Cromwell, 1970

We watched the first three scenes from the 1970 Cromwell film, starring Richard Harris.

Squire Cromwell arrives at his parish church, and begins praying, only to look up and see King Charles' and Archbishop Laud's high church 'innovations' consisting of gold crosses and candlesticks. Cromwell rises, shouts about the reformation and turning the Church of England into a 'Romish temple' and proceeds to throw down the new furnishings.

This is almost certainly what a puritan like Cromwell would have done, and what many considered doing. The scene, however, cannot be historical. The idea that the local landowner, who would have been the biggest tithepayer and therefore well aware of any large or unusual items of parochial expenditure, would have been taken by surprise one Sunday morning is ludicrous.

Nevertheless, the scene rightly portrays the puritanism of the age, and was a welcome introduction to those of us unfamiliar with it.