During the late 1640s and early 1650s Cromwell became, for those in Cambridge, an increasingly distant gure. Now, without question, a national gure and with numerous responsibilities elsewhere, he ceased to go back to East Anglia. But that only made the Cambridge corporation all the more determined to retain their ties with him. He had become a much more powerful ally than they could ever have expected him to be. In May 1652 the corporation therefore appointed him as their high steward.1 is was tidying up un nished business. Finch had never o cially been removed and he was actually still alive, a forgotten gure from a previous age, in exile on the Continent. Once it had been decided to replace him, Cromwell, who was, of course, still technically the town’s MP, was the obvious replacement. ey even tried to make use of him. In the spring of 1653 French travelled to London to consult with him about the latest drainage work in the Great Level.2 e corporation welcomed his appointment as lord protector later that year by presenting him with a gi of plate.3