Explore the collection at Ewelme Cottage

The Ewelme Cottage collection represents an authentic snapshot of an early emigrant clergy family. Whilst the house and the family were of a modest background, the collection they have amassed is extraordinary. By valuing their past and keeping family treasures, we now have family pieces that date from the 1570s until the moment the last Lush family member left the Cottage.

Sermon wallet
Sermon wallet belonging to Rev Vicesimus Lushexpand/collapse

Ewelme is unusual in that the objects remain in many instances unchanged from the time the last Lush inhabitant left, and as such the majority of items held in the Cottage are original.  The desk drawers in the study contain the pens that Reverend William Edward Lush left inside.  The dust jackets on controversial books are still turned inside out, perhaps so as not to offend the etiquette of visitors.  Ointment pots still contain their original contents. The house and its contents work in partnership - photographs taken of the interior before it was opened to the public show little change today, and surviving family diaries and letters (held in the Auckland War Memorial Museum) often reference collection items.  The family were a relatively modest group, living in a modest house – providing a contrast to other Heritage New Zealand properties of high status colonial families.

Unusual for New Zealand museums and heritage sites, Ewelme contains a large number of very early pieces, including but in no way limited to Elizabethan textiles, early printed books from the 16th and 17th centuries, and an 18th century portrait attributed to court portraitist Godfrey Kneller. Of particular note too is the book collection which is early and extensive.  The sheet music, photograph and costume collections are also of high significance.

Please note that due to conservation reasons not all objects may be on public display at any one time. If you are interested in viewing an item, please contact the Property Manager at Highwic.  

Heritage New Zealand manages its collection of historic objects in its properties from a central database.  You can find out more about the how the Heritage New Zealand collection is managed, including donating items on this website.

To see further highlights from the collection online, search for Ewelme at New Zealand Museums