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Saturday December 15th 2018

Cromwell | 1970

Cromwell filming location: Hatfield House, Hatfield, Hertfordshire
Cromwell location: the King's court: Hatfield House, Hatfield, Hertfordshire

Sweeping historical epic, with an extremely sympathetic view of Cromwell (Richard Harris) and his Godly-inspired clash with the arrogant King Charles I (Alec Guinness) to bring fairness and parliamentary democracy to England.

Most of the film was made on impressive sets built at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, but the Civil War battle scenes of 'Edgehill' and 'Naseby' were shot against wide Spanish landscapes, free from modern buildings and electricity pylons. The Spanish location also meant that use of the Spanish army as extras. The area chosen was Sierra de Urbasa, a mountainous plateau of English-looking meadows and beech woods in northern Navarre, northeastern Spain, and the nearby Monte Limitaciones. The area is part of the Urbasa y Andía Natural Park.

In the UK, the exterior of the King’s Court is Hatfield House, Hatfield, a Jacobean pile seen in the turgid Greystoke, the Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (where it became the interior of Scotland's Floors Castle), the film of Virginia Woolf's gender-shifting fantasia, Orlando, Shekhar Kapur's epic Elizabeth: The Golden Age and of course as the mansion of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, among many others.

Cromwell’s local church, where he flies into a rage on seeing its austere altar cluttered with ‘Popish’ golden ornaments, is St Mary Magdalene, Great Hampden in Buckinghamshire.

By the way, the nearby Hampden House was for a while home to Hammer Films, and was regularly seen in the Hammer House Of Horror TV series.