Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.


(rĕj`ĭsīdz) [Lat., =king-killers], in English history, name given to those judges and court officers responsible for the trial and execution of Charles I in 1649. After the Restoration (1660) of the monarchy they were excepted from the general pardon granted by the Act of Indemnity. At that time 41 of the 59 signers of the king's death warrant were still alive. Fifteen of them fled: William GoffeGoffe, William
, d. c.1679, English soldier and regicide. A personal adherent of Oliver Cromwell, he fought in the English civil war, signed the death warrant of Charles I, and became an administrative major general during the Protectorate.
..... Click the link for more information.
, John Dixwell, and Edward WhalleyWhalley, Edward
, d. 1675?, English regicide. During the English civil war he served under his cousin Oliver Cromwell in the parliamentary army. He was given custody of Charles I for a time in 1647, served on the high court of justice that tried him, and signed the death warrant.
..... Click the link for more information.
 went to New England; several went to Germany and Holland; and Edmund LudlowLudlow, Edmund,
1617?–1692, English parliamentarian and regicide. He commanded a regiment of cavalry in the English civil war and served on the court that condemned King Charles I, signing his death warrant.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and four others went to Switzerland. Some were able to convince Charles II that they had had little to do with his father's trial and that they were loyal to the monarchy, and they were reprieved. Nine of those who signed the warrant and four others closely connected with the trial were hanged. Six others, who were deemed less politically dangerous, were imprisoned for life; some were later reprieved.


See C. V. Wedgwood, A Coffin for King Charles (1964); N. H. Mayfield, Puritans and Regicide (1988).

References in periodicals archive ?
English kings had been previously deposed or even murdered, but those regicides were largely private affairs that concerned only a small number of nobles.
28) Just as Jacobites (such as Astell and Leslie) would turn to historiography to reinstate the opposition between regicides and royalists, so also they would turn to the battles of Milton's Grand Epic, Paradise Lost.
The Royalists' and Presbyterians' fear of regicide, coupled with a faint hope that some resolution could be reached, was echoed in the Parliamentary camp on 9 January.
Cromwell was "at once a bitter opponent of Charles, a reluctant regicide, and a firm monarchist" (14).
The Act of Uniformity, the Conventicle Act and the Test Act of 1673 were much more effective means of repressing dissent than the execution of the regicides.
It was the goal of Toland, Hollis and their followers to reclaim the regicides from Tory calumny and to demonstrate the integrity of their motives and conduct.
That it remained an unsolved mystery in 1660, when royalist revenge was in full swing and rich rewards and pardons were on offer for incriminating evidence, remains a tribute both to the courage of the regicides and to the discipline of the New Model Army.
There is a double standard employed, the author anachronistically links Charles to Milosevic and Pinochet by his use of sovereign immunity but does not mention that the regicides used that favourite defence of the Nazis at Nuremburg, that they were obeying a superior authority.
Richard Cust considers just how Charles made one of his most crucial (and disastrous) decisions of the war, while Geoffrey Robertson argues the case for the regicides, claiming that the trial was properly conducted and the prosecutor--long vilified--was a substantial figure who has contributed much to British history.
Apart from Cromwell (who later became king in all but name) the regicides are not portrayed on statues or stamps, and their fate is seldom mourned: in 1660, after a rigged trial at the Old Bailey, their heads were stuck on poles and their body parts fed to the stray dogs of Aldgate.