Archive for Beheaded

30 January 1649 – Charles I

Posted in Beheaded with tags , , , , on January 30 by Old Sparky

Charles I

Charles I of England Scotland and Ireland lost his head on this day in 1649. He was condemned to death for being ‘a tyrant, traitor, murderer and public enemy to the good of this nation’.

Following a battle between Charles I’s supporters – the Cavaliers – and Parliament’s supporters the Roundheads, led by Oliver Cromwell, the king was captured and sent to trial accused of treason for exercising his royal right to rule without the aid of Parliament. Up to that point he had refused to be beholden to his government when he needed money so he’d just got on with it for 11 years.

Tyrannical Rex

But his rule was seen as tyranny. Charles showed a knack for angering entire sections of society. Without a parliament he needed money, so he fined the aristocracy for failing to come to his coronation. He then ressurrected archaic taxes such as ship money, while angering the Scots with his moves to impose the Book of Common Prayer in church.

War looms

Naturally the government didn’t sit back and let him get on with it. They passed laws and, having failed to resist his actions, they formed a New Model Army of Parliamentarians under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell. The two factions went head to head. Following a series of civil wars, Charles’s army was defeated and he was captured and imprisoned.

Trial and retribution

Following his trial Charles was found guilty of high treason and sentneced to be executed. But long line of executioners refused to behead their monarch. Finally two people agreed on the proviso that they wore masks to conceal their identities. They were paid the kingly sum of £100 for their efforts.

Proud to the last, Charles was said to have worn a thick cotton shirt – it was January so he wouldn’t be seen to be shivering as he didn’t want the crowd to mistake him as being frightened or weak. It took just one slice of the blade to decapitate the deposed monarch.

Apparently there was a groan as the execution took place. And following his execution, some say the paying public were then permitted to dip their hankies in Charles’s blood as it was believed to be a cure-all for illnesses or wounds.

Alec Guiness donned the dodgy wig to play Charles as he squares up to Richard Harris’ Cromwell in Ken Hughes’ 1970 film “Cromwell” and although its pretty good I don’t like the look on Harris’ face after the execution scene.  I can’t work out if he’s pleased or a little but gutted…but maybe that’s the point.

Also on this day

30 January 1661 – Oliver Cromwell (posthumously)
30 January 1606 – Sir Everard Digby, Robert Winter, John Graunt and Thomas Bates

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

22 January 1552 – Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset

Posted in Beheaded with tags , , , on January 22 by Old Sparky

Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset

Jealous adversaries deposed the Duke of Somerset on this day in 1552.

Despite being popular for a time in the eyes of the public, Edward, Duke of Somerset was beheaded in London for supposed treason.

A family affair

He was the brother of Jane Seymour, who died giving her husband Henry VIII his only son and heir to the English throne – Edward VI.

In fact, as his uncle, the duke took it upon himself to help his young nephew to rule the country following the death of Henry VIII. And, in doing so, he became Lord Protector.

But his meteoric ascendency to power came with a catch, natch. He amassed the prerequesite jealous adversaries along the way, who were only too happy to plot against him, as was the order of the day.

His protestant reforms narked the Catholics, while his land laws aggrieved the land owners and the Duke of Northumberland. Even his own brother hatched a plot to depose him and failed, leaving Somerset with no choice but to execute him.

Jealous rivals

But it was the Earl of Warwick who successfully overthrew Somerset in 1549, following a peasant uprising. Somerset was jailed leaving Warwick free to take up the mantle.

They eventually had Somerset up on some flimsy charge of treason in 1551. Though the case could not be proven, Somerset was still found guilty of some lesser charge and unceremoniously stripped of his peerage. And despite the tenuous nature of his offence, the penalty was still death.

Somerset was executed at Tower Hill just after 8am. According to an account written by Henry Machyn, a London undertaker, just before Somerset lost his head ‘there was a sudden rumbling a little before he died, as if it had been guns shooting and great horses coming, so that a thousand fell to the ground for fear, for they who were at one side thought no other but that one was killing another, so that they fell down to the ground, one upon another with their halberds, some fell into the ditch of the Tower and other places, and a hundred into the Tower ditch, and some ran away for fear.’

Despite all that, Somerset’s head was cut off, and he was buried in the Tower’s Chapel Royal of St. Peter.

Also on this day

22 January 1992 – Mark Hopkinson
22 January 1992 – Joe Angel Cordova

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

10 January 1645 – William Laud

Posted in Beheaded with tags , , , on January 10 by Last Writes

William LaudFormer Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud lost his head today in 1645 for passionately spreading the Lord’s word.

He was beheaded for treason for his unflinchingly single-minded work in trying to achieve church unity. But it appears he was truly misunderstood and a bit precious by all accounts. Laud had a dream – of uniting the church under one denomination: Anglicanism. But he didn’t take kindly to opposition. His methods provoked Puritans into thinking he was pro-Catholic. He also managed to incense the Scottish who tended to be more Presbyterian. And the Catholics? Well they didn’t even get a look in by the sounds of things. But all viewed his activity as sinister purely because he was overzealous in his defence of the church.

Laud alive

He bagged quite a few enemies along the way too. Laud had a renowned doctor of divinity’s ears lopped off after they’d branded him and whipped him. Why? Because he’d called bishops ‘tools of the Antichrist’. Laud also tried to standardise public worship, for example wearing of the surplice, which harked back to the days of Catholicism. And in doing so, he only succeeded in making people really wary that this was some Popish plot, when really all he wanted was to inject some kind of formality in to proceedings. Laud also wanted the Church to get back some of its land, which of course threatened the new landowners.

But the last straw came in 1637 when he tried to impose the ‘Book of Common Prayer’ on Scotland. Bad move. They wouldn’t even entertain the thought of it and they let him know in no uncertain Scottish terms. Riots, pledges to uphold Protestantism, you name it, they did it to try to maintain their stance on religion. They even went as far as to vote off every bishop in Scotland.

Dead loss

Of course, England didn’t just sit back and ignore their friends over the border. The unrest spread over the next three years until Laud was slung in jail for treason in 1640. They tried him and failed to reach a verdict so Parliament stepped in and sentenced him to death. He was held at the Tower of London until 1645, when he was beheaded at the age of 71.

Also on this day

Yemelyan Ivanovich Pugachov
James Terry Roach

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

7 January 1400 – Thomas Holland

Posted in Beheaded with tags , , , on January 7 by Last Writes

An earl lost his head on this day at the turn of the 15th century. And his uncle followed a week later.

The 1st Earl of Surrey Thomas Holland were executed for treason after he tried to overthrow the king in 1399.

Reason is treason

He’d teamed up with a host of other nobles including his uncle John to overthrown Henry IV and reinstate the imprisoned Richard II. Known as the Epiphany Rising, the plot failed because one of the team betrayed his so-called mates.

The grassed up earls fled to the West Country while Henry rallied his troops in London. But he needn’t have bothered as the traitors failed to drum up much support by way of an army. Thomas was soon caught at Cirencester and John at Pleshley.

Retribution was fast and fatal. Thomas was beheaded without even having a trial, aged roughly 26. And his uncle Earl of Huntingdon, John Holland followed just over a week later on 16 January 1400.

Also on this day

2003 – Congalese death row inmates
1913 – Albert Rumens

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

30 December 1460 – Edmund, Earl of Rutland

Posted in Beheaded, Death penalty with tags , , , on December 30 by Old Sparky

Some say Edmund, Earl of Rutland, was executed by his father’s bitter Lancastrian rival Lord Clifford at Wakefield Bridge during the War of the Roses.

He was beheaded, and as a final humiliation the Lancastrians made sure his Yorkist head, along with his father, Richard Duke of York’s and ally Earl of Salisbury’s, were skewered on spikes above Micklegate Bar in York for all their former subjects to see in 1460.

Little did they know that the Yorkists followed by the House of Tudor would have the last laugh as they beat the Lancastrians to a pulp just less than 30 years later.

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

10 December 1900 – John Filip Nordlund

Posted in Beheaded, Death penalty with tags , , , on December 10 by Old Sparky
John Filip Nordlund

John Filip Nordlund

John Filip Nordlund was the penultimate person to be executed in Sweden.

He was sentenced to death for mass murder after boarding a ferry bound for Stockholm with the sole intention of stealing money from the passengers, killing them and stealing the ships register.

To give Nordlund a head start, he planned to set fire to the ship.

His plan failed, but not before killing four people and wounding a further eight. He was beheaded aged just 25.

Also on this day

10 December 1928 – Trevor Edwards

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon

24 November 311 – St Peter of Alexandria

Posted in Beheaded, Death penalty with tags , , , , , , on November 24 by Old Sparky

St Peter of Alexandria

St Peter of Alexandria

St Peter of Alexandria was beheaded in Eygpt in 311 for being too lenient.

During his 11 years as Pope of Alexandria, Peter had drawn up guidance on readmitting people back into the arms of the Catholic church after they’d strayed from the path of righteousness.

Of course, purists were unhappy believing that life shouldn’t be that easy, so his head was cut off when the Romans finally caught up with him.

According to, he is called the ‘seal and complement of martyrs’ as he was the last Christian killed by Roman authorities. He was canonised by the Catholics and today remains his feast day.

Also on this day

24 November 1881 – Alfred Gough
24 November 1910 – William Broome

Bookmark this site | digg | facebook | reddit | StumbleUpon