Historic death plate buried with Oliver Cromwell fetches more than £70,000 at auction

The copper plate that was buried with Oliver Cromwell

The copper plate that was buried with Oliver Cromwell - Credit: Archant

An inscribed plate that was buried with Oliver Cromwell was put up for sale at an auction house in London, last Tuesday.

The copper-gilt plate fetched £74,500 when it went under the hammer at Sotheby’s, more than six times the auctioneers’ estimate of £8,000-£12,000.

Cromwell and his family moved to Ely in 1636, remaining there for 10 years while he served as an MP for Cambridge.

His house, in St Mary’s Street, is now home to the city’s Tourist Information Centre.

After playing a leading role in the Civil War and the execution of Charles I, Cromwell was made Lord Protector.

He died, aged 59, in 1658 and was given a state funeral before being buried in Westminster Abbey.

According to the auctioneers, Cromwell was buried with the bronze plaque bearing his family’s coat of arms and the dates of his birth, death and instalment as Lord Protector.

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But his body was exhumed just two years later, after the restoration of the monarchy, and was hanged and cut to pieces in London as punishment for his part in the death of Charles I.

The bronze plate was taken from Cromwell’s coffin by James Norfolke, Sergeant of the House of Commons, when his body was disinterred.

Cromwell’s head was later placed on a pike outside Westminster Hall, where it remained for 20 years. It later passed through private hands before finally being re-interred in the chapel of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, in 1960.