19th September 1666

King killer Gilbert Millington dies at Mont Orgueil

MP Gilbert Millington’s signature was one of the close-to 60 names that appeared on the death warrant for King Charles I.

Millington had been elected MP for Nottingham in 1640 at the start of what was to become known as the Long Parliament, as the session lasted not for what we now have as the maximum term – five years – but, technically, a full two decades. Parliament was purged during that term by the New Model Army, which had been formed during the English Civil War. For ten years between 1648 and 1658, only 75 of those who had previously held seats in Parliament were allowed to carry on sitting. Millington was among them.

He wasn’t only an MP, though. He was also deputy lieutenant of Nottinghamshire and one of the barristers who played a part in Charles I’s trial for high treason, in which he was charged with having caused the deaths of almost 85,000 citizens, with a further 100,000 dying from war-related disease during the civil war. Charles refused to enter a plea as he believed that no court had the right to try him.

His fate was sealed

It seems unlikely that the king would ever have won the case and, as history records, he was sentenced to death on 27 January 1649. Over the next two days, 59 signatures were added to the king’s death warrant, including that of Gilbert Millington.

Thus, Charles I was beheaded, but that wasn’t the end of the monarchy in Britain. Following Oliver Cromwell’s death in 1658, Parliament invited Charles II to become king. Charles, who had already been declared King in St Helier’s Royal Square, accepted Parliament’s invitation. 

Millington was tried for his part in the regicide, sentenced to death and sent to the Tower of London to await his fate. While a prisoner there, he wrote to King Charles II begging forgiveness, and was successful in winning his life. However, the new king sentenced him to life imprisonment and confiscated his estate, and he was sent to serve out his sentence in Jersey. Life really did mean life for Millington: he died in Mont Orgueil castle in 1666.


FREE Jersey history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Jersey's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want.



Other events that occured in September