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|Committee of Safety|
October 1659 – December 1659
|Member of Parliament|
September 1656 – January 1658
|Member of Parliament|
for County Dublin
September 1654 – January 1655
|Nominated to Barebones Parliament as MP for Ireland|
July 1653 – December 1653
|Governor of Dublin, Ireland|
Amsterdam, possibly Rouen
|Occupation||Shoemaker, soldier, politician and religious radical|
|Years of service||1642–1659|
Colonel John Hewson, also spelt Hughson (died 1662), was a shoemaker from London and religious Independent who fought for Parliament and the Commonwealth in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, reaching the rank of Colonel. Considered one of Oliver Cromwell's most reliable supporters within the New Model Army, his unit played a prominent part in Pride's Purge of December 1648, while Hewson also approved the Execution of Charles I in January 1649.
During the 1649 to 1660 Interregnum, he was Governor of Dublin from 1650 to 1656, as well as MP for County Dublin and Guildford, before being elevated to Cromwell's Other House in 1658. Following the 1660 Stuart Restoration, he was exempted from the Indemnity and Oblivion Act as a regicide, and went into exile in the Dutch Republic. He is thought to have died in Amsterdam in 1662.
Very little is known of his life prior to 1642, other than that he worked as a shoemaker in London during the 1630s. Hewson himself later testified he had lived as a "child of wrath"[a] in a "wicked and profane family in London" before being converted through the influence of a godly preacher.
He was second in command of John Pickering's Regiment of Foot, one of the original twelve foot regiments of the New Model Army. When John Pickering died on 24 November 1645 he took command of the regiment; and, as was the custom then, the Regiment became known as John Hewson Regiment of Foot.
In 1647 Parliament passed an act against religious festivals, regarding them as "vain and superstitious observances" when the Mayor of Canterbury tried to enforce this act and stop Christmas there was a riot and John Hewson Regiment of Foot were sent to restore order which they did quickly. In 1648 Hewson supported Pride's Purge and the Army's occupation of London.
In January 1649 Hewson signed the death warrant of Charles I marking him as a regicide. Also in 1649, he received a Master of Arts degree from Oxford University. Later that year his regiment refused to fight in Ireland until the Leveller reform programme was implemented; as a result, 300 men were cashiered out of the army without arrears of pay. While in Ireland he was involved in the Siege of Drogheda and commanded an English force during the siege and battle of Tecroghan. He lost an eye at the siege of Kilkenny and was made Governor of Dublin.
Hewson was governor of Dublin and a member of the Council of State. He represented Ireland in the Nominated Assembly (or Barebones Parliament) of 1653 and Dublin in the First Protectorate Parliament of 1654. He then returned to England to represent Guildford in the Second Protectorate Parliament. He was knighted by the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell on 5 December 1657 (the title passed into oblivion at the restoration of the Monarchy in 1660). In 1658 he was summoned to the Other House (an Upper House equivalent to the House of Lords) as Lord Hewson.
After the fall of the Protectorate he was a member of the Wallingford House party and was willing to use force to oppose General Monck and the restoration of the monarchy. When his endeavours came to nought, on the restoration of the monarchy he fled to Amsterdam, where he died in 1662.
Richard Neville (later Lord Braybrooke) in a footnote from his 1825 edition of Samuel Pepys' diary:
John Hewson, who, from a low origin, became a colonel in the Parliament army, and sat in judgment on the King: he escaped hanging by flight, and died in 1662, at Amsterdam. A curious notice of Hewson occurs in Rugge’s "Diurnal," December 5th, 1659, which states that "he was a cobbler by trade, but a very stout man, and a very good commander; but in regard of his former employment, they [the city apprentices] threw at him old shoes, and slippers, and turniptops, and brick-bats, stones, and tiles. … At this time [January, 1659-60] there came forth, almost every day, jeering books: one was called 'Colonel Hewson's Confession; or, a Parley with Pluto,' about his going into London, and taking down the gates of Temple-Bar." He had but one eye, which did not escape the notice of his enemies.
- A Biblical term then commonly used to mean "evil doers"
- Durston, Christopher (2004). "Hewson, John, appointed Lord Hewson under the Protectorate(fl. 1630–1660)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/13157. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- Noble, Mark (1787), Memoirs of the Protectoral-house of Cromwell: Deduced from an Early Period, and Continued Down to the Present Time ... Collected Chiefly from Original Papers and Records ... Together with an Appendix ... Embellished with Elegant Engravings, G. G. J. and J. Robinson, p. 421
- Pepys, Samuel (1660), "25 January 1659/60", Project Gutenberg's Diary of Samuel Pepys,Transcribed from the shorthand manuscript in the Pepsysian Library, Magdalene College Cambridge by the Rev. Mynors Bright M.A. late fellow and president of the college (Unabridged), With Lord Braybrooke's notes edited with additions by Henry B. Wheatley
- Plant, David (20 February 2008), "Biography of John Hewson", BCW Project, retrieved 21 March 2018
- Shaw, William Arthur (1906), The Knights of England: A complete record from the earliest time to the present day of the knights of all the orders of chivalry in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and of knights bachelors, incorporating a complete list of knights bachelors dubbed in Ireland, vol. 2, London: Sherratt and Hughes, p. 224