(? - June 20
) was a 17th century English
hangman. Brandon was the Common Hangman of London
in 1649 and he is frequently cited as the man who executed the death warrant of King Charles I
by beheading the King on January 30
, although the precise identity of the executioner is unknown. It is known, however, that when originally approached, Brandon refused to do the job, although he might later have accepted under threat that he would be next.
A pamphlet purporting to be a confession by Brandon was published posthumously, in which it is stated that he received £30 for performing the execution, which was given to him 'all in half crowns'.
The register of St. Mary Matfellon, Whitechapel, records 1649. June 2. Richard Brandon, a man out of Rosemary Lane. And to this is added the following memorandum: This R. Brandon is supposed to have cut off the head of Charles I. This Brandon was the son of Gregory Brandon, and claimed the headman's axe by inheritance. The first person he had beheaded was the Earl of Strafford, on the orders of Charles I. Rosemary Lane is the modern Royal Mint Street.
References and notes
- Project Gutenberg: The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction; Vol. 10, Issue 273, September 15, 1827