Drawn upon the Fatal Hurdle

These fragments from 1660 come from the account of the execution of the nine men found guilty of the regicide of Charles 1 in 1649.

Maj. Gen. Harrison was drawn upon a Hurdle from Newgate to the Round, or railed Place neer Charing Crosse, where a Gibbet was set, upon which he was Hanged. Many of his acquaintance did seem to triumph to see him die so Confidently; whiles numbers of true Christians did grieve in earnest to see him die so impenitently. We have been told, that when he took his leave of his wife, he comforted her, and told her that he would come again in three days; but we hear nothing as yet of his Resurrection. When he was half hanged, he was cut down and quartered, his bowels burned, and his head severed from his body to be disposed at his Majesties pleasure.

John Carew who being condemned on Saturday, was on Monday, Octob. 15. drawn upon the Hurdle to Execution some hours before his departure out of the Dungeon of Newgate, was heard in his prayer (which he spake loud enough to show either his blind zeal, or bold Rebellion) to expresse these words. Take the Scepter out of the hands of earthly Kings, and rout their Armies. One thing is observable, that this Traytor, who had so red a hand in the taking away the life of the King, did contribute also to the taking away of the life of his own Brother, who some years before was Executed on Tower-hill, for endeavouring to assist the Cause of the King.

On Tuseday October 16. Mr Cooke was drawed on a Hurdle from Newgate to Charing Crosse, to suffer the pains of Death for his Execrable Treason; he shewed much contrition of spirit, and taking notice that Hugh Peters was there and to be Executed next after, he heartily wished that he might be reprieved, being as he conceived, not prepared to Dye. He came to the Ladder unwillingly, and by degrees was drawn up higher, and higher. Certainly he had many Executioners within him; he leaned upon the Ladder being unwilling to part from it, but being turned off, the spectators gave a great shout, as they did when his Head was cut off, and held up a loft upon the point of a Spear. The very Souldiers themselves whom heretofore he did animate to slaughter, and a thorough Execution of their Enemies were now ashamed of him, and upon the point of their Spears shewed that guilty head which made them guilty of so much blood.

On Wednesday Octob. 17. Tho. Scot, Greg. Clement, Adrian Scroop, and John Iones,  were drawn on severall hurdles to the aforesasd place of Charing Crosse. Mr. Scot did seeme to have wept abundantly, for his eyes were Red with penitence; but comming to the place of Execution, he seemed to take new Courage, and for the same cause to dye with the same confidence as heretofore hath been practised and prescribed by the Jesuites of Rome. Gregory Clement,  seemed to expresse much sorrow and much repentance, acknowledging that his Judges had done nothing but according to the Law, and that he most justly suffered both by God and Man.

Adrian Scroop, dyed full of the confession of his enormous fault, and desired the prayers of all good people. He prayed to God to forgive his Accusers.

Col. John Jones, all along as he was upon the Sledge desired the prayers of all beheld him; being come to the place of execution, he confessed that if he were in his Majesties condition he should do no lesse then his Majesty did. Dying he prayed for his Majesty, and the happinesse of his Kingdome.

On Friday Octob. 19. Col. Hacker heretofore of Horse, and Col. Axtell of Foot were drawn upon the Fatall Hurdle from Newgate to Tyburn, Col. Hacker did speak but little, that which he said was to excuse himself, and to lay open the errour of his Judgement, he had a paper in his hand (intended as it seems to speak for him, weakly declaring that he was an Officer in the Army, in which too peremtorily he endeavoured to discharge his Trust.

Col. Axtell said that he was drawn to this War very unwillingly, First in the time of the Earl of Essex, and afterward under the command of the L. Fairfax, under both which Authority he was a Commissionated Officer, yet notwithstanding he did nothing of himself, but was advised to what he did by a Minister, who told him it was the cause of God, and upon which account he endeavoured to doe his work. Col. Hacker was only Hanged, but Col. Axtell being cut down was Quartered.

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  • February 6, 2012 - 12:25 am | Permalink

    Any chance that you know the source of the image you used?

  • Simon Higgins
    August 16, 2010 - 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Pepys mentions seeing the death of Col. Harrison in his diary and says he died as well as any man in that condition may do. What an appalling way to go.

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