A breast plate, found on the body of Ireland’s most hated man, Oliver Cromwell, is being sold at auction in London.
According to Sotheby’s, the lot is “an exquisitely engraved brass plate found resting on Oliver Cromwell’s chest when his body was exhumed in 1661.”
Engraved in Latin the inscription refers to his role as Protector of Hibernia (Ireland) and records his dates of birth and death.
A “unique coffin plate,” it is valued at up to $18,000 (£12,000).
Cromwell, perhaps the most hated figure in Irish history, slaughtered tens of thousands of Irish men, women, and children. In the mid-17th century he overthrew the monarchy. His New Model Army took over England in 1649 and Charles I was executed.
He was appointed Lord Protector and set to quelling rebellious Ireland with great brutality. He suppressed Catholicism and coined the phrase “To hell or to Connacht” during a mass confiscation of land.
In 1658 Cromwell died of natural causes. He was afforded a state funeral.
However, three years later under King Charles II he was decreed a traitor and exhumed for “posthumous execution.”
He was hanged, drawn and quartered and his severed head displayed on a pole in London. His head was salvaged and resurfaced in 1960 interred beneath a chapel in Cambridge.