January 30th 1649: Charles I executed

On this day in 1649, King Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland was executed in London aged 48. He was born in 1600 the son of James VI of Scotland, who in 1603 became King James I of England and Ireland, in addition to Scotland, when Queen Elizabeth I died. Charles succeeded to the throne in 1625 when his father died, becoming the second Stuart monarch. Charles inherited from his father a firm belief in the divine right of kings to absolute rule, which led to conflict between the King and Parliament. These tensions lay in part due to debates over money and religion, with Charles’s Anglicanism alienating Puritans in England. Charles dissolved Parliament three times, and in 1629 resolved to rule the nation alone, without Parliament. During this period his actions appeared increasingly tyrannical, raising taxes and cracking down on Puritans and Catholics, leading to an exodus of the former to the American colonies. Personal rule ended when the King attempted to interfere with the Scottish Church, and had to restore Parliament to raise the funds to fight the Scottish. The English Civil War broke out in the last years of his reign, which pitted the crown against Parliament and occurred after he attempted to arrest members of Parliament. Charles’s Royalist supporters were defeated in 1646, and the King himself was eventually captured. The Parliamentarians, including general Oliver Cromwell, put the King on trial for treason, which resulted in his execution in 1649 outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall. The monarchy was then abolished, leading to the short-lived Commonwealth of England. A leading figure of this republic was Oliver Cromwell, though his rule as Lord Protector became increasingly authoritarian. Cromwell died of natural causes in September 1658, but on January 30th 1661, on the anniversary of Charles’s death, Cromwell’s remains were ritually executed. The monarchy was restored in 1660 with Charles’s son in power ruling as King Charles II.


Crouch End North London 13th October 2013 by loose_grip_99
Via Flickr:
British Railways Standard 4-6-2 70013 Oliver Cromwell running on the Gospel Oak to Barking line prepares to enter the short tunnel under the abandoned ex-Great Northern Edgware, Highgate & London Railway branch (now known as the Parkland Walk) from Seven Sisters Road (now Finsbury Park) just to the east of here. We were ex-Southall shed destination Barnetby via Harringay & the East Coast main line. The junction for the single line spur up to Harringay can just be seen under the bridge in the distance. This was an engine and support coach positioning run for 70013 to be ready for the next day’s Cheshireman railtour from Cleethorpes to Chester.

The Redcoat’s First Battle.

In the summer of 1645 Oliver Cromwell’s newly formed New Model Army experienced its first pitched battle at Naseby against a Royalist army commanded by Charles I. The battle was a decisive Parliamentarian victory, helping turn the tide of the war. 

Remains of Scottish soldiers who died 400 years ago to be reburied

The remains of Scottish soldiers who died of starvation and disease almost 400 years ago, after a brutal forced march when they were taken prisoner by Oliver Cromwell, will be reburied with honour near the site where where their bodies were tipped into a mass grave in the shadow of Durham cathedral.

The discovery, after three years of research on bones found during building work within the Unesco world heritage site of Durham palace and cathedral, resolves a centuries old puzzle about what happened to 6,000 prisoners taken by the English parliamentarian army under Cromwell after the Battle of Dunbar in 1650.

Some of the men were so ill they were freed immediately, some were shot for trying to escape and others succeeded in getting away, while many died on the 100-mile march south to Durham. Read more.

Christmas under Cromwell

After the Reformation, certain Protestant groups, such as Puritans, began to see Christmas is a negative way. It was associated with Catholicism and also with drunkenness and promiscuity. After the Parliamentary forces won the Civil War, Christmas was banned in 1647. People were banned from attended any kind of religious services on Christmas Day and all shops were forced to stay open. There were many protests and riots about this across the country. Canterbury was held by rioters for weeks, who decorated places with holly and sang royalist carols. Many people secretly celebrated Christmas despite the laws and were arrested for these attempts.

Charles II ended the ban when he was restored the throne in 1660 and celebrated the return of Christmas in style, with all old traditions being brought back. This in turn, was viewed with disgust by many Puritans. 

Oliver Cromwell
Monty Python
Oliver Cromwell

Friends, it’s time once again to drop a coin in the THE WONDER EMPORIUM JUKEBOX, and dance the night away to another toe-tappin’ melody of years past.

Today’s selection is “Oliver Cromwell,” the only track recorded specifically for the 1991 compilation album Monty Python Sings. It was written and performed by John Cleese, who originally sang it on the British radio show I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again in 1969. The song consists of an encylopedia-style rundown of Cromwell sung to the unsingable tune of Chopin’s Heroic Polonaise.

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