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Distributed for Haus Publishing


The Trials of Henry Marten

Distributed for Haus Publishing


The Trials of Henry Marten

An illuminating biography of a republican convicted of regicide, drawing on the letters he wrote from within the Tower of London.
Henry Marten—soldier, member of parliament, organizer of the trial of Charles I, and signatory of the King’s death warrant—is today a neglected figure of the seventeenth century. Yet his life was both extraordinary and emblematic: he was at the fulcrum of English history during the turbulent years of the civil war, the protectorate, and the restoration. Imprisoned in the Tower of London and tried at the Old Bailey, Marten was found guilty of high treason, only to be held captive for years on the equivalent of death row. While he was in prison, his letters to his mistress Mary Ward were stolen and published in an attempt to destroy his reputation. Witty, clever, loving, sardonic, and never despairing, the letters offer a rare and extraordinary insight into the everyday life of a man in the Tower awaiting a sentence of death. The attempt to expose him as immoral revealed him instead as a tender and brave man. In John Worthen’s revelatory biography, Marten emerges from the shadows as a brilliantly clever, lively-minded man, free of the fundamentalist zeal so common in many of his republican contemporaries. Marten never abandoned his beliefs in equality, in a representative parliament under a constitution (which he had helped to write) without a monarch or a House of Lords, and in that way can be seen as a very modern man.

224 pages | 17 halftones | 6 x 9

Biography and Letters

History: British and Irish History

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"This is a deeply researched and convincing portrait of the later years of one of the most remarkable radical politicians in British history. Moreover, it is written in a manner which makes it equally accessible and entertaining to those with expert knowledge of the period and those with none at all."

Ronald Hutton, author of The Making of Oliver Cromwell

"This racy account of how one regicide sidestepped his apparently certain execution, sheds fascinating light on the colour and chaos of the Restoration."

Hugh Aldersey-Williams author of Dutch Light: Christiaan Huygens and the Making of Science in Europe

Table of Contents

Note on Language, Sources, Dates, and Abbreviations ix
Illustrations x
Acknowledgements xiii
Preface: ‘We are the men of the present age’ xv
1. Marten 1
2. Tower 25
3. Tending and Scribbling 38
4. Procedures 54
5. Old Bailey 75
6. ‘My last and onely Love’ 101
7. Commons 120
8. Lords 137
9. Ghostless in Chepstow 159
Notes 183

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