Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Legal history: England & common law tradition: Commonwealth/Protectorate 1649-1660

1649 - 1660 Government records

Contemporary resources & commentary

Law Reports & Court Records

Nominate Reports - coverage - reprinted in ER
Style (Sty) 1646-1655 KB  82 ER

Hardres   (Hardr) 1655-1669 Ex.  145 ER

Nelson    (Nels) 1625-1693 Ch.  21 ER

Dickens   (Dick) 1559-1798 Ch.   21 ER

Online access via any of the following:

Working with the surviving court archives

Trial & execution of a King

For the first time, a ruling monarch was the defendant in formal legal proceedings in a High Court of Justice, set up by the act of a Parliament which felt able to profess to be the supreme power in the land. (For text of this act see Rushworth, Historical Collections v 8, 1379)

The charges were that  he "had a wicked design totally to subvert the ancient and fundamental laws and liberties of this nation", and that he had "levied and maintained a civil war in the land."

Charles I denied the competence of the court, and refused to plead.

After four days, this stance was deemed to be a confession. He was sentenced to death, by beheading.