Owen Rowe, c.1592-1661

Puritan merchant and regicide who signed the King's death warrant and died in the Tower of London..

Born at Bickley, near Chester, Owen Rowe became a prominent merchant in London during the 1630s and was a member of the Independent Puritan congregation of St Stephen's, Coleman Street. He invested heavily in the Massachusetts Bay Company and in the foundation of a Puritan colony at New Haven, Connecticut, to which his son Nathaniel emigrated in 1637. In the 1640s and '50s, Rowe became prominent in the affairs of the Bermuda Company.

By the time civil war broke out in 1642, Rowe was a leading light among the London Puritans who opposed King Charles. He was appointed to the Committee of Safety and played a major role in supplying weapons for Parliament's armies during the wars. In 1643, he was commissioned a lieutenant-colonel in the militia and given charge of the armoury at the Tower of London. Rowe was appointed to the High Court of Justice that tried the King in January 1649 and was a signatory of the death warrant. He secured various lucrative posts during the Commonwealth and Protectorate.

Brought to trial at the Restoration, Rowe was imprisoned in the Tower, where he died on Christmas Day 1661.


Michael J. Jarvis, Owen Rowe, Oxford DNB, 2004