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To Kill a King: The Sad Fate of Charles I of Britain

Updated on March 2, 2013
GarnetBird profile image

Gloria taught for many years, and also worked as a mental health group facilitator.

Images courtesy: WIKIPEDIA.COM

King Charles I, of Great Britain. He was from the Scottish Stuart Line.
King Charles I, of Great Britain. He was from the Scottish Stuart Line.
St. James Park, London:  Charles was allowed a final walk with his dog before his execution.
St. James Park, London: Charles was allowed a final walk with his dog before his execution.
Blakiston Coat of Arms from Medieval times:  John Blakiston signed the King's Death Warrant.
Blakiston Coat of Arms from Medieval times: John Blakiston signed the King's Death Warrant.
Death Warrant: Blakiston is the seen on the 5th column from Left, 4th name up from bottom.
Death Warrant: Blakiston is the seen on the 5th column from Left, 4th name up from bottom.

By Gloria Siess, {"Garnetbird"}

During the time of Stuart England and the British Civil Wars, a sad fate awaited their King, Charles I. Due to the intense desire of many nobelmen to restrict or abolish the Monarchy, they grouped together to try King Charles for Treason. On January 1st, 1649, he was put on trial, accused of being a "tyrant, traitor and murderer; and a public and implacable enemy to the Commonwealth of England."The prime mover behind this event was none other than Oliver Cromwell, who would manipulate himself into a seat of great power after the execution. Many did not approve of this trial, and many resisted Cromwell's strong arm--to no avail.

Chief Judge was John Bradshaw, who wore a special metal-lined hat to avoid being killed during the proceedings. 59 signatures of Commissioners would be found on the King's Death Warrant, along with Cromwell (of course). Charles did not defend himself against the flagrant charges, as he did not acknowledge its legality in the first place. His date of execution was set for January 30th, 1649. By the time the Monarch spoke up to announce his innocence, it was too late: they were shoving himself out of the court of justice and into a cell--probably the Tower of London--where he would be held until his death.

The day of his death was cold and bitter. In an act of "mercy" the Commissioners allowed Charles to take a final walk in St. James Park, with his beloved dog. The King wore very thick under garments as he was chilled and did not want the kingdom to see him shivering at the execution. In the manner of many such noble rulers, Charles wanted to appear unafraid and kingly, even as he went to the executioner's block to be beheaded.

"I have delivered to my conscience," King Charles I stated, "I pray God you do take those courses that are best for the good of the kingdom and your own salvation." As he laid dead, a great groaning cry was said to have passed through the crowd. Spectators ran up to dip their hankies in his blood, as though seeking magical power. The Monarchy was abolished, with Cromwell thick in its midst as usual, and England became a "Council of State."

When Charles II (The King's son and heir} returned to England to take command and resume the Monarchy they had tried to abolish, he revenged his Father's horrid death with administrative skill. Those men who signed the death warrant were hunted down and executed--some drawn and quartered. Some regicides escaped to Switzerland, to the Netherlands, and four to Germany. Four escaped to the "New World" of America, including my direct ancestor, John Blakiston, 30th signer on the death warrant.

Blakiston fled to his brother's estate in Maryland, where he was said to have died of a heart attack. The family legend states that he had missed his family in England and had died of a "broken heart."John Blakiston's brother was my own Grandfather to the 10th generation (approximate) who had changed his own sirname from Blakiston to Blackstone--perhaps to avoid any scandal?Nancy Blackstone would marry a Parnell, and my Grandmother's line was on its way.

What fascinates me the most is the fact that my Mother's side of the family remembered this story and passed it down. When I checked on the historial facts, it was backed up by documentation of the period, which states that John Blakiston died six months after fleeing England. Before the trial of Charles I, John Blakiston was a member of Parliament and Major of Newcastle. This Hub is a humble tribute to a King whose death was a ghastly episode in the annals of British History and totally uncalled for.

To this day, no one knows the identity of the Executioner, who was masked during the grisly event.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      im distantly related to cromwell and im proud of it

    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      7 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Thank you--you're an awesome reader!

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 

      7 years ago from The English Midlands

      Very interesting ~ especially in view of your family connection!

      There was a lot of bloodshed in our past that is upsetting ~ including executions of both monarchs and commoners. (And still plenty of distressing bloodshed in the world, today.)

      By the way, our civil war is known as the 'English' one. We had ancient 'Britons', and we became 'Great Britain', after union with Scotland in 1707, but during these 17th century troubles, it was just England.

      Very enjoyable hub :)

    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      7 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      I totally, totally agree--his actions in Ireland alone are some of the most horrific historical reports I've ever read. Loved your comment!

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      The problem with King Charles I is that he was trying to rule a country that was rapidly changing, with a system that was becoming outdated, and because it had already been established that Parliament voted the taxes needed to cover the cost of wars etc, it was impossible long term to rule without it. The parliamentary side were far from being the good guys. They were chiefly motivated by puritan bigotry against what they percieved as a turning to catholicism, by the king, as he had married a catholic wife,(Henrietta Maria).

      Oliver Cromwell was a nasty piece of work, who engaged in massive genocide and ethnic cleansing in Ireland. It is to the eternal shame of Britain that they should pollute the environs of Parliament with a statue of such a creature.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Great Hub - love the family connection too! You are a great writer! Thank you!

    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      8 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Thank you--it is a sad case, isn't it? Not at all well known or glorified by Hollywood movies, as of yet.

    • valeriebelew profile image


      8 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      This is a very sad reminder of how cold blooded politics can be. good write, and good research. (:v

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Great information - very interesting - how tragic for Charles I. I enjoyed reading your hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      THANK you-your comment is right on--I thought Cromwell was a curse to both UK and Ireland--if I recall my history correctly, he was beheaded by Henry VII. Thank you for reading--it brightened my day!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      I taught a little about this event. Turns out Cromwell was more of a tyrant than Charles I had been. Good job on a fascinating piece of history! Thumbs up!

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 

      8 years ago from America

      good story thanks for the read,

    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      8 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      Wow, thank you--My Irish Blood is sickened by Cromwell; my English side is proud to trace my roots back to Britain in the 1600's. Thank you for your comments!

    • lou16 profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting hub, although I think some of the events leading up to his death were ones that he brought upon himself - sacking parliament 3 times before deciding to rule absolute, reckless spending and other things.

      Cromwell was certainly a manipulative person and probably delusional as well as he believed he was acting for God! I'm sure as viking305 has said he (Cromwell) is probably still viewed as a monster in Ireland after the massacres he sanctioned. Although Charles I was trying to squash an uprising in Ireland before he was defeated by Cromwell's troops.

      It would certainly be great to have a family connection to such a historic event.

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      Very interesting hub and I love the family connection as well.

      Yes Cromwell is indeed a monster here in Ireland. Our country and many many of its people were hounded and murdered by this person. He is hated as a mass murderer here and yet he is seen as a hero in England. You know what they say, the victors write the history and it is perceived as fact.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Great and interesting Hub. Thanks for sharing and the family connection is indeed amazing! I love this kind of story.

      Love and peace


    • GarnetBird profile imageAUTHOR

      Gloria Siess 

      8 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      It's too bad countries can't just fire Royalty--it seems throughout History they have always been killed, like Ceasar, etc.Thank you for your comment!

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Interesting. Fascinating to have family links. As an English person I feel it was a shame the monarchy was reinstated.


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