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Author Topic: The MP's of Queenborough Sheppey  (Read 4478 times)

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The MP's of Queenborough Sheppey
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2009, 19:34:49 »
Sir Michael Livesey was born at Parsonage Farm, Eastchurch in 1614 and grew up to be a Puritan who sided with Parliament during the Civil War. Queenborough was supporting two members of parliament at the time, Sir Edward Hales and William Hamson, both of whom were Royalists but by the use of heavy handed scare tactics they were both ousted in favour of Michael Livesey and his friend Augustine Garland. It was at this time that many of Cromwells soldiers were billeted on the Island and sadly carried out a lot of mindless damage to Minster Abbey Church and to Shurland Hall. Their aim was to eradicate anything of beauty that was in any way "Popish"?. Michael Livesey was present at many Roundhead victories but whether he actually actively took part is very doubtful. One quote from his biography says; "At the battle of Cheriton Down on 29 March 1644 he deliberately ran away. His overbearing d'emeanour, combined with his cowardice and incapacity, made him so generally disliked that his Major, Anthony Weldon, made several charges against him. He was definitely not a popular man and yet by some strange means he managed to keep his status within parliament perhaps by showing in every way possible that he was one of the main supporters of Parliament against the King.
When King Charles I was finally captured, Sir Michael Livesey managed to get himself on to the illegal "High Court of Justice"? which was set up to try the King for treason. Alongside Livesey on the committee was his friend and fellow MP for Queenborough, Augustine Garland together with Oliver Cromwell.
After a seven day trial the King was declared guilty and 59 members of the "Court"? signed his death certificate and as he was led from the room Augustine Garland spat in his face. The very next day the King was hanged

But then came the restoration and Charles II was restored to the throne forcing Michael Livesey, once more, to run away. This time it was to Holland.2
There is a story that he was recognised by a Kentish man named William Smith who called after him You are one of the kings murderers"?. At which an infuriated mob of Dutchmen who were Royalists set upon Livesey and hacked him to death. He was however reported as being seen in subsequent years so no one really knows the truth. After his reported death all of his possessions in Sheppey were confiscated by the Crown and given to the Duke of York later to become James II.
His friend and fellow MP of Queenborough, Augustine Garland, was arrested along with a further 28 of his fellow regicides and brought to trial on 16 October1660 Unlike the infamous "High Court of Justice", this trial took place before a bench of properly qualified judges presided over by the Lord Chief Baron, a jury of their fellow countrymen and, importantly, it was in public - not behind closed doors.

Augustine Garland aged 38 was a very wealthy land owner a qualified barrister, he had served on the 'court' that had found King Charles guilty of treason, he had signed the death penalty order and to make things worse he had publicly spat in the Kings face. After the trial the foreman of the jury, without a recess declared they had reached a unanimous verdict.
This from the Records of the State Trials of the Regicides;
Clerk: "Augustine Garland, hold up thy hand! Gentlemen of the jury look upon the prisoner. How say thee? Is he guilty of treason whereof he stands indicted, and hath been arraigned, or not guilty?"
Foreman of the Jury; "Guilty."
Solicitor General; "My Lord, upon the Verdict which hath been given against this prisoner, I humbly move that for that we may have a judgement."
The Lord Chief Baron; "Prisoner, what do you say for yourself that judgement should not pass against thee according to the law?"
Prisoner; "If, My Lord, I was guilty of this act of inhumanity I desire no favour from God Almighty (this was a reference to the spitting incident) I sate and at the day of sentence, signed the Warrant of Execution."

The Lord Chief Baron then delivered a long speech during which he informed Garland that all his land would be confiscated and then pronounced sentence.
"Prisoner at the Bar, the judgement of this court is, and the Court doth award, that you be led back to the place from which you came and from thence to be drawn upon a hurdle to the place of execution, and there you shall be hanged by the neck, and being alive your privy parts ---------------"

I won't go into detail on the rest of the sentence, suffice to say Augustine Garland was sentenced to be hung, drawn, and quartered.
A lot of his fellow conspirators were disposed of by this terrible sentence but the King decided that his father had been satisfactorily avenged, enough blood had been spilt and he put a stop to this horrendous public spectacle.
Garland had been reprieved of this agonising ordeal and the news had reached him the day before he was to be taken to the scaffold. His sentence was commuted to solitary confinement for life. He was placed in the Tower for four years and then on the 31 march 1664 a warrant was issued authorising his deportation to Tangiers, which meant he was sold into slavery, a usual happening for the time.

basic facts and quotes for this post from Dalys History of the Isle of Sheppey and Sheila Judges Isle of Sheppey

Augustine was in fact not sold into slavery, and according to information provided in Charles Spencer's book "Killers of the King : The Men Who Dared to Execute King Charles I", he was in fact transported back from Tangiers and placed at Southsea Castle, where he falls into obscurity around 1677.  It is also worth noting, that the accusation of spitting in the Kings face appears to have been just that, an accusation, and was strongly denied by Augustine at his trial.  Bearing in mind the fate of other members of the long parliament, it seems unlikely that Augustine's death sentence would have been quashed if this accusation had any foundation.


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