The Man Who Went On Trial After His Death

In 1649, King Charles I, the King of England, was convicted of treason and executed. One of the main signatures on his death warrant was that of Oliver Cromwell, who went on to lead the Commonwealth of England after the execution. Cromwell died in 1658 of complications relating to a form of malaria. The formal funeral procession for Cromwell was a grand affair, with people lining the streets to watch the carriage pass on its way to Westminster Abbey, where he was buried. Before his death, Cromwell appointed his son Richard to be his successor. Richard renounced power, just 9 months after his father’s death, and Charles II became King of England. He decreed that Cromwell be disinterred from Westminster Abbey, and that he be “executed" — despite already being dead — for regicide (the action of killing a king). His body was removed from his grave, he was hanged in chains and then beheaded, and his head was placed on a spike above Westminster Hall. The public was relieved, since while Cromwell ruled he banned theatre, celebrating Christmas, most sports, and unnecessary walking on Sundays.