October 16th Hugh Peters (Death)

Fowey – born Hugh Peters (1598 – 1660) was a puritan minister who became Chaplain to the Parliamentarian forces in the Civil War, became a colonist in New England and was condemned to death for his role in the execution of King Charles I.

Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, Peters (sometimes known as Hugh Peter) was a flamboyant preacher and came from a radical, protestant, family of Dutch origin. He rose to fame when he joined a puritan colony in Connecticut (where he was one of the founders of Harvard University) afterwards spending time in Holland. He returned to England (1641) as agent for the colony and this was when he became a close associate of Oliver Cromwell, becoming Chaplain to the Parliamentarian forces putting down the Irish rebellion. 

It was recognised that his preaching style recruited many to the puritan cause.  A strong advocate of capital punishment, Peters was often the priest who read the condemnation of those about to be executed and, whenever the parliamentarians were to assault a town, he would preach a sermon to the forces.  With the capture of the King, Peters led the force returning him to London and it has been stated that at the beheading, Peters acted as the executioner’s assistant.

Upon the Restoration of the Monarchy, Peters, convicted of regicide was hanged, drawn and quartered at Charing Cross on this day in 1660.


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