The Tudor Society

21 February – The Execution of St Robert Southwell

On this day in Tudor history, 21st February 1595, Jesuit pries, poet and writer Robert Southwell was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn.

Who was he? Why was he executed? And why did Elizabeth I eventually move against Catholics? I explain in today's video:

You may also be interested in Jessie Childs' talk "God’s Traitors: Religious Terrorism in Elizabethan England" - click here.

You can read Bishop Challoner's biography of Southwell and letters written by Southwell at

Also on this day in history:

  • 1498 – Birth of Ralph Neville, 4th Earl of Westmorland. He was the second son of Ralph, Baron Neville, and his wife, Edith, daughter of Sir William Sandys of the Vyne. Westmorland served Henry VIII in the North, and was a member of the jury at the trials of George and Anne Boleyn in 1536.
  • 1513 – Death of Pope Julius II from a fever. He was buried in St Peter's in the Vatican.
  • 1549 – Death of Sir Richard Gresham, Mayor of London, mercer and merchant adventurer, at Bethnal Green. He was buried in the church of St Lawrence Jewry in London.
  • 1568 – Burial of Katherine Seymour (née Grey), Countess of Hertford, at Yoxford. Her remains were later re-interred, by her grandson, in the Seymour family tomb at Salisbury Cathedral.
  • 1579 – Death of Thomas Bentham, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, at Eccleshall, Staffordshire. He was buried in the chapel of the Episcopal Palace at Eccleshall.
  • 1589 – Death of William Somerset, 3rd Earl of Worcester, in Clerkenwell, Middlesex. He was buried in Raglan parish church.
    1590 - Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick, Master of the Ordnance, Privy Councillor and fourth son of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, died at Bedford House on the Strand. He was laid to rest in the Beauchamp Chapel of the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick. Click here to read more and to see photos of his resting place.

There are 3 comments Go To Comment

  1. M

    Thank you for explaining the excommunication, and how that changed her views. I didn’t make the connection before. Thanks for the book recommendation, too! I’ll look for it. Michelle t

  2. R

    Thanks for yet another lovely video.

    Rest in peace Saint Robert Southall.

    Is it true that Topcliffe had a rack in his own house? He probably also suffered Little Ease as Edmund Campion had been.

    A true blessed martyr. Amen

    1. C - Post Author

      I think I have read that Topcliffe has his own rack. Awful. He must have been one of those people who “enjoyed” what he did.

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21 February – The Execution of St Robert Southwell