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The Trial and Execution of Charles I, 1648-49

5. Denouement

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about what happened after the execution of the king, focusing in particular on how soon it was discussed that the monarchy should be restored, as well as the reasons why Charles might have allowed himself to be executed, despite having several opportunities to avoid the executioner’s axe.


In this course, Professor John Morrill (University of Cambridge) examines one of the most extraordinary events in British political history: the execution of the king, Charles I, in January 1649. We begin in the first module by thinking about who it was that actually wanted to get rid of the king, before turning in the second module to the role of the army in the regicide. After that, we think about how the international context may have figured in the decision to execute the king, focusing in particular on the level of support for the king in Scotland, Ireland, and (especially) Europe, where several monarchs were related to the king by marriage. In the fourth module, we think about the process that was used to get rid of the king, before turning in the fifth module to the aftermath of the king’s execution and asking, ‘Was this the only possible outcome to the events of late 1648?’


John Morrill was educated at Altrincham Grammar School (Cheshire) and at Trinity College Oxford (BA 1967, DPhil 1971). He was a Research Fellow there (1970-4) and a Lecturer at Stirling University (1974-5) before moving to Cambridge in 1975 as Lecturer, Reader and now Professor. He has been a Fellow of Selwyn College since 1975 and was Director of Studies in History 1975-92, Tutor 1979-92, Admissions Tutor 1982-7, Senior Tutor 1987-92 and Vice Master 1992-2001. He was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy in 1995 and served as Vice President from 2001-9. He is also an Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy and the Academy of Finland, and he holds honorary degrees from several universities and is an Hon. Fellow of Trinity College Oxford and Trinity College Dublin. He is also a permanent deacon in the Roman Catholic Church and holds several senior positions in the Diocese of East Anglia (eg Chair of the Commission for Evangelisation and Assistant Director for Diaconal Formation) and he teaches Church History and pastoral theology one weekend a month at St John's Seminary, Wonersh.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Morrill, J. (2019, January 18). The Trial and Execution of Charles I, 1648-49 - Denouement [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Morrill, J. "The Trial and Execution of Charles I, 1648-49 – Denouement." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 18 Jan 2019,

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