Lord President of the Council of State
|President of the Council of State|
12 March 1649 –29 December 1651
|Preceded by||Pro tempore Oliver Cromwell|
|Succeeded by||Bulstrode Whitelocke|
|Lord President of High Court of Justice|
10 January 1649  –30 January 1649
|Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster|
|Preceded by||Thomas Fell|
|Succeeded by||William Lenthal|
|Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster|
|Preceded by||Gilbert Gerrard|
|Succeeded by||Thomas Fell|
|Chief Justice of Chester and North Wales|
|Preceded by||Sir Thomas Milward|
|Succeeded by||Sir Timothy Turner|
|Born||15 July 1602[ citation needed ]|
Wyberslegh Hall,  England
|Died||31 October 1659 (aged 57)  |
Westminster Abbey,  England
|Resting place||Initially,Westminster Abbey |
|Spouse||Mary Marbury |
|Alma mater||Gray's Inn|
John Bradshaw (12 July 1602–31 October 1659) was an English jurist. He is most notable for his role as President of the High Court of Justice for the trial of King Charles I and as the first Lord President of the Council of State of the English Commonwealth.
John Bradshaw,the second son of Henry Bradshaw and Catherine Winnington,was born in 1602 probably at Wybersley (Wyberslegh) Hall in the village of High Lane near Stockport,Cheshire,or possibly at the nearby Peace Farm,Marple (his father farmed at both) and baptised on 10 December in Stockport Church. As a child he attended the free school at Stockport,as well as schools in Bunbury and Middleton.  During his teenage years he also attended The King's School,Macclesfield. According to local tradition he wrote the following inscription on a gravestone at either Macclesfield or Bunbury:
He was articled as clerk to an attorney in Congleton. The White Lion public house bears a blue plaque,placed by the Congleton Civic Society,which reads:"The White Lion,built 16–17th century. Said to have housed the attorney's office where John Bradshaw,regicide,served his articles." 
After studying English law in London,he was called to the bar at Gray's Inn on 23 April 1627. He served on the provincial bar of Congleton until he became mayor in 1637.  John Milton wrote highly of Bradshaw's aptitude during his public service,saying that "All his early life he was sedulously employed in making himself acquainted with the laws of the country;he then practiced with singular success and reputation at the bar." 
On 3 January 1638 he was married to Mary,a daughter of Thomas Marbury. 
At some time between 1640 and 1643,Bradshaw moved from Congleton to Basinghall Street in London. In 1643,he was elected judge of the London sheriff's court. He maintained the post until his death.  Following the death of the Earl of Essex in 1646,Parliament voted Somerhill House to Bradshaw.  He was appointed a serjeant-at-law by Parliament and in 1648 Chief Justice of Chester and North Wales.
In 1649,he was made president of the parliamentary commission to try the king. Other lawyers of greater prominence had refused the position.[ citation needed ]
Bradshaw was a controversial choice as Lord President,and opinions of his efficiency as a judge varied. Bulstrode Whitelocke believed that he was "learned in his profession," but Thomas Fuller dismissed him as a man "of execrable memory,of whom nothing good is remembered."  The King himself,as well as much of the court,professed to having never heard of him.
Bradshaw himself did not attend court until the third session after his appointment,apologising on the grounds that he had been out of London and disavowed his ability to perform "so important a task."  While he served as the Lord President,he was flanked by an impressive personal guard and carried a sword at his side. He wore scarlet robes and a "broad-brimmed,bullet-proof beaver hat,which he had covered over with velvet and lined it with steel and he also wore armour underneath his robes."  King Charles refused to recognise the authority of the court and would not plead. After declaring Charles I guilty as a "Tyrant,Traitor,Murderer,and a public enemy," Bradshaw did not allow the king any final words. Under English law,a condemned prisoner was no longer alive and therefore did not have the right to speak,and Bradshaw followed this tradition strictly. 
On 12 March 1649,Bradshaw was elected President of the Council of State,which was to act as the Executive of the country's government in place of the King and the Privy Council. From 1 August 1649,Bradshaw also held the post of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. As Lord President he conducted trials of leading Royalists and condemned to death by beheading the Duke of Hamilton,Lord Capell,the Earl of Holland and Eusebius Andrews,for which he was well rewarded.[ citation needed ]
After wars in Scotland and Ireland,the Long Parliament had still not dissolved itself or called for re-elections. On 30 April 1653,Oliver Cromwell declared Parliament and the Council dissolved and soon assumed rule as Lord Protector calling elections for a new Parliament himself. After that date Bradshaw served as commissioner of the Duchy,jointly with Thomas Fell,until mounting differences with Cromwell culminated in his resignation in 1654.
Bradshaw,an ardent Republican,became an opponent of the Protectorate. In 1654,he was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Stafford and Cheshire,but because he refused to sign the recognition pledge put on Members to declare their recognition of the new army-backed government,he took no seat for either constituency.  In 1655,the Major-General in charge of Cheshire,Tobias Bridge,persuaded leading gentry not to enter Bradshaw as the county's parliamentary candidate at elections to the next parliament. 
After Oliver Cromwell died in 1658,his son Richard succeeded him as Lord Protector and reinstated Bradshaw as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Bradshaw was elected MP for Cheshire in the Third Protectorate Parliament in 1659.  During the same year,Bradshaw moved to Westminster after falling dangerously ill with a 'quartan ague' or malaria. 
In October 1659,various subordinate members of the army sabotaged General Lambert's and General Ludlow's support of the Long Parliament. Colonel Morley,Major Grimes,and Colonel Sydenham eventually gained their points,and placed guards both by land and water,to hinder the members of Parliament from approaching the House. During these disorders,the Council of State still assembled at the usual place and the:
Lord President Bradshaw, who was present, though by long sickness very weak and much extenuated, yet animated by his ardent zeal and constant affection to the common cause, upon hearing Col Syndenham's justifications of the proceedings of the army in again disrupting parliament, stood up and interrupted him, declaring his abhorrence of that detestable action, and telling the council, that being now going to his God, he had not patience to sit there to hear his great name so openly blasphemed; and thereupon departed to his lodgings, and withdrew himself from public employment. 
He died on 31 October 1659, aged 57. He was buried with great honours at Westminster Abbey. The eulogy was given by John Rowe.  On his deathbed Bradshaw said that if called upon to try the King again he would be "the first man in England to do it".
Charles II returned to power in 1660. On 30 January 1661, the twelfth anniversary of the regicide, the bodies of Bradshaw, Cromwell and Henry Ireton were ordered to be exhumed and displayed in chains all day on the gallows at Tyburn. At sunset, the three bodies that had been displayed publicly as those of the three judges being executed posthumously were all beheaded. The bodies were thrown into a common pit and the heads displayed on pikes at Westminster Hall.  Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary that he saw the heads there on 5 February. The body of Bradshaw's wife was also exhumed from Westminster Abbey and, along with the remains of other Parliamentarians buried at Westminster, reburied in a common pit at St Margaret's, Westminster.
Some sources claim that the body of Bradshaw had previously been removed by his son, James or John Bradshaw,   who re-buried his father's remains on a hill near Martha's Brae on Jamaica and marked the spot with a cannon. A location now known as "Gun Hill" is 2.5 miles south-west of the northern port city of Falmouth, in Trelawny Parish. One of the three men had children who removed to Highland County, Virginia. James Bradshaw acquired the land in Jamaica where his father's remains were buried. Several sources recorded an inscription with the cannon found on Gun Hill, Jamaica, and attribute the quote Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God to John Bradshaw. 
While some political philosophers have defended Bradshaw,  most legal authorities have taken the view expressed in 1999 by Michael Kirby (then a Justice of the High Court of Australia) that the High Court of Justice for the trial of Charles I, of which Bradshaw was president, was illegal.  However, in his 2005 book The Tyrannicide Brief (a biography of John Cook, the prosecutor at the trial), Geoffrey Robertson Q.C. put forward the argument that while the court was illegal due to the political settlement reached at the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, the trial anticipated the developments in humanitarian law in the second half of the 20th century, and that the leading participants in the trial are to be admired rather than condemned.   
The Commonwealth was the political structure during the period from 1649 to 1660 when England and Wales, later along with Ireland and Scotland, were governed as a republic after the end of the Second English Civil War and the trial and execution of Charles I. The republic's existence was declared through "An Act declaring England to be a Commonwealth", adopted by the Rump Parliament on 19 May 1649. Power in the early Commonwealth was vested primarily in the Parliament and a Council of State. During the period, fighting continued, particularly in Ireland and Scotland, between the parliamentary forces and those opposed to them, in the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland and the Anglo-Scottish war of 1650–1652.
The Long Parliament was an English Parliament which lasted from 1640 until 1660. It followed the fiasco of the Short Parliament, which had convened for only three weeks during the spring of 1640 after an 11-year parliamentary absence. In September 1640, King Charles I issued writs summoning a parliament to convene on 3 November 1640. He intended it to pass financial bills, a step made necessary by the costs of the Bishops' Wars in Scotland. The Long Parliament received its name from the fact that, by Act of Parliament, it stipulated it could be dissolved only with agreement of the members; and those members did not agree to its dissolution until 16 March 1660, after the English Civil War and near the close of the Interregnum.
Major-General Thomas Harrison, baptised 16 July 1616, executed 13 October 1660, was a prominent member of the radical religious sect known as the Fifth Monarchists, and a soldier who fought for Parliament and the Commonwealth in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. One of those who approved the Execution of Charles I in January 1649, he was a strong supporter of Oliver Cromwell before the two fell out when The Protectorate was established in 1653. Following the 1660 Stuart Restoration, he was arrested, found guilty of treason as a regicide, and sentenced to death. He was hanged, drawn and quartered on 13 October 1660, facing his execution with a courage noted by various observers, including the diarist Samuel Pepys.
Regicide is the purposeful killing of a monarch or sovereign of a polity and is often associated with the usurpation of power. A regicide can also be the person responsible for the killing. The word comes from the Latin roots of regis and cida (cidium), meaning "of monarch" and "killer" respectively.
The Rump Parliament was the English Parliament after Colonel Thomas Pride commanded soldiers to purge the Long Parliament, on 6 December 1648, of those members hostile to the Grandees' intention to try King Charles I for high treason.
John Dixwell, alias James Davids, c. 1607 to 18 March 1689, was an English lawyer, republican politician and regicide. Born in Warwickshire, during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms he held various administrative positions in Kent on behalf of Parliament, and approved the Execution of Charles I in January 1649. Under the Commonwealth, he served as Governor of Dover Castle, and was a member of the English Council of State.
Sir Hardress Waller, was an English Protestant who settled in Ireland and fought for Parliament in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. A leading member of the radical element within the New Model Army, he signed the death warrant for the Execution of Charles I in 1649; after the Stuart Restoration in 1660, he was condemned to death as a regicide, a sentence commuted to life imprisonment.
The English Council of State, later also known as the Protector's Privy Council, was first appointed by the Rump Parliament on 14 February 1649 after the execution of King Charles I.
The Third Protectorate Parliament sat for one session, from 27 January 1659 until 22 April 1659, with Chaloner Chute and Thomas Bampfylde as the Speakers of the House of Commons. It was a bicameral Parliament, with an Upper House having a power of veto over the Commons.
Colonel Daniel Axtell, c. 1622 to 19 October 1660, was a grocer and religious radical from Hertfordshire who served with the Parliamentarian army during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. He was in charge of security during the Trial of Charles I at Westminster Hall in January 1649, and as a result was excluded from the Act of Indemnity and Oblivion after the 1660 Stuart Restoration. He was hanged, drawn and quartered for treason on 19 October 1660.
Colonel Sir Richard Ingoldsby was an English officer in the New Model Army during the English Civil War and a politician who sat in the House of Commons variously between 1647 and 1685. As a Commissioner (Judge) at the trial of King Charles I, he signed the king's death warrant but was one of the few regicides to be pardoned.
The execution of Charles I by beheading occurred on Tuesday, 30 January 1649 outside the Banqueting House on Whitehall. The execution was the culmination of political and military conflicts between the royalists and the parliamentarians in England during the English Civil War, leading to the capture and trial of Charles I, the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. On Saturday 27 January 1649, the parliamentarian High Court of Justice had declared Charles guilty of attempting to "uphold in himself an unlimited and tyrannical power to rule according to his will, and to overthrow the rights and liberties of the people" and he was sentenced to death by beheading.
The High Court of Justice was the court established by the Rump Parliament to try Charles I, King of England, Scotland and Ireland. Even though this was an ad hoc tribunal that was specifically created for the purpose of trying the king, its name was eventually used by the government as a designation for subsequent courts.
John Barkstead was an English major general and regicide.
Robert Wallop was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times from 1621 to 1660. He supported the Parliamentary cause in the English Civil War and was one of the regicides of King Charles I of England.
Robert Tichborne was an English soldier who fought in the English Civil War. He was a regicide of Charles I.
Sir Thomas Andrewes was a London financier who supported the parliamentary cause during the English Civil Wars, and sat as a commissioner at the High Court of Justice for the trial of Charles I. During the Third English Civil War, as Lord Mayor of London, he made sure that there was no trouble in London. During the Interregnum he supported Oliver Cromwell, and was knighted by him in 1657. Many sources confuse him with another Thomas Andrewes, who had a more prominent role in the British East India Company and was a contemporary of the London politician; this other Andrewes was still alive in 1660.
John Cook or Cooke was the first Solicitor General of the English Commonwealth and led the prosecution of Charles I. Following The Restoration, Cook was convicted of regicide and hanged, drawn and quartered on 16 October 1660. He is considered an international legal icon and progenitor of international criminal law for being the first lawyer to prosecute a head of state for crimes against his people.
The interregnum in the British Isles began with the execution of Charles I in January 1649 and ended in May 1660 when his son Charles II was restored to the thrones of the three realms, although he had been already acclaimed king in Scotland since 1649. During this time the monarchial system of government was replaced with the Commonwealth of England.