Open main menu


CHALONER, —— (d. 1643), a chief actor in Edmund Waller's plot of 1643, is described in contemporary accounts as ‘an eminent citizen’ and linendraper of London. He lived in Cornhill, near the Royal Exchange, and had a partner named Norton. Together with Nathaniel Tomkins, secretary to the queen's council, and Waller's brother-in-law, he organised, early in 1643, a society which was intended to bring together all citizens desirous of effecting a peace between the parliament and Charles I. The king approved the plan; and on news of it reaching Pym (30 May 1643), Chaloner, Tomkins, Waller, and a few others implicated in it were placed under arrest. The Earl of Essex was directed by the House of Commons to appoint a council of war to try the prisoners, and on Friday, 30 June, the trial of Tomkins and Chaloner began at the Guildhall, before the Earl of Manchester. Both were found guilty on Monday (2 July), and the sentence of death was carried out on the following Wednesday (4 July). Chaloner was hanged in front of his own house. On the scaffold he timidly acknowledged the justice of his sentence, at the same time insisting on the pacific aims of his conspiracy. Hugh Peters attended him, and his father offered him a royal pardon, which he declined to touch. He and his friend Tomkins alone suffered capital punishment.

[See art. Edmund Waller (1605–1687), infra; Rushworth's Collections, iii. 2, 322–7; Clarendon's Hist. bk. vii. 71; Ranke's Hist. of England (English transl.), ii. 376; British Museum Coll. of Newspapers for 1643, vol. ii.; Chaloner's Speech on the Scaffold, 1643; A True Discovrie of the Great Plot, 1643.]

S. L. L.