At the High Court of Justice for the
trying and judging of Charles Stuart, King of England,
Jan. 29, Anno Domini 1648.
Whereas Charles Stuart, King of England, is, and
standeth convicted, attainted, and condemned of high treason, and other high crimes; and
sentence upon Saturday last was pronounced against him by this Court, to be put to death by
the severing of his head from his body; of which sentence, execution yet remaineth to be
done; these are therefore to will and require you to see the said sentence executed in the
open street before Whitehall, upon the morrow, being the thirtieth day of this instant
month of January, between the hours of ten in the morning and five in the afternoon of the
same day, with full effect. And for so doing this shall be your sufficient warrant And these
are to require all officers, soldiers, and others, the good people of this nation of England,
to be assisting unto you in this service. Given under our hands and seals.
To Col. Francis Hacker, Col. Huncks,
and Lieut.-Col. Phayre, and to every
With this document, the military leaders of England cast off the notion of the divine right of kings to rule, and made themselves the determiners of England's future. This was by no means the end of the English Civil War; there would be intrigues and violence in England itself until at least 1714 when George I assumed the throne. Even after that, there was trouble in the realms the English had subjugated, Ireland and Scotland.
At the time of Charles's execution, Englishmen did not start the New Year until March 1, and so, the warrant reads 1648. Using our modern reckoning, the execution took place on February 5, 1649. Charles I is not considered a martyr by the Roman Catholic Church, but paradoxically, this Catholic monarch was canonized by the Church of England in 1660!
The 59 signers of this document are known as the 'regicides'. The third signer in the list, Oliver Cromwell, would go on to rule England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland as a Puritan military dictator. After the death of Cromwell and the Restoration of Charles II, 29 of the signers were tried, and thirteen executed, nine of whom were the judges at the trial. Two escaped to Massachusetts and were not discovered until 1675 during King Philip's War.
You can view the death warrant today, as it is on display in Westminster Palace's Royal Gallery.
I have rendered this writeup as close as I can to the facsimile, but formatted so that it can be readable. On the original death warrant, the signers' names were stacked in columns from left to right. Each signature is followed by a seal from the signet ring of the signer. Each blank line in the list above represents a column break.
Facimile of death warrant at
The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut
Full names of most regicides at
British Civil Wars, Commonwealth, and Protectorate 1638-60: The Regicides
Hardess Waller was omitted, for some reason.