Cromwell's 'Christmas cancelled' broadsheet to auction at Sotheby's

"Christmas is cancelled". That was the crux of Oliver Cromwell's message, published in a 17th century broadsheet.

The 1651 publication, produced by the English parliament, advised people and churches that they should treat Christmas Day like any other, with markets to remain open.

Oliver Cromwell
Friends hoping for a Christmas card from
Cromwell in 1652 were left disappointed

The £5,000-estimated document is one of several broadsheets being auctioned at Sotheby's London on July 10 that reveal life under the Puritanical regime.

The sale also includes a 1642 parliamentary broadsheet, setting out proposals to return England to "sad and pious solemnity" through the end of "spectacles of pleasure" such as sport and theatre. Shakespeare's Globe theatre would be demolished two years later. It would be 1660, which the restoration of the monarchy through Charles II, before theatres would play again.

Parliament, led by Oliver Cromwell, had had Charles I executed in 1649 during the English civil war.

The lot has a £3,500 high estimate.

"Living fragments, they cut right to the most defining moments of civil war and Commonwealth history," explained Gabriel Heaton, deputy director of Sotheby's.

Items from the English civil war and interregnum period are in great demand - an 1851 wanted poster for the future Charles II sold for £40,000 in March. We have this superb civil war coin with a fascinating history currently in stock.

A sex guidance manuscript, written for nuns in Essex, UK in around AD 800, in addition to a circa 900 rare Welsh manuscript, will also feature at Sotheby's on July 10.

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