The Tudor Society

2 June – The end of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk

On this day in Tudor history, 2nd June 1572, thirty-four-year-old Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, was beheaded on Tower Hill for high treason.

Norfolk was a Knight of the Garter, he'd served as Earl Marshal and Lord High Steward, he'd presided over Queen Elizabeth I's coronation, so what had led him to this sticky end and how was he involved with Mary, Queen of Scots?

Let me tell you a bit more about this Tudor man and what led him to end his life on the scaffold.

Also on this day in history:

  • 1535 – Death of Sir Humphrey Coningsby, judge.
  • 1536 – Death of John Stewart (Stuart), 2nd Duke of Albany, at his château of Mirefleur in the Auvergne.
  • 1536 – Jane Seymour's first appearance as Queen.
  • 1537 – Executions of rebels Sir Francis Bigod, George Lumley and Sir Thomas Percy after Bigod's Rebellion in the aftermath of the Pilgrimage of Grace.
  • 1567 – Death of Shane O'Neill, Irish chieftain. He was killed by the Scots who cut his throat.
  • 1581 – Execution of James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton and former regent of Scotland, for treason. He was executed in Edinburgh, at the cross, by the "maiden", a type of guillotine.
  • 1595 – Death of William Wickham, Bishop of Winchester, at Winchester House, Southwark - either this date or 12th June.
  • 1609 – Burial of Elizabeth Russell (née Cooke), Lady Russell, linguist and courtier. She was buried at Bisham Church. She was the daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke and wife of Sir Thomas Hoby and then, after his death, Lord John Russell.
  • 1626 – Death of Sir Edward Bromley, judge.
  • 1636 – Death of Theophilus Field, Bishop of Hereford. He was buried at Hereford Cathedral.

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  1. R

    Thomas Howard 4th Duke of Norfolk was the second cousin of Elizabeth I, he was arrogant and charming and popular and ambitious. He actually tried to get the Northern Rebellion called off, but his letters to Mary Queen of Scots in which he proposed marriage were seen in a terrible light. His mistress, Bess Holland was thought to have set him up and he didn’t have anything to do with the so called Ridolffo Plot 1572. Although a Protestant his religious persuasion is debated as he showed Catholic sympathy. Although John Fox was with him on the scaffold, the curator of Arundel Castle and some historians believe he did convert back to the Catholic Faith before his execution. Not impossible, but something Fox was bound to deny and maybe he just wanted it kept quiet.

    His son Saint Philip Howard was a Catholic martyr under Elizabeth I, dying a prisoner in the Tower, locked up for his faith. His tomb is in Arundel Cathedral.

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2 June – The end of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk