Axtell, Daniel (d. 1660), military governor of Kilkenny, was almost certainly born in southern England, and was apprenticed to a grocer in Watling St. (London). In the English civil war he joined the parliamentary army from religious conviction, rose to be lieutenant-colonel, took part in the military purging of parliament, and commanded the guards at Charles I's trial and execution (30 January 1649). In Cromwell's Irish campaign, Axtell led an assault on Kilkenny city, and after its surrender (March 1650) he was appointed governor of the city and county, with large grants from the Mountgarret estates. Shortly after, he was converted by the baptist preacher Thomas Patient (qv). As governor, Axtell was accused of tyrannical conduct ranging from penal taxation and the seizure of charters to vandalism, vindictive reprisals against royalists, and the slaughter or transportation of prisoners and civilians under his protection. From 1654 he made political use of the baptist church in opposing the development of the protectorate, till he resigned his commission (1656) in protest against the moderating policy of Henry Cromwell (qv). He remained on his Kilkenny estates and as MP for the city, and resumed his commission on the collapse of the Cromwellian protectorate (1659), when he was given command of the regiment of Charles Fleetwood (qv), and of the infantry in the force sent to north Wales to suppress the Booth rising (August 1659). Axtell was not prominent during the attempted coup of 16 February headed by Sir Hardress Waller (qv); but as one of those concerned in the death of Charles I, whose estates were sequestrated and who were specifically excluded from indemnity at the restoration of the monarchy, he was convicted and executed in October 1660.
William Carrigan, The history and antiquities of the diocese of Ossory (4 vols, 1905), iii, 44; T. C. Barnard, Cromwellian Ireland (1975); W. G. Neely, Kilkenny: an urban history, 1391–1843 (1989); Aidan Clarke, Prelude to restoration in Ireland (1999)