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The English Civil War - The Trial Of The King Killers

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The English Civil War

The Trial Of The King Killers

The death warrant of King Charles I and the wax seals of the 59 Commissioners.

The regicides of Charles I, under the Indemnity and Oblivion Act, 1660, and subsequent trials, were judged to be the 59 Commissioners (judges) who sat in judgement at the trial of King Charles I and signed his death warrant in 1649, along with other officials who participated in his trial or execution, and Hugh Peters, an influential republican preacher.

The tribunal was composed of three hereditary peers, four aldermen of the City of London, twenty-two baronets and knights, three generals, thirty-four colonels, the twelve judges of the High Court (who all declined to serve), three serjeants-at-law and representative members of various principalities and the House of Commons.

At the English Restoration in 1660, six Commissioners and four others were found guilty of regicide and executed; one was hanged and nine were hanged, drawn and quartered. In 1662 three more regicides were hanged, drawn and quartered. Some others were pardoned, while a further nineteen served life imprisonment and three already dead at the time of the Restoration had their bodies desecrated.

Of those regicides and associates who escaped Charles II, seven fled to Switzerland, four to the Netherlands, and four to Germany. Three Commissioners, John Dixwell, Edward Whalley and William Goffe, reunited in New Haven, Connecticut in 1661. All died natural deaths in the 1670s and are commemorated by three intersecting major avenues in New Haven (Dixwell Avenue, Whalley Avenue, and Goffe Street), and by place names in other Connecticut towns.

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