23 October 2013

Charles I - 'murder'd'

The record for January 1648/9 noting the king's death.

An intriguing record concerning the execution of Charles I has recently come to light in a Hertfordshire parish register ...

The record from Great Munden from 1648/9 notes the beheading of Charles I in the same month as the burial of 'Old Father Bates'. However, to the right of the entry the word 'murder'd' has been written in what appears to be another hand.

After the king was executed in Whitehall his body was taken to Windsor Castle for burial, though someone in Great Munden evidently thought the event required recording in the village's own parish register.

How much later after the king's execution the entry was added may be impossible to say. If contemporary, it indicates that at least one person with access to the records perhaps had strong Royalist sympathies, and that the factual record of the method of execution was insufficient in recording what he or she deemed to be a crime.

The Hertfordshire records have recently been released on findmypast.co.uk, and are available to view freely at all libraries in the county, as well as via the online subscription service.

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