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Adrian Scrope
Adrian Scrope by John Faber the Younger, circa 1719
Council of Scotland
In office
Governor of Bristol Castle
In office
Personal details
Born12 January 1601
Wormsley Park, Buckinghamshire
Died17 October 1660(1660-10-17) (aged 59)
Charing Cross, London
Political partyParliamentarian
SpouseMary Waller (married 1624)
Alma materHart Hall, Oxford
OccupationSoldier and administrator
Military service
Years of service1642–1649

Colonel Adrian Scrope, also spelt Scroope, 12 January 1601 to 17 October 1660, was a Parliamentarian soldier during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, and one of those who signed the death warrant for Charles I in January 1649. Despite being promised immunity after the Restoration in 1660, he was condemned as a regicide and executed in October.

A wealthy landowner from Buckinghamshire, Scrope was a relative of the Parliamentarian leader John Hampden and fought in both the First and Second English Civil Wars. Appointed by Oliver Cromwell as head of security during the trial of Charles I, he was present on each day and signed the death warrant. However, he largely avoided taking part in the political struggles of the Protectorate or the Restoration of Charles II.

Initially released in June 1660 after paying a fine, he was re-arrested in August, tried for treason and found guilty, primarily due to a claim he refused to condemn the execution of Charles I, even after the Restoration. He was executed at Charing Cross, London, on 17 October 1660.

Personal details

Adrian Scrope was born at Wormsley Park, Buckinghamshire and baptised on 12 January 1601, only son of Sir Robert Scrope (1569-1630) and Margaret Cornwall (1573-1633). The family were a cadet branch of the Scropes of Bolton.[1]

Wormsley Park, circa 1840; house in background

In 1624, he married Mary Waller, sister of the poet and Royalist conspirator Edmund Waller. They had at least eight children, and probably more: Edmund (1626-1658); Robert (1628-bef. 1661); Margaret (1) (b. ca. 1630-1631; d. bef. 6 Feb 1639/40); Anne (bp. 3 June 1633); Thomas (bp. 11 Sep 1634; d. bef. Will probate 1 Aug 1704), heir of Wormsley estate; Mary (bp. 28 June 1636); Margaret (2) (bp. 6 Feb 1639/40) and Elizabeth (b. 1655; bur. 4 Aug 1738). The fact that his youngest daughter Elizabeth isn't mentioned in Pedigrees, coupled with the large gap between the births of Margaret (2) and Elizabeth, suggests that there may have been additional children. William Scrope (Throop)1638-1704- Sc[2]

His youngest daughter Elizabeth married Jonathan Blagrave (1652-1698), who was a Prebendary of Worcester Cathedral and related to another regicide, Daniel Blagrave. On her death in 1738, she was buried in St Mary's Collegiate Church, Youghal where her memorial can still be seen. It names her father as "Colonel Adrian Scrope, of Warmesley in the County of Oxford"; as with many of those which refer to the regicides, it was deliberately defaced and broken in two at some point.[3]


Scrope graduated from Hart Hall, Oxford on 7 November 1617, and as was then common studied law at the Middle Temple until 1619. There are few details of his career prior to the outbreak of the First English Civil War in August 1642; he was related to the Parliamentarian leader John Hampden and like many of the Buckinghamshire gentry joined the army of Parliament, raising a troop of horse for the Earl of Essex and fighting at Edgehill.[4]

In 1644, he joined Sir Robert Pye's cavalry regiment, fighting at Lostwithiel and the Second Battle of Newbury, before transferring to the New Model Army in 1645 as a major in Colonel Richard Graves' regiment. Although the regiment was part of the force sent to relieve Taunton and missed the Battle of Naseby, he took part in the South-Western campaign, where it fought at Langport and Bristol.[5]

Just before the Royalist capital of Oxford surrendered in June 1646, Charles I escaped to join the Scottish Covenanter army outside Newark. In March 1647, the Scots handed him over to Parliament in return for £400,000 and Graves' regiment escorted him to Holdenby House in Northamptonshire. In the struggle for control between Parliamentary moderates and the Army Council, Graves supported Parliament; when Cornet George Joyce arrived at Holmby and took charge of the king on behalf of the Council, Scrope replaced Graves as colonel.[5]

Adrian Scrope is located in Southern England
St Neots
St Neots
Key locations; 1642 to 1648

By early 1648, Scrope was based in Blandford keeping order in Dorset, home base of Denzil Holles, the Army's leading Parliamentary opponent, before an alliance of English and Scots Royalists and Presbyterians led to the Second English Civil War in June.[6] Scrope was sent to help Thomas Fairfax suppress the revolt in Kent and Essex, before being detached from the Siege of Colchester to put down another rising in Cambridgeshire, led by Henry Rich, 1st Earl of Holland. On 10 July, he took Holland prisoner at the Battle of St Neots; although Parliament voted for banishment, the Army insisted on his execution in March 1649.[7]

Just before the Second Civil War ended, Scrope was sent to Yarmouth after reports the Prince of Wales was attempting to land there. Although this did not take place, it is suggested Yarmouth was the location of a meeting held around this time where Oliver Cromwell proposed the trial and execution of Charles I.[8] It is not clear whether Scrope attended but shortly afterwards he became a member of the Army Council; he supported Pride's Purge in December 1648, was appointed one of the judges at trial of Charles I, and voted for his execution on 30 January 1649.[9]

In April 1649, continuing unrest within the army led to a series of mutinies. Then based at Salisbury, in May Scrope's regiment was selected to take part in the reconquest of Ireland; joined by Henry Ireton's unit, they refused to go.[10] Only eighty men remained loyal to Scrope, the rest elected new officers, fortified their positions within the town, and published a pamphlet with their demands.[11] The units from Salisbury attempted to link up with colleagues elsewhere, posing a serious threat to the regime; Cromwell and Fairfax put down the mutiny at Burford on 17 May, three ringleaders were shot and the regiments concerned dissolved, including Scrope's.[12]

His inability to pacify the mutineers and general unpopularity with the troops ended Scrope's active military career. In October, he was appointed governor of Bristol Castle, a position he retained until June 1655 when it was demolished as part of a scheme for reducing the number of garrisons in England.[1] In August, he was appointed to the newly formed Council of Scotland, a body established by Cromwell to administer the country following its incorporation into the Commonwealth. Edmund Ludlow, another regicide who became an opponent of Cromwell, claimed this was to offset George Monck, the ambitious military commander.[13]


Contemporary print; execution of Charles I (top) and the regicides (bottom)

Scrope spent little time in Scotland and played no part in the struggle for power that ended with The Restoration of Charles II in May 1660. He complied with the proclamation issued by Charles II on 4 June 1660, requiring the regicides to surrender within fourteen days "upon pain of being excepted from pardon".[14] After a lengthy debate, on 9 June the Commons ruled he be discharged after paying a fine, a considerably lighter sentence than that imposed on the other prisoners.[15]

However, on 23 July the Lords passed a motion excluding him from the Indemnity and Oblivion Act along with all the regicides; Scrope was clearly viewed with some sympathy, as on 1 August the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire was summoned to explain why he had failed to arrest him.[16] What sealed his fate was the allegation by Sir Richard Browne, a Parliamentarian moderate excluded in 1648 and now MP for the City of London, that in a recent conversation Scrope refused to denounce the execution.[1] As a result, on 28 August the Commons agreed to put him on trial.[17]

At the proceedings on 12 October, Scrope claimed he acted as instructed by Parliament but admitted to an 'error of judgement'. While the presiding judge, Sir Orlando Bridgeman, agreed he was "not such a person as some of the rest", Browne's evidence meant he was condemned to death. On 17 October, he was hanged, drawn and quartered at Charing Cross, along with Thomas Scot, Gregory Clement and John Jones Maesygarnedd; as a special favour, his body was returned to his family for burial, rather than being put on display.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Wroughton 2008.
  2. ^ Foster 1874, p. 352.
  3. ^ Groeger.
  4. ^ Noble 1798, p. 200.
  5. ^ a b Plant.
  6. ^ Royle 2004, pp. 424–425.
  7. ^ Smut 2004.
  8. ^ Norfolk Archives.
  9. ^ Royle 2004, p. 501.
  10. ^ Royle 2004, p. 511.
  11. ^ Anonymous 1649.
  12. ^ Royle 2004, p. 512.
  13. ^ Ludlow 1894, p. 394.
  14. ^ A Proclamation.
  15. ^ House of Commons 1802, p. 60.
  16. ^ House of Lords 1767, pp. 103, 114.
  17. ^ Pepys.


1893 text

Colonel Adrian Scroope, one of the persons who sat in judgment upon Charles I.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

5 Annotations

First Reading

vincent  •  Link

He was born about 12 January, 1600-01. He was a direct descendant of the family of Buckinghamshire, the head of which was ennobled. He himself occupied the Scrope mansion at Wormsley, Oxfordshire, England.
He married Mary Waller (born 1605; died 1660 in Charing Cross, London, England) on 29 November, 1624 in Southwark, Surrey, England. They had children:
11 children 5 boys( 2 died in 58 2 not known maybe at bbirth ) 6 girls not known.…
about the rest of the gang including Downing, regicides from…
William Throope son maybe this one
William Scrope - born 19 March, 1636 in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England; possible alias as a Throope who died 4 December, 1704 and was buried in East Burial Ground Cem, Bristol, Rhode Island

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Col. Adrian Scrope was one of the regicides who surrendered at the Restoration of Charles II.

The House of Commons voted to pardon him under the Act of Indemnity, but the House of Lords demanded that all the regicides should be brought to trial. Scrope was condemned to death when Major-General Richard Browne testified Scrope had justified King Charles' execution to him even after Charles II's return.

He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Charing Cross on 17 October, 1660.…

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Col. Adrian Scrope was a son of Sir Adrian Scrope of Hambleden, Bucks. He was born about 12 January, 1600/1. He was a direct descendant of the family of Buckinghamshire, the head of which was ennobled. He occupied the Scrope mansion at Wormsley, Oxfordshire, England.

Adrian Scrope married Mary Waller (born 1605; died 1660 in Charing Cross, London, England) on 29 November, 1624 in Southwark, Surrey, England. They had children:
Edmund Scrope - born 1626 in Southwark, Surrey, England; died 1658
Robert Scrope - born 1628 in Southwark, Surrey, England
Thomas Scrope - born 1630 in Southwark, Surrey, England; christened 11 September, 1630 in Bristol; died about 1658
Margaret - born 1632 in Southwark, Surrey
Ann - born 1634 in Southwark, Surrey
William Scrope - born 19 March, 1636 in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England; possible alias as a Throope who died 4 December, 1704 and was buried in East Burial Ground Cemetary, Bristol, Rhode Island
Margaret - born 6 February, 1639 in Southwark, Surrey
Mary - born 1640 in Southwark, Surrey
Margaret - born 1642 in Southwark, Surrey
Elizabeth - born 1644 in Southwark, Surrey
Adrian Scrope - born 1646 in Southwark, Surrey

Adrian Scrope was the regicide, Col. Adrian Scrope, whose signature is on the death warrant of King Charles.
Col. Adrian Scrope was prominent under Cromwell in the Great Rebellion; fought at Edgehill and other battles, He was Governor of Bristol Castle, a Commissioner to Scotland, and was appointed one of the High Court of Justice which condemned King Charles to be beheaded.
Col. Adrian Scrope attended that Court with exemplary regularity, sat close to Bradshaw, the President, was 37th to sign the death warrant on Jan. 27, 1648.

During the political revolutions of 1659-60, Col. Adrian Scrope apparently remained neutral and had some prospect of escape at the Restoration of Charles II. He surrendered himself in obedience to the King's proclamation; the House of Commons voted he should have the benefit of the Act of Indemnity on payment of one year's rent, but the House of Lords ordered all the King's judges to be arrested and excepted Scrope absolutely from pardon.

Later, the Commons reiterated their vote in Col. Scrope's favor, but the Lords remained firm. Taken altogether, this was an inexcusable breach of faith, as Scrope had surrendered in reliance upon Charles II's proclamation.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


At his Trial, held at Old Bailey, Oct. 12, 1660, Col. Scrope defended himself with dignity and moderation. He admitted, reluctantly, that he had signed the death warrant of King Charles. Pleaded that "he was not in the parliament, and that which was done in the high court of justice, it was done by a commission from the parliament, and it was that authority that was then accounted the supreme authority of the nation."
Answering this plea, the presiding judge gave an exposition of the British Constitution, showed that the so-called Parliament which had appointed the High Court of Justice was not only unconstitutional but unrepresentative, for "there was but forty-six sat, whereas there were above two hundred and forty excluded," and said: "When men shall assume their acts by obeying them, it is an aggravation."
Col. Scrope then pleaded: "If I have been misled, I am not a single person that has been misled, for I see a great many faces that were misled at that time as well as myself," and "I hope that an error of the judgement shall not be accounted an error of the will, for I never went to the work with a malicious heart,"
to which Lord Chief Barron replied: "If a man do an act of this nature, that may be some kind of excuse to God, but towards man you are to look to the fact."
Col. Scrope then reminded the Court that he had surrendered himself on Charles II's proclamation, but Richard Browne, lord mayor elect of London, in whom "there was great meanness, if not worse," certainly a renegade, for he had been formerly a Major-General in the parliamentary army and a kind of a friend of Scrope's, now anxious to prove his loyalty to the new regime, swore that since the restoration, Scrope had used words apparently justifying the late King's execution and had not pronounced it murder, saying "some are of the opinion, and some of another," and this evidence, which also led to the abandonment of Scrope by the Commons, sealed his fate

Col. Adrian Scrope was executed at Charing Cross, London, England on Oct. 17, 1660, aged 58.

The Chief Justice, who treated Col. Adrian Scrope with great civility and was as just as could be expected at the time, stated: "Mr. Scrope to give him his due is not such a person as some of the rest, but he was unhappily engaged in this bloody business."

Noble in his "Lives of the Regicides," states: "It was a thousand pities that if so many were to die as public examples, some of the others were equally guilty of the King's death, and whose lives were a disgrace to any cause, were not substituted in his stead."

Ludlow, a contemporary, said: "His port and mean were noble, and the endowments of his mind every way answerable," and an account of his behavior in prison and at the gallows describes him as "a comely ancient gentleman," and dwells on his cheerfulness and courage.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


The night before Col. Adrian Scrope's death, a nephew came to him in his dungeon and requested him to repent of the part he acted in the King's death, and submit to the present King's mercy, to which he replied, "avoid Satan," and this same night he composed himself and "slept so sound he snored."

At the gallows Col. Adrian Scrope referred to "him through whose means I was brought here to suffer, I say no more, the Lord forgives him, I shall not name him," and in his last prayer, he asked for "strength to stand and endure the present hour of temptation," after which the executioner performed his bloody office.…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.