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Hugh Peter
Born29 June 1598
Fowey, Cornwall, England
Died16 October 1660(1660-10-16) (aged 62)
Charing Cross London, England
Cause of deathExecution by hanging, drawing and quartering
EducationTrinity College, Cambridge
OccupationIndependent Preacher
Known forChaplain in New Model Army, Parliamentarian, regicide, New England colonist

Hugh Peter (or Peters) (baptized 29 June 1598 – 16 October 1660) was an English preacher, political advisor and soldier who supported the Parliamentary cause during the English Civil War and later the trial and execution of Charles I. Following the Restoration, he was executed as a regicide.

Peter became highly influential during the English Civil War. He employed a flamboyant preaching style that was considered highly effective in furthering the interests of the Puritan cause.

From a radically Protestant family of Cornwall, England, though of part Dutch origin, Peter emigrated to a Puritan colony in America, where he first rose to prominence. After spending time in Holland, he returned to England and became a close associate and propagandist for Oliver Cromwell. Peter may have been the first to propose the trial and execution of Charles I and was believed to have assisted at the beheading.

Peter unsuccessfully proposed revolutionary changes that would have disestablished the Church of England's role in landholding and struck at the heart of the legal title to property. Disagreeing with the war against Protestant Holland and increasingly excluded after Cromwell's death, Peter's former outspokenness and role in the execution of Charles I meant he faced reprisal following the Restoration and he was hanged, drawn and quartered as a regicide.

Early life

Coat of Arms of Hugh Peter

Peter was born to a father from Antwerp and was of an affluent background. Peter was baptized on 29 June 1598 in Fowey and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge.[1][2] Having experienced conversion, he preached in Essex; returning to London, he took Anglican orders and was appointed lecturer at St Sepulchre's. He entertained, however, Puritan opinions and eventually left England for Holland. He visited Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in Germany in about 1632 and, afterwards, became the minister of the English church at Rotterdam.[1]

Here, his Puritan leanings again attracted attention, and Peter made a further move to New England.[1] He was connected with John Winthrop through his wife, and had already formed several friendships with the American colonists.[a] He arrived at Boston in October 1635 and was given charge of the church at Salem.[1] He played a significant role during the 1637 trial of Anne Hutchinson during the Antinomian Controversy, being one of the ministers wanting her banished from the colony.[3][4] He took a leading part in the affairs of the colony, and interested himself in the founding of the new colony in Connecticut.[1][3] He was also active in the establishment of Harvard College.[5]

Civil War period

In 1641, Peter returned to England as agent of the colony, but soon became involved in the political troubles which now began. He became chaplain to the forces of the adventurers in Ireland, and served in 1642 in Lord Forbes's expedition, of which he wrote an account. On his return he took a violent part in the campaign against William Laud, and defended the doctrines of the Independents in a preface to a tract by Richard Mather entitled "Church Government and Church Covenant discussed ..." (1643).[1]

In September 1643 the Parliamentary Committee of Safety employed Peter on a mission to Holland, there to borrow money on behalf of Parliament, and to explain the justice of its cause to the Dutch.[6]

He was more valuable to the Parliamentary cause as a preacher than as a diplomat, and his sermons were very effective in winning recruits to the parliamentary army.[7] He also became famous as an exhorter at the executions of state criminals, attended Richard Challoner on the scaffold, and improved the opportunity when Sir John Hotham was beheaded.[8] However, it was as an army chaplain that Peter exerted the widest influence. In May 1644 he accompanied the Earl of Warwick in his naval expedition for the relief of Lyme, preached a thanksgiving sermon in the church there after its accomplishment, and was commissioned by Warwick to represent the state of the west and the needs of the forces there to the attention of Parliament.[9] This was the prelude to greater services of the same nature rendered to Sir Thomas Fairfax and the New Model Army. As chaplain, Peter took a prominent part in the campaigns of that army during 1645 and 1646. Whenever a town was to be assaulted, it was his business to preach a preparatory sermon to the storming parties, and at Bridgwater, Bristol, and Dartmouth his eloquence was credited with inspiring the soldiers.[10] After a victory he was equally effective in persuading the populace of the justice of the parliamentary arms, and in converting neutrals into supporters. During the siege of Bristol he made converts of five thousand clubmen, and when Fairfax's army entered Cornwall, his despatches specially mentioned the usefulness of Peter in persuading his countrymen to submission.[11]

In addition to his duties as a chaplain, Peter exercised the functions of a confidential agent of the general and of a war correspondent. Fairfax habitually employed him to represent to Parliament the condition of his army, the motives which determined his movements, and the details of his successes. His relations of battles and sieges were eagerly read, and formed a semi-official supplement to the general's own reports. Oliver Cromwell followed the example of Fairfax, and on his behalf Peter delivered to the House of Commons narratives of the capture of Winchester and the sack of Basing House.[12] It was a fitting tribute to his position and his services that he was selected to preach, on 2 April 1646, the thanksgiving sermon for the recovery of the west before the two houses of parliament.[13]

At the conclusion of the First English Civil War, Peter, though greatly disliked by the Presbyterians and the Scots, had attained great influence as leader of the Independents. In his pamphlet "Last Report of the English Wars" (1646),[1] he urged religious toleration, an alliance with foreign Protestants, and an active propagation of the gospel.[1] In the dispute between the New Model Army and the Long Parliament he naturally took the side of the former, and after the seizure of the King by the Army in June 1647 had interviews with Charles I at Newmarket and Windsor, in which he favourably impressed the latter, and gave advice upon the best course to pursue. He performed useful services in the Second Civil War, procured guns for the besiegers at the siege of Pembroke, raised troops in the Midlands, and arranged the surrender of the Duke of Hamilton at Uttoxeter. When the Army entered London in 1648 he was one of the few preachers who supported the move and spoke out in support of Pride's Purge. In August 1649 he accompanied Cromwell on his Irish Campaign, and was present at the fall of Wexford, while later he assisted the campaign by superintending from England the despatch to Cromwell of supplies and reinforcements, and was himself destined by Cromwell for a regiment of foot. In 1650 he was appointed chaplain to the Council of State. Through his office he exerted influence on various committees concerned with religious, legal and social reforms. The same year, during the Third Civil War he was in South Wales, endeavouring to bring over the people to the cause, and subsequently was present at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, where afterwards he preached to the victorious Parliamentary soldiers.[14]

Role in trial and execution of Charles I

Peter rode at the head of the force bringing Charles I to London as prisoner, and justified and supported the trial and sentence in sermons. Peter's counsel was important in the inner circle of Cromwell and influenced the highest levels of policy making. According to a witness, Peter had asserted that he was the one who first suggested to Cromwell that the king should be tried and executed.[1][15] He is believed to have been the headman's assistant.[15]

Under the Commonwealth

At the conclusion of the war, Peter was appointed one of the preachers at Whitehall and became a person of influence. Parliament had already voted him an annuity of £200; Archbishop Laud's library (or a portion of it) had been handed over to him in 1644. He was one of the committee of twenty-one appointed to suggest legal reforms, and he published his ideas on this subject, which included a register of wills and land titles and the destruction afterwards of the ancient records, in his tract, "Good Work for a Good Magistrate" (in 1651), answered by R Vaughan and Prynne. He strongly disapproved of the First Anglo-Dutch War, and his influence suffered.[16] In July 1658 he was sent to Dunkirk as garrison chaplain. He preached the funeral sermon on Oliver Cromwell, and opposed the removal of Richard Cromwell.

In 1647 Peter had called for the readmission of the Jews to England, believing this would benefit the economy and hasten the Second Coming. On account of his views on the admission of the Jews, Cromwell invited him to the Whitehall Conference of 1655 to support his case. At the conference Peter changed sides, expressing the opinion that not only could the Jews could not be converted, but they might do harm through missionary work.[17]

Restoration and Stuart reprisal

Hugh Peters depicted in a 1660 broadside, "Don Pedro de Quixot, or in English the Right Reverend Hugh Peters"

The country became unstable and factional after Cromwell's son fell from power, and General Monck came from Scotland leading the only effective and unified force left. Peter attempted to secure his position with the new power in the land and met Monck at St Albans on the latter's march to London, but met with no favour, being expelled from his lodgings at Whitehall in January 1660. Monck's restoration of the house of Stuart placed Peter in serious danger. On 11 May his arrest was ordered.[16] On 17 May the Library of the Archbishop of Canterbury was taken from him.[b] He was excepted from the Act of Indemnity and apprehended on September 2 in Southwark.

Peter's preaching and addresses to Parliament on Cromwell's behalf had made him too well known as a Puritan opponent of the royal house of Stuart for any disavowals to save him; thus, a recantation of his opinions and a display of repentance would probably have been his best hope. It would also prevent his property being forfeited and leave something for his heirs. However, he appeared to have panicked, sending a defence of himself to the House of Lords in which he denied any share in the death of Charles I. In addition to justifying Charles being condemned to death, Peter was alleged to be one of the two heavily disguised executioners, even the one who welded the axe, though this was a task requiring some skill. The headsman's assistant had held up the severed head to spectators, and contemptuously thrown it aside afterward, but he omitted the usual pronouncement 'This is the head of a traitor'; as a leading preacher Peter's voice would have been easily recognized. A witness testified that Peter had ordered a carpenter to drive staples into the scaffold (for tying Charles to the block if he resisted), been present at the scene on the day of the execution, disappeared for an hour during it, and was seen drinking water with the presumed headsman, Richard Brandon, afterwards. Peter produced an alibi, claiming that he had been ill and confined to bed at home on that day, which was confirmed by a house servant of his, but the court found that testimony unconvincing.[15] He was tried on 13 October and found guilty of high treason.[16] Peter wrote "A Dying Father's Last Legacy" to his only child, Elizabeth, in which he gave a narrative of his career.[15][16]


He was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered and the execution took place at Charing Cross on 16 October. Peter was forced to watch John Cook suffering emasculation and disembowelment before enduring the same fate himself.[15] Some contemporaries reported him as having been in a poor mental state before his execution, while others, on the contrary, described his demeanour as dignified and composed.[15][18][19]


Hugh Peter was the author of the following pamphlets:[20]

  1. "The Advice of that Worthy Commander Sir Edward Harwood upon occasion of the French King's Preparations … Also a relation of his life and death" (the relation is by Peter), 4to, 1642; reprinted in the Harleian Miscellany, ed. Park, iv. 268.
  2. "A True Relation of the passages of God's Providence in a voyage for Ireland … wherein every day's work is set down faithfully by H. P., an eye-witness thereof", 4to, 1642.
  3. "Preface to Richard Mather's Church Government and Church Covenant discussed", 4to, 1643.
  4. "Mr. Peter's Report from the Armies, 26 July 1645, with a list of the chiefest officers taken at Bridgewater", &c., 4to, 1645.
  5. "Mr. Peter's report from Bristol", 4to, 1645.
  6. "The Full and Last Relation of all things concerning Basing House, with divers other Passages represented to Mr. Speaker and divers Members in the House. By Mr. Peters who came from Lieut.-Gen. Cromwell", 4to, 1645.
  7. "Master Peter's Message from Sir Thomas Fairfax with the narration of the taking of Dartmouth", 4to, 1646.
  8. "Master Peter's Message from Sir Thomas Fairfax … with the whole state of the west and all the particulars about the disbanding of the Prince and Sir Ralph Hopton's Army", 4to, 1646.
  9. "God's Doings and Man's Duty", opened in a sermon preached 2 April 1646, 4to.
  10. "Mr. Peter's Last Report of the English Wars, occasioned by the importunity of a Friend pressing an Answer to seven Queries", 1646, 4to.
  11. "Several Propositions presented to the House of Commons by Mr. Peters concerning the Presbyterian Ministers of this Kingdom, with the discovery of two great Plots against the Parliament of England", 1646, 4to.
  12. "A Word for the Army and Two Words for the Kingdom", 1647, 4to; reprinted in the Harleian Miscellany, ed. Park, v. 607.
  13. "Good Work for a good Magistrate, or a short cut to great quiet, by honest, homely, plain English hints given from Scripture, reason, and experience for the regulating of most cases in this Commonwealth", by H. P., 12mo, 1651.
  14. A preface to The Little Horn's Doom and Downfall, by Mary Cary, 12mo, 1651.
  15. "Æternitati sacrum Terrenum quod habuit sub hoc pulvere deposuit Henricus Ireton", Latin verses on Henry Ireton's death, fol. [1650].
  16. Dedication to "Operum Gulielmi Amesii volumen primum", Amsterdam, 12mo, 1658.
  17. "A Dying Father's Last Legacy to an only Child, or Mr. Hugh Peter's advice to his daughter, written by his own hand during his late imprisonment", 12mo, 1660.
  18. "The Case of Mr. Hugh Peters impartially communicated to the view and censure of the whole world, written by his own hand", 4to, 1660.
  19. "A Sermon by Hugh Peters preached before his death, as it was taken by a faithful hand, and now published for public information", London, printed by John Best, 4to, 1660.

A number of speeches, confessions, sermons, &c., attributed to Peter, are merely political squibs and satirical attacks. A list of these is given in Bibliotheca Cornubiensis. There are also attributed to Peter:[21]

  1. "The Nonesuch Charles his character", 8vo, 1651. This was probably written by Sir Balthazar Gerbier [q. v.], who after the Restoration asserted that Peters was its author.[22]
  2. "The Way to the Peace and Settlement of these Nations. … By Peter Cornelius van Zurick-Zee", 4to, 1659; reprinted in Somers Tracts, ed. Scott, vi. 487.
  3. "A Way propounded to make the poor in these and other nations happy. By Peter Cornelius van Zurick-Zee", 4to, 1659. A note in the copy of the latter in Thomason's Collection in the British Museum, says: "I believe this pamphlet was made by Mr. Hugh Peters, who hath a man named Cornelius Glover".[21]

Character assessment

In the opinion of the anonymous author of Peter's biography article in the Encyclopædia Britannica 11th ed (1911) his death was viewed with greater rejoicings than perhaps attended that of any of the regicides, as he had incurred great unpopularity by his unrestrained speech and extreme activity in the cause. He is said to have been a man of a rough, coarse nature, without tact or refinement, of strong animal spirits, undeterred by difficulties which beset men of higher mental capacity, whose energies often outran his discretion, intent upon the realities of life and the practical side of religion. In the opinion of that writer, Peter's conception of religious controversy, that all differences could be avoided if ministers could only pray together and live together, is highly characteristic, and shows the largeness of his personal sympathies and at the same time the limits of his intellectual imagination.[16]

In his Dictionary of National Biography article (1896) on Peter, the historian C. H. Firth was of the opinion that his popular hatred was hardly deserved. Peter had earned it by what he said rather than by what he did. His public-spirited exertions for the general good and his kindnesses to individual royalists were forgotten, and only his denunciations of the king and his attacks on the clergy were remembered. Burnet characterises him as "an enthusiastical buffoon preacher, though a very vicious man, who had been of great use to Cromwell, and had been very outrageous in pressing the king's death with the cruelty and rudeness of an inquisitor",[23] His jocularity had given as much offence as his violence, and pamphlets were compiled which related his sayings and attributed to him a number of time-honoured witticisms and practical jokes.[24] His reputation was further assailed in songs and satires charging him with embezzlement, drunkenness, adultery, and other crimes; but these accusations were among the ordinary controversial weapons of the period, and deserve no credit.[25] They rest on no evidence, and were solemnly denied by Peter. In one case the publisher of these libels was obliged to insert a public apology in the newspapers.[26] An examination of the career and the writings of Peter shows him to have been an honest, upright, and genial man, whose defects of taste and judgement explain much of the odium which he incurred, but in the opinion of Firth do not justify it.[27]

Peter is described as having been tall and thin, according to the tradition recorded by one of his successors at Salem, but his portraits represent a full-faced, and apparently rather corpulent man.[28] A picture of him, described by Cole, as showing "rather a well-looking open-countenanced man", was formerly in the President's lodge at Queens' College, Cambridge.[29] One which belonged to the Rev. Dr. Treffry was exhibited in the National Portrait Collection of 1868;[30] the best engraved portrait is that prefixed to "A Dying Father's Last Legacy", 12mo, 1660. A list of others is given in the catalogue of the portraits in the Sutherland Collection in the Bodleian Library, and many satirical prints and caricatures are described in the British Museum Catalogue of Prints and Drawings.[31]

Catholic historian Hugh Ross Williamson maintained in the 1950s[32] that Peter had actually and surreptitiously assisted at Charles I's execution. This allegation has not been broadly accepted.


Peter was the son of Thomas Dyckwoode, alias Peter, descended from a family which had left the Netherlands to escape religious persecution, and of Martha, daughter of John Treffry and Emlyn Tresithny of Place, Fowey, Cornwall.[1]

In about 1625, while Peter was preaching in Essex, he married Elizabeth, widow of Edmund Read of Wickford, and daughter of Thomas Cooke of Pebmarsh in the same county.[33]

Peter married secondly Deliverance Sheffield; she was still alive in 1677 in New England, and was supported by charity.[34] By his second marriage Peter had one daughter, Elizabeth, to whom his "Last Legacy" is addressed. She is said to have married and left descendants in America, but the accuracy of the pedigree is disputed.[35]

Hugh Peter on screen

In the 1970 film Cromwell he was played by Patrick Magee.

He was the subject of a 1981 television play A Last Visitor for Mr. Hugh Peter. It showed him the night before his execution, where he is visited by various figures from his past and the future.[36] He was played by Peter Vaughan, Charles Kay played Charles I, Michael Pennington played John Lilburne, and Julia Chambers played his daughter Elizabeth.[37]

See also


  1. ^ Elizabeth, Peter's first wife connected him with the Winthrop family, for Elizabeth's first husband, Edmund Read, was father of a daughter Elizabeth who was the wife of John Winthrop the younger (Firth 1896, p. 69).
  2. ^ "the Library of the late Archbishop of Canterbury, and now, or lately, in the Hands of Mr. Hugh Peters, be forthwith secured".(House of Commons 1802, pp. 27–33)

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Chisholm 1911, p. 229.
  2. ^ "Peters, Hugh (PTRS613H)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ a b Firth 1896, p. 70.
  4. ^ Battis 1962, pp. 189–208.
  5. ^ Spencer, Charles, Killers of the King, Chapter 7: Men of God
  6. ^ Firth 1896, p. 71 cite Cal. Clarendon Papers, i. 244.
  7. ^ Firth 1896, p. 71 cites Edwards, Gangræna, iii. 77.
  8. ^ Firth 1896, p. 71 cites Rushworth, v. 328, 804.
  9. ^ Firth 1896, p. 71 cites Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1644, pp. 266, 271.
  10. ^ Firth 1896, p. 71 cites Sprigge, Anglia Rediviva, pp. 77, 102, 180; Vicars, Burning Bush, 1646, p. 198.
  11. ^ Firth 1896, p. 71 cites Sprigge, p. 229; Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1645–1647, p. 128; Master Peter's Message from Sir Thomas Fairfax, 4to, 1645.
  12. ^ Firth 1896, p. 71 cites Sprigge, Anglia Rediviva, pp. 141–4, 150–3.
  13. ^ Firth 1896, p. 71 cites "God's Doings and Man's Duty", 4to, 1646.
  14. ^ Chisholm 1911, pp. 229–300.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Spencer, Charles, Killers of the King p159-170
  16. ^ a b c d e Chisholm 1911, p. 300.
  17. ^ Scult, Mel (1978). Millennial Expectations and Jewish Liberties: A Study of the Efforts to Convert the Jews in Britain, Up to the Mid Nineteenth Century. Brill Archive. pps.25.
  18. ^ Firth 1896, p. 75
  19. ^ Chisholm 1911, p. 300
  20. ^ Firth 1896, pp. 76–77.
  21. ^ a b Firth 1896, p. 77.
  22. ^ Firth 1896, p. 77 cites Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1661–2, p. 79.
  23. ^ Firth 1896, p. 76 Burnet, Own Time, ed. 1833, i. 290.
  24. ^ Firth 1896, p. 76 cites The Tales and Jests of Mr. Hugh Peters, published by one that formerly hath been conversant with the author in his lifetime, 4to, 1660; Hugh Peters his Figaries, 4to, 1660.
  25. ^ Firth 1896, p. 76 cites Don Juan Lamberto, 4to, 1661, pt. ii. chap. viii.; Yonge, England's Shame, 8vo, 1663, pp. 14, 19, 27, 53.
  26. ^ Firth 1896, p. 76 cites Several Proceedings in Parliament, 2–9 Sept. 1652.
  27. ^ Firth 1896, p. 76.
  28. ^ Firth 1896, p. 76 cites Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll. 1st ser. vi. 252.
  29. ^ Firth 1896, p. 76 cites Diary of Thomas Burton, i. 244.
  30. ^ Firth 1896, p. 76 notes it was exhibit number 724.
  31. ^ Firth 1896, p. 76 Satires, vol. i. 1870.
  32. ^ Hugh Ross Williamson, Historical Whodunnits (London: Macmillan, 1956)
  33. ^ Firth 1896, p. 69 cites A Dying Father's Legacy, 1660, p. 99; Bibl. Cornub. iii. 1310
  34. ^ Firth 1896, p. 77 cites Hutchinson Papers, Prince Soc. ii. 252.
  35. ^ Firth 1896, p. 77 cites Caulfield, Reprint of the Tales and Jests of Hugh Peters, 1807, p. xiv; Hist. of the Rev. Hugh Peters, by Samuel Peters, New York, 1807, 8vo.
  36. ^ Taylor 1981.
  37. ^ IMDB entry



Further reading

1893 text

Hugh Peters, born at Fowey, Cornwall, and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated M.A. 1622. He was tried as one of the regicides, and executed. A broadside, entitled “The Welsh Hubub, or the Unkennelling and earthing of Hugh Peters that crafty Fox,” was printed October 3rd, 1660.

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

14 Annotations

First Reading

Glyn  •  Link

Sjoerd's link may now be broken, so here is the biography from that site:

Hugh Peters, Preacher, 1598-1660
Born in Cornwall, educated at Cambridge, Peters became a devout Puritan around 1620 which brought him into conflict with the Anglican church authorities. In 1626, Peters moved to the Netherlands and became a pastor at Rotterdam. Even here, pressure was put upon him to conform to Anglican doctrine. Finally, in 1635 he left for New England. Related by marriage to John Winthrop, Peters became a minister at Salem, Massachusetts, in 1636.

On the outbreak of the First Civil War in 1642, he returned to England. He became a chaplain in the Parliamentary armies and was a prolific writer of accounts of the actions he saw. Peters was a strong Independent whose ferocious preaching drew many recruits to the Parliamentarian cause. He was chaplain to the Council of State from 1650 and was with Cromwell at the battle of Worcester. Although he played no direct part in the trial and execution of the King, Peters' vehement support for the Regicides resulted in his arrest at the Restoration. He was hanged, drawn and quartered at Charing Cross in October 1660.

JWB  •  Link

Ballad: A Proper New Ballad On The Old Parliament; Or, The Second
Part Of Knave Out Of Doors

"Come here, then, honest Peters, (96) say grace for the second
So long as these your betters must patience have upon force,
Long time he kept a great noise with God and the Good old Cause,
But if God own such as these, then where's the Devil's fees?
Sing hi ho, Hugo, I hear thou art not dead;
Where now to the Devil will you go, your patrons being fled?
Sing hi ho, my honey, my heart shall never rue,
Four-and-twenty now for a penny, and into the bargain Hugh"

Cavalier Songs & Ballads…

Terry F  •  Link

Hugh Peters [or Peter] (June, 1598 - October 16, 1660), English, a preacher, was the son of Thomas Dyckwoode, alias Peters, descended from a family which had left the Netherlands to escape religious persecution…

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Hugh Peters, who was the son of a merchant at Foy in Cornwal, was some time a member of Jesus College in Cambridge; whence he is said to have been expelled for his irregular behaviour. He afterwards betook himself to the stage, where he acquired that gesticulation and buffoonery which he practised in the pulpit. He was admitted into holy orders by Dr. Mountaine, bishop of London; and was, for a considerable time, lecturer of St. Sepulchre's in that city: but being prosecuted for criminal conversation with another man's wife, he fled to Rotterdam, where he was pastor of the English church, together with the learned Dr. William Ames. He afterwards exercised his ministry in New England, where he continued about seven years. He was a great pretender to the saintly character, a vehement declaimer against Charles I. and one of the foremost to encourage and justify the rebellion.
[He], together with his brethren the regicides, went to his execution with an air of triumph, rejoicing that he was to suffer in so good a cause. It appears from this instance, and many others, that the presumption of an enthusiast is much greater than that of a faint. The one is always humble, and works out his salvation with fear and trembling; the other is arrogant and assuming, and seems to demand it as his right.
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1779.

Bill  •  Link

PETERS or PETER, HUGH (1598-1660), independent divine; son of Thomas Dyckwoode, alias Peters; M.A. Trinity College, Cambridge, 1622; lecturer at St. Sepulchre's, London, but (c.1629) proceeded to Holland and (1635) became minister at Salem, Massachusetts; took a leading part in ecclesiastical matters; rebuked the governor, Henry Vane, for intervening in church matters; took a warm interest in the foundation of the colony of Connecticut, and intervened between the English settlers and the Dutch; returned to England (1641) and became prominent in controversy, war, and politics; his sermons were valuable in winning recruits to the parliamentary army, and his relations of battles and sieges are a semiofficial supplement to the generals' reports; influential among the independents; regarded with aversion by the presbyterians; acted with the army during its quarrel with parliament; accompanied Cromwell to Ireland, 1649; present at the battle of Worcester, 1650: made a chaplain to the council of state, 1650, and during the protectorate acted as a regular preacher at Whitehall; endeavoured, 1652-3, to put an end to the war with the Dutch, but after the death of the Protector took little part in public affairs; executed at Charing Cross, 16 Oct. 1660, as an abettor of the execution of Charles I.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Rev. Hugh Peters was one of the "Mayflower generation" who came back to England during the Civil Wars, for education, to fight, etc. Most of them faded into obscurity with the Restoration, so this story is a preview of what's to come in 2024 on the History of Parliamentary website:

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

THE WELSH HUBUB, Or the Unkennelling and Earthing of HUGH PETERS That Crafty Fox.…

"HEr will speak truth, her scorns to tell you tales,
Was gallant things, cal'd prophesies in ƲƲales
Truer then Mandivill, which do assure us
Arthurus quandom Rex, & Rex futurus:
Law there; nay more, our Merlin farther goes
Descending to our times, and points at those,
Who shall disturb our peace, and raise strange wars
Amongst our selves, with horrid civil Jars,
Murder with rapine, and saith that Sais Kee
Shall plundra Kefill glace, and Kefill Dee,
From honest Taffy; that the Mole or want
Shall undermine us, and our Rights supplant:
This Mole Expositors with one consent
Do call the long-taild ramping-Parliament:
That this is come to pass none can deny
Though Cutterell mawr, himself were standing by;
An other in his learned rimes doth say,
The Lions whelp is forc't to fly away,
And that the 7th of Ireland he shall be
Again restored unto his Royalty,
Hall, Ned, Mall, Bess, James, and two Charles, I wiss
Make just up seaven; our Merlin doth not misse
And that in express termes a Monk shall bring
And reinvest great Charles our sacred King:
And look you here now, is not this all true
Her will speak one word more and so adieu
When all this is full-filld, then draweth on
The time we call naw mish Capisteron;
And whats that Hugh? I'le tell the tis a time
When such as thou shall up a ladder clime,
Not unto Peter, Porter at heaven gate,
But there to fetch a swing or two, thy fate
Will have it so, and if it be thy chance
Amongst the traitors for to lead the daunce,
Thou shalt not turn alone, there will be more
To follow the upon the self same score,
To traverse ground, to change to turn and fling
and cut strong Capers in a hempen string;
I need not name them, Hugh, thou knowst u'm well,
They'l make a lusty Cushing dance to hell:
But yet me thinks, it is not very fit
That men alone without some femal chit
Should make a Ball, send for thy deer Nan Hedge,
For whom in former time thou wast a pledge;
Though M•rss the Goaler brought her back again
To wood-street Counter, and there lod'g the
If one will not suffice, then send for more
The world well knowes Hugh Peters loves a—
And though, his calling of the soul takes care,
Yet honest Hugh will give the flesh a share,
And teach his Auditors, how they may see,
And finde out Puss sitting in Majesty:
The surpless he abhors yet loves the smock,
And when he fails of that heel use the frock,
And so disgui'ed he thought the world to mock
When Martyred Charles his head lay on the block:

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

part 2

If by these signes you cannot finde him out
Instead of Hu-bub I have sent a scout,
Who now return'd, this narrative declares,
The subtle Fox some times is catcht with snares,
On friday twas, which some call venus day
Because that Planet then doth bear the sway
And is predominant, and hath a slight
A pretty one whither't be day or night
To couple loving things: the sent growes hot,
And though our Hugo cunningly had got
Him selfe into a Quakers house cald Broad
The fitest hoste to harbour such a—:
Murder will not lye hide, his haunt is found,
And steps are tract, without the help of hound;
Hugh hunts not counter yet the wily whelp
Findes out a cunning shift himselfe to help;
To bed he goes, where Mrs Peach lay in
The woman being green I hope no sin
Was there commited, (weighty things in hand
Men upon coulo•rs do not often stand)
The proverb saith, here lurking he lay still
As safe as any theise lyes in a Mill
Oft in the pulpet he was wont to say
He envied much those little doges which lay
In Ladies beds places far more fit
For men of lusty courage and choice wit,
He hath his wish; the officers forbear
In modesty the child bed to draw near,
And fall to search all the Roomes and places,
As tis the common use in such like cases,
The next house was John Dayes an upright Quaker
Because a Cobler, and a great pertaker
With Hugh's desines: whilst each one beats his brains
To finde the fugitives, and spairs no pains
Scowring each corner with a Zealous eye
Werei't but as big where in a mouse might lye:
Hugh takes his time, and whilst theyr all at gaze,
Makes an escape and hyes unto the Maze;
His rapiere with his bible, and his coat
He leaves behinde, by which the searchers note
Hugh cannot be far of, to Horse way down
Where one Nathaniell Mun, a man well known—
Had his aboad, a tape-maker by trade,
Though it were fitter far he halters made,
Peters conveyes himselfe; with open Cry
The chase is followed, Law-now by and by
They finde the horse, Mun's wife shee keeps the dore
They thrust, shee holds; I cannot tell you more,
But some do say shee had adown-right fall,
Yet I'le not say shee play'd at up tailes all,
Up staires with full careirs the serjant goes
But at the dore he finds one to oppose,
And stoutly too, by which he aimes and right
Twas Hugh himselfe, with all his main and might,
That strenth is reenforc't with new supplies
For, Mr Arnold, Hobkins, Harris flyes
Unto the battry, who with doubled force
Compell proud Peter to retreat: Remorce
Now seazeth on him, and he faints for fear
All symptoms of a Quaker now appear,
With Impudence and brasen face he cryes
I am not Peters, who so calls me lies
My name is Thomson; if that it be so
Then Duplex nomen Duplex Nebulo:
My action's good it'h law against you all
Who thus abuse and wrongfully miscall
An honest man, t'oth damage of his purss
And infamy of him; which is far worss.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


With this arrives young Peach (whose wife lay in
Within which bed Hugh-Peters with out sin
Had hid himselfe) and being askt if he
Such Gloves, or Cane, as those did ever see,
I did quoth he, and testifie I can,
They do belong unto that Gentelman,
Pointing to Hugo: Hugo in a fume
Denies it stoutly; but yet doth assume
The pair of gloves, which on his hands he drawes,
Those bloody hands worser then Tigers pawes,
I'le not deny but these are mine quoth he
Lyers ought t'have a present memorie,
Which Hugo faild of: Hugo must away,
The case is clear, he may not longer stay,
Then take him, Derick, Gentelmen I pray
Call me not Peters, least upon the way
The incenst many hearing of my name
Like Doctor Lamb should stone me for the same
This granted Hugo, once again doth crave
That he some privat conference, may have
VVith Mirs. Mun, women are best pleas'd when
They meet in private with strong dockt able men;
But that deni'd, the stallion being dry
After the sports and heats of venery,
He calls for drink his spirits to revive,
It seemes theyr thirsty who do often—
Two quarts of rot-gut beer he swalowes up
Desiring neither goblet horne or cup,
Though I suppose hornes he might have had
Haveing himselfe, made many run horne mad.
Now to the Tower must poor Peters trudge,
Patience good Hugo tis in vain to grudge
Before the grave Lieutenent he is brought
VVhat change is this? would ever man have thought,
Cromwells Confessor should be forc't t'appeare,
"Before a Royalist or Chavilier
As a Delinquent; yet tis true, tis done
Hee's under loyall Sir John Robinson
VVhere we will leave him to repent, if he
Be not too over grown in vilanie,
Once her remembers he did make a preach,
And in her sermon did false doctrine teach
Saying, the VVelch were only good to be
Made hanging Clappers for a wooden tree:
But yet her cozen lives, and may in time
Behold Hugh Peters mounting up, and clime
The tritle tree, which stands by Hide parke pale,
For if her judgment do not highly fail
He hath deserv'd it: thus the Fox you see
Is eartht; if you do ask how this can be,
Go to the Tower and you shall finde it true
Or else beleive me not, and when old Hugh
From this frail world shall take his last farwel,
I'le be his frend and ring his passing bell,
Without a clapper not with out a roape
For that will be his end as most do hope."

London, Printed by P. Lillicrap. 1660.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Hugh Peters was one of the men from New England who returned home to England to participate in the Civil Wars on the side of Parliament. Downing and Vane were others.

This expression of New England's sentiments continued for generations:
In 19th-century New England, defending Hugh Peter became a point of honor. The editor of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register fulminated:

"Mr. Peters perished by the hand of the mercenary murderer, but his memory should be safe in the hands of a faithful historian of New England … The cause of Peters was the cause of New England and he perished for doing more than many others had courage to do."…

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



  • Mar


  • Apr


  • Dec