Does my hair trouble you?

These fragments come from an account of the execution of Charles I.  They take the curious form of part dialogue, part commentary.  Charles I was the first English monarch to be put on trial for treason. He was sentenced to death after being found a tyrant, murderer, traitor, and enemy to the good of the nation. His execution took place on Tuesday 30th January 1649, at Whitehall near the Banqueting House.

For clarification, the Dr Juxon who appears below was William Juxon (1582-1663), Archbishop of Canterbury.

Dr Juxon: Will your Majesty (though it may be very well known your Majesties affections to Religion, ye it may be expected that you should) say somewhat for the worlds satisfaction?

King: I thank you very heartily (my Lord, for that I had almost forgotten it).  Introth Sirs, My Conscience in Religion I think is very well known to all the world, and therefore I declare before you all that I die a Christian; according to the profession of the Church of England, as I found it left me by my Father, and this honest man, pointing to Dr. Juxon. Then turning to the Officers, said, Sirs, excuse me for this same, I have a good cause, and I have a gracious God, I will say no more. Then turning to Colonel Hacker, he said, Take care they doe not put me to pain, and Sir, this, and it please you. But then a Gentleman coming near the Axe, the King said, Take heed of the Axe, pray, take heed of the Axe. Then the King speaking to the Executioner said, I shall say but very short prayers, and when I thrust out my hands —

Then the King called to Doctor Juxon for his Night cap, and having put it on, he said to the Executioner, Does my hair trouble you? Who desired him to put it all under his cap, which the King did accordingly by the help of the executioner and the Bishop.  Then the King turning to Doctor Juxon said, I have a good Cause, and a gracious God on my side.

Doctor Juxon said, There is but one Stage more, this Stage is turbulent and troublesome, it is a short one: But you may consider, it will soon carry you a very great way: it will carry you from earth to heaven; and there you shall find a great deal of cordial joy and comfort.

The King said, I goe from a corruptible to an incorruptible Crown; where no disturbance can be, no disturbance in the world.

Doctor Juxon said, You are exchanged from a Temporal to an Eternal Crown, a good exchange.

The king then said to the executioner, Is my hair well? Then the King took off his Cloak and his George [a jewel which forms part of the insignia of the Order of the Garter], giving his George to Doctor Juxon, saying, Remember, it is thought for to give it to the Prince. Then the King put off his Doublet, and being in his Waistcoat, put his cloak on again, then looking upon the block, said to the executioner, You must set it fast.  The Executioner said, It is fast, Sir.

The King said, When I put my hands out this way, stretching them out, then—

After that, having said two or three words (as he stood) to himself, with hands and eyes lift up; immediately stooping down, laid his neck upon the Block: and then the Executioner again putting his hair under his Cap the King said (thinking he had been going to strike), Stay for the sign.  The Executioner said, Yes, I will and it please your Majesty.   And after a very little pause, the King stretching forth his hands the Executioner at one blow severed his head from his body, the head being off, the Executioner held it up, and shewed it to the people; which done; it was with the Body put in a Coffin covered with black Velvet for that purpose, and conveyed into his Lodgings there: And from thence it was carried to his house at Saint James’s, where his body was embalmed and put in a Coffin of Lead.

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  • Anonymous
    March 14, 2012 - 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Damn Oliver Cromwell and all his kind.

  • January 11, 2012 - 3:50 am | Permalink

    Such a Wondrous Page to have stumbled upon!
    Thank you!

  • January 11, 2012 - 3:49 am | Permalink

    I am reminded of my own cowardice when i read about the honorable way men (and women) often went to their deaths.
    What inner strength to purvey such courage.

    Sadly it continues in my mind to ring true…
    That a man’s death says much more about the man and who he truly is – or was..
    than any accountings from his life.

  • January 10, 2011 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Your success is no surprise, and inspires me to take my own early modern esoteric work to the next level. Thanks for all your efforts at research and web presentation I’m learning a bunch. Love the circle/image/link functionality. Just want to see more of the same can’t criticize!

    Best wishes.
    Ted Hand
    MA Student in Art and Religion,
    Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley CA

  • January 7, 2011 - 9:32 am | Permalink

    I don’t think I’ve red the full account before, just the varous well known phrases ‘I goe from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown’ is a great one. Thanks for sharing it.

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