Saturday 19 April 1662

This morning, before we sat, I went to Aldgate; and at the corner shop, a draper’s, I stood, and did see Barkestead, Okey, and Corbet, drawn towards the gallows at Tiburne; and there they were hanged and quartered. They all looked very cheerful; but I hear they all die defending what they did to the King to be just; which is very strange. So to the office and then home to dinner, and Captain David Lambert came to take his leave of me, he being to go back to Tangier there to lie.

Then abroad about business, and in the evening did get a bever, an old one, but a very good one, of Sir W. Batten, for which I must give him something; but I am very well pleased with it. So after writing by the post to bed.

38 Annotations

First Reading

Clement  •  Link

"Their Speeches and Prayers being ended, the Executioner cleared the Cart of the rest of the People, who were gotten in, and then pulled down their several Caps over their eyes, and upon the lifting up their hands the Cart was drawn away; at which time Col. Barkstead especially was heard to say, 'Lord Jesus receive our souls;' and after he had hanged for a little space, he lifted up his hand.
That which many did especially take notice of, was, That there was not so much as the least attempt made by any to raise a triumphant shout upon the drawing away of the Cart; but there rather appeared the symptoms of an universal face of Sadness in that vast and generally tumultuous Assembly, who were the Spectators of their several Deaths."

link provided by Vincenzo at Barkstead's info page, which includes a transcript of their final words. They were apparently allowed to die hanging, which was not necessarily the intention of a hanging-and-quartering execution.

Australian Susan  •  Link

"I hear they all die defending what they did to the king to be just; which is very strange"
Now what do we think Sam means by this. Why is it "strange" that people remain true to their principles,even under threat of a slow and barbarous death? Is it because that, all around him, Sam sees people who have accomodated themselves to the new regime or fled beyond English jurisdiction's reach (as there was not much one could do to outargue a signature on a death warrant). Is his own conscience easy?. I don't suppose we will ever know just what Sam was really feeling about this event. Wish he had been more forthcoming: it is a most interesting situation in a time of great change.

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

20%/80% rule appears to apply: a certain percentage will adhere to principle of thought. A large Majority will always go [or drift] with the flow [be it ebb,drag,undercurrent, vortex, rise or even surge or eddy] [the Navy sees it all] 'Tis why Man be the most successful surviver, stay around for another day: Sam has and is in the employ of two of the well known survivors, Downing and Sandwich, then he has the ear for and of Batten, Penn, Pett and even Monke, great Survivers all.

JWB  •  Link

"...which is very strange."
I too brought up short by this phrase. Re-read Oct 19,20 of 1660.

dirk  •  Link

"which is very strange"

I think this is merely Sam bewildered by the notion that the same facts or actions may be considered as justified by some and criminal by others - or the relativity of ethical judgement (no such thing as absolute truth).

Something most of us have probably considered at some point in our lives.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"They did all die defending what they did to the King to be just..." Brave bunch...

"Which is very strange..."
Former Roundhead Sam rewriting history...And, perhaps, like a Stalinist purge victim in the last sad century, coming to half- (or more)believe the revision. Though at least our boy and the others who've turned their backs on Oliver will not have to confess to insane charges, name names, and be grateful for a quick shooting... (Well, at least, maybe not all those three.)

Mary  •  Link

"did get a bever ... of Sir Wm. Batten"

You have to smile. Sam is very pleased with himself when he and Elizabeth manage to snub Lady B. at church, but he's still happy to wear a hand-me-down hat of Sir William's, even if he does have 'to give him something' for it.

Mary  •  Link


L&M add the interesting note that Okey was the only one who made no attempt to try and defend regicide. Thus he alone was permitted Christian burial.

JohnT  •  Link

Presumably the denial of Christian burial is because regicide, as a rejection of the divine right of kings, is an offence against God as well as big , big political gamble. Or is it simply that the others, by defending their actions, were still in a state of mortal sin ? Just as a suicide was denied Christian burial on the assumption that there would have been no time for repentance ?

JWB  •  Link

bever 27 June,'61
"This day Mr. Holden sent me a bever, which cost me L4 5s."

David A. Smith  •  Link

"what they did to the King to be just; which is very strange"
The explanation might be simpler: until Charles I, no king had ever been executed for treason against his people -- the very idea was unthinkable. (Throughout the Civil War, Charles could not conceive of himself in physical danger from his captors.)
Sam's posture might be the equivalent of, "I can understand why you deposed him, fought against him, imprisoned him ... but why did you have to *kill* him?" Note also that many who fought were pardoned, only the regicides reaped what they had sown (the block).
Concur with Australian Susan -- wish Sam had been a few words more forthcoming!

JWB  •  Link

passing strange
Tomilin(p33 paperback):"...he(meaning Sam)remembers telling his friends that if he had to preach a sermon on the king, his text would be,"The memory of the wicked shall rot"' This said while @ St. Paul's having presumedly witnessed the execution. Perhaps Sam's trying here in today's entry to establish bona fides, at least in his own mind.

serafina  •  Link

Nothing like witnessing a good hanging and quartering to whip up an appetite for dinner....

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

yesterday and today a concern for Sam:Navy and Ordnance Carriages.
Upon Motion made this Day, informing, That his Majesty's Affairs were much inconvenienced in relation to his Navy and Ordnance, by the People's imposing excessive Rates upon Carriages, knowing the Necessity of his Majesty's Occasions; and his Majesty intended not to have the same at lower Rates than usual; but to give the same Rates that Merchants and others did;
Ordered, That Mr. William Coventry have Leave to prepare and bring in a Bill, with Blanks, to settle the Rates of such Carriages as shall be made Use of for his Majesty's Occasions.

From: 'House of Commons Journal Volume 8: 18 April 1662', Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8: 1660-1667 (1802), pp. 409-10. URL:…. Date accessed: 20 April 2005.
Then there be the worry over the Common Prayer book and it's contents, then threre be the conformity of worship, still keeping the houses in their seats.

Sjoerd  •  Link

The link to Okey mentions him getting his commission in the army in 1660...this seems much too late.

Pepys's boss Downing was a chaplain in Colonel Okey's regiment before 1650.

dirk  •  Link

the denial of Christian burial

The site Clement refers to, has this to say about Okey's burial:

"When Col. Okey's Body was quartered, it pleased the King to send a Warrant to the Sheriff of London, to deliver the macerated Body to be buried where his Wife should think meet. Which thing being granted, without Petition or Application from her, or his Relations; and the Rumour of his Funeral suddenly flying about the City, (…) there was a numerous Concourse of sober, substantial People assembled to Christ-Church, to attend the Corps, and some thousands more were coming thither to that purpose; so that there were in view about Twenty thousand People attending that Solemnity (…), who in a solemn and peaceable manner behaved themselves, as that affair required: Yet it so pleased the King to revoke this first Grant to Mrs. Okey, and by the Sheriff of London to disappoint and send home again the Company attending the Funeral; which Sheriff, with much harshness and many bitter words, did his work. The People, though much troubled at the disappointment, yet, so soon as they understood the King's pleasure, departed; (…).”

It appears that the denial (eventually) of a normal burial, at least in Okey’s case, may have been motivated by very practical considerations: to avoid anything which might give cause to social unrest - or even a riot. 20,000 people coming to the funeral of a condemned regicide are 20,000 reasons for a change of plans…


MN  •  Link

Although Okey was initially permitted to have his body returned to his wife for Christian burial in Stepney, the government changed its mind when it learned that a large crowd was expected to attend the execution. Okey was interred in the tower of London.

Interestingly, it was Sir George Downing who went to the Netherlands to capture today's three executed regicides. The 2004 DNB says that his apparent treachery was an action from which 'his personal reputation would never recover'.

tc  •  Link

(re: Clement's annotation) ...after he had hanged for a little space, he lifted up his hand...

Sounds like a rather inhumane hanging, if those being hanged died as a result of slow strangulation rather than the snapping of the neck/spine (when the trap door opened beneath the feet) as became the custom in the US and elsewheres. But is hanging itself inhumane as an execution method? They think so here in the US, mostly I believe opting for the needle (though here in Florida, some have warm memories of the electric chair known as "Old Sparky".) Anyone with thoughts on hanging to share?

Quartering, well, now...rather inhumane perhaps by contemporary standards; but then, torture is still alive and practiced by all too many governments, and heads are still being lopped off all over the world on a regular basis today, so certainly our modern world cannot claim to be all that much more humane...sigh.

As we have all noticed so many times enjoying Sam's diary, the more things change, the more they stay the same...

chocolate chip  •  Link

that's where word OK comes from - they said it was OKey for his wife to have the body

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"In 1649 the University of Oxford made him a Master of Arts after he had crushed the Leveller mutineers at Burford......Okey an Anabaptist and diehard Republican,was a man of courage and cheerfulness"
cf C.P.Hill-Stuart Britain 1603-1714

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

'The link to Okey mentions him getting his commission in the army in 1660...this seems much too late’
Reread the the first 3 months of the Diary, ‘tis fun to see the changes rendered.
This was at the time of indecision and behind the scenes fanagaling by self interested parties and Monke set the tone by over coming Lambert’s forces. [ Lambert, it appears failed to have cash to pay for food and board, tickets would not be accepted by the people as they smelt the change of air, as they be fed up with disruption of a normal life. [it was COD time]]. The Parliament that were puting to gether a defensive army against the Borderers [Coldstreamers],is not the same folks that are curring favours of Lady Castlemains buddy

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

Slow Hanging
My understanding is that the hanging part of "Hanged, Drawn and Quartered" was *meant* to not break the neck, so that the condemned would be alive for the castration and disembowlment (the "drawing") which followed.

Clement, above, said that it appears that the executioner did not cut them down until they were actually dead, which would have been meant as a mercy on his part.

dirk  •  Link

the hanging

Sam mentions only hanging & quartering. No "drawing". Is this an oversight on his part - or did the sentence not include drawing? The descriptions so far didn't mention anything more than (slow) hanging, and then the beheading & quartering of the bodies. Have I missed something?

Australian Susan  •  Link

The purpose of the quartering of hanging, drawing & quartering,was to have different sections of the body which could be sent round and hung up in different places to serve as a warning to others and to prove the person was dead. The head would be stuck on a spike on London Bridge or at the Tower. Because of the popularity of executions, they were being held at Tyburn, not on Tower Green (where the present Merchant Marine War Memorial is), but Tower Green was still used for some traitors - such as the 1745 rebels who were captured and condemned.(But they were executed with an axe).
Drawing was all part of the punishment. Maybe it has been decided to dispense with this for these people or maybe drawing has ceased as a pratice. Any more recent mentions of this ghastly practice?

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

Maybe, just maybe, they that decided such guilt and issued punishment had a few pangs of Conscience. There by recipients of change of venue, could have a religeous burial [less an 'ead] and their wordly goods were not pick over by human carrion. Remember, although a few of the Revolutioners with unpopular necks received negative rewards, others did benefit with lands, ribbons and coin. The blood bath was truly minimal, unlike many other changes of radical power structures, before and since.
You name any political struggle, very few have not failed to shed blud. One notable event was the Portuguese, girls were v.cute and put red carnations down the barrels of the armed young men,so no blud be spilt.
Most successful changes in radical powers be when the the new regime removes the bad key elements and make use of the the rest.

Clement  •  Link

A "private" beheading on the Tower Green was a priveledge formerly reserved for noblemen and women, but one that hadn't been offered since Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex was executed there in 1601.…

Australian Susan  •  Link

Clement you are quite right - I meant Tower HILL, not Tower GREEN. Sorry. The latter is inside the Tower walls. It is is the former which is the raised area now across the road from the Tower which was the site of public executions. My mind was muddled. Even a lord got executed on Tower Hill in public after the 1745 rebellion.

dirk  •  Link

The diary of Ralph Josselin for sunday 27 April 1662 mentions the execution of the regicides:

"[...] on 19. Feb. when Corbett . Barkstead and Okey were executed at Tiburne, Okey said that prophaneness was at such a height that if true as said England could not stand 3 years. the Court looked on this with a jeer. indeed man knows not tomorrow. its not for us to prophesy. but when our sins deserve a curse, its wisdom to hear, fear and repent. the Lords day is most sadly profaned in all places, lord look on and help."

(Clearly the reference to 19 **Feb** is an error - either by the rev. Josselin himself, or a scanning error.)

Tom W-C  •  Link

Whatever you might say about signing Charles I's death warrant, Okey appears to have been a man of principle and clearly popular for it, witness the numbers who Pepys describes turning out for his burial.

His principles led him subsequently to go against the grain by signing the 'Petition of the Three Colonels' (1654), criticising Cromwell and the protectorate, for which he was court-martialled, found not guilty of treason, but nonetheless ended his career in the army.

As for Downing, a man who presumably Okey would have trusted given that Downing had been chaplain in his regiment, he was honoured with a baronetcy a year after capturing Barkestead, Okey and Corbet, and had a street named after him... I read somewhere (no citation, sorry) that he had tricked them into believing they would be pardoned. Is there justice?

Pepys' comment, "which is very strange" might have been an ironic reference to the number of people who, since the restoration, had remembered they were royalists after all.

Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

A Complete Collection of State Trials and Proceedings for High Treason and Other Crimes and Misdemeanors from the Earliest Period to the Year 1783. Compiled by T.B. Howell, Esq. F.R.S. RS.A. LONDON:
Printed by T. C. Hansard, Peterborough-Court, Fleet-Street:…

Bill  •  Link

"at the corner shop, a draper’s, I stood"

Now actually Moses and Son's.
---Diary and correspondence of Samuel Pepys, the diary deciphered by J. Smith. 1854.

Moses and Son's:…

Sasha Clarkson  •  Link

Although Sam has witnessed executions before, this time he chooses merely to observe the arrival of the condemned into the City, drawn on sleds. (Aldgate is some considerable distance from Tyburn.)

Louise Hudson  •  Link

". . .but there rather appeared the symptoms of an universal face of Sadness in that vast and generally tumultuous Assembly, who were the Spectators of their several Deaths."

"So to the office, then home to dinner . . "

Seeing three human beings hanged and quartered doesn't seem to have created "a face of sadness" on Sam nor did it have had any apparent negative effect on his appetite--nor his conscience. Just another bit of pleasant entertainment to round out the day.

Paul Lazest  •  Link

Why did Downing's capture of the three regicides in Holland destroy his reputation? Was this not an act of loyalty to the king?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"Why did Downing's capture of the three regicides in Holland destroy his reputation? Was this not an act of loyalty to the king?"

See Pepys, 12 March this year: "that Sir G. Downing (like a perfidious rogue, though the action is good and of service to the King, yet he cannot with any good conscience do it) hath taken Okey, Corbet, and Barkestead at Delfe, in Holland, and sent them home in the Blackmore."…

Downing was loyal to the King at the price of the life of a friend, benefactor and man for whom he had once had spiritual care: "This guy was coming into the prime of his continent- and polity-spanning career: from Puritan New England, to the West Indies, to a gig in Cromwell’s army during the English Civil War. (It was John Okey himself who hooked Downing up: Downing matriculated with Harvard University’s first graduating class thanks to Okey’s sponsorship, and it was in Okey’s regiment that Downing was retained as chaplain.)" For the rest see:…

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"I hear they all die defending what they did to the king to be just; which is very strange"

L&M: For their arrest, see… and…
For theie execution, see Kingd. Intell. , 21 April, pp. 252+: The speeches, discourses and prayers of Col. John Barkstead etc. . . . upon the 19th of April . . . (1662), pp. 49+. Okey, unlike the others, did not attempt to defend regicide; he alone therefore was given Christian burial: CSPD 1661-2, p.3444.

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