On this day in Tudor history, 27th June 1497, in the reign of King Henry VII, lawyer and member of Parliament Thomas Flamank and blacksmith Michael Joseph (known as Michael an Gof), two of the chief commanders of the Cornish rebels, were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn in London.
What had led them to this awful end? What was the Cornish Rebellion about and why do they have "fame permanent and immortal"? Find out more about them and their ends in today's talk.
Also on this day in Tudor history, 27th June 1505, the thirteen-year-old Henry, Prince of Wales, the future King Henry VIII, broke up with his betrothed, Catherine of Aragon. It was the eve of their wedding too. Find out why he did this and what happened in last year’s video:
June 17 - The Cornish Rebellion and the Battle of Blackheath:
Also on this day in history:
- 1578 – Death of William Bradbridge, Bishop of Exeter, in poverty at Newton Ferrers. He was buried on the north side of Exeter Cathedral choir. His poverty was due to the deception of his sub-collector of taxes, Henry Borough, who embezzled taxes rather than paying them to the Exchequer.
On this day in Tudor history, 27th June 1497, lawyer and member of Parliament Thomas Flamank and blacksmith Michael Joseph (known as Michael an Gof), two of the chief commanders of the Cornish rebels, were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn in London.
As I explained in my video on the Cornish Rebellion, which I’ll give you a link to in the description, Cornish tin miners had been unhappy with Henry VII after he had attempted to introduce new legislation regarding tin-mining into the Cornish Stannary Parliament in 1496 and then, when he’d been met with opposition, had suspended the Stannary Court, meaning that the tin-miners lost the privileges the Stannaries had offered them since the early 1300s and were no longer exempt from civil jurisdiction or from paying taxes. This was then followed by heavy taxation to fund his Scottish campaign. It was all too much for the Cornish people and it led to the Cornish Rebellion of 1497. Fortunately for Henry VII and unfortunately for the rebels, the rebellion was brought to and end on 17th June 1497 at the Battle of Blackheath, or Battle of Deptford, when the rebels were defeated by the Crown’s forces and 1500 were taken prisoner.
The Chronicles of London record that Flamank and Joseph were arraigned for treason at Westminter on 26th June 1497 and, on this day in history, 27th June 1497, drawn from the Tower of London, through the city, to Tyburn, and there hanged until they were dead. They were then “stricken down, and headed and after quartered.” Chronicler Edward Hall gives a slightly different account, stating that they suffered a full traitor’s death, i.e. being alive when they were taken down from the gallows to be disembowelled and quartered. Hall records that the king ordered Joseph and Flamank to be hanged, drawn and quartered as traitors, and “their quarters to be pitched on stakes, and set up in diverse places of Cornwall, that their sore punishments and terrible executions for their traitorous attempts and foolish hardy enterprises might be a warning for other hereafter to abstain from committing like crime and offence”, but after he was told that this might actually provoke the Cornish into more action, he decided to have their body parts displayed in London, to avoid more trouble when he needed to focus on Scotland.
Baron Audley, who’d also been involved in the rebellion, was beheaded on Tower Hill the following day and his head displayed on London Bridge.
On Blackheath Common, there is a memorial plaque in memory of Flamank and Joseph, which was erected on 21st June 1997 by the London Cornish Association and the Cornish Gorsedd. It reads, in Cornish and English:
“In memory of Michael Joseph the Smith and Thomas Flamank, leaders of the Cornish Rebellion who marched to London. They were defeated here and suffered execution at Tyburn 27th June 1497.
They shall have a name perpetual and fame permanent and immortal.”
And here we are, over 500 years later still remembering these men.