In August 1660, following the Restoration of King Charles II, the Act of Indemnity and Oblivion was passed as a gesture of reconciliation to reunite the kingdom. Under the initial Restoration settlement, a free pardon was granted to everyone who had supported the Commonwealth and Protectorate, but exceptions were made for those who had directly participated in the trial and execution of King Charles I in 1649.
A special court was appointed in October 1660 and the regicides that were in custody were brought to trial. Ten were condemned to death and publicly hanged, drawn and quartered at Charing Cross or Tyburn, London, in October 1660: Thomas Harrison, John Jones, Adrian Scrope, John Carew, Thomas Scot, and Gregory Clement, who had signed the King's death warrant; the preacher Hugh Peter; Francis Hacker and Daniel Axtell, who commanded the guards at the King's trial and execution; and John Cook, the lawyer who had directed the prosecution. A further nineteen regicides were imprisoned for life.
By order of the Convention Parliament, all the regicides who had died before the Restoration were posthumously attainted for high treason and their property was confiscated. In January 1661, the corpses of Oliver Cromwell, Henry Ireton and John Bradshaw were exhumed and hanged in their shrouds at Tyburn before their heads were hacked off and their skulls impaled at Westminster Hall.
Twenty regicides fled to Europe or to America. Sir George Downing (1623-84), English ambassador to the Netherlands, controversially arrested three of them: John Barkstead, John Okey and Miles Corbet, who were extradited to England and executed in April 1662. John Lisle was murdered by a royalist at Lausanne in Switzerland in 1664. The last survivor of the regicides was probably Edmund Ludlow, who died at Vevey, Switzerland, in 1692. The identity of the executioner who beheaded King Charles was never discovered.
59 Signatories of the King's Death Warrant
Thirty-nine of the commissioners who signed the King's death warrant in 1649 were still alive when Charles II was restored to the throne. All except two were excluded from pardon. John Hutchinson was granted his liberty by Parliament before the list of exemptions from prosecution was finalized; Richard Ingoldsby was pardoned after he defeated the last military resistance to the Restoration.
Ten signatories of the death warrant successfully escaped abroad. The others were brought to trial and sentenced to death. Nine were executed and two (Vincent Potter and Simon Mayne) died in custody before their death sentences were carried out. In all other cases, the death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment on appeal.
Commissioners who did not sign the death warrant
Most of the commissioners of the High Court of Justice who attended the King's trial but did not sign the death warrant were also excluded from pardon. An exception was Sir Thomas Fairfax, who only attended a preliminary meeting of the commissioners; he was granted a royal pardon and allowed to keep his titles and property. Others who had taken little part in the proceedings were treated leniently: John Dove was discharged unpunished; Sir Gilbert Pickering, Francis Lassels and Thomas Lister were forbidden from holding public office.
None of the other surviving commissioners were executed, but several were imprisoned for life. Sir James Harrington, John Lisle and Nicholas Love escaped abroad.
|Sir Thomas Andrews||Thomas Hammond||John Lisle†e||Isaac Penington†|
|Francis Allen||Sir James Harrington†e||Thomas Lister†||Sir Gilbert Pickering†|
|James Chaloner†||Edmond Harvey†||Nicholas Love†e||Robert Wallop†|
|John Dove†||William Heveningham†||Sir Henry Mildmay†||Sir Thomas Fairfax†|
|John Fry||Francis Lassels†||Viscount Monson†|
|† Still living at the Restoration
e Escaped abroad
Others associated with the Regicide
Others prosecuted for their association with the regicide included officials of the High Court of Justice and army officers who had supervised arrangements at the trial and execution itself. John Cook who had conducted the prosecution as solicitor-general was executed, as were the army officers Daniel Axtell and Francis Hacker.
Matthew Thomlinson was pardoned because he had treated the King courteously and had testified against Axtell and Hacker. The officers Hercules Huncks and Robert Phayre, who had refused to sign the order to the executioner, were also pardoned.
Two clerks of the High Court, Andrew Broughton and John Phelps, escaped to Switzerland as did the serjeant-at-arms Edward Dendy.
Although he was not directly involved in the trial and execution, the Puritan preacher Hugh Peter was prosecuted and executed because of his enthusiastic support for the regicides.
|Daniel Axtell†x (army officer)||Isaac Dorislaus (assistant to the solicitor-general)||Hercules Huncks† (army officer)||Matthew Thomlinson† (army officer)|
|Andrew Broughton†e (clerk of the court)||Francis Hacker†x (army officer)||Robert Phayre† (army officer)|
|John Cook†x (solicitor-general)||William Hewlett or Hulet† (army officer)||Hugh Peter†x (clergyman)|
|Edward Dendy†e (serjeant-at-arms)||Cornelius Holland†e||John Phelps†e (clerk of the court)|
|† Still living at the Restoration
e Escaped abroad
Others brought to trial at the Restoration for their roles in the Civil Wars and Commonwealth — though not associated directly with the Regicide — were the Marquis of Argyll, leader of the Scottish Covenanters, executed in 1661; Major-General John Lambert, who led the last military resistance to the Restoration and was imprisoned for life, and the prominent Commonwealth politician Sir Henry Vane, executed in 1662.
The Death Warrant of Charles the First House of Lords Record Office
An Act of Free and Generall Pardon Indempnity and Oblivion British History Online
The Regicides of Charles I Wikipedia article