John Dixwell
John Dixwell was one of the judges who tried King Charles I of England
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 and condemned him to death.


He was the younger son of Edgar Dixwell, but was raised by his uncle Basil Dixwell of Broome Park, near Canterbury
Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

 in Kent. He became a colonel in the Parliamentary army and was active on various county committees, and was elected to the Long Parliament of 1640 as MP for Dover
Dover (UK Parliament constituency)
Dover is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election.-Boundaries:...

. He was appointed governor of Dover Castle by Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

. Dixwell was a member of four parliaments. He was one of fifty-nine signatories of the death warrant of King Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

. After the Restoration
English Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

, the Act of Indemnity and Oblivion was passed in August 1660, granting pardon to those who supported the Commonwealth and Protectorate, but it specifically exempted those who had played a direct role in the trial and execution of King Charles I eleven years previously.

Dixwell was condemned to death as a regicide, but escaped this punishment by fleeing to New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven is the second-largest city in Connecticut and the sixth-largest in New England. According to the 2010 Census, New Haven's population increased by 5.0% between 2000 and 2010, a rate higher than that of the State of Connecticut, and higher than that of the state's five largest cities, and...

. He assumed the name John Davids and was reunited in 1664 with two other men likewise condemned, William Goffe
William Goffe
William Goffe was an English Roundhead politician and soldier, perhaps best known for his role in the execution of King Charles I and later flight to America.-Early life:...

 and Edward Whalley
Edward Whalley
Edward Whalley was an English military leader during the English Civil War, and was one of the regicides who signed the death warrant of King Charles I of England.-Early career:The exact dates of his birth and death are unknown...

, who had found refuge in Hadley, Massachusetts
Hadley, Massachusetts
Hadley is a town in Hampshire County, Massachusetts. The population was 4,793 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The area around Hampshire Mall and Mountain Farms Mall along Route 9 is a major shopping destination for the surrounding...

. The two had initially settled in Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, but fled for New Haven when their safety was compromised. They were housed by Rev. John Davenport
John Davenport (clergyman)
John Davenport was an English puritan clergyman and co-founder of the American colony of New Haven.-Early life:Born in Manchester, Warwickshire, England to a wealthy family, Davenport was educated at Oxford University...

. After a reward was offered for their arrest, they pretended to flee to New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, but instead returned by a roundabout way to New Haven. In May, the Royal order for their arrest reached Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, and was sent by the Governor to William Leete
William Leete
Governor William Leete was Governor of the Colony of New Haven from 1661 to 1665 and Governor of the Colony of Connecticut from 1676 to 1683....

, Governor of the New Haven Colony
New Haven Colony
The New Haven Colony was an English colonial venture in present-day Connecticut in North America from 1637 to 1662.- Quinnipiac Colony :A Puritan minister named John Davenport led his flock from exile in the Netherlands back to England and finally to America in the spring of 1637...

, residing at Guilford
Guilford, Connecticut
Guilford is a town in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States, that borders Madison, Branford, North Branford and Durham, and is situated on I-95 and the coast. The population was 21,398 at the 2000 census...

. Leete delayed the King's messengers, allowing Goffe and Whalley to disappear. They spent much of the summer in Judges' Cave at West Rock.

Dixwell was not the subject of any searches or arrest warrants, as it was believed in England that he was dead. He was known in New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 only by his pseudonym: only on his deathbed was his identity revealed. His house in New Haven was at the corner of Grove and College Streets, near his friend Rev. James Pierpont
James Pierpont (Yale founder)
James Pierpont was a Congregationalist minister who is credited with the founding of Yale University in the United States...

. His favorite study in exile was the History of the World, which Raleigh
Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter Raleigh was an English aristocrat, writer, poet, soldier, courtier, spy, and explorer. He is also well known for popularising tobacco in England....

 had written in prison, and he cherished a constant faith that the spirit of liberty in England would produce a new revolution.

Dixwell died in New Haven in March 1689 and was buried in the Old Burying Ground behind the Center Church on New Haven Green
New Haven Green
The New Haven Green is a privately owned park and recreation area located in the downtown district of the city of New Haven, Connecticut. It comprises the central square of the nine-square settlement plan of the original Puritan colonists in New Haven, and was designed and surveyed by colonist...

. The original monument is still visible; a larger one was added later. The Dixwell family monument is in Holy Trinity church Churchover
Churchover is a small village and civil parish in Warwickshire, England. The population of the parish in the 2001 census was 230.It is located around 4 miles north of Rugby, and is administratively part of the borough of Rugby....

, Warwickshire. The three regicide
The broad definition of regicide is the deliberate killing of a monarch, or the person responsible for the killing of a monarch. In a narrower sense, in the British tradition, it refers to the judicial execution of a king after a trial...

s are commemorated by three intersecting streets in New Haven (Dixwell Avenue, Whalley Avenue, and Goffe Street), and by place names in other Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...


He had married twice during his exile in America: firstly, in 1673 he married Joanna Ling, a widow and secondly, in 1677, he married Bathsheba How, with whom he had a son and two daughters.

External links

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