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New Haven

Judges Cave

By December 17, 2021January 4th, 2022No Comments

Judges Cave, New Haven, Connecticut:

Atop West Rock Ridge State Park is a notorious rock formation once used as a hideout from King Charles I of England. The story begins during the year 1659 in England when 59 British judges sentenced King Charles I to death. With this act, the monarchy was dissolved and Oliver Cromwell was placed into power. In 1660, King Charles II, the son of the beheaded king was restored to power and sought revenge. A royal order was issued that each judge favoring regicide must be put to death. Three of the judges, Edward Whalley, William Goffe and John Dixwell fled to America.

The three judges were in New Haven while their arrest warrants were issued in the Colonies. Two of the judges, Whalley and Goffe, were hidden by local Puritans. They took shelter in a small cave and stayed there for a few weeks surviving on scraps of food provided by New Haven settlers. After an encounter with a mountain lion, the judges fled to Massachusetts under the cover of darkness and remained there for the rest of their lives.

A plaque on the cave reads, “Here May Fifteenth 1661 and for some weeks thereafter Edward Whalley and his son-in-law William Goffe, members of the Parliament-General, officers in the army of the Commonwealth and signers of the death warrant of King Charles First, found shelter and concealment from the officers of the Crown after the Restoration. ‘Opposition to tyrants is obedience to God.’”