English Civil War--Who executed Charles The First?

There seems to be confusion: who executed King Charles the First?

What do you actually want to know? The executioner’s name?

Obligatory Wikipedia link;

Yes, please.

And I read Wiki, but Wiki is not necessarily accurate.

Hey, I’ve been to the King’s Head Tavern in Galway, Supposedly the tavern was given to Gunning as a reward for decapitating Charles.

And obligatory Monty Python meets YouTubelink.

The theory that Gunning - who is sometimes identified as James Gunning - was the executioner is particularly implausible. The information provided by the pub cannot even get right the date of the execution! Also, what does it mean to say that, ‘A grateful Parliament bestowed this building…on Gunning in 1649’? Either this was land directly voted to him by Parliament. But, if so, there should be an entry recording this in the Commons Journals and there isn’t. (The Journals are conveniently searchable online.) Or, more plausibly, this was land granted to him as part of the land settlement. But the records of those grants are extensive and have been calendared. The only Gunning listed in the relevant calendar is John Gunning, who, as a Bristol alderman who had invested in the Irish Adventure, is very unlikely to be the right man. Also, the lands he was granted were in Westmeath. (There is also the issue that Galway was in Connacht/Connaught, although, without checking, I’m not 100% sure that the city was included in those parts of Connaught reserved for the Catholic landowners.)

As to who did execute Charles I, the tendency among modern historians is to think that it was probably Brandon after all. This is partly because the claims that he had refused were mostly made by those promoting other, more exotic candidates. Plenty of other names were suggested as this was an easy slur to use against political opponents. Royalists in particular had every reason to accuse prominent supporters of the execution of having literally killed the king. But Brandon was the obvious candidate. So anyone trying to pin the blame on someone else had first to deny Brandon’s involvement. Brandon was just too boring a solution to the mystery.

In any case, it is not true that there is no contemporary evidence pointing to Brandon. When he died just five months later, the parish register entry recording his burial mentioned that he was reputedly the king’s executioner and several pamphlets were published at that time printing what was alleged to be his deathbed confession. His wife moreover claimed that he had been the executioner. Those historians who think that it was probably Brandon are also inclined to take seriously the evidence presented for the defence at Hulet’s trial in 1660. (This is printed here, pp. 385-90.) OK, so all this is just hearsay. But it is contemporary hearsay.

The alternative view is instead to take seriously the evidence presented for the prosecution in 1660 and to conclude that, if it wasn’t Brandon, it was probably Hulet.

It was Milady’s son Mordaunt, of course, after d’Artagnan and his friends had tried and failed to rescue Charles.


But not before that he had had a sex change and turned into Kim Cattrall.

Cromwell was responsible. As to what mook he got to do the deed, is that really important?:confused:

Not a bad point. When Churchill wanted to name a warship after Cromwell to reflect his importance to the development of the British navy, the King (I believe it was George V) vetoed the idea. Regicides were still not in a good odor.

Another example - in the 18th century when Olivaria Cromwell, the last descendant of Oliver to bear the Cromwell name, wanted to get married, she petitioned the King (George III) for permission to keep her surname and pass it on to her children. She wanted to preserve the name of Cromwell, but George said “No - no more Cromwells”, and refused permission.

If I were a king, I’d be opposed to regicide as well. :stuck_out_tongue:

Ireland wouldn’t be my place of choice to be granted land, if I’d decapitated the King of England and allowed Cromwell of all people to take over.