Model of Oliver Cromwell’s navy warship - the Nasby - on display at museum

The Cromwell Museum in Huntingdon is displaying a huge scale model of Oliver Cromwell’s warship - the Naseby.

The original Naseby ship was the flagship of Cromwell's navy, and was launched in 1655.

In 1660 the ship was hastily renamed Royal Charles and used to transport Charles II back to England for the restoration of the monarchy.

As Royal Charles the ship saw action in the second Anglo-Dutch war, acting as the flagship of the Duke of York at the Battle of Lowestoft in 1655, helping to destroy the Dutch flagship.

The Royal Charles was also present at the Four Days Battle and the St James's Day Battle in 1666.

It then became the flagship of the Royal Navy, until captured by the Dutch in 1667, towed back to Holland and used as a tourist attraction.

The model was recently donated to the museum by the family of the late Fred Pearl, who was a model and prop maker.

Most Read

During his illustrious career, he made creatures for Star Wars and worked on his Naseby model ship, which was said to be his pride and joy, for more than 20 years, mostly in his spare time.

The Naseby model was used as a film prop too, appearing in The Muppet's: Treasure Island film in 1996.

The Naseby has strong links to Huntingdon as it was commissioned by Oliver Cromwell.

When it collected Charles II, it was commanded by Edward Montagu and had Samuel Pepys on board and Edmund Ibbot as the ship's chaplain. All four men attended the Huntingdon Grammar School in the building which is now the Cromwell Museum.

Stuart Orme, curator of the Cromwell Museum said: "We are very grateful to the family of Fred Pearl, who sadly passed away just before Christmas, for donating this astonishing model of Cromwell's flagship to the museum.

"As well as being a spectacular object, it allows us to tell the story of this remarkable ship and its connections to Huntingdon and even the museum itself, which isn't bad given that we're more than 40 miles from the sea."

Fred worked for much of his career in the toy industry, designing toys and dolls for the Lines Brothers company, in the 1950s and 1960s.

In the 1970s he set up his own company Art Models Limited, to make models and props for film, television and museums.

Fred made dinosaur models for the Natural History Museum, props for the comedian Tony Hancock, and designed the Dewback creature for the original Star Wars film released in 1977.

Original Fred's project for more than 20 years was to make a 1/32 scale radio-controlled scale model of the Naseby.

He never achieved the radio control model, instead creating the static one now on display at the museum.

The model does float and can move under sail and has been demonstrated at model engineering shows.

Fred planned eventually to have the gun-ports open and cannon 'fire', and also to make copies of the model for sale.

The original Naseby ship was one of four new battleships for the Protectorate Navy.

These ships were designed and built under the instructions of the head of the dockyard at Chatham, Peter Pett; originally they were all supposed to be the same and carry 60 guns, but the Naseby was altered during construction to include an extra deck.

This made her the largest ship in the navy, carrying a complement of 80 guns and a crew of up to 650 men.

The ship was named after the decisive victory by Parliamentary forces in 1645 during the Civil War.

The smaller ships commissioned alongside the Naseby were similarly named after Cromwell's victories, being called the Marston Moor, Dunbar and Worcester.

The Cromwell Museum holds the best collection of objects relating to the life and times of Oliver Cromwell in the world.

The collection comprises almost 700 items, including portraits, clothing, miniatures, arms and armour, historical documents.

The museum itself is located in the former Huntingdon Grammar School building, which was where Oliver Cromwell attended school.

The Naseby ship model is on display in the Cromwell Museum until June 9.

The museum is open Tuesday - Sunday, from 11am - 4pm; admission is free of charge. INFO: