William, Viscount Monson (Mounson), d.c.1673

Sentenced to life imprisonment as a regicide, even though he withdrew from the King's trial and did not sign the death warrant.

The second son of Admiral Sir William Monson (c.1568-1643), William Monson was knighted in 1623 and acquired a large estate at Reigate in Surrey upon his marriage to Lady Margaret Stewart (d.1639) daughter of the Earl of Moray in 1625. Three years later, he was created Viscount Monson of Castlemaine in the Irish peerage. Monson opposed King Charles' arbitrary rule during the 1630s and was among those who refused to pay ship money in 1636. He was elected MP for Reigate in the Long Parliament.

Monson supported Parliament during the civil wars, serving on the county committee for Surrey during the First Civil War, and defending Reigate Castle against the Earl of Holland's Royalist uprising during the Second Civil War. In January 1649, Monson was appointed to the High Court of Justice. He attended the opening sessions of the King's trial, but withdrew from the proceedings and did not sign the death warrant.

During the 1650s, Monson fell into financial difficulties and was imprisoned the Fleet prison for debt. He was released in May 1659 when the Rump Parliament was restored, but was imprisoned again as a regicide at the Restoration of Charles II. Monson pleaded that he had attended the King's trial in the hope of finding a way to save him, but he was stripped of all his property and titles and sentenced to be drawn from the Tower through the city of London to Tyburn and back with a halter about his neck, then imprisoned for life. Monson died in the Fleet prison around 1673.


Gordon Goodwin, revised by John Gurney, William Monson, first Viscount Monson of Castlemaine, Oxford DNB, 2004