In 1649, Oliver Cromwell helped abolish the British monarchy and overthrow King Charles I, but by 1660 the kingdom was restored and Charles’s son was in power and was determined to avenge his father. He accused Cromwell of treason and sentenced him to death.
There was only one problem: Cromwell had died in 1658. Not to be deprived of the satisfaction of killing his father’s killer, Charles II exhumed Cromwell’s corpse from Westminster Abbey on March 14, 1661, and had it publicly hanged, beheaded, and thrown into an unmarked pit. Oliver’s head hung on a pike outside Westminster Hall for a quarter century, until a storm snapped the pole and it went crashing to the ground. From there, his severed head passed through the hands of apothecaries, businessmen, and private collectors, with a few stops at museums before finally receiving a proper reburial in Cambridge in 1960.