The execution of Harry Vane (Samuel Pepys, 1662)


On this day in 1662, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary:

“[A]bout eleven o’clock, … we all went out to the Tower-hill; and there, over against the scaffold, made on purpose this day, saw Sir Harry Vane brought.  A very great press of people.  He made a long speech, many times interrupted by the Sheriff and others there; and they would have taken the paper out of his hand, but he would not let it go. … [So] trumpets were brought that he might not be heard.  Then he prayed, and so fitted himself, and received the blow … ”.

Vane had been a leading Parliamentarian during the Civil War, and had been deemed to be “too dangerous to let live” after the Restoration of the Monarchy.

2 thoughts on “The execution of Harry Vane (Samuel Pepys, 1662)

  1. Christine Watson

    This entry mistakenly calls Sir Harry Vane a regicide. He was not. He did not sign the death warrant and he did not take an oath supporting the King’s beheading after the deed was done.
    Please correct your error on this site. You may read any of the 10 biographies written about him after his death to learn the facts. Even members of the King’s court were angry at the King for executing Vane because he was an innocent man (see the King’s Revenge book published recently and others). He was executed because the King feared his fight for a constitution and the rights of the people.


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