Cromwell’s Boots & Astley Hall

Have I turned Catholic? I went on pilgrimage this summer to see the boots of saint. A memory of a previous visit to Astley Hall in Chorley assured me the great man’s boots were there on display. It’s a great house, and it’s free. Furthermore, the 20-somethings who manned the entrance hall even seemed to know what they were talking about. One in particular doubted the boots were really Cromwell’s, and on closer examination, I concurred. They look rather more North American that something worn by an English cavalry officer. Another pair was sold in 2009 from Wormsley Park, Oxfordshire, claiming to be boots of Cromwell. Still another pair of Old Noll’s boots have been claimed for Kiplin Hall in North Yorkshire. Was Cromwell an avid shoe collector? Did he carelessly leave behind his boots at every house in which he stayed, like I do umbrellas? 


Cromwell’s legacy is not dozens of pairs of boots, nor his Parliament’s dislike of Christmas. It is found in the measure of religious freedom he proffered this country and the accepted limits on royal authority.

The righteous man walks in his integrity;
His children are blessed after him.

Proverbs 20:7

Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us. The Lord hath wrought great glory by them through his great power from the beginning. Such as did bear rule in their kingdoms, men renowned for their power, giving counsel by their understanding, and declaring prophecies: Leaders of the people by their counsels, and by their knowledge of learning meet for the people, wise and eloquent are their instructions.

Ecclesiasticus 44

Like his boots, every large house in England claims a bed in which he slept

Window graffiti from 1606

In the war, the house belonged to a notorious royalist nicknamed One-eyed Charnock. What he would have thought of his house hosting Cromwell’s boots, bed and portrait, one cannot tell.