The Tudor Society

13 November 1536 – The Murder of Robert Packington

A wheellock pistol, Augsburg, c. 1580

An example of a wheellock pistol, Augsburg, c. 1580

On 13th November 1536, mercer and member of Parliament Robert Packington (Pakington) was shot to death by an unknown assailant while he was on his way to mass at St Thomas of Acre Chapel. He was shot with a wheellock pistol. Theories regarding his murder include that it was ordered by conservative bishops, or John Stokesley, Bishop of London, or John Incent, Dean of St Paul's. He was definitely interested in Reform and Rose Hickman, a Protestant, recalled how he "used to bring English bybles from beyond sea".

Derek Wilson points out that "poor Robert Packington probably holds the dubious distinction of being the first person in England to be killed with a handgun" and you can read more about his murder in Derek Wilson's excellent article "The Hunt for the Tudor Hitman". Derek actually used Packington's unsolved murder in his historical thriller The First Horseman, which is well worth a read.

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13 November 1536 – The Murder of Robert Packington