John Hutchinson, c.1615-64

Held Nottingham for Parliament throughout the civil war and signed the King's death warrant. His wife Lucy wrote a famous account of his life and times.

Portrait of John HutchinsonThe son of Sir Thomas Hutchinson of Owthorpe, Nottinghamshire, John Hutchinson was educated at Cambridge and admitted to Lincoln's Inn in 1636. On 3 July 1638, he married Lucy Apsley, who later wrote a famous account of his life and times. Hutchinson was among the Nottinghamshire gentry who supported Parliament, and in 1642 he was commissioned as an officer in the Nottingham militia. In July 1643, Sir John Meldrum appointed him governor of Nottingham Castle and the appointment was ratified by Lord Fairfax. Despite disputes with the committee for Nottinghamshire regarding the extent of his authority over local troops, Hutchinson resolutely held the stategically-important stronghold for Parliament throughout the First Civil War.

In March 1646, Hutchinson was elected MP for Nottinghamshire after the death of his father, who had formerly held the seat. He supported the radicals who wanted the King brought to account for making war on the people. In January 1649, Hutchinson was appointed to the High Court of Justice and signed the King's death warrant. He was a member of the Council of State until 1651, when he withdrew to Nottinghamshire to take up duties as a justice of the peace. Hutchinson opposed Cromwell's assumption of power in 1653 and refused to serve under the Protectorate. After Oliver's death, however, Richard Cromwell persuaded him to accept the office of sheriff of Nottingham, which he held until June 1659.

Elected to the Convention Parliament as MP for Nottingham, Hutchinson expressed deep remorse for his participation in the King's trial. On 9 June 1660, the House of Commons voted that he should be discharged from Parliament and prohibited from holding public office, but that he should be allowed to retain his liberty and estates. The vote was taken before the House of Lords had ruled that signatories of the King's death warrant should be excluded from the Act of Indemnity. The Lords upheld the Commons' vote, and Hutchinson's name was struck from the list of regicides. However, he was arrested in October 1663 on suspicion of plotting against the government and imprisoned at Sandown Castle in Kent, where he died in September 1664.

His wife, Lucy Hutchinson (1620-81), wrote a famous account of his life: Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson, primarily to clear his name and vindicate his reputation among members of their immediate family. Lucy's manuscript was published by Julius Hutchinson in 1806. It became popular with Victorians for its high moral tone, and has remained an important source for historians.


P. R. Seddon, John Hutchinson, Oxford DNB, 2004


Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson