was preaching to the people almost like a courtroom rather than a place of worship. The man talking was laying the law down and making a very strong point
Marjory also felt that outside the house would have been many horses. There was another house here before this one, it was burnt down and the horses she could see would have been here at the time of the original house. Marjory then heard some one call the name of MaryNote
Although we have no evidence that this room would have been used for this purpose at any time in its history it does reflect what could have possibly have occurred in the time of the puritans and particularly Cromwell. The name Mary could refer to one of his childrenCivil War exhibition room
Marjory pointed to some of the weapons in the cabinets and the Cromwellian helmets on display and said that these are the type of thing she was aware of downstairs in the parlour. She felt that someone would have been limping here as he walked across the room (right leg) this man was the boss, Cromwell. These rooms upstairs would have been his domainNote
No records at this time would confirm that the rooms upstairs would have been used as anything but bedrooms. No evidence at this time that Cromwell had a limp but it is plausiblePortrait room
The medium said that this was Cromwell's room he would shut himself away here and was not to be disturbed. Marjory felt that there would have been children here in this room and a little girl in particular which felt was Cromwell's daughter, she also heard the name jack called.Note
No record of a Jack. Cromwell had nine childrenStudy
This room depicts Cromwell seated behind a writing desk. The medium asked if she could sit in a chair by the fireplace. Every one in the room noted how cold this room felt. Marjory said she could feel activity in this room and that someone was talking about going to Greenwich and she asked if some papers had been found behind the fireplace. Marjory said that the man was pleased they had been found, as they would have been important. This man was very against the controlling aspect of the church. He had needed to break the power of the church so that ordinary people could think for themselves this idea had lost him his own power.
At this point the medium had been sitting quietly in the chair when she suddenly began to speak in a very loud and strong sounding male voice. The following statement was given with very little hesitation.
"How can you fight the establishment? The poor people never stood a chance. That's what made me fight the fight to release them from bondage. In this day you can think and act as you wish, in my day if you did not believe and attend church you were an outcast. The house was very important to me. My family was very important to me. Unfortunately I did not give them my time. I left them for many months. I am glad you have made this into a museum. You have pleased me very much by what you have done."
Marjory then came from her trance state after a few minutes she asked to leave the room as the transfiguration had left her feeling very tired.
The centre manager had confirmed that papers had been found behind panelling near a fireplace but in the tithe room. Although the papers are only approx. 100 years old and have no connection with Cromwell.Note
The words of the medium / Cromwell would have possibly reflected on the type of statement he would have made. As a Puritan he would have had many conflicts with religious authority and was known to have been a loving and caring farther and husband. Cromwell would have been away for months at time during the civil war
Did the voice of Cromwell himself speak to us on this night or is there another explanation. Our Medium for the night Marjory Kite explained that this man who she identified as Cromwell was a very kind soul and that she had given him permission to speak through her.Haunted Bedroom
In this room the scene of Cromwell laying on his deathbed is portrayed the room is very dimly lit with no windows and has a very heavy and closed in atmosphere. This room was also very cold and Marjory had not liked the energy in here, it made her feel sick. She felt the need to leave the room.
The house is full of natural character and atmosphere. With its long history our expectations had been high that we would gain some evidence of paranormal activity. The fact that the all night investigation had been strangely quiet was interesting from a psychological perspective. Scientific reasoning would have us believe that the expectation of a haunting would in fact produce paranormal phenomena. It is worth noting that one of the members of staff who opened up the museum the next morning after we had left commented on how quiet and calm the place felt in comparison to other days. So maybe the ghosts of Cromwell house had just decided to have the day off. Although no significant paranormal phenomena was noted on the all night investigation further research is planed for the near future. One of the areas that we are always trying to establish is what possible conditions could give a reason for negative activity or positive activity. Atmospheric conditions had been noted on the night and we will be looking for a clear difference in the data when something does occur.
The visit with the medium the following Friday was interesting. We can confirm that Marjory had no idea were she was going until we arrived. On arrival it would have soon become apparent that the house was associated with Cromwell in some way. The information that she gave on the night draws on some tantalising parallels with the history of the building. Marjory claims to have never visited the house or Ely before that night. To gain good evidential proof that the information would have been received from the spirit world would have required information that was unknown by anyone and discovered as fact at a latter date. Our research is at present continuing on the information supplied and this report will be updated with new information, as it is received. The names of John Deacon and John Spencer will hopefully be found to have a connection with the house or Cromwell.
Ely Tourist Information Centre Oliver Cromwell`s House, 29 St. Mary`s Street, Ely, Cambridgeshire. CB7 4HF Tel: +44 (0) 1353 662062
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