The Tudor Society

25 September – A pope, death cap mushrooms and poisoned candles

On this day in Tudor history, 25th September 1534, Pope Clement VII (Giulio di Giuliano de' Medici) died in Rome. It was rumoured that he died from eating death cap mushrooms or from fumes from poisoned candles placed in his room, but it was more likely to have been from natural causes.

In today's video, I introduce this pope, who was the leader of the Catholic Church at rather an interesting time, and also look at the rumours surrounding his death and what eating a death cap mushroom does. Lovely stuff!

Also on this day in history:

  • 1513 - Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the Spanish explorer, reached the Pacific Ocean. He was the first European to have discovered the Pacific Ocean from the New World.
  • 1525 - Explorer, navigator and naval administrator Stephen Borough (Burrough) was born at Borough House, Northam Burrows, Northam in Devon. Read more about him here.
  • 1554 – Death of Richard Sampson, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, and former President of the Council of the Welsh Marches, at Eccleshall in Staffordshire. He was buried in the parish church at Eccleshall. Sampson had acted as the King's Proctor at the fall of Anne Boleyn in 1536.
  • 1555 – The Peace of Augsburg, or Augsburg Settlement, was signed by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and the princes of the Schmalkaldic League at Augsburg.
  • 1558 – Gertrude Courtenay, Marchioness of Exeter, made her will. She died soon after and was buried in Wimborne Minster, Dorset. Gertrude was the mother of Edward Courtenay, 1st Earl of Devon, who was imprisoned for his part in Wyatt's Rebellion in 1554. Gertrude, herself, was imprisoned in 1538, and her husband was executed for treason.
  • 1584 – Death of Thomas Copley, Roman Catholic, in exile near Antwerp. He had served Elizabeth I as Commissioner of the Peace for Surrey, and she was godmother to his son, Henry, but he lost royal favour when he converted to Catholicism in 1563. He left England in 1570, being unable to accept royal supremacy and Elizabeth I's religious measures.
  • 1586 – Mary, Queen of Scots was moved to Fotheringhay Castle in Northamptonshire, and Elizabeth finally backed down and agreed to the appointing of 36 commissioners to act as judges in her trial.
  • 1594 – Death of Gregory Fiennes, 10th Baron Dacre, at Chelsea. He was buried in Chelsea Old Church.
  • 1602 – Death of William Redman, Bishop of Norwich, at the Episcopal Palace. He was buried in the cathedral choir.

Only 1 comment so far Go To Comment

  1. R

    Clement Vii was viewed as an unpopular Pope and he could easily have died when accidentally eating the mushrooms as people do mix things up when picking mushrooms unless they are familiar with the numerous species of wild mushrooms around. Clement had a Pontificate which was marked by wide ranging changes, the reforms and new movements of Luther and Calvin, the break of England, by the once defender of the Papacy, King Henry Viii, the long running annulment proceedings of Henry and Katherine of Aragon, the rise of science and the arts, the ups and downs in the central European heartland, religious wars and persecutions, the foundation of the Society of Jesus, the sack of Rome and the battle for souls.

    However, in Rome itself he was seen as week and was unpopular. Unfortunately, not long after he was buried in his tomb inside Saint Peter’s it was desecrated and his body was badly abused. I won’t go into the details, but let’s just say that when he was eventually reburied a few bits were missing. Aren’t people lovely sometimes? I am one of those people who believe that respect for the dead is sacred and cannot imagine the horror of digging someone up, even someone believed to be an unsavoury character and desecrating their remains, let alone the body of someone who is supposed be be in authority over the whole Catholic Church. If it wasn’t for the fight with Henry Viii Clement Vii probably would have gone down as one of the better Popes. He was a patron and he was actually reasonably enlightened. Because of the Council of Trent his successor, Paul iii has gone down as the reforming Pope, but Clement was the man who was a true humanist, something which has been overlooked.

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25 September – A pope, death cap mushrooms and poisoned candles