Facts and Events
John Hampden (ca. 1595 – 1643) was an English politician who was one of the leading parliamentarians involved in challenging the authority of Charles I of England in the run-up to the English Civil War. He became a national figure when he stood trial in 1637 for his refusal to be taxed for ship money, and was one of the Five Members whose attempted unconstitutional arrest by King Charles I in the House of Commons of England in 1642 sparked the Civil War.
Dying of wounds received on Chalgrove Field during the war, Hampden became a celebrated English patriot. The wars established the constitutional precedent that the monarch cannot govern without Parliament's consent, a concept legally established as part of the Glorious Revolution in 1688 and the subsequent Bill of Rights 1689. A statue of Hampden was selected by the Victorians as a symbol to take its place at the entrance to the Central Lobby in the Palace of Westminster as the noblest type of the parliamentary opposition, sword at his side, ready to defend the rights of Parliament. As one of the Five Members of the House of Commons, Hampden is commemorated at the State Opening of Parliament by the British monarch each year when the doors of the Commons Chamber are slammed in the face of the monarch's messenger, symbolising the rights of Parliament and it's independence from the monarch.