On Tuesday, January 30, 1649, Charles I, King of England, was beheaded. Fifty-nine men had signed his death warrant; and when, after a series of extraordinary events Charles II was restored to the throne, he took revenge against his father’s executioners. Some of them, anticipating this, fled from England by as it were the back door as young Charles entered through the front. Many of these fled to the continent. But three of them braved a 3,000 mile sea voyage to take refuge amongst fellow Puritans in New England.
With me to describe the curious tale of the King’s executioners in America, and the equally curious tale of their legacy in British and American history, is Matthew Jenkinson. He is the headmaster of New College School in Oxford, and author most recently of Charles I’s Killers in America: The Lives and Afterlives of Edward Whalley and William Goffe, published by Oxford University Press