9 Annotations

Alan Bedford  •  Link

John Okey was a chandler and drayman who joined the New Model Army, rising to the rank of Colonel. He was one of the 59 signers of the Death Warrant of Charles I.

Ironically, he opposed the elevation of Cromwell to the position of Lord Protector. A short bio at: http://www.british-civil-wars.co.uk/biog/index_...

Pauline  •  Link

from L&M Companion
Republican and regicide. A parliamentary colonel, he opposed the Protectorate both of Oliver and of Richard Cromwell. After taking part in Lambert's attempted rising in the spring of 1660, he fled to Germany. In 1662 he was arrested at Delft and executed at Tyburn.

vicenzo  •  Link

here is his commission papers
Army Commissions. note date :
The House being informed, That divers Officers of the Army were at the Door, to receive their Commissions;
They were called in: And, being come up to the Clerk's Table, in usual manner; Mr. Speaker acquainted them with the great Trust reposed in them by the Parliament; and that the Parliament and Commonwealth expected Faithfulness from them, accordingly: And thereupon Mr. Speaker delivered,
To Colonel Okey, his Commission to be Colonel of a Regiment of Horse

From: British History Online
Source: House of Commons Journal Volume 7: 20 January 1660. Journal of the House of Commons: volume 7, (1802).


Bill  •  Link

John Okey was born of mean parents, who brought him up in the occupation of a drayman, He afterwards got to be a stoaker in a brewhouse at Islington, near London; and then a poor chandler near Lion key in Thames street in the said city. But, changing his apron in those desperate times for a buff-coat, he rose by degrees to be a Colonel of dragoons; a Judge in the pretended High Court of Justice to try his Sovereign; and he contented to, and signed the warrant for his murder; as it was proved at his trial, but was denied by himself at the place of execution; when, amongst other particulars to alleviate his crimes, he declared, "I was none of the Council within or without; neither did I know any thing of the trial of the King, or who were the Judges, till I saw my name inserted in a paper, and I did sit there but once or twice."
He was much infected with the enthusiasm of those times; and loved to speak much, and acquired such an ecclesiastic cant, suitable to that generation, that the rulers at Oxford complimented him with the degree of Master of Arts. But his antimonarchical zeal carried him to such lengths, that, when he discovered Oliver's inclination to seize, and to place himself on the throne, he deserted his interest, and sided with the anabaptists and fifth-monarchy men; which brought him into disgrace with the usurper, deprived him of his regiment, and excluded him from all further favours under the Protectorship.
At the approach of the restoration, he fled into Holland, and was taken at Delft, as he skulked under the name of Frederic Williamson, by the diligence of Sir George Downing formerly an independent preacher, and chaplain to this very man Okey, but now employed by King Charles II. as his Resident in Holland who sent him with Berkstead and Corbet, seized at the same time, to England, where they were executed on the 19th of April, 1662, after they were permitted to speak and pray as much as they desired.
---The Universal Magazine, Volume 9, 1751

Bill  •  Link

Col. Okey was also a citizen of London, and one of those who appeared early in the service of the parliament. He had been first a Captain of foot, then a Captain of horse, and afterwards Major in the regiment of Sir Arthur Haslerig. In the year 1645, at the time when the army was new modelled, he was made Colonel of a regiment of dragoons, which was afterwards converted into a regiment of horse. In these employments he distinguished himself by his courage, conduct, and fidelity; and, during the usurpation of Oliver Cromwel, was dismissed from his command in the army, on account of his affection to the commonwealth. He was chosen by the county of Bedford to represent and serve them in the convention that was called by Richard; and, after the restitution of the great parliament, they restored him to his command in the army. Being ready to suffer for that cause which he had strenuously defended, he said in the presence of many witnesses, that if he had as many lives as he had hairs on his head, he would willingly hazard them all on the same account. The sentence against these three Gentlemen having been executed on the 19th of April 1662, the King bestowed the body of Col. Okey upon his wife, to dispose as she thought fit. Upon which she ordered him to be interred at Stepney, where his first wife lay in a vault that he had purchased for himself and family. But the report of this funeral being spread among the people, several thousands of them assembled themselves in and about Newgate market, where the body lay, resolving to attend it to the grave. And though they behaved themselves with decency and modesty; yet the King, upon notice of this appearance, was so alarmed, that he revoked his grant to the Colonel's wife, dispatched orders to the Sheriff to disperse the company, and commanded the body to be interred in the Tower.
---Memoirs of Edmund Ludlow, Esq., 1751

Bill  •  Link

"changing his apron in those desperate times for a buff-coat"

I've been thinking about that patronizing description of John Okey and I've decided that Our Sam's Diary is turning me into a "commonwealths-man"! I'm sorry it didn't turn out better...

Bill  •  Link

These three men [Berkstead, Cobbet and Okey] behaved with more moderation and submission than any of the other regicides, who had suffered. Okey in particular, at the place of execution, prayed for the King, and expressed his intention, had he lived, of submitting peaceably to the established government. He had risen during the wars from being a chandler in London to a high rank in the army; and in all his conduct appeared to be of a man of humanity and honour. In consideration of his good character and of his dutiful behaviour, his body was given his friends to be buried.
---The history of England. David Hume, 1763.

Bill  •  Link

OKEY, JOHN (d. 1662), regicide; colonel of dragoons at Naseby, 1645; led storming party at Bath, but was captured at Bristol, 1645 ; present at battle of St. Fagan's, 1648; signed Charles I's death-warrant, 1649; created master of arts at Oxford, 1649; took part in and described storming of Dundee, 1651; sat in parliament, 1654: opposed the protectorate and was cashiered for circulating a petition against it; arrested for renewed opposition to Cromwell, 1658; represented Bedfordshire in Richard Cromwell's parliament, which restored him to command; again cashiered for resistance to Lambert, 1659, but regained his regiment the same year; being deprived by Monck, joined Lambert at Daventry, 1660; fled to Germany; arrested at Delft; executed in England.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

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