Located in the center of the West End of London, you will find Red Lion Square, which is said to be the haunting grounds of three well-known parliamentary ghosts. The history behind the creation of these ghosts is a tale involving politics, the law, as well as the ultimate revenge. In this article, you will learn the background of how the Red Lion Square became known as a rather haunted location within England.
Three famous ghosts are said to haunt this park: John Bradshaw, Oliver Cromwell, and Henry Ireton. For those who are unfamiliar with these historical figures:
John Bradshaw (1602-1659) is known as one of the judges to serve at the trail and later death sentence of Charles I of England. Bradshaw became president of the parliamentary commission to bring the king before the law in 1649. This was a position that many strong lawyers refused to deal with. Bradshaw enjoyed a short period of receiving awards and honors for his actions, but was later forced into retirement when Oliver Cromwell dissolved the council. After the resignation of Richard Cromwell, Bradshaw was hanged and beheaded after his death, a fate that would meet another one of these characters.
Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) held many different positions during his lifetime, including politician, dictator, as well as English military leader. He also once held the position of English Head of State, a feat in itself because he was one of only two commoners to ever hold to title. He later died of malaria, but after the Restoration of the Monarchy, his body was exhumed in 1660 and hung in chains at Tyburn.
Henry Inton (1611-1651) served as an English general in the army of Parliament while the English Civil War was in the works. When the Restoration took over in 1660, Charles II exhumed Ireton’s body, mutilating it in an execution style. This was payback for his part in signing the death warrant of his father.
Bradshaw, Cromwell and Inton originally were buried at Westminster Abbey during the 17th century, but when the Restoration took over, all of their bodies were dug up and made to stand trial in Westminster Hall. Of course, all three were found guilty of killing or playing a role in the death of King Charles I. They were sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered, even though they were all dead. But nonetheless, their bodies (which were decomposing) were taken to the gallows and hung. Then, they were beheaded. Afterwards, their remains were sent to a pit.
Their remains did not remain in the pit, but were buried in a field, which is now known as Red Lion Square. Many witnesses claim to have spotted the ghosts of these three wandering about the square. It is believed that they often hold meetings with one another and can be seen engaging in various talks. As for Charles II, he became a well-known and prosperous king, ruling England in a far better manner than his father was able to.