Oliver Cromwell and the Civil War in St Ives

In 1631 Oliver Cromwell moved with his family from Huntingdon to take up the tenancy of Wood Farm the location of which today is uncertain but thought to be just north of the current town centre. Whilst resident in St Ives in addition to his farming activities he involved himself in both the secular and religious matters of the town, his signature appearing twice in the registers of All Saints Parish Church. He resided in St Ives for a period of five years before again moving to Ely.

In 1642 Civil War broke out, with St Ives along with most of Huntingdonshire siding with the Parliamentarians. Battles and skirmishes raged up and down the country. In 1645 Charles I marched his army south from Newark briefly occupying the town of Huntingdon and faced with the threat of encirclement the Parliamentary forces destroyed one arch of the St Ives River Bridge replacing it with a drawbridge. They also did likewise to the bridges at Huntingdon and St Neots. Much after the end of the Civil War, in 1716 the drawbridge was removed and the bridge repaired.

There is another local artefact of the civil war a few miles east of St Ives at Earith, that being an artillery earthwork known as the Bulwarks Fort.

In 1849 a scheme was commenced to raise a statue of Cromwell in Huntingdon, the place of his birth, and although this project started well it ground to a halt. Huntingdon decided to drop the idea in 1899 due to lack of funds but it was quickly taken onboard by St Ives, the money was raised and a bronze statue commissioned from F. W. Pomeroy. The statue of Oliver Cromwell was unveiled in Market Hill, St Ives in 1901

 

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