Death Warrant of King Charles I
This evocative document, a flat parchment containing seals and signatures, is handwritten in iron gall ink and led to the execution of Charles I and subsequent rule of Oliver Cromwell, one of the 59 signatories. Charles was tried in the House of Commons and executed on 30 January 1649, outside Banqueting House in Whitehall. Following the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, the Death Warrant was used to identify the commissioners who had signed it (the 'regicides') and prosecute them for treason. Even the signatories, who had died, including Cromwell, were dug up and their bodies hanged. The House of Lords ordered the return of the Death Warrant from Charles' executioner who was imprisoned in the Tower of London. It was returned on 31 July 1660 and it has been in the custody of Parliament ever since.