William Laud (October 7, 1573 – January 10, 1645) was the Archbishop of Canterbury who lived at Croydon Palace. Accused of treason he was beheaded on January 10, 1645 on Tower Hill. He was in favour of Charles I’s pro-Roman Catholic reforms and was himself, what would today be described as High Church. Charles I certainly indulged him and Laud used this political power to attack and ruin those that opposed him. So, by the time that the English Civil War has started, Laud had made many powerful enemies. During the Long Parliament of 1640 Laud was accused of treason and, in the Grand Remonstrance of 1641, was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Apart from a few personal enemies, Parliament was in no rush, no doubt thinking that aged 68 this was not a long term problem. However, four years on and Laud was still alive and well so he was brought to trial which, however, ended without a verdict. Parliament decided to take the matter into their own hands and created a law so that he could be beheaded, which he was on January 10, 1645 aged 71 – royal pardon, proving less than useless. Like many of the nearby roads it is named after a former Archbishop of Canterbury, who used Croydon Palace and later Addington Palace Mansion as a summer residence.
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