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About Col. John Jones, MP and Regicide
John Jones Maesygarnedd
Colonel John Jones (c. 1597 – October 17, 1660) was a Welsh military leader, politician and one of the regicides of King Charles I. A brother-in-law of Oliver Cromwell, Jones was born at Llanbedr in North Wales and is often surnamed Jones Maesygarnedd after the location of his Merionethshire estate. Jones spoke Welsh with his family. He was an avid Republican at a time when most of Wales was Royalist, and for this reason he was described by one of his contemporaries as 'the most hated man in North Wales'.
During the Civil War, Jones rose from Captain of the Foot, under Sir Thomas Myddelton, to Colonel of a cavalry regiment. In 1647, he was involved in the Royalist surrenders of Anglesey and Harlech and, later, in suppressing the insurgency in North Wales. He was elected MP for Merioneth in 1647 and given a military commission in Ireland (see Wars of the Three Kingdoms). However, as a committed republican, he was opposed Cromwell's Protectorate and lost this commission as a result. Despite this, he made up with the Protector, and married Cromwell's widowed sister, Catherine.
Jones was appointed Commissioner of the High Court of Justice in 1649, as a member of which he became one of the fifty-nine signatories to King Charles I's death warrant. Like many of the others who signed, he was in grave danger when Charles II of England was restored to the throne. He was arrested whilst out walking in London, put on trial, and found guilty of regicide. On October 17, 1660, Jones was hanged, drawn and quartered a fate which, according to some accounts, he faced with immense bravery.
Born at Llanbedr, Merioneth in north Wales, he went to London and served an apprenticeship in the Grocers' Company, becoming a freeman of the Company in 1633. Jones enlisted for Parliament as a captain of foot on the outbreak of the First Civil War and served in Wales under Sir Thomas Myddelton. By 1646, he was colonel of a cavalry regiment. Jones was one of the commissioners appointed to negotiate the surrender of Anglesey in June 1646, and he was present at the surrender of Harlech Castle — the last Royalist stronghold in Wales — in March 1647. He was elected MP for Merioneth in November 1647. During the Second Civil War, Jones was active in suppressing Sir John Owen's insurgency in north Wales and was appointed a commissioner of the High Court of Justice in January 1649. After sitting as a judge at the trial of King Charles and signing the death warrant, Jones was appointed to the Council of State in February 1649.
In February 1650, Jones was made a commissioner for the Propagation of the Gospel in Wales under the presidency of Colonel Thomas Harrison, with whom he shared radical Fifth Monarchist beliefs. Before Jones could begin his work in Wales, however, Parliament appointed him a commissioner for affairs in Ireland, where he arrived in January 1651. He maintained a close correspondence with Harrison, in which he expressed his regret that he could not be closer to the centre of power in Westminster, where the Rule of the Saints appeared to be imminent. Like other disappointed millenarians, Jones opposed the establishment of Cromwell's Protectorate in December 1653. Although he lost his commission in Ireland, he gradually became reconciled to the Protectorate régime. He served as a commissioner for the militia in Wales under Major-General James Berry during the Rule of the Major-Generals, and in 1656 he married Protector Cromwell's widowed sister Catherine. Jones was elected to the Second Protectorate Parliament as MP for Merioneth, and was appointed to Cromwell's Upper House in 1657.
After Richard Cromwell succeeded Oliver as Protector in 1658, Jones reverted to his opposition to the Protectorate and supported the republican officers determined to restore the Commonwealth. In July 1659, he accompanied Edmund Ludlow to Ireland and remained as commander-in-chief of the army in Ireland when Ludlow returned to England in October. Jones declared his support for General Lambert when he forcibly dissolved Parliament, but this alienated him from General Monck, who overthrew Lambert early in 1660. Jones made no attempt to escape at the Restoration. He was arrested as a regicide in June 1660 and confessed his complicity in the execution of Charles I when brought to trial. He was hanged, drawn and quartered on 17 October 1660, conducting himself bravely at his execution.
Colonel John Jones was a dramatic writer in the reign of Charles I. He was married to Henrietta Morgan Cromwell (sister of Oliver) in 1623. On October 17, 1660, Jones was hanged, drawn and quartered.
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