Charles I - beheaded

Erection date: 1950


{On the plaque below the bust:}
His Majesty King Charles I passed through this hall and out of a window nearly over this tablet to the scaffold in Whitehall where he was beheaded on 30th January 1649.

In about 1945 Hedley Hope-Nicholson, a Charles I fan and central member of the Society of King Charles the Martyr, found three lead busts of Charles in a Fulham builder's yard. The busts have been dated to about 1800. The best was placed here and another at nearby St Margarets church.

Site: Charles I - beheaded (1 memorial)

SW1, Whitehall, Banqueting House

A nearby modern information board informs: "King Charles I walked to his death through a Banqueting House window, on the 30th January 1649. the king crossed the scaffold, laid his head upon the block, and "stretched forth his hands". At this sign, the executioner struck Charles' head from his body.

He had been found guilty of treason by a court of Parliamentarians. For seven years England had been torn apart by a Civil War between its Parliament and King. Charles' execution was the cataclysmic event that ended the war.

The Banqueting House is the only surviving building of Whitehall Palace, which burned down in 1698. Designed in the new classical style by Inigo Jones, it was completed in 1622 and was used for diplomatic ceremonies and court entertainments. In 1635, Charles I commissioned Peter-Paul Rubens to paint magnificent ceiling paintings which are still inside."

Which window he walked through or where precisely he was beheaded is not known.  The best guess seems to be that the window was in what is now the blank wall above the bust.

Opposite the Banqueting House the archway of Horse Guards Parade carries a clock. On this face at 2 pm is a black mark, which, it is said, commemorates the death of Charles I. The time of execution had been set for early in the morning but a delay meant it actually took place at 2 pm.  The mark looks to us like an accidental smudge.

This section lists the subjects commemorated on the memorial on this page:
Charles I - beheaded

Subjects commemorated i

King Charles I

Born Fife. Until the age of 11 he was only the 'spare' but then his 18-year o...

Read More

This section lists the subjects who helped to create/erect the memorial on this page:
Charles I - beheaded

Created by i

Hedley Hope-Nicholson

Barrister, literary critic and Charles I obsessive. He hyphenated his Nichols...

Read More

Nearby Memorials

Marc Bolan shrine - bust

Marc Bolan shrine - bust

SW13, Queen's Ride

Unveiled by Rolan Bolan, Marc's son, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Bolan's death. Paid for personally by Fee Warner.

1 subject commemorated, 3 creators
Isaac Newton bust

Isaac Newton bust

WC2, Leicester Square

All four of the Leicester Square busts were removed in the 2010-12 redesign, and we don't know where they went.

1 subject commemorated, 1 creator
Grosvenor Hotel - head 10

Grosvenor Hotel - head 10

SW1, Buckingham Palace Road, Grosvenor Hotel

This 1860 building, by architect James Knowles Snr, is studded with many portrait busts of which we believe only these 14 are representat...

Drill Hall - head 5 - African/Indian soldier

Drill Hall - head 5 - African/Indian soldier

W1, Chenies Street, Drill Hall

In the spandrels above the entrance door: "Bloomsbury Rifles Pro Patria Semper" ('for my country always'). The technique used for this le...

Louisa Brandreth Aldrich-Blake

Louisa Brandreth Aldrich-Blake

WC1, Tavistock Square Gardens

There are actually 2 busts (identical we think): one facing into the square and one facing out on the traffic.

1 subject commemorated, 2 creators