Gregory Clement, 1594-1660

A merchant and MP for Fowey who was executed as a regicide in 1660

Portrait of Gregory ClementGregory Clement was the son of John Clement, a merchant who became mayor of Plymouth in 1614. Gregory followed his father into trade and worked for the East India Company in India until 1630 when he was dismissed for engaging in illegal trading practices. Upon his return to England, he married and settled in London, where he became successful in trading with New England. He supported Parliament on the outbreak of civil war, investing heavily in the Adventurers' Company, in exchange for land in Ireland.

In July 1648, Clement was elected recruiter MP for Fowey in Cornwall. He spent little time in Parliament, but opposed continuing negotiations with King Charles after the Second Civil War so was allowed to retain his seat at Pride's Purge. In January 1649, he was appointed to the High Court of Justice and signed the King's death warrant. There is a mystery regarding Clement's signature on the death warrant, which seems to have been written over a previous signature that was erased.

Clement was active on various parliamentary committees during the Commonwealth, and also involved in the sale of lands formerly belonging to the Crown and the Church, personally acquiring property in Kent and Wiltshire. In May 1652, he was discharged from the House of Commons. Ostensibly, this was the result of a scandal that arose from his being discovered in bed with a maidservant, but his dismissal was probably manoeuvred by Thomas Harrison and other political opponents among the Saints. Clement withdrew from public life.

At the Restoration, he went into hiding to avoid arrest as a regicide, but was discovered and brought to trial in October 1660. He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Charing Cross on 17 October 1660.


J. T. Peacey, Gregory Clement, Oxford DNB, 2004