A merchants house
This charming merchants house, on the quayside in Great Yarmouth, was built around 1596 by Benjamin Cowper. Over the years the building has been subject to various alterations and changes of use until it was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1949.
The Elizabethan House is located at the heart of ‘Heritage Quarter,’ it's only a short walk away from other sites of historic interest.
The house is famous for its connections with Oliver Cromwell who is said to have frequently visited his friend, John Carter, a prominent local merchant who purchased the house from Benjamin Cowper in 1635. The premises became a regular meeting place for Parliamentarians during the Civil War and it is here, allegedly, in November 1648 that the fate of Charles I was decided.
The museum today
From 1667 some fourteen different families lived in the house. In 1870, it was bought by the Aldred family and remained in their possession until the eldest daughter Mary Aldred bequeathed it to the National Trust. Her sister Blanche remained the tenant until her death in 1949. Norfolk Museum and Archaeology Service now manage the museum.