Upon this ‘black and eternally infamous day’ 260 years ago, as South puts it ‘his most Sacred Majesty King Charles I was led to execution’. He was taken from St. James Palace about 10 o’clock on a bitterly cold morning and brought through the Park to Whitehall where he remained about two or three hours in prayer and was then led forth on to that scaffold where, as John Sargeaunt once remarked ‘he regained much of that dignity which he had lost’. as he axe fell a spectator noted that it was precisely four minutes past two. There was one bright spot on that blackest of black days ‘one or two hours (at the most)’ records South, before the execution took place, the King was publicly prayed for by name in the Big-Schoolroom of the Royal College of St. Peter’s Westminster by the monitor reading prayers. It is one of our proudest boasts and Low today was not unmindful of the honour of reading prayers today with such a great precedent two hundred and sixty years ago.
I dragged Low out for a walk, both of us rather unwilling, however, we followed the River down past the Tate and right on to Grosvenor Road and Chelsea and eventually we both enjoyed our walk immensely. We were much pleased coming back to find the site of the old King’s Scholars Pond and, what was more pleasing to find, a new green London County Council gate with the name ‘L.C.C. Main Drainage, King’s Scholars Pond’ in white letters painted on it. I am pleased to find it thus remembered, it made up for our lack of success in identifying the Red House, the ostensible purposes of our walk.
I went out again later and found the present address of Miss Wedderburn (that was) [see Thursday 28th Jan] to my exceeding joy, I spent most of the evening composing a diplomatic letter, a by no means easy task.