On the outskirts of a North Yorkshire village stands a house, once a former Priory dating back to the 12th century, owned and occupied by the same family since the middle of the 16th century.
But this house at Coxwold hides a secret.
Behind the Georgian and Tudor exterior, within the Jacobean interior, and once hidden in the roof gables lies a tomb. A tomb that holds a secret, a sealed tomb that has never been opened. It is believed to hold the remains of the body, but not the head, of one of the most famous people in British history.
It is the tomb of Oliver Cromwell, politician, military commander, executioner of a king and from 1653 to his death in 1658 Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.
After his death from natural causes he was interred at Westminster Abbey but two years later his body was dug up, hung in chains and beheaded. His daughter Mary, Countess of Fauconberg, rescued the remains (but not the head which is buried in the grounds of Sidney Sussex College Cambridge) and brought them to her family home Newburgh Priory at Coxwold.
Although many visitors to Newburgh Priory, including the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) have tried to open the tomb to establish the truth the family tradition of keeping it sealed remains unbroken and the secret lives on.