A Sight of the Trans-actions of These Latter Yeares (part 3)

Two more plates from John Vicar’s book of 1646. These two sit together on page 25. The first image shows the execution of Archbishop Laud on 10th January 1645, though the text also makes reference to Alexander Carew who was beheaded in December 1644 and John Hotham and son (Captaine Hotham) who met their deaths in the same place a few days before Laud. All three were parliamentarians who had fallen out with the leadership. This shows the depth of feeling in 1645; that mere political opponents and the Archbishop of Canterbury were felt worthy of execution.

The soldiers standing around the scaffold from what we can see are wearing coats and broad-brimmed hats whilst the executioner is bareheaded and dressed in a short tabbed doublet, breeches and shoes with a neat apron to keep his clothes (relatively) clean.

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The second image shows the breaking of the great seal in 1646. This was a greatly symbolic act as the King’s seal attached to any bill passed by Parliament signified his approval. The fact that it was broken in front of the assembled Lords and Commons made it plain that Charles’ presence was no longer required.

The onlooking parliamentarians are dressed in doublets and breeches. The breeches are mostly decorated with ribbon bows below the knee. Several are sporting cloaks, even though this is taking place in August, and all have boots rather than shoes.

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