On This Day In History: William Laud Archbishop Of Canterbury Beheaded – On Jan 10, 1645

On January 10, 1645, William Laud, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was executed at Tower Hill in London, England.

Laud (1573 – 11645) was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633, during the reign of Charles I and a loyal supporter of the king, but finally he had to pay for this loyalty with his life.

Born in 1573 in Reading, Berkshire, he was educated at Reading Grammar School and St. John’s College at Oxford University and later ordained in April 1601.

Laud did not favor Puritanism («purifying» the Church of England from its «Catholic» practices). He held several posts as bishop and finally, Laud became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633.

His political importance increased when the crowning of Charles I in 1625 took place. Lau preached that a king’s legitimacy came from God himself and under such a system, any crime committed against a king was a crime against God. As Charles I’s grasp on the throne became increasingly fragile, Laud seemed to be on the wrong side of history, representing many things that would come to an end after the the Civil War.

He advocated a close relationship between church and government, the unquestionable authority of the King over his country and the reduction of Puritan reform in the church.

In 1640 Laud was arrested and became a hated person often presented in pamphlets and protests of people against him. In December 1640 he was convicted of high treason, attempts to subvert the laws, to overthrow the Protestant religion”.

He was imprisoned in the Tower of London. In 1644, in the midst of the Civil War, he was beheaded.


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