Oliver Cromwell’s head
The posthumous execution
After the restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660 under Charles’s son, King Charles II, nine surviving regicides who had participated in the trial and execution of Charles I were tried, convicted and sentenced to be dragged through the streets, hung by the neck and cut down live, disembowelled while alive, beheaded and dismembered.
In addition, Charles II’s new Parliament ordered the disinterment from Westminster Abbey and theposthumous execution of the deceased regicides Oliver Cromwell, John Bradshaw and Henry Ireton. On the morning of 30 January 1661, the anniversary of the execution of King Charles I, the corpeses were dragged through the streets of London, hung in full public view, beheaded and buried in a common pit.
The heads were placed on a wooden spike on a 6 metres pole, and raised above Westminster Hall. Cromwell’s head remained there until the late 1680s when a storm broke the pole throwing it to the ground. After then, it was in the hands of private collectors and museum owners until 25 March 1960, when it was finally buried at Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge.
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